Key Features in Windows 7: Upgrading from XP, Vista

Dennis Faas's picture

As Windows 7 slowly creeps towards its holiday season release date, consumers will undoubtedly be wondering if the upgrade is worth it. In this article we'll briefly discuss some of the key features in Windows 7 that you won't find in Vista or XP.

Let's start with the features new to Windows 7 -- particularly those that will be most appealing to consumers interested in making an early upgrade, or buying a new PC with Windows 7 loaded.

Customization and Power Saving Options

Perhaps the best part of Windows 7 is its customization options.

To say the least, this is the most configurable operating system yet released by Microsoft. Users can switch on and off different components in Windows, including Internet Explorer, Media Player, and other programs that were previously "essential" (in other words, unavoidable) in XP, Vista, and earlier editions of Windows.

Also, laptop users can select different options capable of compromising performance for power-savings, a useful ability for those who want to get the most out of their batteries.

Functionality Over Flashy Features

Windows 7 is meant to be the most functional Microsoft OS yet.

New features for the Taskbar help that become reality; users can preview panes by simply moving their mouse over an option. This feature was first introduced with Vista, but Windows 7 promises to offer more interaction than what Vista offered.

Windows 7 Hardware Requirements

Most users will be happy to hear that the minimum system requirements are remain the same as Windows Vista, with the exclusion of harddrive size. Windows 7 requirements include: a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, support for a DirectX 9 graphics device with 128 MB of memory, and a harddrive (HD) boasting at least 16 GB. (Source:

Of course, users will want to beat the minimum requirements handily before thinking of making the leap from XP to Windows 7.

Still Visually Impressive

Although Windows 7 will keep on with the Aero theme, it will introduce slideshow backgrounds, RSS support, and visual theme packs. The popular Vista gadgets can be placed anywhere on the screen, and not just along the right side.

All those new options are making Windows 7 a prized pig, indeed. There's now a push by Vista users to have Windows 7 released free for those who have purchased the 'Ultimate' edition of 2007's much-maligned operating system. (Source:

It will be several months before we know for sure if all the excitement was justified.

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