Microsoft releases Vista vs. XP comparison

Martin Brinkmann
May 26, 2008
Updated • Nov 13, 2017
Windows, Windows Vista, Windows XP

If a company releases a product and a successor of that product a few years later and then a document comparing the features of both products; what would you expect from that comparison ? Any company in the world would obviously come to the conclusion that the new product is far superior than the old one.

Microsoft released a Windows Feature Comparison white paper that compares Windows Vista and Windows XP. The not so surprising result of the comparison is that Windows Vista is superior to Windows XP in all aspects: well except for a few parameters that have not been compared with each other.

Update: Microsoft removed the download from its website. We have uploaded the document to our own download server for archiving purposes. You can download the PDF document with a click on the following link:  Windows XP Vista Feature Comparison

Microsoft is having a hard time convincing the public that Windows Vista is a "good" operating system, that upgrading to it does indeed make sense from various points of view. The feature comparison explains how features are implemented in XP and Vista in two columns and outlines the key differences in a third.

The following features are compared:

  • Security Development Lifecycle (SDL)
  • Defense in depth
  • Windows BitLockerâ„¢ Drive Encryption
  • Windows Firewall
  • Windows Internet Explorer® 7 Protected Mode
  • Microsoft ActiveX® Installer Service
  • Group Policy settings
  • Standard user accounts
  • Reliability and diagnostics
  • Event management
  • Task scheduling
  • Image-based setup (IBS)
  • Deployment, compatibility, and asset -inventory tools
  • Windows Setup
  • Worldwide single-image deployment
  • Windows Mobility Center
  • Sync Center
  • Offline files
  • Network Projection
  • Secure Sockets Tunnel Protocol (SSTP)
  • Power management
  • Wireless networking
  • Search
  • User interface and navigation

The intended audience for the white paper is clearly not the end user but people working in IT. Microsoft compares security, deployment and management which are key features for IT admins who have to weight in on the upcoming company operating system when it comes to making upgrade decisions.

Windows Vista is not a bad operating system. The PC I bought for my mother runs Windows Vista and it's working out fine for her. My major problem with Windows Vista is that, apart from the forced exclusiveness of Direct X 10, it does not provide anything that I would need that I could not have in Windows XP.

Software developers have created so many excellent programs that add to the Windows XP experience that Vista's native exclusive features don't really make for a compelling upgrade argument. Just look at Bitlocker and Search for instance. Instead of using Bitlocker users can install True Crypt, and there are so many desktop search replacements for Windows XP that I stopped counting a long time ago (try Everything for instance).

Microsoft's main problem in my opinion is the lack of new features from a user's standpoint that would make a user say: Wow, that's better. The one key are that they did not mention in their feature comparison is performance and that is probably the area where they could make the biggest impact. But I guess that we have to wait until Windows 7 is released to the public before we see an improvement there as well.

Microsoft releases Vista vs. XP comparison
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Microsoft releases Vista vs. XP comparison
Microsoft released a Windows Feature Comparison white paper that compares various features of Windows Vista and Windows XP.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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