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Windows 7 vs. Windows 8

January 23, 2013 Science & Technology 85 Comments
desktop1

Anjali Shastry
Staff Writer

At the end of last quarter, my laptop suffered a slow and agonizing death by drowning. It was stupidity on my part, but I got a new computer out of it (huzzah!). I was thrilled when I found out my new computer would have Windows 8, because all the advertisements between episodes of my “Castle” marathon made the new interface look super exciting!

Those advertisements are misleading.

Windows 8 is one of those interfaces that look really cool on advertisements, but appears to be designed more with touchscreen laptops in mind. I am running Windows 8 on a 4 GB Pentium processor Acer that is trying to support Windows 8 and isn’t doing all that great a job. In the era of instant gratification, I don’t want to wait 30 seconds on the clock for an app to load when I could wait 2 seconds, and Windows 8 is supposedly pretty speedy. I imagine Windows 8 would be more exciting on an i7 processor that could actually support it and run it more efficiently.

Processors aside, Windows 8 is surprisingly complicated to operate. For example, it suffers from a bulky Start page. The computer boots up to this Start page, which is a page of solid colored blocks called “tiles” that are shortcuts to apps, websites, and programs. There are a bunch of preloaded apps, like “Maps” and “People” and my personal favorite, “Store,” where you can buy more apps and tiles to put on your Start page. There are also other like “newsXpresso” and “Ebay” and “Chacha,” none of which do anything the Internet couldn’t already do. People is an interesting app; it allows you to sync your Skype, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Hotmail, and Outlook accounts all to this one app that will have all the people in your life and the various ways to contact them all in one place.  However, the apps are a bit annoying, and can slow down the computer.

“Windows 8 is very visually appealing, but I prefer the old version because I’m used to it and it worked just fine for me,” said April Scatliffe, second-year communication major.

Once you’re on the start page, there is a tile that allows you to click on the desktop. The desktop is a function of Windows 7 that is maintained in Windows 8.

“The tiles are a cool concept, but even on a touchscreen laptop, they are bulky and childish,” said first-year computer engineering major Matthew Ruth of the tiles and desktop. “But I do like that they still have the desktop of Windows 7. I thought they would get rid of it altogether.”

The desktop functions much like the desktop of Windows 7, but there is no Start button in the left hand corner. Instead, you slide your mouse over the left hand corner and a picture of tiles pops up so that you can click into the Start page. It’s certainly more effective with the touchscreen laptops.

If you slide your mouse over the upper left hand corner, then slide down, you can see what other apps and programs you have open at any given time. The apps that are not on the desktop don’t open on the desktop, which means you cannot access them at the same time unless you click and drag them to either side of the screen and drop it down so you can have two apps open at the same time. It isn’t as complicated as it sounds when you get the hang of it.

“Windows 8 is not intuitive at all, and using it takes a bit of learning,” said Breann Guzman, a second-year political science major. “That’s weird because I thought it was supposed to be easy to use.”

Unfortunately, it took me a while to get the hang of it too. I myself spent a fair amount of time on the Windows 8 website learning how to use Internet Explorer 10 (the default browser of Windows 8) and how to open up different apps at once.

If you scroll to the right hand corners of the screen, a directory of Search, Share, Devices, Settings, and a Start button appear. To search the computer for an app, file, program, or website pinned to the Start page, you have to click on Search which takes you away from the desktop and into the Start menu for your search. In Windows 7, you didn’t have to leave the desktop and whatever file you had open, so it is a bit irritating. Some of the functions of Windows 8 are such a departure from Windows 7 that it doesn’t make sense to me.

I agreed with third-year environmental studies major Matt Manabat’s assessment that “it is trying too hard to look like an Apple Operating System. Many people choose Windows over Apple because they aren’t interested in their interface. That was certainly the case for me.”

On the other hand, the Start page resembles the Xbox dashboard, according to second-year economics and accounting major Alex Markovich. “The two pages look pretty much identical,” said Markovich, “which makes sense because the Xbox comes from Microsoft, too. Maybe they are trying to sync up the systems, so it’d be easier for a Windows 8 user to cross over to Xbox, and thus open up a new market.”

