Windows 7 outperforms XP on Old Hardware

I just installed Windows 7 on an 8+ year old machine I had laying around my house and I was surprised to see that it runs as well as it does. In fact, it runs better than the XP installation I had installed on the old PC before upgrading it to Windows 7. To be fair, the Windows XP installation was a few years old and probably suffered from disk fragmentation and memory being consumed by the random applications and services that had been installed.

Hardware that I had difficulty with in Windows XP was automatically recognized and had the proper drivers installed. Even the cheap-o USB wireless stick I bought a few months back was recognized during the installation so I could setup my wireless network before even booting into the full operating system. On my windows XP installation, I had a bunch of problems getting the USB stick to work and had to get drivers directly from the manufacturer. With 7, everything was automatically recognized and installed.


Upon first boot into Windows 7, I noticed that my sound-card was disabled in the bottom right corner. I didn’t worry about it at that point in time though and instead went straight to Windows Update. Sure enough, an update for my audio card was listed within the Windows Update panel.

As I mentioned, the computer is pretty old and still has the original onboard video card so I don’t have the fancy Aero theme with translucency and some of the other cool features (gimmicks?) that come with Aero. There are a number of other small effects that are nice touches. It’s nice to see the menus build with animations and they don’t seem to impact the performance of the machine.

I’d really like to install this on a high-end machine to see how it performs, so I might have to pick up some new hardware to test it out. Specifically, I’d like to test out some of the new add-ons like Windows Virtual PC which requires hardware virtualization support. The OS is still in Release Candidate for the next few weeks and unless you are a techy I would recommend holding off until the full release. From what I gather, you will be able to purchase the OS in advance at a significant discount before it comes out.

Also, most of the manufacturers are now giving free or discounted upgrades to Windows 7 with computers that are purchased between now and the official release date. The RTM release should occur within July to give the manufacturers enough time to feed the OS through their processes to hit the October release date for PCs on our local big-box-electronics retailers shelves.

One more peice of advice: just because the operating system will run on nearly 10 year old hardware doesn’t mean I recommend you running it on your old equipment. Go out and get yourself a new machine that will support the new features and sexy aero interface! You’ll be happy you did so.


8 responses to “Windows 7 outperforms XP on Old Hardware”

  1. Bryan Avatar

    What are the tech specs for your eight+ year old machine?

    I have a P4 @1.3ghz with 128 megs of RAM, and I am debating between Win2K and Win 7…

  2. josh Avatar

    The specs on the machine were P4 1.8, 512MB ram. With that little memory, you might be better off with Win2K

  3. Matt Avatar

    dont bother with win2k, dont even bother with windows at all, go linux. you would get much better performance out of your machine than anything windows. try puppylinux or knoppix with such low resources.

  4. RUNUTS Avatar

    why does everyone like linux so much. It is horible. It is not compatible with ANYTHING except it stupid low quality bugy slow and feature deprived open source programs. It is ugly and incredibly slow. I tried it once and my computer bogged down to performace levels upwards of 5X slower than XP. And it literaly burned my hardware out because of it’s poor managment of system hardware. I had to replace my CPU and my Graphics chips. I was on the verge of buying a new computer but once I got XP on it again I decided against it. DON’T EVER INSTALL LINUX! There is only two thing you need to know about Linux: one it is free and two you always get what you pay for!

  5. john1101 Avatar

    yes… linuxes and open sources are sux… don’t install firefox because it’s open source, just use internet explorer… you’ll be fine….. oh, shit i just click a link to a pornography site on my explorer… now i’ve got blue screen… eahh, don’t worry i just install a fresh copy of windows and it’s fine that i lost all data on my hard drive… i just love windows…

  6. josh Avatar

    I run a mix of operating systems in my house and each have their strong points. I have a few servers (Web, FMS, FileShare) running Linux which are extremely stable and don’t cause me any issues. I also have two media centers which are running Linux: the old Popcorn Hour A110 which I don’t use anymore because of it’s crappy UI and my XBMC powered Revo ([url][/url]) which has Linux underpinning the sexy XBMC UI. This website ( is also running on a Linux box…

    I also have a number of Windows boxes. One box is still running XP and has been since I built it in 2001. My work laptop and my wife’s netbook both run Windows 7. With support for legacy apps, Active Directory, and more Windows is still the right choice for business use. My wife just wanted something simple and familiar to use to surf the web, but she didn’t want a tablet… a Windows powered netbook was just right for her. Speaking of tablets, I also have 2 Android tablets which I picked up from China in Spring 2010. Despite the fact that the media is trying to twist words to say that Android is not designed for tablets, it runs just great on them… and guess what, that OS is also underpinned by Linux. 😉

    The point is, each OS has its use case.

  7. INOX Avatar

    Challenge accepted:D Today I run Windows 7 on Intel Pentium III 850MHz (700 when on batteries) with 384MB of RAM + WiFi + NOD32. It boots longer than XP, but runs smoothly up to 2 tabs open in FireFox. It was even better without AV, but… Previously this machine was booting Ubuntu 10.10 for a few months and I must (sadly, because I’m a Linux user for years)admit that W7 runs overall better!

  8. R A Valencourt Avatar


    Did you upgrade from XP or was it a clean install?


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