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Windows 10 vs Windows 7: What You Need to Know



Earlier this week, Microsoft showed everyone what they could expect from Windows 10. Forget all the new features and changes for a second though because its price was the biggest thing to come out of the keynote. For the first year, absolutely any Windows 7 user who has the latest updates installed will get the Windows 10 update absolutely free of charge.

With pricing like that, upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 7 is expected to be a pretty easy decision for some. It’s the latest version of Windows, and Microsoft has made changes that it hopes will satisfy touch users and mouse and keyboard users alike. The question now becomes what you can expect when you upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Windows 10 vs Windows 7 – Start Menu vs Start Screen & ContinuumWindows 10 1

If you’re reading you for whatever reason decided that upgrading to Windows 8, Microsoft’s current operating system, wasn’t what you wanted to do. Maybe you were comfortable with the features Windows 7 offered. Perhaps you were very attached to an app that was included in Windows 7? Whatever the reason, you’re now looking at taking a major leap.

Ironically, Windows 7 users who upgrade to Windows 10 are in for less of a big shock than they think. You may have heard of Windows 8’s Start Screen. In Windows 8 everyone was forced to interact with the Start Screen, which completely takes over your entire display. Windows 10 users can expect a Start Screen that matches what’s available in Windows 7. It may look different but the idea is the same. To the right of recently used files and folders is an area reserved for the Live Tiles of apps download from the Windows Store.

Windows 10 vs Windows 7- Gadgets Vs Live Tiles

How to Get the Start Menu Back in Windows 10 (8)

Once upon a time, Gadgets were the way Microsoft hoped you’d get basic info. Windows 7 didn’t introduce them, they were actually available in Windows Vista. You simply downloaded your favorite Gadgets for the latest news or weather. In Windows 7 they float on the right side of your screen.

In Windows 10, Gadgets are dead. Technically, they died in Windows 8 when Microsoft introduced Live Tiles. Think of Live Tiles as everything you might have loved or hated about Gadgets. They show your latest emails, who just sent you a friend request on Facebook and more. You can resize them and stick them directly on your Start Menu. The trick here is that Live Tiles double as shortcuts for apps. You click on them to look at whatever is surfacing on a Live Tiles.

Windows 10 vs Windows 7 – Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center vs Xbox Music & Xbox Video

The media landscape is a perfect presentation of just how much personal computing has changed since Windows 7 was released. With Windows 7 you might still find yourself watching television in your living room using Windows Media Center, organizing your music collection with Windows Media Player and watching DVDs effortlessly.

Throw out everything you know about media for Windows 10 because there are a lot of changes. First, chances are that you watched DVDs in Windows Media Player or one of the other apps device makers included on their PCs. Make sure you do an upgrade to Windows 10 instead of a fresh install or you’ll lose the ability to play DVDs without purchasing another app. Not only has Windows Media Player been relegated to legacy status, Microsoft went and removed built-in DVD playback. To be clear, you can still purchase a DVD player app if they’re really important to you.

Windows Media Center is no longer part of Windows. In Windows 8 it was a separate download for users who purchased Windows 8 Professional or purchased a device with it loaded already. If your Windows 7 PC has a TV tuner that you depend on, wait until Microsoft announces its Windows 10 plans for Windows Media Center. It’s entirely possible that it won’t be available at all.

Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center were shown the door because almost everyone streams their television shows, music and movies. Xbox Music and Xbox Video support the latest entertainment options. Xbox Music will playback MP3s and other audio files you own. You can also sign up for Microsoft’s Xbox Music subscription service. Xbox Video supports all the video files you’ve probably been downloading the VLC Media Player desktop app to watch. In addition, you can purchase more television shows and movies inside the app. There’s also support for video rentals. Windows Media Player is still around, Microsoft just isn’t improving on the application.

Instead of plugging a cable into your phone or tablet to sync your media, Windows 10’s apps handle this automatically.

Windows 10 vs Windows 7 – Alt Tab vs Task View

Windows 10 9860 Update Whats New & Different (5)

Perhaps you’re a habitual user of Alt+Tab in Windows 7. It’s still there but Microsoft has made significant changes to the way users switch between apps and manage the apps they’ve already opened.

