Windows 7 vs. Windows 10: 5 Reasons Your Old Love Is Still Going Strong

Dan Price 02-10-2018

Windows 10 is now more than three years old. The operating system certainly isn’t perfect, but users and critics both mostly agree that it’s is the best operating system Microsoft has ever produced.


And yet some people refuse to give up Windows 7. Why? There are lots of contributing factors. Let’s take a look.

How Many People Still Use Windows 7?

Windows 7 and Windows 10 are almost neck and neck in terms of user numbers.

Precise figures are impossible to find. However, StatCounter said Windows 10 had overtaken Windows 7’s market share back in February 2018. Contrarily, the latest data from analytics company Net Applications (August 2018) put Windows 7 on 40.3% and Windows 10 on 37.8%.

In truth, most of the Windows 7 market share is made up by the business sector. Many of those companies are now scrambling to make the switch to Windows 10. Free extended support for Windows 7 will end in January 2020, less than 18 months away (we’ve got tips for Windows 7 at end of life 6 Tips for Windows 7 End of Life and Support Windows 7 End of Life is approaching. Learn what to do next as extended support for the aging OS ends in January 2020. Read More .) If they want official support through to 2023, they will have to pay a considerable price Microsoft Extends Windows 7 Support... for a Price Microsoft is offering to keep supporting Windows 7 for a little while longer... if you're willing to pay for the privilege. Read More .

But even away from the business world, lots of home users refuse to upgrade—despite mainstream support ending in January 2015. Before continuing, make sure you know how to check your Windows version How to Check What Version of Windows 10 You Have What version of Windows do you have? Here's how to check your Windows 10 version, find the most recent Windows 10 release, and more. Read More if you’re not sure.


Why Is Windows 7 Still So Popular?

In July 2019, Windows 7 will celebrate its 10th birthday. The fact it’s still clinging on to its title as the world’s most popular operating system nearly a decade after its release is a testament to its original quality.

But let’s be honest, there’s no way that a 10-year-old operating system should be number one. So, what’s going on? Why do so many people and businesses still use it?

Here are our top five reasons.

1. Security and Privacy

If you spend some time browsing this topic on the web’s various dedicated Windows forums, there’s one reason that stands out above all others: security and privacy.


The biggest criticism leveled at Windows 10 is its ongoing collection of telemetry data. It’s a valid point; Windows 10 does amass far more data about your usage habits than Windows 7. Lots of users are uncomfortable with it and choose not to upgrade.

Luckily, if you’re a privacy fanatic, there are plenty of third-party tools you can use that’ll entirely disable the telemetry on Windows 10 Don't Let Windows 10 Spy on You: Manage Your Privacy! Windows 10 is watching you. Microsoft's latest operating system is undoubtedly harvesting more of your personal information than ever before. We'll show you how to get a better grip on your privacy. Read More .

As for the operating system’s security, the argument that Windows 7 is more secure than Windows 10 is downright false. Features like Device Guard, UEFI secure boot, BitLocker, and Windows Hello all make the newer operating system much more robust 7 Windows 10 Security Features & How to Use Them Windows 10 is all about security. Microsoft recently instructed its partners that in sales, Windows 10's security features should be the primary focus. How does Windows 10 live up to this promise? Let's find out! Read More .

The facts support the theory. Security firm Webroot says the average Windows 10 machine had 0.04 malware files present in 2017, while the average Windows 7 computer had 0.08 malware files. Furthermore, just 15 percent of all malware was on Windows 10 machines, while 63 percent was on Windows 7.


2. Software Compatibility and Legacy Apps

Windows 7 still boasts better software compatibility than Windows 10.

Of course, we’re not talking about Photoshop, Spotify, Microsoft Word, Steam or any of the other mainstream apps; they all supported Windows 10 from its release day.

Instead, we’re talking about the millions of third-party apps and proprietary in-house software that often perform a very specific function and which lots of people rely on every day. Indeed, the reliance on legacy software is why so many businesses have been slow to upgrade.

