Dodge Retort: Is Windows 7 more reliable than its predecessors?


By John Dodge

Is Windows 7 really that much better from previous versions…or that much more reliable?

I am beginning to think not all that much given huge expectations for Win7. After using it for 18 months, my question is a fair one. Microsoft can probably show myriad stats to prove that it is, but there’s no substitute for personal experience over the long term.

I raise the question because I’ve encountered crashes on the three computers I have that run Win7. I’ve gotten the blue screen of death a few times on my Windows 7 netbook and at least once on my spanking new desktop.

And while Win7 is probably not responsible, I’ve encountered frequent problems with Flash and Shockwave on my Win7 notebook. Regardless of fault, it adds up to a perception that Win7 is going to give me problems from time to time — granted, less often than with XP. But Win7 has not made all the Windows stability problems go away.

In other words, Win7 is not as big a leap as the rosy reviews in 2008 and the first half of 2009 suggest. There are improvements such as the ability to move between apps more quickly. It starts up and shuts much faster for sure. But as time passes, will more problems emerge? It’s an important question now because many forecast that businesses will be heavily moving to Win7 in 2011.

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16 thoughts on “Dodge Retort: Is Windows 7 more reliable than its predecessors?”

  1. Thomas Weatherly

    I still use XP Pro SP3 for my main computing with 5 browsers: SeaMonkey (default), Google Chrome, Firefox, K-Meleon, and IE 8. I have a copy of Win 7 but refuse to install until support for XP stops. I’d be willing to pay Microsoft up to fifty bucks a year for continued support for security updates after the support ends.
    I maintain some Vista and 7 machines for folk. My experience is that with proper tweaking, hardening of the OS, and selection of security, XP is as secure as 7. My real time security is minimal; I won’t mention what I use, especially the paidware because the editors here may perceive mention as commercials. I will mention the free NirLauncher which gives me access to NirSoft and Sysinternals tools. I have a subscription to Windows Secrets. Note the link to it here.
    I recommend PCPitstop to all my clients, even though the smart ones realize that they don’t need my services as much. If you wish to run XP until Microsoft ends support, this place is a necessity.

  2. I agree and disagree with win7. First of all I have multiple laptops / computers in our home, all of which have win 7 / 64 bit and 32 bit ultimate installed except my main systems that I use most is a core 2 duo laptop with 64 bit Vista. And my desktop multi track recording system. Which uses XP.

    So everyone reading understands all my systems are tweaked and I consider myself a more than advanced user. I use many different high tech programs in my work more than the normal computer user will ever use.

    For one, Windows 7 / 64 bit ultimate for example was on my multi track recording desktop and it was just unstable with simple programs and tasks. My choice is XP for this system because it was built for high end digital recording, Using Cubase / and some of the best high tech audio effect plug-ins available. Win 7 / 64 bit can’t come close to XP for stability running these type of programs.

    Concerning Audio programs XP Blows Win 7 away and is the winner.

    Aspire one net book very stable with Win 7 / 32 bit ultimate, no problems, very quick with no known issues whatsoever, but really this system is only good for internet and the simplest tasks. Not hard to figure out that any OS should run smooth on this.

    i3 core laptop 4 GB ram has Win 7 / 64 bit ultimate seems to be partially stable on this system but compared to my core 2 duo laptop running Vista 64 bit my core 2 duo still seems way more stable running the same high end applications and much faster on boot time.

    For those who have knocked vista I disagree you have just not tweaked it properly. Vista’s only hang up is running high tech audio programs which are not compatible. Other than that vista is a hand down winner with more stable environment including in every other aspect for video editing / Flash programs and web development programs.

    My i7 core 2630QM Asus with 8 GB ram laptop has Win 7 / 64 bit premium running high tech programs as well Although the speed is amazing, the stability running these programs is horrible also win 7 boot time sucks really bad altogether.

    For stability, boot time and speed, using general programs, excluding audio programs. I have to say Vista 64 bit is the clear winner hands down for stability over Win 7. That is until Microsoft decides to fix all known bugs with Windows 7.

    XP is still the best OS altogether but even with Vista’s certain limitations it is a close runner up. Win 7 / 64 bit is over rated garbage.

  3. Tried win7, over all a so-so OS however I went back to my
    reliable XP and will stay with it, probably the most stable version
    of windows yet.

  4. I installed Win7 on a new socket AM3 PC I built a year ago with a DX10.1 video card and it ran great. At least until it began getting patched my MS. From that point it began to slow down and have problems.
    I have many years of experience with XP and had managed to tame it, but it was long overdue for retirement. And just before my Win7 build, I spent time taming a Vista Notebook from Dell that was so loaded with crapware and unneccesary services it would barely run. But it runs well enough now that I have delayed upgrading to Win7.

    I think MS is it’s own worst enemy. They release a great OS (Win7)and then proceed to systematically trash it with patches. I’m ready to reinstall Win7 back to it’s original release and pretty much disconnect this machine from the web. I’m going to put in a Linux partition and use that for internet access. It seems like the most prudent way to go.
    After Win7SP1 is released maybe I’ll install it, but maybe not.

