Windows 8 vs. Windows 7 – Speed And Performance Testing

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Released on the 26th of October 2012, Windows 8 was Microsoft’s response to the increase in the huge popularity of operating systems in a short period of time. Almost 3 months on, Windows 8 is attracting individuals spanning over every age group. We have heard much about the new user interface, including that it is disappointing. At this point we feel that initial reactions with regards to its usability and user experience where the user interface is concerned has been extensively covered. Therefore, we decided to take on another perspective that can be a source of bad user experience. I am speaking about speed and performance

Windows 8 vs. Windows 7 – The Experiments

To obtain an unbiased view, together with my colleagues we conducted a number of speed and performance tests so as to compare Windows 8 with Windows 7. For this purpose we have carried out tests such as boot up and shutdown times, file copying, browsing, gaming and similar synthetic benchmarks on two identically machines. To ensure fairness, we also ensured that both versions of Windows were identically configured.

1. Startup Time

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Windows 8 Starts Up faster than Windows 7. Windows 8 took 18 seconds while windows 7 took 27 seconds. Calculated diff1erence is 8 seconds.

2. Shutdown Time

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A similar improvement is seen when measuring shutdown time. Windows 8 took 8 seconds versus the 12 seconds in windows 7. Calculated difference is 4 seconds.

3. Wake-up From Sleep

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Windows 8 shows a marked improvement here as well. However we still thought 10 seconds was too long. We then tested Windows 8 using our SSD and the exact same 10 second window was repeated. While windows 7 took 13 seconds.

4. 3D Graphics Performance

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3Dmark 11 is used primarily to measure 3D graphics performance – meaning graphics card drivers play a vital role here. Still, the performance was very similar on both operating systems, though the more mature Windows 7 was slightly faster.

5. Multimedia Performance

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Multimedia performance is said to be another of the strengths of Windows 8, and as you can see when testing with PCmark 7, it was 9% faster than its predecessor.

6. Microsoft Excel

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Comparing Windows 8 armed with the new Office 2013 suite we found that it was 10% faster when running our Excel test against Windows 7 using Office 2010. Even when comparing apples to apples, with both operating systems running Excel 2010, Windows 8 is more efficient using the CPU cycles to its benefit on simulation.

7. Transferring Multiple Large Files Together

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Windows 8 features a new Explorer interface for transferring files, which provides more accurate data on transfer speeds and estimated time of completion. It also stacks multiple transfer windows together. The user interface is awesome, but on the performance side of things there is little difference when transferring multiple large files together or individually. Windows 8 and Windows 7 deliver similar performance in both situations.

8. Transferring Multiple Smaller Files Together

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When transferring thousands of smaller files we also found that Windows 7 and Windows 8 offer the same performance.

9. Different Browsers with Windows 7 and Windows 8

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windows-8-vs-windows-7-speed-performance-browser-firefox

As you can see, the desktop version of the IE10 browsers on Windows 8 delivered virtually the same performance as IE9 on Windows 7. Chrome works better in Windows 8 incomparison with Firefox runing on indentical Windows 8 computer. Also both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome perform faster in Windows 8 than Windows 7. Internet Explorer works very slow in all version of windows.

10. Gaming Performance

By testing these two performance intensive games on both systems we noticed that both operating systems provide similar performance with a very slight edge to Windows 7′s advantage:

Battlefield 3

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Looking at the gaming performance for Battlefield 3, it can be observed that both operating systems provide similar performance with a very slight leading edge for Windows 7.

Just Cause 2

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Just Cause 2 runs just a bit faster on windows 7 than Windows 8 for both resolutions 1680×1050 and 1920×1200. The difference isn not significant however. Similar to the previous 3DMark test, this relies on graphics drivers more than anything else.

Windows 8 vs. Windows 7 – Conclusion

Microsoft seemed to hit full stride with Windows 7, developing a fast and efficient operating system. Thankfully it seems Windows 8 continues to build on that pattern as we found it to be on par with and occasionally faster than Windows 7. The improvements that have been made to startup and shutdown times are self-evident, and no doubt a major focus on the new OS’ development. This will particularly benefit laptop and tablet users.

At the end we concluded that Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7 in some aspects such as startup time, shut down time, wake up from sleep, multimedia performance, web browsers performance, transferring large file and Microsoft excel performance but it is slower in 3D graphic performance and high resolution gaming performance. Battery life improved enough to be noticeable. Moreover Windows 8 is significantly more secure than Windows 7 and it is basically designed to take advantage of touch screens while Windows 7 is only for desktops. One last word of advice – if you are running Windows 7 on your current PC, then there is no urgency to upgrade the hardware just to run Windows 8…just yet!

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  • André

    A very good review and probably the most applicable to the everyday user.

