Windows 7 vs. Windows 8


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!”


  1. I agree with you. I miss the Start button where I had everything I used to work with just a click away, now they are 3+ clicks away.

  2. I tried Windows 8 a few times… Nope, decided I didn’t like it… Went back to Windows 7 and was a lot happier…
    And a lot of that is a matter of appearance…
    Live tiles are a waste to me, on a screen thats so ugly I don’t want ot look at it… Maybe on a little screen it might look ok, but on a large monitor, it’s look horrible… I’d rather have my desktop displaying an attractive photograph instead of a bunch of garishly coloured squares and rectangles…
    I liked the Aero glass look… I have 8 gigs of Ram, 9 Terrabytes of HD space, 4 screens and 2 high end video cards… Gee, I didn’t buy all that stuff to “conserve resources” and have my display look like it was designed for a 1980’s EGA video card…

    To be honest, I think all the “live tiles” are going to go the same way as the very hyped “gadgets” that Vista had…

    As for touch screens: I could care less, I prefer the precision of the mouse… but apart from that, I sit back 3 feet from my 40″ main screen… I couldn’t touch it if I wanted to stretch that far… and with the high cost of touchscreens, I’d rather spend the extra money and get a larger or perhaps a 3d or even a HD4K screen… Not the least of which being, a mouse only costs a small amount to replace, how much does a large touchscreen cost to replace when it stops working….

  3. Windows 8 is a much better OS than Windows 7. People rubbished IOS the same way you are doing it for Windows 8 but see where Apple is now.
    Stop complaining about the start button as if u know how to use a computer/laptop, you are supposed to know the few basic shortcuts like Ctrl+V, Windows+R, etc to make you do without the start button altogether.
    As to the comment “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,”
    Well in that case even earlier version of windows where there was no GUI and all commands had to input manually, even those users must have felt that that version worked fine for them.
    It is because of the GUI that everyone today can click on icons and get things done instead of remembering all commands.
    We are moving ahead to an age of smart technologies and why should the old desktop not get an upgrade in terms of look and feel.
    For all those who are happy using past products, my advise…do not use or buy new products…and why?
    Because you would have already made up ur mind that the new product is crap and rubbish it.
    Don’t go by what i or any other person has to say.
    Stay away from “pre-concieved” notions and give Windows 8 a genuine try for a few weeks (not for an hour or two) and get back to this forum with ur experience.
    If u still don’t like it, feel free to criticize it.

  4. @ Rahul
    I have built websites for money, I am on the computer for some reason as long as I am awake and home.
    I don’t know what Ctrol+V or Windows+R does and I don`t like useing my keyboard if I can use my mouse.
    I could get windows 8 for 15 dollars because I bought a windows 7 computer just before windows 8 came out.
    My hard drive was making a lot of noise or I would have waited.
    Anyway now I have windows 7 and thanks to the info I have found here from Fantasm and Rahul I will keep
    Windows 7.
    Thanks guys

  5. I agree with a smidgen of what was said in this article. From the comments, I’d have to say that no one interviewed has spent very much time with Windows 8. Frankly, the only thing different—really different—about Windows 8 over Windows 7 is the Start screen. And, after the computer boots up and I open the first desktop app, say Outlook, the rest of my day is spent happily on the desktop. There is absolutely no difference from that point on…especially if you put all your frequently opened apps on the task bar of the desktop. Of course, I do use two screens which enable me to keep lots of windows open at all times.

    As for slow performance—not on my machine which is about five years old. In fact, it works brilliantly and much faster than it did with Windows 7. (I did do a clean install to avoid legacy issues.)

    With that said, Microsoft could add a few things to make Windows 8 more friendly to use while in Apps, e.g. the ability to close an open app by simply right clicking and clicking a “close app” selection. Dragging the program to the bottom of the screen to close it is a bit of a pain. Also, it would be nice to have the search feature enabled for the task bar.

    In short, I see why Microsoft is moving this direction if they think everyone will be using touchscreens in the future. I personally believe that Microsoft would be better served by splitting their markets into “business users” and “everyone else.” By trying to do everything with Windows 8, they have limited what can be done for both.

  6. Hate windows 8, biggest mistake I ever made was getting a new laptop, would rarther use Vista. Just ordered a copy of windows 7 cant wait to get 8 off my machine.

  7. last days i did a clean install of a windows 7 in a brand new win 8 laptop. for 1st time. booting from a usb drive was a pain in the ass bcoz the BIOS (insyde manufactured) was different than mine ( insyde aswell). i needed 5 hours to figure the right settings 😀

  8. Rahul, I’m sorry and really not trying to be rude, but your comment “Stop complaining about the start button as if u know how to use a computer/laptop, you are supposed to know the few basic shortcuts like Ctrl+V, Windows+R, etc to make you do without the start button altogether” is one of the most ignorant things I have ever read.

    How many people actually use all the stupid shortcuts? I’ve been performing IT work for nearly 26 years now, run every operating system on the market, can do nearly anything with a computer, and have worked for major companies such as Intel, Blizzard, and Adobe and do not use the shortcuts at all. Ever. I love the start button as well.

    So please sir, keep your derogatory comments to yourself and stop protecting and garbage product.