Windows 10 has the Alt+Tab shortcut, but it’s been fine-tuned a bit. Now, all the apps that are open lay flat across your screen, giving you a better idea of what’s going on in them. Windows 10 also includes multiple Desktops. With the feature, you can partition your personal life from your home life and keep all of your personal apps in one screen meanwhile your work apps are sitting in another. They’re out of view but they’re still running.

Windows 10 vs Windows 7 – User Accounts vs Microsoft Accounts

If there’s one thing you’re going to probably have trouble wrapping your head around with Windows 10 it’s going to be Users Accounts. Simply put, a user account doesn’t give you as much access as it used too. Don’t misunderstand, for now you can create a local account that’s specific to your device, but you won’t want to.

Microsoft Accounts are what the focus is on these days. Adding a Microsoft Account to the User Account you already have unlocks Xbox Music, enables OneDrive storage, lets you back up your settings and purchase new apps and extras in the Windows Store. You’re going to need one after the upgrade if you don’t already have one.

If you have ever used OneDrive, Microsoft Office 2013, Xbox or, you already have a Microsoft Account. You’ll just need to add it to your user profile when prompted.

Windows 10 vs Windows 7 – Built-In Search vs. Cortana

Windows 7 allows users to open an app simply by pressing the Start button, typing a few letters and hitting enter. The same is true of Windows 10. The big change is that all other forms of search powers rest in the hands of Cortana, Windows’ new personal assistant. You can use Cortana to search for files, apps and folders like you can today. You ca also ask her to check the weather, send a message or set an appointment.

I said “ask” because Cortana takes both text commands and voice commands. What’s more, there’s a setting to have Cortana always listening and waiting for your commands and searches without a button push.

Windows 10 vs Windows 7 – Taskbar & Notifications

Windows 10 9901 (8)

Where the Windows 7 Taskbar was clear and barren, the Windows 10 Taskbar has all sorts of extras. For starters, the taskbar is where Cortana, that aforementioned personal assistant lives. There’s a search bar specifically for her.

On the far right of the Windows 10 Taskbar is the Action Center. Here you can choose different settings to quickly access. It’s also the one place all apps will surface notifications for you to check out.

Windows 10 vs Windows 7 – The Windows Store

Windows 10 2

In Windows 7 it’s your responsibility to seek out and find quality apps that extend your experience beyond the ones Microsoft includes. A long time ago, finding a decent app involved searching a web and downloading one from a place that might be a tad sketchy.

It’s not as fully stocked as the web yet, but the Widows Store allows users to download apps from a source they can trust. Some of these apps are among the ones you’d expect like Facebook. Others are utilities that simply make life easier. There are games with Xbox Live support available in the Windows Store specifically to replace Minesweeper and Solitaire.

Any app you download gets added to your app collection and synced to your other Windows 10 notebooks, tablets, smartphones and desktops. So does some of the data it contains if you’ve authorized it too. Apps you purchase sync too.

Read: What is Windows 10?

It’s important that you look at your usage habits and decide whether upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 is the right thing for you. In general, I’d say that it is unless you have specific needs like a Media Center PC or an app that specifically needs Windows 7 (Don’t worry, very little apps aren’t compatible with both.) To be clear, don’t download the preview, wait for the full release.

Microsoft plans to launch Windows 10 in final form later this year.



  1. hashthenazi

    01/25/2015 at 11:12 am

    DirectX 12 is also only Windows 10

  2. bgf

    01/26/2015 at 11:33 am

    i’m flying at 35k feet and felt compelled to leave my drunk ass comment … and my comment is this ….

    adam “assbone” milla can suck my big hairy johnstone


    brock oblama

    • Jim in Montreal

      07/10/2015 at 7:05 am

      Are you on Nationair

  3. Tom Sullivan

    01/27/2015 at 9:47 pm

    I use Win 7 and like a lot of Win 7 users I don’t care for Win 8.1. I think a users comparison of Win 7 to Win 10 would be most helpful if written by a Win 7 diehard user and not someone who likes and uses Win 8.1. For Win 10 to succeed, even if a free upgrade, Win 7 users must be won over.

