Jan 07 2011

What's the Difference?


Microsoft has done a lot of tinkering to its core operating system in the past decade. From Windows XP (released in 2001) through Windows Vista (2006) and Windows 7 (2009), these are the changes users are most likely to notice:


  • No e-mail software: XP had Outlook Express and Vista came with Windows Mail, but Windows 7 lacks an e-mail client. Instead, Windows 7 users must download a client or use their browser to access Gmail, Windows Live Mail or another web-based mail service.
  • Browser: XP shipped with the notoriously insecure Internet Explorer 6, Vista with the marginally better IE7 (though in both cases, users could upgrade). Windows 7 comes with the much-improved Internet Explorer 8.
  • User Account Control (UAC): Introduced with Vista and widely reviled, UAC windows seeking permission for every action are no longer turned on by default.
  • Interface: Vista introduced the groovy-looking 3D Aero Desktop, which has been streamlined and improved in Windows 7.
  • Documents and Settings: This folder – the repository for all personal files stored on computers running earlier operating systems – has been renamed “Users” in Windows 7.