    The big gain seems to be startup and shutdown; I would like to see a review against the first release of Windows 7 and not the version we are using now following countless updates and service packs over the past few years which seem to continually add core files required at start up.

    I will stick to 7 for now and thanks for confirming my own gut feel.

  • Marcin Kozyra

    Good article in my personal opinion windows 7 should not be upgraded to the windows 8 as power users in corporate world work faster on 7 than 8… I realize that there is a way to install old interface with old start button but still users prefer feel and look of 7

    • Mohammad

      I thought the same about start menu, until I found that I can easily press Win-key and start typing the initial letters of the program I wish to open. If used this way, the new start menu is much more handy than that of 7. You could type in 7′s start menu as well, but it would search all the computer, not just the apps. In 8, you can select where to search.

      Plus disabling “Allow Switching Between Recent Apps” in General section of PC Settings,
      and remembering Win+X for accessing frequently used components fast.

      I also noticed the amount of RAM used by the system in 8(about 600 MB) is much less than that of 7(about 900 MB).

  • Yingying

    Good post! I am a user for both Win7 (company) & Win8 (home). I did notice that win 8 has a much faster start-up speed. However, I don’t know whether it will slow down as I store more files and install more programs. We’ll see :)

  • Jiri

    To be fare, I would like to see comparison of Win 8 shutdown to Win 7 Hibernate, since that is what the new OS is doing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rob-Rivers/100003264342264 Rob Rivers

      I used hiberate in both win 7 and win 8, I have to say, unscientifically speaking because I never actually measured it with a timer, I believe win 8 is at least a few seconds faster. They both are off cold right around 20 seconds.

  • Utkarsh

    in my opinion windows 7 is better than windows 8 for now but don’t know of future which will be better ….. this was good info about win7 vs win 8….

  • http://twitter.com/techherding Dick Carlson

    I wish you’d measured things like “finding the g@@-damned Control Panel” or “figuring out how to shut the damn thing down”.

    • http://twitter.com/EnragedN3wb Kyle Ernst

      Right click in the bottom left corner & click “Control Panel”. Not exactly rocket science. Also most desktops default to pressing the power button once begins shutdown.

    • http://www.facebook.com/orv.williams Orv Williams

      WINKEY+X then click.
      You will notice you can access tons of system operations from this little gem.
      I find that far MORE convenient than previous Windows Start Menus.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mrcaiorodrigues Caio Rodrigues

      Control panel? Hit the win button and write “control panel”. Shut down? Hit the win button and write “shut down”. Everything u want? Just the button and search for it.

    • Michael Reyes

      Just search control panel with the big magnifying glass, think of it as google on your computer :)

    • Dmitry Avgustis

      It is even faster than in windows 7. To open control panel you can right click left bottom corner and there it is, as well as many other useful things. To shut app down, just drag from the top to the bottom of the screen. That’s it! The biggest problem is that people don’t know, how to use system yet. Windows 8 is getting better in many aspects, as you learn how to use it.

  • khen

    windows 8 is a graphical user interface

    • Gunnar Middleton

      so is every windows OS since 1.0x… I am sure you mean the metro interface, but just pointing it out…

  • okuhle94

    I’m still stuck on whether upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows 7 will be worth it. I just want my games to run faster, but reading this article, Windows 7 still faster at gaming.

    • http://twitter.com/Kiljoy616 Kiljoy616

      Your games will not run faster, see this is what I mean most people saying windows 8 is better have no idea how hardware or software works and what OS can and don’t do. Your games will run the same speed unless MS has put more code in there to slow it down. Games want the OS to get out of the way so don’t expect speed boost in games, good video drivers and hardware do that.

      • Thomas Maher

        unless you have had luck like me windows 8 seems to be doing e verything i had been doing on windows 7 but much faster and it even runs games a little faste ror the same speed it all depend son your hardware and graphics card if you look in stores you will be dissapointed because the computers they sell their have lower end graphics cards then widnows 7 and have less vram and cheaper intel cpu chips

        this was all on same laptop wich was a dells tudio 1747

      • Ronie Bituin

        I upgraded to windows 8 last few days, and I am impressed for the new features. My warcraft games run smoothly in windows 8 compare to win7.

  • http://www.facebook.com/enoc.chacon1 Enoc Chacon

    In my honest opinion i would choose windows 7 over 8 and any other OS any day 7 is great business wise, gaming, multi-tasking and very user friendly, but then again that’s just me

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000136444337 James Üu

    Ive done this already. Many says Windows 7 is better. Make ur calls/predictions official.

  • Zavier Brewer

    It is a good review. I have used Windows 7 and Windows 8 (in my opinion) I prefer Windows 8, yes it was a little harder to find the control panel because i was used to Windows 7 but within 1 minute I was able to find it in no time. I don’t know why people are making such a big fuss about Windows 8. I am not a big fan of the new UI interface but I got used to it and it feels much better and faster then windows 7. What do you guys think?

