Windows 7: Five Ways It's Similar, Five Ways It's Better than Vista

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Windows 7: Five Ways It's Similar, Five Ways It's Better than Vista

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The Similarities<br/><br/>Same Old Confusion

Like Windows Vista, Windows 7 features a slew of different versions for users to consider. From Windows 7 Starter Edition for netbooks to Windows 7 Enterprise Edition for corporations, Microsoft hasn't made it easy for customers to figure out which version would work best for them.

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Those hoping for better security in Windows 7 probably won't see much of a difference. After updating Windows Vista with Service Pack 2, Microsoft made the operating system far more secure than it was when it launched. Many of those security features were brought to Windows 7, making it about as secure as its predecessor.

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The Interface

Although Microsoft has tweaked some interface components in Windows 7, the same familiar Aero interface has made its way to the new operating system. Users hoping for a design more similar to Windows XP than Windows Vista will be disappointed. However, Microsoft invested a lot of cash into Vista's design, and it wants to see a return on that investment.

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The Look and Feel

Windows 7 might be a vastly improved operating system, but it still features the same "feel" as Windows Vista. Applications are opened in the same way, the graphics look the same, and the experience of using the operating system is very similar. Microsoft focused more on the insides of Windows 7 than its feel.

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Its Expensive

Like Windows Vista, Microsoft has made Windows 7 an expensive operating system. Those who just purchased Apple's Snow Leopard for $29 will have sticker shock when they see that Microsoft is offering Windows 7 for prices ranging from $120 to $220. Vista's price was one of the many gripes users had with the operating system. It's possible that Microsoft is repeating that mistake.

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The Differences<br/><br/>Windows XP Mode

Windows XP users who decided against moving to Vista, and are concerned about the switch to Windows 7, should be extremely happy with Windows 7's Windows XP mode. It allows users to run Windows XP in a virtual environment from within Windows 7. It should also make it more likely that Windows 7, unlike Windows Vista, will work with legacy software and hardware.

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User Account Control

One of Vista's biggest annoyances was its User Account Control. It asked users to confirm the opening of software from untrusted sources, as well as trusted sources. It helped create a term known as "click fatigue"-users click on the approval button without paying attention to what the warning is because it pops up so often. Microsoft realized its mistake and made User Account Control far less intrusive in Windows 7.

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Improved Taskbar

Windows 7's taskbar is easily one of the most viable new additions to the operating system. It allows users to sift through windows to open applications quickly. And thanks to its display of thumbnail images, users can view multiple open instances of an application at once. It's a neat new feature.

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Improved Search

Searching for missing files and folders in Windows Vista was never easy. Too often, the search feature would return inaccurate, or worse, no results. Realizing that, Microsoft improved Windows 7's search. And thanks to highlighted keywords, results are much easier to scan.

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Better Performance

Windows Vista turned out to be a slow operating system that took too long to boot up, too long to get things going and too long to perform tasks. Microsoft has improved upon that, making Windows 7 a far more efficient operating system. Official benchmarks from various reviews around the Web have put Windows 7 far ahead of its predecessor.

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