Windows

Windows 7 Professional feature-to-feature comparison chart

Microsoft Windows 7 compares favorably with previous versions. Greg Shultz shows which features exceed expectations for Windows 7, and which do not.

Microsoft Windows 7, as one would expect, boasts new features that make it the operating system of choice when compared to its preceding versions. Windows expert Greg Shultz compares over 50 separate characteristics and features common to the Windows XP Professional, Vista Business, and Windows 7 Professional versions in a free, downloadable PDF chart.

This chart is printer-friendly and will give you a quick look at the primary features you must consider when deciding whether and when to adopt Windows 7 as the operating system in your enterprise. The features compared fall into several categories, including:

  • Networking
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Performance
  • Utilities
  • Mobility
  • User Interface, and
  • Multimedia

Get a head start on your decision-making process by downloading the comparison chart from the TechRepublic Download Directory.

TechRepublic's Windows Vista and Windows 7 Report newsletter, delivered every Friday, offers tips, news, and scuttlebutt on Vista and Windows 7, including a look at new features in the latest version of the Windows OS. Automatically sign up today!

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

21 comments
vince.shimala
vince.shimala

The chart was a very good comparison. I would rather see a chart that lists where the primary features in XP can be found in Windows 7.

apachetomtom
apachetomtom

I thought the pdf was quite helpful. Thank you.

john3347
john3347

Though your article is quite helpful to many of your readers, you have done a serious injustice to everyone by not also pointing out the features from XP (and even some from Vista), that have been excluded from Windows 7. Classic start menu and the ability to arrange Windows Explorer icons in the order of user's preference are two biggies that come to mind. If you wish to publish an accurate and unbiased comparison chart, you can provide several more features that have been eliminated from Windows 7. I have just offered a couple to get you started. Your article here has obviously been written by a Windows 7 "fanboy" who has ignored the facts and written a completely biased comparison chart. Come on! You can do better than that.

LaFong
LaFong

The Vista Business* column has an unexplained asterisk, tsk tsk. These sort of feature comparisons say next to nothing about how the OS actually is _to use_. It seems that, despite the good press, Windows 7 is Vista plus a few more features. Performance is roughly on par, and isn't anything to write home about. They have made UAC less intrusive, and driver support is much better than at Vista launch. Your PC still needs to be pretty damn new. For many businesses, 7/Vista is still not very compelling, especially if wholesale replacement of PCs is required.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

When you are making a decision regarding operating systems, what characteristics and/or features are you most concerned with?

Richard Turpin
Richard Turpin

For goodness sake move on we will soon have win 8 and you are talking of a operating system that will soion be 3 generations out of date! Start moving on for goodness sake..

pdr5407
pdr5407

I also think this pdf is a great refence tool for anyone that is looking to upgrade. I copied it to my files. However, why don't more laptops sold at stores have Windows 7 Pro installed? Most have Home Premium, but I can see lots of advantages with the Pro version, especially with backup and networking features.

cquarksnow
cquarksnow

Windows XP x64 used a Windows Server 2003 codebase, and there was no Defender or LiveOneCare version for it. It would have been better to make a separate column, maybe with the x64 driver support ecosystem, heap limits, etc...

TNT
TNT

I too found the comparison chart helpful, though I'm also interested in what has been left out. The classic start menu is no big loss and doesn't matter one iota, but arrangement of data in Windows Explorer is relevant. Maybe instead of criticizing you could come up with a chart and start a forum thread of your own. And maybe you could also eliminate the ad hominem attacks or risk being called a "hater".

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

... during the conversion from Word to PDF, the legend was left out. The chart has been updated. *In Vista, the Business edition is the equivalent of the Professional editions in XP and 7. DL = Feature is available as a download.

.Martin.
.Martin.

seems we will never know...

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

I want one that's secure and stable, without a shotgun load of vulnerable holes built into it, and at a reasonable price. Nor do I want one that's overloaded with a truck load of applications that I don't want, or, at best, are poor quality ones. Prvide me with an OS not a pile of applications, please.