    • michael yi

      i think that you don’t use your computer enough

      • Thomas Maher

        i use windows 8 every day and it goes straight to the desktop all i did was disable to startup with the ui and i love it

    • jason kinney

      Change and frustration autmaticly makes a product bad.

    • Odo Nelle Balaga

      Agreed… :)

    • Odo Nelle Balaga

      i agree with you Zavier Brewer, just on the first use you wll find it hard., but if you can do some customization, like pinning application icons on the start screen, it’s way better than windows 7

    • Odo Nelle Balaga

      in terms of device drivers, no problem to me at all., i used my win7 device drivers

  • Pedro Rodríguez de Oliveira

    If somebody has doubts on installing W8, use Virtual PC or VirtualBox to make a decision. I did it and I haven’t changed my W7.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000136444337 James Üu

    Ive done this already. Many says Windows 7 is better. Make ur calls/predictions official.

  • Penile

    move the mouse into the lower left corner/ hit ctrl+C/ or swipe from the right hand side and select power. the power options then show up.

    • http://twitter.com/Kiljoy616 Kiljoy616

      So what makes it better is that it add layers of complexity for a desktop. Its a tablet OS that morphed with the help of Windows 7 into 8. Not impressed. But for those who must have new eye candy I can see the appeal.

  • http://twitter.com/prayboii Jaspher Balmes

    many still want the old version.. windows 7. it seems that it got more votes in frinzee. Most people want it rather than windows 8

  • http://www.facebook.com/m.sarmad.malik Sarmad Malik

    windows 8 is better but not very efficient in working,,,,windows 7 is user friendly and the only thing wich is prominent in windows 8 is it’s user interface and graphics but according to working 7 is better

  • http://www.facebook.com/m.sarmad.malik Sarmad Malik

    i am using both 7 and 8 but 7 is better because of different compatible softwares….

  • William

    Thanks for the information Ahmed .

  • Sathya

    hello guys…..Recently i was using win 8.the following drawbacks are identifying in my laptop..
    1)battery backup is 100mins only i.e.if it shows 60%battery time is 60 mins.
    2)small bugs such as brightness adjusting keys,wireless lan key were not worked..
    3)game is very sow even though having 1gb graphics card..
    4)problems in installing software like .net
    5)heat emmitted very high,fan speed too very fast even playing low memory game like angry birds,subway surfers..

    plus
    1)start/shut down time

    the above problems are still experienced on my laps..but i dont knw what about others…so please tell me if u knw….
    note:there is no such problems experienced while using win 7,

  • http://www.facebook.com/trax9.pk Mustafa Ali

    Not very impressive, stats are beautiful.. but Microsoft should come up with atleast 50% increase in performance in all areas, whether its gaming or office.

    Thumbs up for Ahmed bhai!

  • Trevor Murphy

    I love the looks of Win 8 and the new Start menu (I heavily customize PC’s) as well as Microsoft integration. I will stick with Win 7 until several programs (not Microsoft) are not compatible with Win 7.

  • http://www.sjfpc.com/home.html Steven J Fromm & Associates

    So if you are going to buy a new computer for business, what operating system would you buy? And if it is Windows 7 can you still buy it?
    Also, should you just get a Core 7 or are Core 5 and 3 acceptable for business. (I run a fairly large tax program during tax season.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/hectoravi Hector Aviles

    I AM A VIDEO EDITING DO YOU WILL RECOMEND WINDOWS 8 FOR VIDEO EDITING….

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  • przeeemo83

    Just instaling back w7 after 5 months with w8… It feels faster but im getting to many problems and was reinstaling w8 every month. First my laptop stoped responding to restart or shutdown (no fix for that, try everything on the web) than windows update despaired… After that power options gone.. Now after playing metro game restarted laptop and cpu spikes with no obvious reason. No update helps. MS support is bad people complain all over internet no fix… Feels to me its tablet system and im tired of reinstaling system all the time…

  • Nick

    Also notice higher copy speed in Windows 8.

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  • Likhit

    First of all I would like to thank the author for the report.

    I have been with 7 for quite a long time, just to check the OS i got 8 installed on ma system, regardless to say i was amazed with the performance of windows 8, so i told ma frnz bout the same and they tried it as well and even they were amazed. I do agree that Windows 7 is better with 3D graphics, but then if I wanna rate both OS on a scale of 1 to 10.

    I would give Windows 7 a 7 outta 10 and yes Windows 8 would definitely go 8 outta 10.

  • chris cranmer

    Pc manafacturers LOVE people who leave computers on standby. The power supply unit wears out faster and the machine gets skipped, making a sale all the quicker. .