    A Win 7 lover would die laughing at your statements:

    “Where the Windows 7 Taskbar was clear and barren, the Windows 10 Taskbar has all sorts of extras.”
    The Win 7 Taskbar was clear and UNCLUTTERED, the Win 10 Taskbar has all sorts of UNNEEDED CRAP!

    “Windows 10 users can expect a Start Screen that matches what’s available in Windows 7. It may look different but the idea is the same.”
    Not even close. Win 10 is not a clean, clear or intuitive interface. Tiles are a mess.

    Really, get a few diehard Win 7 users and put them in front of a Win 10 machine and listen to what they have to say. Besides the swearing that is.

    Microsoft says they are listing to users. I hope they are listening to Win 7 users because that’s who they need to win back for Win 10 to succeed.

    • Jason S.

      06/22/2015 at 7:55 am

      I am a diehard Win7 user, and have been for awhile. Being a gamer, I am looking forward to what DX12 has to offer. I tried out the preview of Win10, and despite a couple “beta bugs,” it looks and feels pretty cool. I’ve always loved the tile interface on my buddy’s Windows Phone, but felt Windows 8/8.1 tiled-interface to be a little too much. I’m glad to see Win10 is combining the best of both. The world isn’t going to cater to those who refuse to embrace change, so just go with it.

    • Frank_B

      06/22/2015 at 3:10 pm

      Agreed. Sadly, most people think that the more bells and whistles, the better the OS, because they don’t understand what a good OS is supposed to be, that is, ultra clean, simple and fast. Windows 8 is the perfect example of a very bad OS, contrary to Windows XP and Windows 7.

  4. Rick

    02/18/2015 at 3:05 pm

    No Windows Media Center is a deal killer for me. What a waste of such potential.

  5. Adam K

    04/12/2015 at 12:02 pm

    I am a hardcore windows 7 user. Have 2 different computers running Windows 7 Ultimate I were to migrate to Windows 10, I would duel boot it. Windows 7 runs fine for me, it is supported for 4 more years, and, NO METRO UI! Also, there are rumors going around about it being subscription baised.

    Overall, I hope it impresses me better than Windows 7!

  6. Nathan Davis

    05/31/2015 at 8:04 pm

    Did they just threw out Windows Media Player on Windows 10?! Not cool! And why do I have to sign-up for Xbox Music & Video now? I mean I like the idea of Windows 10; but they have to keep the Media Player!

    • Travis Pope

      06/11/2015 at 11:17 am

      I’ve clarified this. The latest Windows 10 Insider Previews include Windows Media Player, but without any feature additions. For now Media Player is safe, but the new Music and Video apps will be set as the default and get visual priority it seems.

  7. Deryck

    06/01/2015 at 5:15 pm

    Yeah – my main beef is about the Media Player….
    Will it mean that I will lose hundreds of song tracks & WMV clips that I have in my library? I often had the choice of having an MP4 or WMV version of a video clip or graphics clip and chose WMV because it was more convenient & just as good (sometimes better) than an MP4 version. Will I lose all these clips? Most of them are irreplaceable. They are videos of my work & shows I’ve directed, as well as important graphics clips for use as backgrounds during performances. Will I lose all of them?

    • Markus

      07/29/2015 at 5:34 am

      Don’t worry! As already stated, Media Player is still a Part of Windows 10 BUT the ability to play DVDs as well as other features are GONE for Good (I think because of licensing Problems etc.)

      I am NOT sure if that counts for an UPGRADE as well (from Win7 to 10) and if the Media Player keeps all the functions it has there… Would be nice to know!

      • Ronald Hyatt

        08/20/2015 at 10:18 pm

        It’s GONE, wont work, however you slice it. After near tow weeks I have gone back to Windows!

  8. tom

    06/02/2015 at 4:05 am

    i use Media Centre for my Zen Media Center. this is the only way to put anything on it as it is Microsoft based.
    do i just throw it out when i want to update the content on it?
    i also use it to search for music and to get track info.
    Yes, Dual boot is the way to go with this until they get their heads on.