Ron_007
Ron_007

(But I'll still keep a link to it handy) You must have access to a different version of Vista Business than I do. In the chart you say that Bitlocker is available in Vista Business and Win7 Pro versions. I don't see it anywhere in my Vista Business installation. I checked in the online help, which had this to say: "Note that BitLocker is only available in Windows Vista Enterprise and Windows Vista Ultimate." That is inline with everything that I've read. Also you don't mention another of my pet peeve features, AppLocker, at all. It is my contention that if MS was really serious about securing the average user's desktop they would have moved these features down to the Pro version instead of locking them away in the premium versions only. Granted I understand that those features could be a real help desk PITA when the average user accidentally "shoot themselves in the foot" by improperly implementing them.

bbeckers
bbeckers

Richard, *I* agree with you regarding moving on up. What you wrote is pretty close to what I think when I have stubborn customers that just WILL NOT upgrade. I use tools like this chart, and other info available online to convince these stubborn customers to upgrade. Most of these people need to see some "value" to them for upgrading. I run into a lot of people with the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude with regards to running XP.

TNT
TNT

I'm not sure what your Windows angst has to offer this discussion... Was there a point about the chart you were making?

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

You are correct, BitLocker was not included in Vista Business... While creating the chart a Yes inadvertantly was pasted in the Vista Business column. The chart has been updated. As for AppLocker, since it is not available in Windows 7 Professional, it was not included in this chart.

bbeckers
bbeckers

Over-all a very nice chart. A few items to consider, and a couple of corrections: Correction: Parental Controls ARE available in Vista. I have a laptop with Vista Business Edition on it that my kids use, and I have Vista's Parental Controls enabled on it. Microsoft even listed this as a feature of Vista. Clarification: the 64-Bit version of XP was a separate product, based on Win2003 code, with the familiar XP UI. Many "XP-compatible" programs would not run properly on this OS unless they could also run on 2003. I would add a note to some regard on the chart by 64-bit version or something. Missing Feature: Snipping Tool. This tool, introduced in Vista, but buried in Accessories, is now prominient in Win7. I *love* this feature/tool. After all the wasted labor of doing "PrintScreen", followed by copying into Paint, then cropping, etc., this tool is a VERY welcome addition. Suggestion: Color-code the Yes and No entries so it is easier to see the differences "at-a-glance". Missing: Network and Sharing Center. Introduced with Vista, this feature makes mobile computing so much easier. Designating a network as Work, Home, or Public helps make that computer much more secure. Not to mention that using wireless with XP was at times a real PITA. Good work Greg! think over these changes.

Ron_007
Ron_007

Today I decided to take another look at the chart. The only further suggestion I'd like to make is that you also update the version and date on the download. The file I originally downloaded was V1.0 Oct 13 and it still is still V1.0 even though you've updated (at least) it twice. I am big fan of version numbers and dates on internet documents, but they have to be updated as things change to be of any use. Thanks, keep up the good work.

Ron_007
Ron_007

Your confusion was just another symptom of the general confusion caused by too many versions. I wish they would stop trying to micro-market. Unfortunately, too many reviewers have been working with Ultimate or Enterprise versions and they forget to mention that many of the nifty features they are talking about are limited to those 2 versions only. I just kept hoping that you were in the loop for some super secret announcement from "on high" / MS. Maybe we'll get lucky, enough people will whine about it, and MS will offer BitLocker and AppLocker as an optional upgrade/update to the Pro version via Windows Update. What the heck, I can dream can't I.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

I was wrong, BitLocker is not included in Windows 7 Professional. Over the last several months, I've been working with and switching between the various editions of 7, but have spent more time in Ultimate, and just had it in my mind that BitLocker was available in the Professional edition. As such, I just read past the references in the examples you cited. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and will make sure that the chart is corrected.

Ron_007
Ron_007

Hey Greg Have you confirmed the Bitlocker is at all available in Win7 Pro. Everything I've read says it too (like Applocker) is only available in the Enterprise and Ultimate editions. Has there been a recent change at MS? At least one of the "official" MS feature comparisons doesn't include it in pro: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/compare?T1=tab01 Same in stuff I've read on web, for example this article: http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/ff_bltg.asp - Windows 7 Feature Focus BitLocker To Go (Updated for the final shipping version of Windows 7 on July 26, 2009) in it he says: Important: BitLocker To Go is available only in the Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows 7. But this limitation refers only to the ability to enable protection on a removable storage device. Once BitLocker To Go is added to a storage device, that device can be used normally with any version of Windows 7. (Yes, including Starter edition.) It can also be used in read-only mode with so-called downlevel Windows versions, including XP and Vista. Wikipedia says much the same. I'm not trying to be a trouble maker, I'm hoping you've heard some new news that MS has done a "right thing" for user-security.

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