Windows 7 vs. Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3 – Feature Comparison

Courtesy of Microsoft

With Windows 7 Release Candidate Build 7100 already out the door, and the next iteration of the Windows client heading straight for RTM, it was only bound that Microsoft would kick start the Windows operating system measuring contest. The Redmond company needs to ensure that all potential customers understand the added value that Windows 7 brings to the table in comparison to its precursors. The best way for the evolution of the Windows client to stand out is to place Windows 7 side by side with Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3, and allow for comparison. Make no mistake about it, the biggest “competitors” for Windows 7, namely the operating systems capable of impacting its success in terms of gathering market share, are XP SP3 and Vista SP1.

Windows Client Feature Comparison: Windows XP SP3 | Windows Vista SP1 | Windows 7 is focused on an audience of IT professionals, one of Microsoft's main targets when it comes down to evangelizing the next version of Windows. This does not mean that end users cannot access the resource in order to get a perspective over just how Windows 7 compares to older Windows releases. “This chart compares features of interest to IT professionals across three versions of the Windows client operating system: Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP1, and Windows 7,” Microsoft revealed.

There are no less than five categories in this comparison: File Organization and Search, Remote Access, Security & Compliance, Management and Deployment. Just a short look at the chart and one detail becomes extremely clear. While Vista SP1 does manage to hold its own against Windows 7, with a variety of features shared between the two releases, XP SP3 is left in the dust. There are no less than 27 features out of the total of 34 that have been introduced in Windows 7 and that are not available in XP SP3. For Windows Vista the number is 21. At the same time, even the items featured by both Vista SP1 and Windows 7 have been improved in the latter.

32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 (Release Candidate) RC Build 7100.0.090421-1700 is available for download here.

Here are the new features in Windows 7 that are not available for either Vista SP1 or XP SP3:

- Libraries

- Search Federation

- EnterpriseSearch Scopes – Requires Windows 7 Enterprise

- DirectAccess – Requires Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 R2

- VPN Reconnect

- BranchCache – Requires Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 R2

- Mobile Broadband

- RemoteApp& Desktop Connections

- BitLocker To Go – Requires Windows 7 Enterprise

- AppLocker – Requires Windows 7 Enterprise

- MultipleActive Firewall Profiles

- Domain Name SystemSecurity Extensions

- Biometric Support

- Scripting of Group Policy Settings – Requires RemoteServer Administration Tools for Windows 7

- Windows Troubleshooting Platform

- Problem Steps Recorder

- Remote Access to Reliability Data

- Dynamic Driver Provisioning

- Multicast MultipleStream Transfer

- VHD Image Management & Deployment

- Rich RemotingExperience (Multimedia, Bidirectional Audio, MultiMonitor)

- VHD Boot


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