Similarly, lots of people don’t want to upgrade to Windows 10 because they heavily rely on legacy Windows 7 apps and features 5 Legacy Windows Features Microsoft Can't Retire Yet Microsoft has removed many older features from Windows over time. But these legacy features aren't going away anytime soon. Read More that are not part of the newer operating system.


For example, Windows Photo Viewer and Windows Movie Maker can be installed on Windows 10, but in practical terms, they are both dead. Microsoft has also completely killed Windows Media Center in Windows 10. Perhaps apps like Kodi and Plex can fill the void, but a lot of users want to keep using the same apps that they’ve used for the last decade.

3. Familiarity

Windows 10 Start Menu

Many people worry about adapting to new things when it comes to technology. Menus and settings in different places The Windows 10 Settings Guide: How to Do Anything and Everything Do you know your way around the Settings app in Windows 10? Here's everything you need to know. Read More can lead to confusion and decreased productivity.

One only has to look at the debacle over the Start menu in Windows 8 2015!? No Way Microsoft! How to Get Your Windows 8.1 Start Menu Now Windows 8 won't get a native Start Menu after all. But why wait on Microsoft? Here's how you can help yourself with third party tools like Classic Shell or Start8 and other workarounds. Read More to see evidence of the hysteria in action. In hindsight, was a Start screen rather than a Start menu really that bad? Probably not.

If you’ve been using Windows 7 exclusively since its release in 2009—and you never used the transitory Windows 8—the different between interfaces, layouts, and menus is jarring.

For some Windows 7 users, it’s simply not worth spending the time to adapt to the new version.

4. Hardware Restrictions

On paper, Windows 7 and Windows 10 have identical hardware requirements. They are:

  • Processor: 1 GHz or faster.
  • RAM: 1 GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit).
  • Free hard disk space: 16 GB.
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver.

However, if you try to install Windows 10 on a computer at the bottom end of those specs, you’re going to run into considerable difficulties.

I speak from experience; my wife had an old Dell Notebook lying around with a 1Ghz processor and 1 GB of RAM. I performed a clean install of Windows 10, but after completion, the hardware struggled to complete even the most basic tasks in a timely manner

For people whose hardware is showing its age, it’s just too much of a risk to upgrade to Windows 10.

5. Forced Updates

Windows 10 Advanced Update settings

Three years after launch, and the Windows 10 forced update saga is still rumbling on Microsoft Wants to Stop Windows 10 Updates Annoying You Microsoft is doing something about the way Windows 10 handles updates. And it's using machine learning to accomplish the task. Read More . Yes, the situation is much better than it used to be. But no, you still don’t have 100 percent control over your operating system.

And for lots of people, that lack of control is a red line. What happens if an update breaks an app you rely on every day? After all, it’s not like Microsoft (or any other company) has a blemish-free record when it comes to buggy updates.

Again, for some people, the potential risk is simply not worth taking in exchange for the perceived limited benefits.

Should You Upgrade to Windows 10?

In a word, yes. MakeUseOf strongly recommends that you upgrade to Windows 10. The new operating system offers more features, a more modern user interface, and enhanced security when compared to its predecessor.

We also recommend that for problem-free Windows 10 experience, you perform a clean install of the operating system How to Reinstall Windows 10 Without Losing Your Data Using this option allows you to reinstall Windows without losing the files, personal data and programs you already have on the system. Read More . Just make sure you create full backups of all your data The Ultimate Windows 10 Data Backup Guide We've summarized every backup, restore, recovery, and repair option we could find on Windows 10. Use our simple tips and never despair over lost data again! Read More before you do so. And before you upgrade to Windows 10 Pro Windows 10 Home vs. Pro: Do You Need to Upgrade? Windows 10 Pro offers more features than Home, but the upgrade also carries a $99 price tag. Let's see whether it's worth it. Read More , see whether it’s worth the cost.

