On my work desktop machine, I recently ditched Vista and installed Windows 7. I had heard from reliable sources (not the commercials on TV) that it was a worthwhile upgrade. I would classify the difference as night and day, especially in the speed department. One of the people whose opinion I respect recently stated that he had upgraded his computer from Linux to Windows 7, and his use of the term ‘upgrade’ was intentional.
I finally have a 64 bit operating system on my desk, and I am not running into the compatibility issues that I did when I was running 64-bit XP on my home machine. If you have a 64-bit OS and 64-bit native applications, you get a nice speed boost, and you can run 32-bit applications with no noticeable penalty. I say noticeable because there is overhead involved in emulating the 32 bit system.
My work laptop also runs Vista, the original Dell OEM install. Laptops tend to be slow performers on their best days just because of the tradeoffs required to achieve small size and low power consumption, but I’ve been having serious speed issues with it lately. Despite having 2GB of RAM, it seems to always run at 70-75% memory utilization, and 70% seems to be the threshold where the memory manager starts freaking out and swapping things to disk while you’re trying to use them. I believe that Win7 would probably solve these issues, I’ll have to ask if I can have a license for it.
I’ve read in more than one place that Windows 7 is also faster than XP, even on older hardware. This is not a theory that I’ve been able to test, because my current work machine has never run XP. I would like to buy a copy for my home PC and take it for a spin.