Today in one of the groups I am a member, there was a question on the cost benefits of Windows 7 over Windows XP. In these recessionary times, everything is about cost and RoI. No CIO is interested to spend on an upgrade just for technology sake. With that background this was an interesting question, so I set out to answer him, which I have reproduced below.

Windows 7 benefits over Windows XP (Windows images and logo are copyright/trademark of Microsoft Corp) 

The first answer for such a question is that any new version of any software product improves “productivity” by XY%, where XY are dependent on how you feel on that day.

Jokes apart, in my opinion I think the upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 saves cost by the following:

  1. Productivity, certainly. Common tasks are easier and faster. For example with the built-in Windows Search, finding documents really saves you time. And for techies tasks like IPConfig /Renew can be done from GUI itself
  2. Avoid recreating lost documents. Built in version-control and transaction file-system in Windows 7 (Vista has this too)
  3. Avoid bandwidth costs by some Spammers using your Windows XP as a SpamBots or Zombies with better stateful firewall (Inbound and Outbound) in Windows 7 (Vista has this too)
  4. Data Theft, Security and reinstall time spend with UAC in Windows 7 (Easier to use than in Vista)
  5. Less power consumption through better sleep/hibernate support
  6. Save time by building web standards Web Applications with built-in Internet Explorer 8.0
  7. Save time and cost with built-in CD Burning, DVD Maker (Vista has this too)
  8. My personal favourite is an enhanced System Restore (life saver) and time saved with fixing a rogue software install (Vista has this too)
  9. A superb Windows Backup (this alone is worth every dollar of Windows 7). Third party products purchased separately for Windows XP store in proprietary backup file formats, where as Windows 7 (as in Vista) uses open VHD file format. This VHD files can be mounted and read/write natively in Windows 7
  10. Built-in hardware enhanced virtualization free – Windows Virtual PC, which helps you to continue to run older applications
  11. Save time with the more powerful task scheduler (so you don’t need to keep your machine switched ON or be there to run a program)
  12. If you are a games developer, Windows 7 saves time by better 3D hardware accelerated graphics support/DirectX
  13. Built-in applications like Snipping tool to take screen shots and so on (Vista has this too)

Microsoft has published a "Windows client features comparison chart" between Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista and Windows 7 here.

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