No matter the reasoning behind the new system, the interface itself provokes my irritability. As a technophobe who just wants to use Word sometimes to write my papers, and the Internet to spend my life on Tumblr and Facebook, I don’t find this new supposedly user-friendly interface, well, user-friendly.

Nicholas Kawazoe, a fourth-year economics and accounting major, summed it up perfectly when he exclaimed, “I don’t like change!”

Currently there are "85 comments" on this Article:

  1. Dodsky says:

    It seems most of the people here are close minded.. I have been using windows 8 for 2 months and its good.. its more faster than the windows 7, imagine you have windows 7 boots up for 3 min.. but the windows 8 is a matter of seconds.. all application is available.. it on you how to use it.. and I am IT professional I can grantee that windows 8 is more than meets the eye.

  2. Jomec says:

    First of all, Dodsky, for an IT professional, you have the worst sense of grammar of anyone that I have ever met in my field. Beyond that, as an IT professional, you should know that the average end-user isn’t required to have an open-mind for new applications, it is our job to cater to them, much as it is the professional chefs job to cater to his customers wants and needs. No end user, nor any other person for that matter, likes to be called closed minded just because the pretentious bastard in front of them feels the need to be arrogant about how easy something is for them. Our job is to make the use of technology easier for those who do not have our level of interest and training in computer systems, after all, if they understood everything as easily as us, then they wouldn’t be supplying our paychecks. Being arrogant towards them and calling them closed minded for the exact reason why your job exists in the first place just shows how little you deserve said paycheck.

    That said, I must also point out that this review does come across as a little biased towards those who appear too comfortable with conformity…not that there’s anything wrong with being the average Joe of lab rats… after all, average Joe tends to be the guy who gives me a job to fix his problems… :)

  3. marty says:

    I don’t think Dodsky’s comment needed that type of idiotic response. Coming from 5 years on a Mac, Windows 8 looks more appealing and why would I not go for the new OS? Looking forward to downloading Windows 8.

  4. patwashere says:

    I agree with Jomec myself. Besides, I’m so tired of hearing about start times being touted as a ‘must-have’ feature. Really? How often do you turn on and off your computer a day? I realize there are many use-cases and to some this could actually make a difference, but I think for most you only boot up once or twice a day.

    My macbook pro is my main computer, but I also use Windows (7 currently) and I also use Ubuntu (Linux). Each has specific roles in what I do and I like different aspects of them all. I know I can’t be the only one that wonders if MS is trying to emulate Apple more and more and I don’t like that. Ever since Windows XP I’ve felt Windows has become a decent OS and I like the way it feels and works and find it intuitive. Personally I wish MS would stay the course instead of (IMHO) trying to become a ‘better Mac OS’.

    My 2 cents….

  5. Vince says:

    Hello, thanks for your windows 8 review. Your review is very one sided though, it seems childish at times.

  6. Paul says:

    I used to work in an IT dept. I found that most of the others I worked with were beyond arrogant. Some of them even boasted about how being arrogant was all part of the job, and if you weren’t, then maybe you didn’t belong there. Most of the folks out there in the towns and cities are not tech savvy, and just want their computer’s to work for them, as easily, and painlessly as possible. Being a computer support technician, I travel to people’s homes and help them with their computers, I don’t brag to them about how much smarter I am then them..that’s unkind and bad for business.

  7. Zaldy says:

    Reviewing something should be balance between the one and another.

  8. Lena says:

    I am currently considering wether I should change my Windows 7 to a Windows 8. It makes me sad that the comments on this review go more towards flaming the writer and other comments, than actually discussing the topic.

    I will learn the interface in time and get comfortable with the new design, just as it has been almost every time a new version comes out. What I am worried about is performance. I use my computers, one at work and one at home, for heavier programs, such as CAD/CAM and constantly getting new games, both of which challenge a computer. Does anyone have a feel about performance. Everyone were all about Vista until it turned out it was too heavy in itself. I just don’t want to change my Windows 7 for another flop like Vista.

