Home > operating systems, uncategorized > Windows 7 – Is it worth it for Vista users to upgrade?

Windows 7 – Is it worth it for Vista users to upgrade?

The Windows 7 Release Candidate version has been recently released by Microsoft. The salient features include high performance, and little improvements here and there. [Edit: the final, RTM version has also recently been released to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. My opinions have not changed.]

But what about Vista users? In specific, those that have the more expensive versions, such as Ultimate or Home Premium?

The matter of fact is: those users who have stuck to Vista will have noticed that Vista is no slouch anymore. Post SP1, Vista is pretty high on performance parameters, at least better than XP on the same hardware. And many of the little annoyances have been fixed over time: crashes have become fewer, shares can now be accessed out subnets, and as people become used to the UI, it doesn’t look so poor after all. And finally, the much maligned UAC has proved to be a massive security barrier: an XP system set loose on my university’s wild Local Area Network becomes unusable in less than 5 minutes, but Vista’s system files (at least) last nearly indefinitely unless someone turns off UAC, or accepts the warnings it gives.

In other words, Vista is patched to the hilt – and performs. So why would you move to Windows 7?

Truth is – I wouldn’t. Windows 7 just does not offer enough new features – or any compelling reason (Windows 7 programs are almost certain to run on Vista and vice versa) – for me spend that cash on an upgrade.

For me, that only glaring new feature, the Ribbon type Taskbar, is one step back. It covers a lot of screen real estate, and the merging of multiple icons means I now need to take a few extra milliseconds to make my choice. Of course, this style can be disabled, but why shouldn’t I stick to Vista?

For me, the Vista to Windows 7 upgrade is worth a lot of outgoing cash – and not enough benefit to justify it.

  1. 11 May 2009 at 2:25 PM


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  3. Najeh Haq
    20 May 2009 at 8:47 PM

    I’m going to go ahead and disagree with you here. I think Windows 7 is worth the upgrade from Vista, and definitely from XP. SP1 did improve Vista, but streamlined bloat is still bloat. It did NOT make it faster than XP though – on par at best.

    Personally, I love the UI enhancements in 7. The God-send ability to reorder open applications in the taskbar is more than welcome. I agree that the default taskbar can be a little disorienting, but spending 30 seconds fixing that brings it back to Vista-looks while retaining the EXCELLENT preview features of 7.

    Windows 7 is also faster than Vista SP1. Quite a bit, actually. And that’s on beta drivers. It’s even faster than XP.

    Then, of course, there’s a lot of bloatware improvements – many of the bundled apps are now free optionware, so if you never used Movie Maker, you never have to see it. Windows Media Player 12 is considerably streamlined and actually worthy of being my default media player (after installing codecs, of course). Then there’s XP Mode, which should keep XP fanboys from bitching about their sorry apps that don’t run on Vista.

    So what does 7 have going for it? Better UI, better speed, better features, better stability, better customizability. One should be asking, WHY NOT upgrade?

  4. 21 May 2009 at 9:56 AM

    @ Najeh Haq: Hello there! 🙂
    No, actually, Windows 7 is not as fast ‘they’ would have us believe. Have you tried it yourself? Get a fully updated Vista SP1, XP, and a Windows 7 RC on the same machine (Aero grade, of course. Not talking netbooks here), and run some benchmarks. The speed gain in Windows 7 is present, yes, but only a a fraction of a percentage, in some cases! And not anything more than a 3% gain in the packages I ran. And Vista is faster than XP by the same margin in running apps. More details on that if you want.
    The UI is fine, and yes, I accept that there are some worthy changes, the windows snapping and the tasbar reordering being some of them. But the bloatware is no issue with the harddrive capacities of today: I’d gladly accept a GB of lost space if it saves me from the trouble of installation if I suddenly do need to use the Movie Maker some fine day. And what, you think WMP 12 is not going to come to Vista?
    Improvements, yes. Major, no. Tell me: is it worth all those hundreds of dollars in cash?

  5. steve gould
    7 June 2009 at 2:15 PM

    Muhammad, I would take exception to this statement “But the bloatware is no issue with the harddrive capacities of today” Not all machine have limitless HD capacity! and it would be unwise to assume that this will be the case in the future. Take the rise of the netbook class of machines, small laptops with limited storage, who would have expected that consumers would go for such a machine until asus released the EeePC series.

    Remember a HDD is a mechanical device with moving parts, it amazes me that they are so reliable.

  6. 7 June 2009 at 11:10 PM

    @ steve gould: Normally, I would take bloatware very poorly too. But what I referred to in that comment was not bloatware in the truest sense…
    Moreover, hard disk space is cheap now, and even in the case of netbooks, is the cheapest to ask a lot for. Leaving that aside, yes, I agree with you.

  7. spnart
    19 October 2009 at 3:23 AM

    I just payed 140ish bucks for vista a few years ago; I cant see paying another 120 just for maybe 2% faster performance and some extra bells and whistles. They should offer 7 at a very reasonable cost, maybe 50 top 75 dollars(trying to be reasonable I don’t expect it free like some idiots, to anybody who bought vista and dealt with it’s growing(fixing?) pains

  8. xadzax
    19 October 2009 at 2:37 PM

    Let’s not forget the pains of moving/re-moving files, re-installing applications, importing PST’s, re-mapping network drives and finding workarounds for problems that haven’t been fixed yet. Vista may be not be the greatest OS but it’s working well enough that I’m not about to spend hours and $$$ getting another system up and running.

  9. 21 October 2009 at 1:31 PM

    @ spnart, xadzax: Exactly. It’s just not worth it.

  10. JFP
    26 October 2009 at 5:48 AM

    Hi, just wanted to point out that reordering the taskbar is not really that “Godsent” after all, as Najeh Haq mentioned. I use a small app called Taskix, runs quietly in the background using 1MB of memory (just like microsoft’s own app on win7 i guess…) and I can reorder it at will, just drag & drop. And it’s free also. If this is the kind of improvements that make people upgrade from Vista to Win7, well then so be it, and congratulations to Microsoft for being the richest software company on earth! But personally, I’ll pass, thank you very much.


  11. Chromosom
    28 October 2009 at 10:47 AM

    I would upgrade to W7 from Vista if it’s free.
    I have V-64 since may on my new laptop Sony VGN-FW373 with plenty of video power but
    I don’t care for Aero; my desktop is almost like on W2k.
    Actually after half a year of using Vista I find XP’s Explorer more convenient.
    Really I don’t see how MS could charge $100+ for the upgrade (V64HomePremium to W7)

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