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Windows XP vs Windows 7 – Who Won?

by Steve Wiseman on September 10, 2009 · 26 comments

in IE,Windows 7,Windows Vista,Windows XP


I installed Windows 7 on my ASUS Atom N270

Before I did that, I recorded how long it took to do a few things:

-Copying a 45 MB file over the network
-Boot Time
-Shutdown Time
-Memory used at idle, after startup
-IE Launch time

Then, after I installed Windows 7, I did the same, and recorded how long it took. I was curious to see if Windows 7 was faster or slower than XP.

Keep in mind this is not scientific, but just a simple test I did on my own computer.

Here is what I found:

Boot time under Windows 7 was 22 seconds faster:

Shutdown time under Windows 7 was 20% faster:

What about the time it takes for Internet Explorer to Launch?

Windows 7 was faster there too:

Amazingly the memory usage at idle was less in Windows 7, than in Windows XP. I should do this article again with Vista. I am sure that number in Vista is over 1GB

Another test I did was copying a 45 MB file over my wireless network.

Look at the difference:

This was an amazing result. I had to try it a few times to make sure it was not a mistake. It took Windows XP almost a minute longer to transfer that same file.

Amazing. Windows 7 is faster on all of my tests.  Not only has it won this little test, but instead of wanting to remove it after 2 weeks (Like with Vista)…I want to install it on all of my computers!

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Tweets that mention Windows XP vs Windows 7 – Who Won? :: IntelliAdmin --
October 5, 2009 at 7:58 am

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Keirnoth September 10, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Question regarding this article. Was a fresh install of Windows 7 compared against a fresh install of Windows XP? Or did you dual boot the configuration and used a preexisting installation of Windows XP? Reason why I’m asking is if the latter was done, the XP installation may have been laden down with whatever number of years of software etc, so of course a fresh install of 7 would beat out XP. Granted, 7 is far more streamlined than Vista was, so the fact that 7 comes out of the box already pretty slim is great.

Just making sure so that we have equal and accurate results. Thanks!

2 Steve Wiseman September 10, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Yes, these were both fresh installs. The only part I cannot reproduce is that the XP install is from ASUS…which may have its own extra filling.

Still. I did have Vista on this machine…and boy was it painful. With 7…it just seems to snap – even more so than XP

3 cloudkicker September 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I think, you should compare fresh installations only. Windows gets slower and slower the longer the installation is in use. Your XP installation might be quite old. I’ve tried the Windows 7 RC and it’s not running smoothly on my Athlon XP 2400+. I was really surprised since Ubuntu-Linux runs on the same machine like a charm with full 3D desktop effects enabled.

4 Steve Wiseman September 10, 2009 at 8:46 pm

It may have not been clear from the article, but the XP install was fresh. I did install from the OEM i386 directory that ASUS left on the system. I did this right before my Windows 7 install.

So it did not have a years worth of software, and other stuff…but I will say that it could be slower because of additions ASUS packed into the install.

I should take a copy of XP from MSDN like I did with Windows 7 to get an exact 1 to 1 comparison

Still with all of that said, my perception is that it is faster. I find it just moves more quickly than XP did before. It still surprises me.

I think the most interesting stat is the network file transfer time. Has anyone else seen similar results with file transfers?

5 Graham Thompson September 11, 2009 at 4:48 am

I totally agree with Steve. Having installed the Win7 MSDN on a number of netbooks I can see a vast speed increase compared to FRESH installs of XP. The speed increase includes boot/shutdown times and file/network transfers. Indeed, while transferring via a share on a Win2k8 server the transfer was so quick on the Win7 device I was working on I thought the transfer had corrupted….I was wrong!

All in all I am very impressed with the new OS on the N270 chips. As with all OS’s I’m sure many people will find issues with it, however I for one have it installed on most of my personal hardware (leaving out the OSX & Linux boxes of course!) and will be starting to put it in to live testing soon.

6 Bret September 11, 2009 at 9:54 am

Copying files from a Vista/Win7 box to a Win2008 server are supposed to be much faster than with WinXP due to the [currently flawed] SMB2:

7 Keirnoth September 11, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for clearing that up!

And yeah, I’ve had good experience with 7 myself. I’ve personally installed Windows 7 on a couple test machines at work and my primary gaming machine and it’s definitely as great as your article says it is. I don’t think ASUS adds TOO much bloat to their XP installation, so I think the numbers are fine. But yeah, good stuff and yet another reason to upgrade out of Vista.

8 Daniel September 22, 2009 at 1:11 am

The test results look good will have to ditch XP home on my netbook to upgrade
How ever did not see any benefit on my gaming rig as it was built to run vista not XP
Saw very little gain, admittedly did not run the type of tests listed here, that said, Vista ran better on my old Junk box PC then windows 7, which is running a sempron Processor. Probable Incompatible hard ware is the problem which I think is the catch with all OS’S get the right hard ware and any thing will run properly!