Related topics: Windows 10, Windows 7.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Hany
    May 5, 2020 at 2:21 am

    One of the reasons you give for upgrading is a "more modern interface." What a dumb reason. The new interface is hideous. Most people want Windows for productivity. We don't want to be sold silly crap by an app store. We just want a PERSONAL desktop without childish social media distractions and big brother tracking. We want to install REAL software that does REAL work.

  2. Saphyriel
    November 16, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Strongly recommends upgrading because we are getting paid?

    Sorry but privacy is a huge deal. Are we going to just let companies tell us what to do with our info inside our own home?
    Its a matter of principle, the user HAS to have control.
    I always look for better and newer tech and Im by no means anachronic for the sake of it. Win 10 just sucks lets face it.
    They were never so insistent before because they didnt have so much to gain.
    Win 10 is pervasive, ugly and doesnt give freedom nor respect the rights to privacy.
    And is a crappy resource hogging bloated spyware.

  3. Saphyriel
    November 16, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    Control and privacy are major issues for me as a matter of principle. The user has the right to their data and privacy .
    Also, if win 10 was that great they wouldnt have to FORCE and PESTER win 7 users into it to the point of influencing companies to make hardware incompatible with win 7.
    I get it Microsoft, you want to know everyones business because information is power but privacy is a right.

  4. edb
    November 1, 2019 at 5:27 am

    Being "more modern" for the sake of being different is nonsensical. To "fix" what ain't broken is a sham. The Windows 10 interface is as farcical as Windows 8 was. Microsoft must be paying you to recommend a switch.

  5. Alex Clarke
    September 21, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    "Both end users and critics agree that it's the best Windows OS out there."
    Lmfao, not even close. My main rig has been running Windows 7 since 2015 and it hasn't had to deal with any of the headaches and blunders that Windows 10 has, including the built-in malware and spyware, the forced updates, the inferior control panel and user permissions, and the generally inferior interface and absolutely useless Cortana which can't be removed from the OS. I'll be sticking with Windows 7, thank you very much.

    • edb
      November 1, 2019 at 5:29 am

      You won't be alone. I have a number of backup computers in the closet just in case one of these dies.

  6. Cat K
    September 6, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    I didn't have a choice but to switch to Windows 10. The accounting programs I use will no longer be usable on Windows 7 after January 2020. I HATE Windows 10. Windows 7 was the most stable, user-friendly, usable operating system I've used, and I come from the DOS era. The worst part is, I have lost ALL of my clientele emails because windows 10 email will not open windows 7 email, unless you "buy" Microsoft Office and use Outlook. I am NOT paying Microsoft anymore money and definitely not an annual fee for the "privilege" of reading my own email, especially when I don't use any of the other Microsoft Office programs. Isn't gouging against the law? Talk about money-grubbing. Microsoft sucks!!!!!

  7. Dio
    August 31, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Windows 7 has completely customizable colors, 10 has dark themes, but they don't work in all apps. The classic theme in windows 7 is just perfect and can be completely personalized. Also, 10 has bugs sometimes and it even freezes. I've tried 4-5 windows 10 versions and none is as good as windows 7. Corporations nowadays hire all kind of unprofessional people that produce only garbage in terms of interface customization and stability.

  8. Capios
    July 13, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    I've tried using Windows 10 and I just always return to 7. It's not that I'm worried "about adapting to new things when it comes to technology", I just know what I like and don't like. I like Windows 7. I like Aero. I like an OS that looks like it was designed for a mouse and keyboard and a powerful PC, not a touchpad. I like knowing where everything is, unlike in 10 where it seems MS intentionally made things more complicated and user-unfriendly. I like having only one Control Panel. Most importantly, I like knowing it will run all my programs flawlessly. I see no reason to upgrade something that does everything I want it to do.

  9. siggi
    July 9, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Privacy? Couldn't care less.
    Legacy Apps? Not really.
    Hardware? no way.
    Familiarity? Yes, Sir.