  9. Dwight

    06/08/2015 at 10:37 am

    I was all set to sign up for the free upgrade until I learned that my library of music files may be impacted. OK, time to put it on the back burner and wait for more information.

    • A D

      06/09/2015 at 2:19 pm

      just backup your library files before installing. If they don’t cave and give it us after everyone starts whining, there will be some workaround to use an old version within a few months/weeks.

      It is irritating – I have thousands of audio clips, all catalogued, as well as music, over 100GB of samples and recording sessions from the recording studio alone. The thought of losing media player sickens me.

      • Deryck

        06/09/2015 at 3:02 pm

        I’m gonna wait a while before I upgrade.

  10. A D

    06/09/2015 at 2:14 pm

    her !?! LOL

  11. Karen

    06/09/2015 at 4:28 pm

    I WANT MY MEDIA PLAYER! So what happens to the playlists I’ve created? Will I be able to sync my music files to my mp3 player? This does not sound like an upgrade to me.

  12. Elysian Fire

    06/11/2015 at 4:06 am

    I’ve got Windows 8 and I hate that X-Box Music app that it uses. I love the WMP it’s my favorite media player to work with!

    Why do they have to get rid of such an awesome media player?

    I mean what killed it for me was that I had to pay $14 a month to listen to music I already bought, commercial free!

    Yes Music I legitimately Payed for! Had commercials in them!

  13. Anthony Floyd

    06/11/2015 at 10:28 am

    Microsoft claims they listened to their customers and created the ultimate in windows 10. Without WMP it shows their not very good listeners.

  14. Nonny Bananas

    06/17/2015 at 12:08 am

    Windows speech does not work now, why will it work in 10 ?

  15. Max

    07/16/2015 at 2:06 am

    The start menu is terrible and many other elements of the user interface are worse than they were in Windows 7. Actually, the implementation of the mobile metro interface on desktop systems was a very bad idea. I can’t understand it so far. Windows 7 interface was really convenient and they shouldn’t have changed it at all. There are lots of things which Microsoft could work on besides the user interface. Windows 10 is slight better than Windows 8.

    Windows 7 : 9/10
    Windows 8: 2/10
    Windows 10: 3/10

  16. Roman Coke

    07/18/2015 at 1:39 pm

    Make it easy on yourself. Screw Microshit and screw Windows! Switch to one of the Linux distros….

  17. Jake

    07/25/2015 at 10:43 pm

    Windows 7 has 4 years left, most of my close buddies have 7 and will be switching to apple. I might do the same. Windows beta 10 is scary, removing media center and adding useless apps just isn’t cool. My Droid has useless apps.

  18. Sandra

    07/25/2015 at 11:51 pm

    Both my desktop (Windows 7 pro) and laptop (Windows 8x Pro) have TV tuners in them, and use Windows Media Center for said tuners. I know there are open source programs but ditching Windows Media Center is a mistake.

  19. bill

    07/28/2015 at 5:51 pm

    well another screw up by Microsoft since media player will not work and or media center it is a deal killer for me . And also read the fine print your free upgrade is for a year then you have to pay for it . and media player will be sold as a app if I want to play on my phone ide use a phone not a pc
    micrsoft you screwed up again

  20. Jessica Desjardins

    07/28/2015 at 10:48 pm

    In Windows 10 they are either dropping the programs I use most (Media Center for cable tv) or are remaking them with less features (Media Player traded for Xbox Music/Video). I wanted to try Windows 10 but ultimately it just won’t do what I need it to.

  21. Andy

    07/29/2015 at 7:28 am

    I ran the upgrade this morning everything went smoothly until I went to run WMP. there were no playlists in it. I have approximately 1100 playlists that I want to keep but I can’t find any way of getting them from the playlists file in My Music into the WMP. I have therefore rolled back to Windows 7. If someone has any idea how I can overcome this problem, besides starting each playlist individually, I would greatly appreciate the info. Until such time as I can do this I will stay with Windows 7.

