Windows 7 vs Windows 8.1

Many of our customers have made the move to Windows 8. Now that Windows XP will no longer have security patches created, one of the biggest concerns is do I move from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 or should I use Windows 7? Windows 7 was such a good operating system that Hewlett Packard brought back a line of Windows 7 machines during 2014. The demand for Windows 7 over Windows 8 was so great, they again began making Windows 7 computers!

Since Windows 8.1 release, if you wanted Windows 7 it would have to be a custom build or you could “downgrade from Win 8.1 to Win 7 at an additional cost. We at Coast Computing have built many Windows 7 boxes for customers not wanting to go through a Windows 8 transition. So, what is the answer, Windows 7 or Windows 8? (now Windows 8.1) What is the difference between Microsoft’s operating systems?  Below are a few key differences.


Boot time: Windows 8.1 boots significantly faster than Windows 7. Windows 7 can take 2 to 3 minutes to boot when started, however, Windows 8.1, when configured with the hardware, can boot up as fast as 8 to 10 seconds. WOW!


Performance: Windows 8.1 is redesigned and uses simple colors and fewer visual effects, drawing fewer resources than Windows 7’s Aero Glass effect.

Windows 8.1 performs better than 7 in everyday use and benchmarks. Extensive testing has revealed improvements in tests like PCMark Vantage and Sunspider.


Features and Interface: The interface for Windows 8 has a steeper learning curve compared to Windows 7. However, using system tweaks Coast Computing can configure your Windows 8.1 computer to be a more friendly experience. Connecting to a home network is easier in Windows 8.1, and mobile device management is improved. Backing up your data in Windows 8.1 is improved along with security enhancements (see below). Also, if you have a touch screen on your laptop, the Windows 8.1 experience is surprising.

Other features of Windows 8.1 include: OneDrive is free online storage that’s built into Windows 8.1. Save documents, photos and other files to OneDrive automatically, similar to Google Drive. Internet Explorer 11 is built for touch—now with larger tabs, simpler controls, and fluid response to gestures. If you use Internet Explorer, you should always use the most current version. Skype is now owned by Microsoft, so it is now integrated within the operating system. In addition, Windows store is the place to pick up both free and paid apps. Although much smaller than the Apple store, you can still find decent apps to run under Windows 8.


Security:  Windows 7 and 8.1 share security features. Both use BitLocker Drive encryption, but 8.1 enables it automatically. You can download Microsoft Security Essentials free for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 has this protection built into the operating system. Windows 8.1 also includes support for secure booting on UEFI systems, making it harder for rogue malware to infect the boot loader.  PCs running 8.1 can also automatically connect to Virtual Private Networks


In summary, Windows 7 has a shorter learning curve to those who have been using Windows XP, however, The improvements to Windows 8.1 make the operating system an excellent candidate for laptops and computers with touch screen capabilities. It is also a more secure desktop system

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