    Until then, Windows 10, KMA.

  10. Lyman Larsen
    July 8, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Win 7 is clean, fast, easy to use, and all my design stuff works on it. I have no time for 10. I do not want to connect to all my devices, I do not want the tiles, I hate that interface. I help my daughter on her new computer with Win10 and I cannot even find or do some basic tasks I am used to helping people with. She loves it. I hate the overall experience of it. I have an online business since 1998. I will hang onto Win7 as long as possible. I still have one computer with XP! You can use these for quite a long time. Also your malware report is bogus. Of course an operating system that has been used for 10 years is going to show more malware files than a new system.
    Every reason you gave to switch, holds zero value for me.

  11. Julius Rosen
    June 29, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    So it's not faster and winv7 is more compatible.

  12. Mark Barber
    April 10, 2019 at 7:58 am

    In Short DO NOT UPGRADE to Win10 it is the worst os MS have delivered yet. i am a professional engineering user i had to upgrade a dying PC. So i got stuck with Win10 as 7 was no longer sold. it is appallingly slow and unresponsive if you have too many apps running. The user interface is so convoluted and unfriendly as to be almost unusable, it cannot be configured and made to look pleasant. It would seem MS no longer hire industry experienced developers who are used to using a PC to do actual work.

    i wanted to go back to Win7 as i still had my old disks from the dead PC but MS and the CPU manufacturers had ensured i could not do that the latest CPU no longer ave an instruction that Win7 uses ensuring it cannot be installed on any latest PC. this deceitful conduct is little surprise from a company that does not care.

    If only there was an alternative to Microsoft os. none of my engineering software will work on a Mac or we would all change over night.

    Microsoft victim.

  13. Viable
    March 5, 2019 at 3:27 am

    Well, I literally lost 5 hard drives thanks to Windows 10 ever since 2016.
    No more reinstalls. I've gone back to Windows 7 this week after my 6th hdd failure, and everything works better than before, and everything is quicker, and with no privacy invading BS like W10.
    Say what you want about W10, but it is literally a collossal mess in terms of compatibility.
    No Windows Xp programs, or games can work.
    Its screwed my graphics up a while back after the Creators Update.
    I will literally use Windows 10 until my hardware fails.
    I dont care. Screw Windows 10

  14. Koorutz
    February 12, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Im gonna use my win 7 as long as i can...

  15. John G
    February 11, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    I believe a lot of W10 usage is by company forced change-over (I refuse to use the term upgrade!). I feel like a lot more laptops and desktops could be sold if people liked new MS OS.....

  16. Windows 7 is Forever
    January 10, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    you can't totally block all the windows 10 telemetry
    and who says otherwise is a big fat liar
    there are plenty of test done that show windows 10 still sending ton of data
    even when everything is turned off
    including using third party programs like spybot etc etc
    windows 10 still sending data to microsoft
    it's called alternative telemetry where you block the default telemetry
    then Microsoft find another way to collect the data they want to collect
    and microsoft don't really care about your opinions
    Microsoft can do what they want because the sheep people
    don't really care to being spying as long they get their stuff for free
    and BTW windows 10 is not even free
    since microsoft is using your internet bandwidth to run their servers
    and you pay for it every month

