Windows – Why is Windows 7 much slower than XP on the same machine? Can it be adjusted to be just as fast?

performancewindows 7windows xp

My computer has 2GB of RAM and a 2.00 GHz Core 2 Duo processor. I dual-boot Windows XP and Windows 7.

While I understand that Windows 7 has many improvements over XP architecturally, I just don't understand why my computer gets so slow after a few hours of use on Windows 7 compared to Windows XP.

On Windows XP, things are always pretty fast even when using big-ish applications for a few hours (Visual Studio, Chrome with lots of open tabs). Making the context switch from a memory intensive app that's been open for a good few hours to freshly opening a new one is mostly seamless. Shutdowns always take up to 30 seconds, but usually less.

Doing the same thing on Windows 7 is the complete opposite. Startup is just as fast as XP but that's where it ends. It gets really slow after a few hours, making a "context switch" is usually painful (takes up to 20 seconds) and shutdowns usually take 2 minutes or MORE!

I keep my PC clean, I don't install loads of software, only essentials required for working. My computer's page file is always limited to 3GB (more than enough for my needs). On Windows 7 I use Windows Essentials for security because it is light and I don't use a third-party firewall.

I might be wrong but Windows 7 seems to page memory much more frequently than XP, so it could be that it needs to swap out much more during those times I need to make a "context switch" to another app.

TLDR: Windows 7 is unbelievably slow for my needs, so how can I get Windows 7 to be just as fast as XP on the same machine?

Best Answer

You might try comparing the performance of your machine in XP and 7 with Process Explorer. It can give you information about RAM usage, page file usage, CPU load and a ton of other things. Looking at system behavior after a couple of hours of operation may give you some insights into what's going on and potentially how to fix it.

A cheap fix may be to max out your memory; especially if you notice that Windows 7 hits swap more frequently than XP does.