  5. I bought 2 Sony Computers this year with Windows 7. One is loaded with home edition and the other with the professional edition.
    Both computers give me the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). Sometimes they crash several times a day and sometimes only once a week, very hard to pin down the cause. I wish I had my old XP back.

  6. I would agree it is a little more reliable but give me XP Pro back. All the Icons take up space and memory. Do make the backups and Image backups and repair disks. The problems I have encountered were updating drivers and old softwarte. PCPitstop has a new application out with PCMatic which does an excellent job of updating drivers, defraging Hard disks and a host of other uses.

  7. I would agree it is a little more reliable but give me XP Pro back. All the Icons take up space and memory. Do make the backups and Image backups and repair disks. The problems I have encountered were updating drivers and old softwarte. PCPitstop has a new application out with PCMatic which does an excellent job of updating drivers, defraging Hard disks and a host of other uses.

  8. My demands are modest. XP, IE8 and SP3 are loaded on six drives to serve 2 identical laptops for the next 10 years. A few of those drives are cloned from an original XP install from 2006. FIVE YEARS impresses me as a stable operating system. Never got more than 9 months with W98. W95 desktop didn’t come with a disc in 1997, which was standard practice by cost cutting shops, and I ran it for 2 years before getting W98.

  9. After ecactly one year of using 7, I have encountered a computer running every bit as slow, maybe slower than the old one with XP on it. I’ve never gotten used to the new and “improved” file management system, I can’t run some of my old programs, so had to buy the virtual XP for another hundred bucks, I don’t care for all of the bars and docks and stuff and I really, really, REALLY miss Outlook Express.
    I think we were had.

  10. Supposed to make operation easier, but requires a lot of learning. Not easy for us older users. Also don’t like the fact that MS does not support ten year old HP PCS1200 and I have two perfectly good PCS1200’s with no drivers available. This forced me to purchase a new printer. Shame on you MS……

  11. Well im a system builder and i us Win7 pro 64bit and i have got a blue screen from time to time but win7 allways comes back up ok with nothing missing alltho AMD relesed new brivers for my 2 HD 5830,s i have in crossfire allmost a year ago and since then ive only seen one blue screen witch i found out very fast was due to my firewall other then that no blue screen,s have Pop up so im Very happy with Win7 o and ya about windows vista……. Lol dont get me started never get vista and if you have it plz get 7 you will enjoy your computer so mutch more

  12. I am sorry but anytime you perform and upgrade from a previous operating system you are inheriing the old OS problems. I always, always, always suggest doing a clean install versus Upgrades. As for me I absolutely love Windows 7. I don’t have no problems at all. I love the functionality of the XP mode too because I test a lot of programs and some will just not work on Windows 7 Yet. My only problem as stated above is the 100mb system partition. Kind of throws my backup and restore process. I am in service on all PC’s and 80% of the BSOD’s are caused by hardware or infection.

  13. System builder here. My own system with Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit has crashed a few times, but has been recovered each time with the recovery tool on the disk. We haven’t yet had a customer complain about Win 7 crashing, so I believe a system must be pushed pretty hard for crashes to happen.

    Vista is a completely different story. I’ve had it many times, and always before having to activate it. Each and every time Vista required a reinstall as the recovery tool on the disc did not work.

    XP hadn’t crashed on us in years. Seems to me MS took 3 steps back with Vista stability, and then 2 steps forward again with Win 7. That still puts us 1 step behind the stability that XP has. 🙂

  14. i have been using Win7 for about 6 months. Came installed on my new Dell notebook. It is NOT more stable than WinXP but it is faster and more stable than the Vista on my kids HP notebooks. They have now upgraded using clean install also and their notebooks are both faster & more stable. i get occasional blue screens and absolutely hate the fact that MS beefed up the security so much that it blocks me from my own files.

  15. I started with a high end gaming rig (at the time) with Vista Ultimate 64. Because of the rig it ran great with no problems, never a blue screen or any problem at all. I upgraded to Win7 64 and had up to six blue screens a day! I ended up doing a clean install which dropped it to about one or two blue screens a day. The blue screens said it was various drivers (which were all Win7 64x drivers approved by MS). I finally disabled the “Restore point” and make sys images once a week and backup the email daily. Now, at least, it seems to be stable. Question: The drivers are the same as before except the video so, was it the drivers or restore point that was causing the problem? The sys reliabality was between 1 and 2 before…it was that bad.

  16. I purchased this HP dv5-1159se laptop about 2yrs ago with Vista Home installed, it was a slow dog and I regretted buying the machine. I purchased the win7 upgrade with some trepidation. (Do I throw good $ after bad – migrate to Mac?…) Well the install wouldn’t work. I called MS support and ended up with a young lady in another country. We were patient with accent issues and started to work on the problem. After 45 min, we hit a dead end. We backed up my files and did lots of other things and ended up with a clean install. I chose to leave out most of HP’s stuff… Today, I absolutely Love This Laptop and the Win7 OS. I’ve tweaked it for power and speed so most of the ‘pretties’ are disabled. I use this machine for graphics, website design, music, videos… and often am running several resource hog programs at any one time – I’ve tried to stop this machine! Not one blue screen. Not one minor problem… Win 7 is the best OS since my heavily tweaked 98se – so… good luck…

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