    • Dmitry Avgustis

      I ve changed many pcs in my life, and everything that went wrong, had nothing to do with power supply.

      • chris cranmer

        It may not, if you never stumped up the money for a graphics card, or you bought a dell or hewlett packard. Their oem supplies last.
        Cheap pc’s however, the psu is a crappier kettle of fish.

  • Chetan Patil

    Well apart from startup and shutdown times, there is not much significant level of difference between the performance of the two as far as things apart from gaming are concerned. Why waste money for 8 sec of startup time when you can get better gaming experience in Win7 and lots of usability for desktop environment without touch displays? Moreover the so called revolutionary “Tiled” user interface is a waste of space for desktops with no touch input.

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  • Trisnoadi Wikantoro

    Very good.. Thank you

  • Antreas Arkoudi

    i stay with windows 7 for now

  • galacticcannibal

    Hey Dude.
    I loved the way you presented your report . Ur. simple visual graphics were great. I made up my mind based on your report. We will buy our 3 new dell PCs with Win 7 and not Win 8.
    Thanks again Dude..

  • Robert Gråwe

    Considdering the metro interface, windows 8 is much slower than 7.
    Meaning you accidentally moove the cursor just to far out to the edges and shit happens, that you don’t want.

    For anyone who just want a clean, fast operatingsystem to house your games and applications, and don’t want to spend time fooling around in stupid menus, W8 is a tragedy.

  • Omer Aslam

    really awsome review.

  • http://www.clubvalenciacf.blogspot.com SlickR

    Win8 slows down considerably if you have a classic start menu installed. Thing is most of the programs use 100mb memory and are loaded from start, using processing power to run the program.

    So, while win8 is tiny bit faster at the core, when instaling classic start menu that advantage goes down the drain and you end up slower.

    • Dan

      The task manager says Classic Shell uses 1.4 mb of the memory and 0% of the processor time. So far I had no problems with it whatsoever. If you do you may consider using StartIsBack, which pretty much uses native implementation of the start menu that the MS guys didn’t remove (yes, it is still there in the explorer.exe, which pretty much means that the only reason Windows 8 is missing a normal start menu is because a bunch of stubborn imbeciles in the company management won’t let programmers put it back in place)

  • Naveen

    Good one with fact about both windows, I should say that I have personally experienced the things mentioned in this article. Keep up the good work Author :)

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  • John Khamu

    Now using window 8 and I will revert back to 7 soon. A lot of bugs on 8 such as wifi issued, cant shut down sometimes, auto restart itself, more. I am now running Win8 pro 64 bit for laptop… will back to 7 soon.. Bye buggy win 8…

    • Tigas

      Agree. I use Windows 8 64bit too. Even though I like the faster boot and shutodown times this OS isn’t for me. Wifi adapter stops working, limited acess internet bug, League of Legends freezes (in 7 it didn’t so I asumme it’s SO fault, I did everything I could do fix this with other tools) and the start menu is completely irrelevant to me (I use a laptop, the touch thingys were clearly made for touchpads).

  • John

    This just a tweat of Microsoft’s Performance Settings on its Windows 7 meaning Windows 8 is 7 so i have Windows 7 using it right now and i can make it fast like Windows 8

  • Alvise Bagolini

    Excellent review. Just one hint, the scale is confusing: Y axis does not start from zero so for example the last plot is a 102 vs 103 which means identical performance. All gaming performance and transferring performance is about the same for both OS. cheers!

  • coraga

    Want Win 7 to boot up quicker? Get a SSD Hard drive, plus win 7 has the aero look unless you like the new win8 boxy look ewww

  • Jancox13

    Im using windows 7 right now and I have plan to upgrade to windows 8.
    is that necessary for me to upgrade my windows to 8 ?
    I’m using my PC mostly for gaming
    anyone can answer my question ?

  • Jackson Ang

    I want to buy a new laptop! But i dont know which one i should buy. Win8 or Win7?

  • Tim Carter

    They forgot to mention – Most games that came out more than 3 years ago will refuse to run properly or at all on windows 8.

  • joca

    I think that Windows 8 is better than Windows 7…..

  • Rui

    win 7 is better than 8 wista xp millenium 98 95

  • Snake Plissken

    You can’t put a number on just how frustrating of an experience working with windows 8 is, wait for an extra 10 seconds for windows 7 to boot is an absolute pleasure when you compare it to the frustration windows 8 is once it boots.

  • John

    Yes Windows 8 is taking over graphics performance too much but its performance is better than windows 7 while windows 7 performance is slow in other tasks but in graphics its the top i don’t know if you want gaming and graphics go for windows 7 if u want performance and fast working go for windows 8 dear reader that’s what the blog says