  22. Terry

    08/03/2015 at 3:57 am

    Microsoft must be plain bloody stupid if they have ditched wmp in 10. Get your head out off your anus and listen to your customers. If you don’t, others will. I have over 10,000 songs ripped from my own cd’s and lp’s, catalogued under performer, song, album, genre, length, composer and other details. I also have over a hundred playlists. If you think that I would be willing to let you destroy this treasured set-up then you must be whistling Dixie through your appendage. Terry.

  23. Andy

    08/03/2015 at 4:02 am

    Terry WMP is still there it is Windows Media Centr they have dropped. Althogh as I stated all my playlists are not showing. Like you I have a huge Music collection and I am not prepared to spend time recreating the playlists.

  24. L0vemusic Always

    08/05/2015 at 9:14 am

    Well I will not be downloading the new windows version until a solution is found for the media player to be able to read the playlists. I an not prepared to redo all my would take me an age to do.
    Will check back here for more info if anyone has any or any ideas on a work around.

  25. Paul

    08/08/2015 at 7:29 am

    Been using Windows 7 since the start. I found it a stable platform for wathever I needed a computer to do. Ultimately I had it running on my 3 pc’s. One of them has been ‘upgraded’ to Windows 10. And as I write this it is being reverted to Windows 7. Need I say more? Microsoft, hey guys; one advice, buy Apple shares!!!

  26. Al

    08/11/2015 at 4:48 pm

    I have been using WMP for years and after cutting the cable cord using it for recording and scheduling TV programming. No WMP, no windows 10 for me

  27. Nigel

    08/15/2015 at 7:35 am

    Ok so I just use WMP to play music, I don’t create playlists because my personal music files are already made up as individual playlists and not stored on WMP. So correct me if I am wrong, but from what I am reading from all the comments, that I really don’t need to be concerned about Windows 10 as it still has WMP so that means I can carry on playing my own music files through that.

  28. Susan

    08/15/2015 at 1:33 pm

    I just upgraded from 7 to 10. Windows Media Player still works. I went into settings and made it my default for audio files and so far, so good. I did not have playlists.

    • Nigel

      08/16/2015 at 2:18 am

      Thanks for the info. Out of interest how did the upgrade go, because I am reading loads of horror stories on a different thread on this site, where people are suffering “Black” screens, computers crashing and not responsive anymore etc, etc. Just interested as I am still on the fence as to what to do.

      • suzopedia

        08/16/2015 at 1:18 pm

        I had no trouble at all. Everything still works. This was on my laptop Sony Vaio. My husband upgraded his Asus laptop and also had no trouble. Couldn’t believe how easy.

  29. trockaxenbone

    08/16/2015 at 8:08 pm

    “Not only has Windows Media Player been relegated to legacy status, Microsoft went and removed built-in DVD playback. To be clear, you can still purchase a DVD player app if they’re really important to you.”

    First, who the hell uses Windows media Player for their DVD playback? I don’t care if you’re on Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, or XP, there is no reason to be using this outdated archaic application.

    Second, you do not have to buy anything. There are plenty of free players out there with the codecs to play DVD movies. My personal favorite is VLC Player. But there is also DivX Player, Media Player Classic, Quicktime, WinAmp, GOM Player, and a ton of others. I have not tried all these in Win 10, but since it is the same basic kernel as Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1, the chances are they work just fine. Worst case scenario, you have to download something like “K-Lite codec”.

    i’m not saying you should jump to Win 10. But if WMP is your reason for mot upgrading, you should just throw your PC away because you obviously don’t know how to use it.

  30. Stephan

    08/22/2015 at 9:39 am

    I have 2 mediaplayers A-C Ryan hd1 and a medi8er 500×2. In Windows 7 I could access directorys on my Windows 7 machines with both of my mediaplayers. Now I’ve upgraded to Windows 10 and I can’t access my shares directorys on my Windows 10 computer with my AC Rayan Mediaplayer playon hd1 anymore but with my medi8er I can. Every time I try to logon it rails. What has changed? Is my old A-C Ryan to old for Windows 10? Does anyone know a soluties for this?

  31. Robert battersby

    08/26/2015 at 11:34 pm

    I want be down loading windows 10 until they include media centre or something simular, I will also be advising all my clients not to install windows 10 until this is fixed. All there excuses why it is not included are just plain silly nearly all my clients have dvd player/ burners and would like to still be able to use them.

