Windows 8 Vs. Windows 7 – Performance Comparison

Windows7versus8By Muhammad Ahmed Javed (Riphah International University)

Microsoft released its latest Windows operating system, Windows 8 on 26th Oct, 2012. With amazing sale price of Rs. 1,310 for the upgrades, Windows 8 soon became immensely popular in every global market.

Today we will do a comparison of windows 8 with previous version, i.e. windows 7.

For that purpose we have done different tests like boot up and shutdown times, file copying, browsing, gaming and some synthetic benchmarks on two identical machines to measure the performance of both the operating systems. We made sure that both windows were configured identically.

imageStartup Speed

Windows 8 Starts Up faster than Windows 7.

Windows 8 took 18 seconds while windows 7 took 27 seconds. Calculated difference is 8 seconds.

Shutdown Time

imageA similar improvement is seen when measuring shutdown time. Windows 8 took 8 seconds versus the 12 seconds in windows 7 while shutting down a system.

Calculated difference is 4 seconds.

It merits mentioning here that Hibernate feature is preferred by massed over shut-down, which is extremely fast as compared to shutting down a system. Moreover, with Hibernate – you get this facility of retaining all the work even while switching off your device/laptop.

imageWake-up From Sleep

Windows 8 shows a marked improvement here as well, however we believe that 10 seconds were too long for a system to get back to life from sleep.

We then tested Windows 8 using our SSD and the exact same 10 second window was repeated.

Windows 7 took 13 seconds to wake up from sleep.

image3D Graphics Performance

3Dmark 11 is used primarily to measure 3D graphics performance, meaning graphics card drivers play a vital role here.

Still the performance was very similar on both operating systems, though the more mature Windows 7 was slightly faster.

You can see the difference in figure.

imageMultimedia Performance

Multimedia performance is said to be another of the strengths of Windows 8, and as you can see when testing with PCmark 7, it was 9% faster than its predecessor.

Microsoft Excel

imageComparing Windows 8 armed with the new Office 2013 suite we found that it was 10% faster when running our Excel test against Windows 7 using Office 2010.

Even when comparing apples to apples, with both operating systems running Excel 2010, Windows 8 is more efficient using the CPU cycles to its benefit on simulation.

imageTransferring Multiple Large Files Together


Windows 8 features a new Explorer interface for transferring files, which provides more accurate data on transfer speeds and estimated time of the completion.

It also stacks multiple transfer windows together. The UI is awesome, but on the performance side of things there is little difference when transferring multiple large files together or individually.

Windows 8 and Windows 7 deliver similar performance in both situations.

imageTransferring Multiple Smaller Files Together


When transferring thousands of smaller files we also found that Windows 7 and Windows 8 offer the same performance.

Different Browsers with Windows 7 and Windows 8

imageAs you can see the desktop version of the IE10 browsers on Windows 8 delivered virtually the same performance as IE9 on Windows 7.

Chrome works better in windows 8 as compared with Firefox running on identical windows 8 computer. Also both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome performs faster in windows 8 then windows 7. Internet explorer works very slow in all version of windows.

Gaming Performance

imageBy testing several games on both systems we concluded that both operating systems provide similar performance with a very slight edge to Windows 7’s advantage.

Comparison is given below of two different games.

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 runs just a bit faster on windows 7 than Windows 8 for both resolutions 1680×1050 and 1920×1200. The difference isn’t significant, though. Similar to the previous 3DMark test, this relies on graphics drivers more than anything else.

imageBattlefield 3

Look at gaming performance at Battlefield 3. As you can see both operating systems provide similar performance with a very slight edge to Windows 7’s advantage.


Microsoft seemed to hit full stride with Windows 7, developing a fast and efficient operating system. Thankfully it seems Windows 8 continues to build on that pattern as we found it to be on par with and occasionally faster than 7.

The improvements that have been made to startup and shutdown times are self-evident, and no doubt a major focus on the new OS’ development as this will particularly benefit laptop and tablet users.

At the end we concluded that Windows 8 is faster than windows 7 in some aspects such as startup time, shut down time, wake up from sleep, multimedia performance, web browsers performance, transferring large file and Microsoft excel performance but it is slower in 3D graphic performance and high resolution gaming performance.

Battery life improves enough to be noticeable. Moreover Windows 8 is significantly more secure than windows 7 and it is basically designed to take advantage of touch screens while the windows 7 is only for the desktops.

If we’re running windows 7 on our current PC, then there’s no urgency to upgrade the hardware just to run Windows 8.

A more comprehensive review of this comparison was first published at TechSpot