Highlighting the main changes from Windows XP till Windows 8! What became better and what is now worse?

By: Unknown, May 5, 2012
As technology advances and new concepts and ideas are becoming reality every day, big businesses like Microsoft have the trouble of having to keep up with the fast development of technology without disappointing its users. Microsoft manages some significant improvements since Windows XP until Windows 8, however among this new features lie a few drawbacks to the OS. My laptop runs Windows 8 consumer preview and previously ran Windows 7. I recently got my hands on a Windows XP laptop and then started realising the main improvements that have been introduced since Windows Vista onward.

The main noticeable improvements in the Windows OS are the accessibility features. Compared to Windows XP, Windows 7+8 have really good accessibility. By this I don't mean accessibility settings for the disabled, however I mean accessing files and applications. So what were the significant 'accessibility' improvements?

Firstly the quick search. The quick search feature was introduced in Windows Vista, developed further in Windows 7 and then IMO became worse in Windows 8.

Windows XP search was completely horrible. It would take you minutes before your results showed up. Look at the image below and remember Windows XP if you don't use it anymore:

Windows XP Search

We then went on into receiving a very similar search UI in Windows Vista and Windows 7. It wasn't just the looks of the new search that made users love it, but also the fact that the results came within a few seconds (1-2 seconds). The image below is what the search looks like in Windows Vista and Windows 7:

Windows Vista Search
Windows 7 Search

Later on, Windows 8 consumer preview was released. This version of Windows I personally hate for many reasons I'll mention later on in the post. Here is a screenshot of the search in Windows 8:

Windows 8 Search

So as you can see there was a great improvement in searches between Windows XP and the later versions of Windows which to search all you need is to click the globe and start typing to get your results almost instantly.

Another feature that was introduced in newer models of Windows is the navigation pane. In the navigation pane you can add shortcuts to your most used folders. Have a look at it below:

What I hate about Windows 8:
As you can see from the screenshot of Windows 8, it has a completely different UI to other models of Windows. The thing about Windows 8 is that it is mainly designed for tablets and touch screen PCs. Look at the screenshot below, it may look pretty cool but it's really annoying without a touch screen. In fact, it's now harder to use the PC using Windows 8 than Windows 7 unless you have a touchscreen device.

Windows 8 start screen

Another example is the Wi-Fi menu, again you might think that the Windows 8 menu looks better, but as I started using it for several weeks I started missing the old menu. Here are screenshots from both versions of Windows:
Windows 7 Wi-Fi

Windows 8 Wi-Fi

Please also note how there is no more globe in the bottom left, instead if you click in the bottom left it will open to you the start screen which I showed you previously in the post. There is no more start menu! I consider Windows 7 the best version of Windows. I will soon be downgrading my Windows OS back again to Windows 7, when I do so I'll probably write a post on how to do it.

On the other hand, there were new features in Windows 8 such as the Windows Store. This is basically an App Store for Windows. Nevertheless, the Store lacks many apps and features a very small number of apps in comparison to other app stores. If you are thinking of upgrading to the Windows 8 consumer preview I don't recommend you doing so unless you have a touchscreen PC.

These were my opinions about Windows. What are your opinions about this huge and 'successful' business? Please share them in the comments section below.


  1. While XP search took a long time, it had the best UX. Give FileSearchEX a try ... it has the best of both worlds. The biggest slowdown with XP I think was because you could not turn off searching inside .zip and .cab files. This plus slow IDE drives back in the day and it took a while.

    1. Thanks for the share! I just downloaded the app and it's great, it's really similar to XP's search except you have more customization. I might be writing a review about this app soon. Unless you want to..

  2. You want even more faster search than Windows Search? Try "Everything" product. Runs on XP and up.

    1. Wow! Thanks for the share. This works a lot faster and is more accurate than Windows' 7 built in search.


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