    Besides, everyone who knows KNOWS that every other version of WIndows sucks, so by default we all knew WIndows 8 would suck before it even came out to suck so bad it just sucks…. 😉

  9. now now children. stop bikering.

    I am also a keen technophile and look forward to seeing W8, especially on a mobile environment. But W7 is a fantastic OS compared to XP an Vista so would be hard to relearn. Ios is also good in a different way but then I have never used on a pc.

    As for using the windows shortcuts they are great so anyone that doesn’t know and use at least some should not be writing a blog about technology in my mind.

  10. I was looking for a real review of w8 and found this article. The only thing you talk about is the interface. It seems to me that you don’t even care about performance…
    I am the kind of user that disables aero effects and uses windows classic theme because I will always prefer performance rather than the looks.
    I too felt uncomfortable with metro interface and used stardock’s start menu but when i began to tune metro it ended being real practical because, after all, how many programs do you use? Design, office, entertainment… You can easily configure metro to show only their shortcuts and keep them accessible and simple.
    And what about performance? I don think microsoft tried to copy apple (what kind of bullshit is that? they have nothing in common) but tried to make a light interface which can work in many more architectures which, I believe, they managed to do it very well with a light and attractive one. Windows 8 feels much lighter than windows 7 from the very beginning.
    I was an XP fan until windows 7 (and an indefatigable tester of every new Microsoft’s OS since windows 3.1) came into scene but i really believe that windows 8 will be a better XP than windows 7 has been (if you know what I mean).
    There are many ways to disable Metro menu (if you really can’t live with it) and believe Microsoft will finish to make it optional…
    Don’t judge a complete operating system just because you don’t like the menu or the appearance.
    I can tell it made mi old gateway laptop feel like new (just like a light Linux mint mate install would do) and, even though, I still use w7 as my main os, I know i will end updating to w8 when some of my “can’t live without” thinnapp and spooned apps can be converted to it”.
    Performance is more important than appearance.

    Excuse me for my weird English since it’s not my main language.

  11. I have to fix everyone’s computers (that I know), usually for free or some token consideration. A niece brought a touchscreen laptop with Windows 8 installed which needed a new hard drive and OS reinstall. I already gave up on Windows 8 after trying to use the consumer preview and said I would not consider working on it. She replied with the question if Windows 7 could be installed because she too was frustrated with the interface. What !!?? I exclaimed, don’t all you teenage and community college types adore the Apple-Android look and function on your PC? Her answer was on her cellphone yes, on a 15-inch screen NO! (something about her hand, arm, neck and back hurting, and the usual interface complaints). After installing OEM Windows 7 on a new SSD my niece was $250 poorer, but very, very happy with the “downgrade”. Now I charge $50 for said “service” and Fry’s can’t keep stock of OEM Windows 7. Thanks Redmond for helping create a new cottage industry !. P.S. I actually started using Vista again because it is actually gorgeous compared to 8 and prettier than 7 with many (secret or forgotten) features that work better than both…

  12. Rahul Das says:
    January 23, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    you are supposed to know the few basic shortcuts like Ctrl+V, Windows+R, etc to make you do without the start button altogether.
    …………………blah blahblahblahblahblah……………………

    It is because of the GUI that everyone today can click on icons and get things done instead of remembering all commands

    Mr Rahul ….you DEFINE contradiction !!!

  13. windows 8 is a biggest screw up of Microsoft who is trying to mimic apple, I just installed in my laptop and its the biggest mistake in my entire life. in this crap its hard to close things and I ant my freaking money back. its not user-friendly as it appears on advertisement its more like user nightmare. Its been almost 4 days I had it and I still cant get around id this is bullshit
    do not buy windows 8 for laptop or desk to I think its only good for tablet but I still have my doubt

  14. Uh, having been a windows user for over 20 years before finally switching to a mac (2nd attempt) I can say I don’t think people choose windows over mac because of the interface, but because of price or specialization of programs or builds. Win7 and OSX are very similar gui with Mac being way more intuitive and easier to move through programs. Windows 8 is nothing like a mac interface. It is more like a touch screen mobile device and is just plain ugly. Not to mention all the walls windows puts up to make sure you are in the MS ecosystem. Windows 7 is an amazing platform and should have been built on, not overrun.

  15. WINDOWS 8 is just a piece of crap as to what my experience tells me. Ok lets just set aside about the START MENU issue, lets talk about USER FRIENDLY thing. Windows 8 is making some EDGEy things that wont make any sense at all. The design of WINDOWS 8 OS is not for PC who is not running in touch screens. It should be understood enough that WINDOWS 8 is designed for TOUCH SCREENS started on smartphones around. They applied it on PC and doesnt know what its customer’s impact would be. Im thankful i bought windows7 in this windows 8 generation of PCs…lucky enough, I dont need speed, coz if i do, I just buy a bigger RAM..grrr.. I pity those who bought windows 8 and dont want it. I felt sorry for them coz they didnt got the better expectations they wanted. GET USED TO IT. and hopefully you will like your windows 8. Most programs nowadays is not yet upgraded to windows 8 compatability. .its your decision.

  16. In my experience with windows, It seems every other OS is good. ’98 was good. ME sucked, XP good, Vista sucked, 7 good, 8…. prob sucks lol.C’mon windows 9!