    Regards,
    Lene

    If anyone is going to comment on my grammar then I’ll just say now I appologize for any errors, my first language is not English….

  9. Jan says:

    Im running Windows 8 on my computer and it seems to be working good. I must say that it really improved the performance of my computer such as boot time, copying speed, shutdown speed, etc. The new Metro UI looks appealing too but I don’t use it that much since most of the apps functions is available in the internet and can be perform in desktop mode.

    When it comes to interface, I would still prefer Aero (the transparent border in Window 7) compared to the dull border of windows 8 explorer. But I like the integration of the ribbon like menu (same menu that can be found on MS Office 2007) in explorer. I would also prefer the start menu for easy file lookup.

    These are just some of my findings. It’s still up to you on what really suites your needs. Hope you find this is helpful.

  10. Arnold says:

    “I am running Windows 8 on a 4 GB Pentium processor Acer that is trying to support Windows 8 and isn’t doing all that great a job.”

    There’s your problem. I’m not going to expect anything of any meaning from the rest of the article if you’re going to expect “instant gratification” from hardware like that. Your words, not mine. Thanks for a useless article.

  11. Anubhav says:

    Now I am currently running Windows 8!! It looks more appealing, bring more features and faster then windows 7.

  12. Friend says:

    I wonder how many of the people flaming the writer of this article work for Microsoft? Why don’t you all address the issues he brought up instead of attacking him. By attacking him you are only confirming what he said to be true, because you don’t seem to be able to address the issues he brings up. Even if you don’t agree with a person you can still be courteous and respectful. These displays of rudeness only give the impression of a lack of culture or that you’re trying to hide something.

  13. So what is someone to do if they need a desktop. Can they still get one with Windows 7 as this seems the way to go?

  14. Novice says:

    Wow, somewhere along the way the subject changed from comparison of windows 7 vs windows 8 and turned into a battleground of the IT folks regarding their professionalism. Perhaps I’m just too common to get the drift of where all this was supposed to take me when comparing the two. Anjali Shastry’s article was the only thing that I really gleaned any useful information from. Is this really the correct forum to express your professional differences? I was anticipating finding some useful comparison information that I could use to decide which OS to purchase for my systems. Regarding that, I’m truly disappointed in these comments provided that are off-subject to say the least.

  15. subha says:

    Windows 8 is great.

  16. Don says:

    I found the article helpful and it reflected my own experience going from Win 7 to Win 8. Although the graphics seem to give the “pop” end users like to see, there is no need to ‘go around the block to get next door.’ I am removing Win 8 and re-installing Win 7. I’m curious why no one has mentioned the absence of the Media Center in Win 8? If it’s such a great advancement to windows why do I need to purchase an upgrade for a Media Center? Windows 8 is too much sizzle and not enough steak.

  17. leela says:

    I got to Jomec’s comment and couldn’t be bothered to read more. I have to add though: It is hilarious to read the guy complaining about grammar and has more errors than a primary school pupil.

    About the booting time.. hmm, I have an intel 2600K with a samsung 830 SSD and boots (arch) linux in 3-4 seconds, windows 7 in hmm about 10 secs and windows 8, fresh enterprise install, takes fecking ages. 30s to a min. Epic fail.

    I am sure I can fix it though, as one has to do with most Windows stuff :)

  18. Gunasekhar says:

    when you work with windows8 you will feel like you are in heaven because that much visualization and performance is better than other OSes.
    this is what i feel with “windows 8″.

  19. mars says:

    Hi, i had windows 8 installed for 2 months, went back on windows 7. The reason why i went back is one morning i did not see like 3 or 4 programs i had installed a week before. WEIRD experience t

  20. MeowMan says:

    Windows 8 is a great and fast operating system i just hate the modern ui just wish there was an option to switch to the start button

  21. mudslinger says:

    LEELA, I don’t see any spelling or grammar errors with Jomec’s post.