  17. Boris
    January 10, 2019 at 11:20 am

    "MakeUseOf strongly recommends that you upgrade to Windows 10. The new operating system offers more features, a more modern user interface, and enhanced security when compared to its predecessor."
    More features ? What features are thous ? Cortana and crap like that? I can bet if i instal win 10 thus "more features" i will just disable or strugle to find way to disable them. Maybe DX 12 ? Nah from what i saw some of popular games that are DX12 only have horrible graphics will needaing high specs.
    Modern user interface? Whats modern about white an blue look with crappy icon design? White is hurting your eyes so hard. To be honest i would reter use win 98 or win 3,1 looks rether than this suposedly "modern look" and i actually hate thous old looks but still find them better looking that this crap.
    Enhanced security ? So you start about privacy and security and how crappy it is in win 10 and then say this? Split personality? One person writing start of text other end of it ? Also if someoen want security he would use linux not win. People that dont use linux and can are thous that need directX for things thye are doing on pc. Thats only reason some people dont use linux. Also they offten say win 10 is user friendly funny how lots of things are easier t odo on linux than on win after win8. Let me put it like this above average users find win XP user firendly, win 7 feelt like reducing that friendlines, win 8 felt like compicating important things like 10 times more under pretense that its friendlier for clueles users. Well guess what clueles users will eventually bother advanced users to do something or to fix them something and well every time that hapens advanced user keep repatining this tought in his mind "who was dumb idiot that made thing work retarded like this".
    O and thous amazing updates of win 10 that mess things up from time to time do they also increase security and stability. Like whan some people cant use mouse cos of last update? With solution ot uninstal it to fix problem ? Guess idiocracy movie is hit right in center.

    • Leon
      February 19, 2019 at 10:39 pm

      Thank you so much for your comments! Well said! I just *upgraded* from 10 to 7, and I am so happy! Win 7 is like the top of the line Lexus, and Win 10 is like a cheap pickup truck. 7 to 10 is a horrible downgrade. All these corporate article writers are lying to us.

  18. Andrey
    January 8, 2019 at 6:45 am

    Nice article, but don't forget about HP & Compaq systems users! We are very mad about the last Win 10 updates!

  19. lyle rollings III
    December 17, 2018 at 3:57 am

    Windows 10 is not as user friendly. I set up my new pc without connecting to my outlook account. A few months later I boot up and not only do I need a password there is a duplicate account plus administrator account. It is 110 percent idiotic that a personal computer that no one but my wife and I have access to have a login password. I have built computers since the late 80s and never had such a problem configuring software to my personal choice. Windows 10 makes it extremely challenging and sometimes impossible. I had to reinstall windows 10 to eliminate login password. In a few months 10 will once again repeat the pattern and then I have to reinstall again. So at least once a year I have to reinstall just to over ride Microsoft bullying tactics. Windows 7 is the best OS ever! Only reason I have 10 my new 900 dollar graphics card requires it ugh.

  20. Joel K.
    December 8, 2018 at 5:55 am

    I will say that after getting the DeC Auto update I can't get any of my games to launch correctly. I tried reinstalling and windows 10 from scratch but still happens. I probably going back to windows 7 Ultimate. I worked never had a problem. also this is the second update that caused problems for me.

  21. Jason Newell
    December 3, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    you guys are close but these are only the surface of the reasons. Look up "ergonomics" and "UI/UX". Windows 7 is beautiful. Everything is easy to find. Everything is easy to distinguish. Windows 10 is horrid and has been proven to add ~20% to task lengths due to the terrible colors, indistinguishable windows, and poor user experience. Shall I go on?

    • Boris
      January 10, 2019 at 11:29 am

      Right to center to of it. Funny thing is i use linux to and for some reason after win 7, basically win 8 and 10 for some reason things are easier and mor euser friendly to do on linux than on win. I really wonder why NOT. Simples example is lets say you want to open network connection stats withut using cmd so with UI and well in win XP it was under 3 clicks. In win 7 its 5 clicks and some waiting. In win 8 and 10 am not evne going to think of it. So this is what user friendly means for them? Or maybe booting in to safe mode being owercomplicatedand hard to do especially on win8. Yeah so friendly....
      And colours and icon design is better on win 3,1 than on win 10. O and that obnoxius white with crappy indestingwishable icons is hurting eyes.
      Simplicity and good look is what user needs with option to adujst system ot his needs. So basically if you want junk they add in win 10 you get asked and enable it whan you first run system if yu dont want disable it totaly or remove. But guess big brains couldnt figure this out.