  32. suzopedia

    08/27/2015 at 9:27 am

  33. Joserblack

    08/28/2015 at 3:11 am

    0==9 my buddy’s mother-in-law makes $63 every hour on the laptop . She has been without work for eight months but last month her income was $21480 just working on the laptop for a few hours. view it now>>>>> Get More

  34. Michael

    09/03/2015 at 1:44 pm

    I have win 7 on my pc and was disappointed when I went from Xbox 360 to Xbox One as it didn`t have the same media centre options, I think I have gotten around that as of now, but reading above the lack of media options in 10 doesn`t appeal to me, All I want to do is stream xvid or divx file from my pc to my tv directly or via either of my xbox 360 or One, what will Win 10 do if I install?

  35. Fred

    10/01/2015 at 7:43 pm

    Did not like w 10. Rolled back to w 7.
    Lost it- it would not work anymore. So much for rolling back!
    Finally got the image that is on a partition of the original hard drive.

    Win 10 – rubbish.

    LISTEN MICROSOFT as you say you do.

  36. fred

    10/01/2015 at 7:47 pm

    While w 10 was installed the IE 11 went potty! And My Kaspersky did too.
    W 10 is rubbish.

  37. Todd

    10/10/2015 at 3:43 am

    When I upgrade to windows 10 hopefully I don’t have a big headache going back if something is not right

  38. Todd

    10/10/2015 at 11:43 am

    Upgrade done everything transferred over fine all my music and files

  39. Eve

    10/13/2015 at 10:49 am

    I hate W10 want to go back to 7, but in settings it states that 7 is only available for a month after you upgrade to W10, so if I go back to 7 and after the month is up what happens to my computer? Does it revert to W10 again, and lose anything I had done on 7 when I went back to it for that month?

    • K Kwan

      03/21/2016 at 1:54 pm

      I think they meant the option to revert back to Windows 7 is only available for a month after your update to Windows 10. After one month, you’ll be stuck with Windows 10.

  40. james davs

    10/17/2015 at 9:00 pm

    No media Center, no download.

  41. connie camacho

    11/01/2015 at 10:33 pm

    , I upgraded to 10 and I’m back to 7 and everything is fine been 2-3 months now. never heard of 7 being available one month….

  42. Marvin Lindquist

    12/21/2015 at 8:36 am

    I upped from 7 to 10. Can not get 10 to sync my yahoo email. 10 may be able to play me an orchestra but it can not even get me to email and yahoo finance which is all I want. How do I get back my 7?

  43. Bob

    01/01/2016 at 8:13 am

    Believe it or not once you hit 50 plus you don’t die. As a matter of fact there are more 50 plus than 49 minus out there. Some do not want change, some do. A successful Windows program should want all age groups to feel comfortable using it. So far that doesn’t seem to be the case. If it were, the percentage of Windows 10 users would be significantly higher.
    It appears that Windows 10 is looking to place a monthly fee on previously included features. Why would I or anyone else want to upgrade to that. If the new windows provides additional features not previously not included, by all means put a charge on it.
    I guess that’s the guise of “free upgrade”. This way they will charge you every time you spit. on that basis ugrading would cost you a fortune in the long run. Do the math. Groove Music Pass is $9.99 per month. Cost: 1 yr= $119.88, 5yrs=$599.40 an 10yrs=$1198.80.
    Good plan if the buyers have nothing better to do then throw money away. I for one don’t. I one hope the millennials are smarter that!

  44. david

    01/03/2016 at 9:13 pm

    With media player not being able to function fully, then I think I’ll stick with windows 7. What good is it to have a DVD drive if I can’t play them

  45. Richard

    01/24/2016 at 6:51 pm

    very upset that I wont be able to view videos, or play wmp music …thats about 80% of what tri use computer for!!

  46. Tom

    04/18/2016 at 11:40 am

    Just got a new computer with windows 10 already installed and I hate it should have kept my xp was told Oh this is a great os three months ago where my email address book?

  47. Gordon Hitt

    04/29/2016 at 10:15 am

    Program’s vs Progress…Mmmmm, I’m Keeping 7

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