  22. Brad says:

    I agree with the article. Windows 8, in comparison to even vista is crap. yes its faster, but there are so many annoying, worse than useless features THAT YOU CANT TURN OFF W/O ADVANCED HELP that damages it. for example the ‘windows thumbnail preview’ which makes a little window show up when mouse goes over a thumbnail. I’m missing the start menu’s documents section that lets me open a previous document easily, a third part program (less than 60 mb space) gave me most of start menu functionality back and made computer bypass the stupid start page. all in all, i preferred vista less irritation.

  23. Diane says:

    I totally agree with Brad. I have had my windows 8 for 2 weeks now, and I hate it. You can’t turn off the useless features. It is not that easy to navigate around, sure it was faster, but then I got a faster laptop to start with, so I knew it would be. It is not user friendly at all. I packaged it up today and returned it. If I can’t find windows 7 somewhere, then I will do without a laptop. I am not going to use something that gives me tiles to use like a child and then make them hard to use.

  24. clink says:

    happy i got win7 with 6gb of ram, runs quite quickly, unless they allow users to choose their interface, which if rumours are correct will happe in 8.1 then i won’t upgrade as i love to customize everything.

  25. barney says:

    Microsoft will do what they always do with new software – use their users as guinea pigs for the first 6 months, put them through the pain barrier and then release a service pack to clean up all the crap.

    Win 8 may be faster to boot from scratch but there’s little difference from sleep. It is also slower in some of the key real world areas like 3D and some games.

    In addition, the new interface looks like it’s been designed by and for pre-school kids. If you want an OS for grown ups, stick with Windows 7

  26. iza says:

    just stop the grammar issue

  27. I am not a computer professional. I am a writer and do stuff like power point, etc. I wish to be comfortable with what I use, and the comments and reviews about Windows 8 frightens me. I am on the verge of buying a new laptop which comes in with Windows 8, I’ve decided to stay with Windows 7!!

    Sabita Radhakrishna

  28. IT_PowerHouse says:

    I thought the article was insightful and deserves a great deal of thought. Now putting the other arrogant individuals who probably work for MS aside, in my opinion Windows 8 Stinks. I find myself in the same boat as Sabita Radhakrishna and Brad you cannot turn off unwanted features and keep what you want very cumbersome OS. I can see Apple Smiling all the way to the bank.

    Makes you wonder what kind of individual comes up with these ideas obviously not someone who looks at what has been successful and makes there customers happy.

    Hey don’t get me wrong I am all for innovation, I build my own computers and run Ubuntu and even have some Apple products so you could say that I am rather open minded. MS getting rid of the Start button and making the recent documents tab go away (just mentioning what some have already) just does not make sense for those of us who write quite a bit. Well again just my humble opinion, oh and I still believe Windows 8 was just a ploy to get into the tablet market of which Apple does it best with Samsung coming in 2nd (and I own both – and both have there good points).

    I think this was a great article and there were some really insightful responses and some, well those are the ones who need and use the tiles:-)

    In closing on Windows 8, well I hope they go back to the drawing board and think more intuitive like in 7, oh and finally I do not believe there lic sales figures I think someones is misleading us here …

  29. Anonymous says:

    Although the article did appear 1-sided, some useful information did come out of this.

    1: We now know that Windows 8 has its limits, it will not function well on only 4GB of ram and a Pentium Processor. Wich means that a hardware upgrade is necessary.

    2: Completely different layout than any previous Windows operating system. A layout that may baffle, confuse, and irritate older users that find it hard to get used to new things when it comes to computer systems. And not to sound ignorant, this problem may also occur in younger users.

  30. Kevin McCuddy says:

    Very good article.
    I do think it’s rather, appealing.

  31. jTotheB says:

    so…….to clarify, here is some actual information. not heresay…

    author:

    “I am running Windows 8 on a 4 GB Pentium processor Acer that is trying to support Windows 8 and isn’t doing all that great a job.”