  22. Joe
    November 30, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    My primary computer at home is a 10 year old laptop that's still running the original Windows 7 installation. With the proper firewall and security software installed it's been very stable and problem free, despite being used heavily. A couple of modest hardware upgrades (SSD and RAM) and it's still a pretty speedy and stable machine. Why fix what isn't broken?

  23. Mark
    October 3, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Windows 10 is an utter disaster, it's control panel random mix of old and new, totally broken search, horrendous Metro hi designed for a 5in mobile phone, and inability to handle multiple DPI displays makes it totally unfit for purpose.

    Windows 7 just works...

  24. ReadandShare
    October 3, 2018 at 4:27 am

    Thing I like about Win 10: Windows Hello sign in.

    Thing most annoying about Win 10: Auto updates that are unexciting at best - and system crashers at worst.

  25. Steve
    October 2, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    I'm surprised they didn't mention that microsoft plans to start charging people for use of win 10. Starting with commercial use and then moving on to everybody else after. Before it was Suckering people in with ideas of its new and free doesn't compute if our data is being sold to the highest bidder. Now that people have turned this feature off their moving on to other ideas of making money (ala Netflix model). When I got home one day to a count down to upgrade being forced onto my computer, with the decline button hidden deep in setting, and a false Windows 7 being offered afterward (as in they offered to go back to win7 afterwards but it was obviously win10 with a skin, no ty). Slimy tactics will earn you no trust from the tech savvy and scorn from the not so much. Thank got I could still stick in my old win7 disk and reinstall from scratch.

  26. Steve
    October 2, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Im surprised it wasnt mentioned that microsoft is perposing a forced subscription to their operating system. The jist is that they plan to level this fee to businesses first then move on to everybody else after. It's why a "free" upgrade was offered and down right forced on consumers in the win 10 early years. It isn't forgotten that our systems automatically upgraded themselves with the decline button was hidden deep in our settings. We simply don't trust microsoft if they don't sell us a operating system that's actually ours vs it's free If you let us sell your data. No thanks.

  27. Chris
    October 2, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Interesting to read people's experience of using Win10. I have dual boot with Win7 and Mint but almost never visit & let alone use it. I'd almost forgotten it was there and am thinking of allocating the disc space to a clean install of Mint 19 with Win10 as a virtual machine, but reading that problems continue I may just forget the Win10.

    • Larry
      December 28, 2018 at 1:27 am

      I'm doing this... creates a dual boot system with Win7 and Linux installs easily with windows 7 or higher. Windows 10 should go away and maybe a Win 7.5 should come out to fix all the current MS miss steps, kinda retro step back, but probably can never happen so fail for MS. Where I work for the last 17 years they use Ubuntu Linux, it's stable. Q4OS makes it easier. Check it out.

  28. Mike
    October 2, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    You forgot one very important advantage and that's stability. I've had at least 100 bsod with win 10 within a couple of years. The number of bsod I had in win 7 was ZERO.

  29. Davin Peterson
    October 2, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    There are some old processors that won't work on Windows 10 as support has ended.
    Windows 7 is one of the most beautiful versions of Windows with Aero design. It is one of my favorite versions of Windows and would not have existed without Vista. Support was to end in 2020, but now Microsoft has extended it, so some people and businesses may continue to use it for a few more years as it works well.

    • Boris
      January 10, 2019 at 11:37 am

      Win 7 is good balance of things not best still liked win XP more. But when it comes to stability reliability and looks its win7. In over 7 years of runins same instalation on pc i never had to check disk, or fix any thin it just works no problem and no slowing down.

  30. RPWheeler
    October 2, 2018 at 10:09 am

    I bought a new Win 10 laptop, and Win 10 is awful. I get long periods where it is unresponsive and swapping on HDD (system has 8 GB RAM). Even Task Manager can be not available, it's damn shame. I tuned performance/effects options, turned off a few services (updates, "defender", indexation, notification), and still it does not satisfy me. I think I'm going to stick to 7 as long as I could.