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Dated: Oct. 12, 2009

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Windows XP
Windows Vista

Vista and XP - An Overview:

XP, the operating system developed by Microsoft Corporation after the dawn of the millennium brought about novel, effective changes in the field of computers. After the entry of XP, handling personal computers has become so easy that even a common layman who does not have a primary knowledge on computers has started using it efficiently. Windows XP was an instant hit allover the world and carved a niche for itself in the computer arena.

Microsoft Vista which made its entry into the market in 2007 has got mixed reviews among users. This operating system which was developed under the codename "Longhorn" faced flak from most of its customers for its complexity of usage. Now, let's see how both these operating systems fare in terms of various features such as performance, security, appearance et al.


When it comes to performance, XP holds an upper hand over Vista. Many software and computer testers subjected both the operating systems to several basic operations to test their competence under similar hardware conditions. Taking into account the test conducted by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, popularly known as The PC Doctor, we can come to the conclusion that the Windows XP is better than Vista.

The test included 15 operations such as booting, drive to drive copy (single file), drive to drive copy (multiple files), compressing files, extracting files etc. XP was found to be much better than Vista as it came first in 11 of the 15 tests whereas Vista performed better in 2 and the remaining 2 ended in a draw.

No optimization was done and the hardware used was the same in both the cases. So it is evident that XP emerges as the sure shot winner when it comes to performance.

The difference in performance can be attributed to the kernel of Vista. The footprint of the kernel has been increased in Vista. Hence the need for a RAM with a minimum capacity of 1GB arises.

Microsoft Vista vs. XPMoreover, the performance of the computers preloaded with the Vista operating system is better when compared to that of computers which are upgraded to Vista by the user.

Users who are not satisfied with Vista's performance and would want to downgrade to XP may find the process to be difficult.

Keeping in mind the aforementioned information we can easily come to a conclusion that XP is better in terms of performance when compared to Vista.


The primary objective with which Microsoft started developing Vista was to rectify all the security oriented flaws that were a matter of concern in the earlier versions of the Windows operating systems such as XP, 2000 etc. But with the installation of proprietary anti-virus software, users are still able to protect their computers that use XP.

The User Account Control (UAC) which is a part of the Vista operating system has come as a boon to users as it enhances the security of the computer by being present in the operating system by default and effectively preventing the infiltration of malware, viruses, spyware, adware, Trojan horses etc., into the system.

But still some users feel that Vista is vulnerable to malwares and viruses.

Even the high security feature UAC has had to face the flak for the number of authorization prompts generated. But the good news is that it can be controlled by the user. One can either stop them completely or limit the number of times they are generated.

A combination of UAC along with high end anti-virus software may prove to be a deadly cocktail to viruses that may want to eat up the computer.

Visual Interface:

One eye-catching feature of Vista is its appearance. And when I say eye-catching, I mean it. Vista comes with four different visual styles: Windows Aero, Windows Vista Standard, Windows Vista Basic and Windows Classic. The icons that Vista shows are of 128 pixels whereas those in XP are of 64 pixels.

The translucency effect provided by the glossy interface of Vista is truly stylish and simply superb. The Aero style of Vista provides 3D effects to the windows, window animations etc. but this style is intended only for high end computers which have sophisticated graphic cards. The minimum requirement for this style is 128 MB memory for graphics. This style is not present in the Starter and the Home Basic edition of Vista.

The Windows Vista Standard style is a version of the Windows Aero style sans the glossy effects, animation etc. But still the video hardware requirements are more or less the same that are needed for Aero.

The other two styles have simple appearances and the video card requirements are similar to those of XP.

There is an option for XP users to get the appearance of Vista in their computers and that is done by installing Vista themes. However, there have been instances of the operating system becoming corrupt (XP) if this is done. (I'm one such victim!!)

Vista also provides a new feature called Windows sidebar which is a panel that contains small applets called Desktop Gadgets that serve a particular purpose like temperature check, clock, calendar, sports score, news etc.

So it emerges that Vista scores high in appearance.

Hardware Requirements:

Another aspect that led to a lot of criticism on Vista is its high hardware requirements. As mentioned earlier, Vista requires a minimum of 1 GB RAM to function effectively whereas 256 MB is enough for XP.

A sophisticated graphic card coupled with a Vista Premium Ready computer system provides a visual treat for regular movie watchers and hardcore game enthusiasts.

Other Features:

Many enhancements such as Windows media player11, Internet Explorer7, Instant Search, Windows Calendar, Windows Dreamscene, Windows DVD maker etc have made Vista more efficient and easy to use. Windows DVD maker is an innovative addition to the Windows operating system that enables the user to burn files to DVDs without having to install individual proprietary CD burning software such as Nero StartSmart.

The Final Verdict:

The various features of Vista are reasons enough for it to surpass the efficiency of XP but a few minute yet important aspects have been overlooked by the developers rendering it inferior to the latter.

We have to keep in mind that Vista is still in its stages of development and the final product is not out yet. So it is better for us to stick on to XP till Microsoft comes out with that final product. But my suggestion to those who want to go for a Vista based system would be, it is better to get a computer preloaded with Vista than to upgrade your system from XP to Vista.

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tamalika's Comment
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18 Wed Aug 2010
Admin's Reply:

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Prasanna's Comment
Very good.
04 Fri Dec 2009
Admin's Reply:

Thanks Prasanna.

Kans's Comment
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18 Sun Oct 2009
Admin's Reply: thanks for the comment, if you need any info please post it