9 Petr November 20, 2009 at 1:14 pm


The copying over the WiFi network is really impressive, but I have opposite experience 🙁 I am running Win7 on DELL machine, but the copying over the network is very very slow. This is what I observe. When I first start up the machine the very first file I will copy from my network drive is fairly fast, but after that whatever I want to copy picture, music etc…. it will start copying but the speed decreases and the time increases. It is very annoying. Remote Differential Compression(RDC) is not what everybody are saying and me personally, I really don’t know what to think. Vista was same, it this should be solved in this new Win7, before all the raving reviews. If you guys have any solution (accept TerraCopy which I am using now) I will be greatly appreciated. I will try the “windows Copy” function on my new Media Center PC and I will let you know how it behaves on the network.
The new MCE details:
Intel Core2 Quad 2.83GHz
4GB RAM Corsair
Asus motherboard P5Q SE Plus
D-Link DWA-556 wifi adapter
Network drive is ReadyNas Duo.
Version of Win7 6.1.7600


10 Steve Wiseman November 20, 2009 at 2:08 pm

A few things could have changed. They have pushed some major patches out for flaws in the new file transfer protocol, and in addition you will only see speed improvements if you copy to a newer Vista or Windows 7 system. If you copy over to another XP…I don’t think it will be much faster

Another thing that could slow you down is the wifi driver. It is possible the vendor has not worked all the bugs in their new driver and it is running at a sub par speed

11 Petr November 20, 2009 at 3:36 pm

I will be online with the PC next week, I am still tuning some stuff. But I will let you know.

Thank you.

12 Jadenn January 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I don’t know where you are getting 115 seconds from. My OEM WITH crapware loads in like 20 seconds. Service Pack 3, Intel Atom on Acer AOA110.

13 Steve Wiseman January 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Like I said. It was not scientific. Just sayin…it was my system and those are the numbers.

14 john February 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm

IE launch time 16.5 second and 12.8 seconds- are you serious? I see why it is called an ‘atom’. Surely that is wrong- a 10 year old P4 will open IE fully operational in less than 2 seconds here…

15 Steve Wiseman February 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Yep. These Atom systems are quite slow…but in return you get a small form factor, and low power consumption.

16 oleg212 April 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm

It depends on what the computer is and it’s hardware for example I have a vista laptop and a XP desktop. If I install Windows 7 on my XP desktop it worked slow.if I installed Xp on my vista laptop it worked worse and slow too. and vice versa

17 mamak127 June 28, 2010 at 3:23 am

I’ve been running my XP for pass 8 years and never had it format before (no kidding) and yet my XP out-perform my friend’s new HP quad core desktop pc which he just bought few days ago. Boot time, shut-down, file transfer, basic operation stuff. Bear in mind, My pc was just an old Pentium 4 1.8Ghz with 1GB ram lol vs a new quad core 😛

I think it’s just how we optimize the OS. XP can be very fast if it’s tune correctly 🙂

18 RParker August 24, 2010 at 4:51 pm

RE: I’ve been running my XP for pass 8 years

HP Quad core does nothing to signify the specs of that machine. He could have simply bought the machine, brought it home and started using, still doesn’t mean it was a FRESH install. HP and other vendors will add stuff to the default load, increasing the time it takes to boot and load apps, maybe most or all could be removed.

Not to mention it could be an OEM version of Windows 7, so it’s not really an accurate comparison.

Tweaking XP can be fast, but I bet I can tweak Windows 7 to be EVEN faster.

19 Moses Tablate March 23, 2011 at 4:31 am

3 things I don’t like in Windows 7 that don’t affect XP or Vista:
1.incompatibility with Globe Broadband Tattoo
2.removal of Classic Start Menu
3.It’s Called “Windows 7” but the Windows Version number is actually : 6.1.7600 or something similar, did you notice the 6!!!

20 Paul May 18, 2011 at 10:56 am

@Moses Tablate
You can actually run Globe Tattoo Broadband on Windows 7. Try to install it manually by using Windows’ explorer then go to “Globe Broadband” folder right-click “setup” and run as administrator. If it doesn’t work, your device’s firmware must be outdated. You can download the updated firmware from Globe’s website. Wish you a good luck.

21 Ken B August 1, 2011 at 1:13 am

A PC with XP set up for maximum performance will always outperform Windows 7.I’ve tweaked over 100 Windows 7 computers and none have come close to a tweaked XP computer. I own both versions, like both versions, but XP always wins if you know what you’re doing. I have over 40 years of computer engineering experience and I’ve learned one thing for sure, newer is not always better,just sometimes!!!!

22 GeleRod April 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm

You did comparisson only in the few tests where win7 is faster. But you should not fool the readers.
Run same version of Firefox on both systems (w.updated video drivers) and go to Futuremark – Peacekeeper online test. XP wins.

23 Mike C. May 24, 2012 at 11:07 am

I disagree with GeleRod comment “But you should not fool the readers” . Wiseman just shared his findings is up to you to believe it, test further or whatever. There are other ways to comment. Being unpolite is not nice!

24 Cset May 25, 2012 at 10:06 am

Well, to tell a small story I’ve upgraded an HP computer 2.6 Ghz 1Gb Memory XP Pro to same processor 4 Gb Memory to W7 64 and everything you could test was slower. I will have to roll back the installation and will stick to XP at least until W8 will be out. After this experience I am very, very untrusty even on this new gizmo from Microbluff.

25 Steve Wiseman May 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm

It has been a while since I wrote this…and I would say it is hit and miss. I think it depends on the underlying drivers, and type of hardware you have…some systems do get a performance boost from Windows 7…others do not. From my testing it seems that older systems typically are better off if you stay with XP…since I think Windows 7 does not have optimized drivers for the older hardware.

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