Compare Windows 7 Professional to Windows XP Thesis

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¶ … Windows 7 and Windows XP Professional

Windows XP Pro vs. Windows 7 Pro

Comparing Windows 7 and Windows XP Professional Series on the Effects of Usability Enhancement and Security Enabling Greater User Adoption

Situational Analysis

The usability of operating systems has often been one of the top impediments to their adoption through corporations. The recent prioritization of security within operating system design has continued to amplify this issue (DeWitt, Kuljis, 2006). Operating system designers are forced to often make trade-offs between the usability of the next-generation operating systems on the one hand, and the need for augmenting security significantly on the other (Furnell, 2010). This paradox of usability, and its implications on operating system adoption throughout an enterprise, is the basis of this comparative analysis of Windows XP Professional vs. Windows 7 Professional.

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Both operating systems today enjoy broad adoption throughout large, enterprise-level accounts (Wildstrom, 2009). The design objectives of Windows 7 Professional are prioritized in support of intensive security first, followed by greater usability second (Bradley, 2009a). Windows XP Professional's top design objectives included more of a focus on integration, backward compatibility to Win16- and Win32-based applications designed for the widely adopted Windows NT and previous generations of Windows operating environments (Bradley, 2009a). The progression of Windows NT, to XP and finally to Windows 7 Professional has been one where Microsoft transitioned away from integration and backward compatibility to embrace usability and security as equally high priorities in the development (Wildstrom, 2009).

Statement of Problem

TOPIC: Thesis on Compare Windows 7 Professional to Windows XP Professional Assignment

To define in quantifiable terms the contributions of security and usability in Windows 7 to enterprise-wide adoption of this operating system. Implicit in this analysis will be the quantifying of the relative value of enhanced security and usability features in Windows 7 relative to competing UNIX, open source Web-based including Google Chrome, and platform open source operating systems including Linux operating systems.

The paradigm of relying on operating systems as the basis for personal productivity applications is today going through a revolutionary change. This is forcing the existing desktop operating system market to achieve only single-digit levels of growth while also bringing about saturation in the highly profitable enterprise market. The growth of Internet-based applications and the introduction of Google Chrome, in addition to open source operating systems including Linux are all challenging Microsoft's competitive position. These alternatives to Microsoft's operating system are known for having much greater levels of security and usability (Botha, Furnell, Clarke, 2009).

To counter these competitive threats, Microsoft designed Windows 7 to have more security features than any other operating system in its history (Wildstrom, 2009). Balancing usability and security to attain high adoption rates within enterprises is critical to Microsoft retaining its high operating system market share in enterprises (Bordum, 2010). The problem is one of knowing by just how much the combination of security and usability has contributed to greater adoption within enterprise accounts, which is the one market segment that generates the majority of Microsoft revenues and profits.


The greatest single challenge in having an operating system accepted enterprise-wide through any organization is overcoming resistance to change (Bordum, 2010). This is the reason that change management programs and strategies are put into place, to enable the rapid and widespread adoption of new systems, processes and technologies (Bordum, 2010). The issue for Microsoft is to evaluate how effective and successful their re-vamp of Windows XP Professional to Windows 7 Professional aided in attaining the goals of greater security and usability, while also contributing to higher levels of adoption of their latest generation operating system as a result.


The following are the definitions used throughout this analysis.

Adoption Rate -- the relative level of use that applications accomplish within organizations that both for-profit and non-profit in scope.

Open source -- the approach to the development applications, operating systems, and platforms that seeks to provide equal and egalitarian access to them at the source code level.

Operating System -- the main code base of software which manages all functions of a computer system including synchronizing peripherals, systems calls, and performance management functions.

Usability - the study of how the man/machine interfaces of a software programs that enable them to be more effectively used (Furnell, 2010).

Operating System Security -- the collection of technologies that enable operating systems to perform their intended functions without disruption from internal or external threats.


The lack of empirical data specifically regarding Microsoft Windows 7 adoption due to the combination of security and usability improvements is the greatest limitation. This will be supplanted with studies of adoption rates based on upgrades of Windows XP Professional to Windows 7 Professional by enterprise-level accounts over time. The level of usage of Windows 7 Professional security features adoption because of usability improvement has yet to be empirically and impartially measured outside of Microsoft. These factors must be taken into account and a methodology developed in order for the premise of this study to be attained.


The delimitations of this study include the potential lack of cooperation regarding adoption rates and the success of change management initiatives in enterprises that have transitioned from Windows XP Professional to Windows 7 Professional. Third party research firms including Forrester Research, Gartner Group and others track adoption rates and the results of change management initiatives as part of their advisory services. Overcoming this delimitation is possible from these sources.

A second delimitation is the combined effects of enhanced security, greater usability and higher performance of the Windows 7 Professional operating system influencing it support within enterprises. Chief Information Officers (CIO) who mitigate and eliminate risk from information systems to ensure their companies can operate effectively runs it departments are critical infuencers of Windows 7 adoption. The delimitation of getting their insights is a critical one that must also be overcome for this study to succeed.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Choosing the correct operating system for the task and setting in which it will be used is one of the most important decisions that an it professional has to make. The functional differences between Windows 7 Professional and Windows XP Professional can be found by reading the product literature. However, when it comes to performance, one has to consult those who have installed the software and perhaps tested it. The following literature review will examine existing literature, as well as any methods used to compare these two operating systems.

Software-based Performance Tests

A side-by-side comparison published in PCMag conducted a performance test of the two operating systems. At this point, Windows XP has been around for nearly a decade, but it is still a popular operating system. Surprisingly, Windows XP outperformed Windows 7 in many of the categories. The study was conducted by doing a clean install of both operating systems on a1.73 GHz Toshiba Satellite M45-S260 laptop with 1GB RAM and a 100 GB hard Drive (Muchmore, 2009). This system was well beyond the parameters needed for both operating systems. The side-by-side comparison to also compared Vista to these, but the results of this test will not be considered for the purposes of this study.

In addition to the operating system, the researcher also installed Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate, Windows Live Essentials including Mail, Moviemaker, Photo Gallery, and Messenger. The researcher also installed Picasa 3.5. The researcher felt that testing a PC with no programs installed would not be an accurate assessment of how the system would perform in a real world setting. The researcher then tested startup and shut down times for each OS. A series of benchmark tests were also performed three times each and the results of these tests were averaged for the final presentation.

Muchmore found that at startup, Windows XP actually started fastest, then the researcher notes that the machine that was used to test these products was built during the days when XP was popular in the other two OSs had not in been invented yet. It may that newer machines started faster because they were built with the other two newer operating systems in mind. The results of this test will be more relevant to those who are upgrading from XP one of the other operating systems, rather than purchasing a new system altogether. Most people will be upgrading using an old machine, according to the article.

The results of Muchmore's study found that XP booted nearly ten seconds faster then the other two. Whether this is significant or not depends on user preferences. From a practical standpoint, this is not a big difference. On shutdown times, Windows 7 had the fastest time of nearly eight seconds faster than XP. XP outperformed Windows 7 in terms of Picasa video encoding by nearly four seconds.

The researcher then used PCMark05 Benchmark to run eleven system tests, each of which represents a certain type of PC usage. These benchmarks included hard disk access, 3D and graphics physics rendering, webpage rendering, file decryption, multithreading with video, audio, text editing, and image decompression. This test then renders a number that equals to a performance… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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