What Is Microsoft Windows 7?

by Nathan E. Baker

Microsoft Windows 7 is operating system software designed to replace Windows Vista. It can also be used as an upgrade for Windows XP. Windows 7 is faster than Vista, eliminates some of the problems disliked by many users of the Vista operating system, and provides some tools and functions missing in Windows XP.

As of publication, Windows 8.1 is the current version of the Windows OS and will soon be replaced by Windows 10.

Some Windows XP Users Declined Windows Vista

When computer users upgrade an operating system, they expect faster operation and enhancements. Many XP users discovered the opposite when they upgraded to Vista. Vista was slow and hogged system memory and hard drive space. It removed features and introduced awkward and complex procedures for controlling the display. Vista also implemented User Account Control, a security feature designed to prevent the user from performing certain actions that might damage the operating system. UAC, noted as one of the 10 most disliked features of Windows Vista, forced users to interact with pop-up wizards in order to perform many common activities. Windows 7 fixed these problems, taming UAC to focus primarily on third-party applications rather than everyday native Windows activities and streamlining the previously-clunky commands that control the Windows Explorer preview pane, among other improvements.

What Windows 7 Provides

Windows 7 added native support for touchscreen devices and supports DirectX 11 beyond version 9.0c, which is necessary for the latest PC games. It introduced "libraries," giving users a more convenient and flexible way to navigate through complex folders. Windows 7 also introduced Homegroup and Aero. Homegroup makes connections to networks easy. Devices you put in your homegroup are considered trusted, so you are not asked to provide passwords when you want to connect. Aero adds a premium visual experience for users. Applications run in translucent, glass-like windows featuring an increased range of colors with subtle animations.

Windows 7 Resource Monitor Tool

Windows XP did not have a resource monitor tool, which arrived with Windows Vista. This tool lets users monitor system resources in real time and inspect CPU activity, making system troubleshooting easier. Windows 7 changed the visual layout of this tool for ease of use. More importantly, the Windows 7 version of this tool is more stable and less likely to crash your operating system, which was common with Vista.

Better Protection for Online Users, Better Support

According to some analysts, Windows XP is six times more likely to contract malware than Windows 8.1. This is because Windows XP was designed in an environment that lacked the latest virus and malware threats that are common today. Windows 7 and later versions were designed with these threats in mind. This is an important consideration for anyone working online. Most importantly, Microsoft continues to update Windows 7 with security patches and technical improvements, XP's support has ended.

Windows 7 Requirements

To run the 32-bit version of Windows 7, your computer needs a 1 GHz or faster CPU, 16G of hard drive space and at least a gigabyte of system memory. For the 64-bit version you'll need a 1 GHz or faster CPU, 20G of hard drive space and two gigabytes of system memory.

About the Author

Based in Florida, Nathan E. Baker is a professional technical writer and web master. He has nearly three decades of experience with software, surveillance electronics, computers and cyber security. He researches technology and enjoys breaking down complex topics into articles suitable for a wide variety of audiences.

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