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

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! 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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?

  4. 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...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.