    (notes: 4 gigabyte RAM, unknown processor speed, ‘pentium’ can mean anything from 133mhz – 5+ghz’, unknown bus speed.)

    microsoft’s w8 requirements list:

    “If you want to run Windows 8 on your PC, here’s what it takes:

    Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more info)
    RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
    Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
    Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver”

    therefore, the author’s system is sufficient per mother-microsoft’s specs listed on their W8 website here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/system-requirements

    the author’s experience is probably what most average users can expect, a clunky, processor-heavy OS that bogs and stalls more than it performs. MS has done this to us before, maybe you’re all too young to remember Vista and ME? yeah, those suck.

    and as for being an “IT Professional”. if you can’t intelligently speak/write the language when you present yourself as an “expert” in your field, you will get no respect. learn the language, how to speak it properly (without slang) and how to write it properly, double check your work before you publish it. it shows that you actually care about the information you distribute to the populous, anything else portrays ignorance.

    now, i’m sure you’ll all pick on my lack of punctuation… meh. this is the interwebernets and i dont have the time to school you on punctuation and caps. plus it’s easier to read for the reader.

    so there you have it folks, my company (which is global with 100k+ users) is not going to consider this for desktop user OS, we will pilot it to satisfy the user’s curiosity, but we’re not looking at it as anything more than a novelty OS.

  32. jeffrey b says:

    Windows 8 is the worst thing Microsoft has EVER done. There is nothing intuitive to it for the average NON touch screen user. I wanted improvements to Windows 7 not a total screw up and having to learn something all over again. I despise Windows 8, find it very difficult to use anymore and I am reformatting my computer and putting windows 7 on it. I agree with the one comment that stated all those who are supporting this abortive process to develop something that NOONE LIKES and EVERYONE is cleaning it off their system and loading Windows 7 or some version of Linux. This Windows 8 redo is one of Microsoft HUGEST mistakes EVER…Build on Windows 7 and wasting time on windows 8 that NOONE likes…

  33. Ex Win8 says:

    Screw this shit. Seriously. Win8 has no place on a desktop/laptop. I was pretty enthusiastic when I upgraded my i7 quad core 2.3gh 8gb vaio, w 1gb graphics card when it first came out and the bottom line is this: If you need to get serious stuff done: get a mac. If you really need to stick to the wnidows ecosystem you will lose nothing by sticking to windows 7, a more robust and mature os.

    Here’s why (Source 1year+ using) :

    Windows 8 apps are mostly basic dumbed down html5 web apps of stuff google chrome or ie8+ does better. The share features and contacts integration mostly dosent work (ie shares a screenshot when you need to really share a link). Most of the apps will crash. Less options to do stuff you need.

    Boot time extremely slow. Yes, the desktop or metro (or whatever they decide to call it these days) may appear to come on 10 secs vs 7 but in actuality, your comp will still be booting in the background for an additional 4 – 10 mins!!! while drivers and all other bloat loads.

    Shutdown times slow, or doesn’t. I guarantee that when you shut down, some app that you thought closed days ago is preventing your comp from shutting down.

    Windows 8 constantly phoning home or somewhere: gbs upon gbs of updates, fixes, fixes of fixes for just about everything keeps your processor, memory and hd occupied doing crap that has nothing to do with what you are currently working on. In addition it sucks up bandwith like crazy.

    Constantly gets it knickers in a twist. Due to the above, your desktop apps will crash and you will lose your work. In majority of times your apps will not respond constantly for a long period especially if more than one browser are open.

    Does not sleep, hibernate etc as expected. Its always doing something and forgets to sleep.

    BTW this is only the tip of the iceberg, so no, do yourself a fav and don’t get it.

    Luckily all vaios come with a f10 (press 4 time while booting) and will scrub the hd clean and revert to factory fresh condition, which in my case was w7. my next pc will be a mac, I need to get shit done.

  34. PCFreak says:

    Your review is very wrong from the start when you said you are using Windows 8 on a Pentium processor, dude how can you expect a latest tech OS to run on some outdated old fashioned piece of hardware. You get yourself a nice new i3 or i5 or any other equivalent then i think you can be more capable of writing this review.

  35. Gaurav says:

    I like Windows 8.1 better than any OS in the world. It boots up so quickly, copying and moving files is faster. In Windows 7 my maximum observed speed was about 15 MB/s . But, now in Windows 8 it goes up to 60 MB/s. And their is something called “Adapt or Die.”
    Using Windows 8 at first is hard but it gets easier and then you realize how awesome it is. :):):)

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