Windows 7 winver
Windows 7's winver

Introduction

Windows 7 was released back in the year in 2009, and it has certainly brought a lot of things to the table. Some people may call it a Windows Vista refresh since Windows 7 is built off Windows Vista. Windows 7 has been a huge success that it has eventually overtaken Windows XP and Windows Vista market share later, and Windows 7’s market share is now in 2nd place as of the writing of this post.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats - Windows Version Market Share

The “new” things

Windows 7 has certainly brought a lot of new things to the table including other changes under the hood.

Action Center

The new thing that replaces the old Windows Security Center from Windows XP and Vista. Basically, the new action center now simplifies everything from User Account Control to Antivirus/Anti-Spyware protection.

Action Center window
Action Center window
Action Center notification area
Action Center notification area

Backup and Restore

This was refreshed in Windows 7, a feature that was first introduced in Windows Vista that was eventually removed in Windows 8.1 but brought back starting with Windows 10. Backup and Restore

Homegroup

This allowed users to easily connect their pcs in the local network, basically it’s a watered-down version of Active Directory, a very watered down one.

Homegroup The feature that wasn’t open source and only exclusive to computers running Windows 7 and higher until Windows 10’s April 2018 update

Troubleshooting

The all new Troubleshooting area for all your problems, instead of having to get some Troubleshooting kit in Windows XP or Vista just to fix an issue. Surprisingly, it’s still the same for the most part in Windows 10.

Troubleshooting

Windows Media Player 12

Windows Media Player 12 has certainly brought things to the table like H.264, MP4, FLAC support including other media formats along with new features such as features for the SuperBar, killing off the old “Mini mode” that was introduced with Windows Media Player 9 Series.

Windows Media Player 12

Refreshed things

The way that Windows Vista should have been.

Windows 7’s Index Experience

The Windows Index Experience (WinSAT) in Windows 7 has been increased from 5.9 (Windows Vista) to 7.9 then 9.9 in Windows 8.0, eventually WEI GUI was then killed off altogether in Windows 8.1

Control Panel

Control Panel

Just been made a bit more modern and simple. This refreshed Control Panel is still the same in Windows 10, except Microsoft is slowly but surely hiding the Control Panel by pieces slowly.

On-screen keyboard

On-Screen Keyboard

Long gone the old Windows XP On-screen keyboard that stayed in Windows Vista. This is how it should have been in Windows Vista since it would fit with the Vista theme.

Paint

Paint

Ribbons!

WordPad

WordPad

More ribbons.

Windows Easy Transfer

Windows Easy Transfer

Nice, finally in a window instead of it being in full screen.

Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes

At least you can now actually type in it, unlike where in Vista you could only draw in it since it was just the Windows XP Tablet Edition Sticky Notes ported over to Vista and had a gadget version like the one in Windows 7. Also, the new Sticky Notes allows you to draw in it, if you have a touch screen that supports a pen.

Improved User Account Control

Starting with Windows 7, you can now easily turn down the User Account Control with the ability to select four different options of notifications unlike where Windows Vista would always give you UAC prompts for every administrative action. But, you can also turn it up to Vista-level if that’s your cup of tea.

Has it aged well?

There’s two answers to this question…

Yes

All programs out there at the time of writing this post still support this almost 10-year-old operating system just like how Windows XP has held up with 3rd party program support, including Driver support! Although, most programs and modern up to date hardware may still support Windows 7, it may be with limitations such as no Ray Tracing support for DirectX 11 since it doesn’t support ray tracing. Another issue is the lack of modern emoji support which is huge problem in modern society in communication unless you have the Office 2016 update.

No

The user interface that Windows 7 has, really looks out of place nowadays since every modern application and website user interface is all flat and makes it seem to be quite weird due to two different UI designs. Also, Windows 7’s tablet support isn’t really the best on modern tablets especially those that need a higher DPI for those high resolution displays which Windows 7 has problems with when set to 150 DPI or higher, not only that but the DPI scaling doesn’t always work for every application such as Steam or any other programs that isn’t optimized for high DPI scaling.

Is it still worth using it in 2018?

That really depends on what you need or don’t need, but most apps out there will still support Windows 7 as of the writing this post, but another thing to keep in mind is Windows 7 isn’t officially supported on Intel Kaby/Coffee Lake and AMD’s Ryzen Platform. Support for Windows 7 ends in Jan. 2020 so you might be better off with Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 if Windows 10 isn’t your cup of tea.