When Microsoft released Windows 10, the company claimed that you won’t need any additional hardware if your computer already supports Windows 7 or 8.
A few years later, many users have had different experiences.
That leaves many loyal users of Windows 7 wondering whether Windows 10 can be a good replacement and effectively upgrade their PCs in terms of speed and performance.
In this post, we’ll analyze when and how Windows 10 can boost your computer’s speed.
We’ll help you decide whether to upgrade to Windows 10 or stick with the good old Windows 7.
Will Windows 10 Speed Up My Computer?
If you have at least 8 GB of RAM, a multi-core processor, and an SSD to use as your boot drive, you can expect Windows 10 to give you a performance bump.
In contrast, Windows 10 will generally slow down computers with less than 8 GB of RAM and those without an SSD.
If your PC isn’t new and you’re only looking for speed, it’s best to stay loyal to your old operating system as Windows 10 will not offer you anything magical.
The main reason is that Windows 10 has many more components and visual effects than Windows 7 and 8.
Since the computer has limited memory, it’ll have to swap data in and out of permanent storage.
That clogs up the CPU to do extra work, which results in frustratingly slow performance.
Older computers also may run into driver problems with Windows 10 because computer parts manufacturers often discontinue support for their products after around five years.
Note that your mileage will vary depending on your hardware and software.
For example, antivirus programs usually reduce performance.
Higher transfer-rate memory, a more powerful processing unit, and a faster storage unit result in Windows 10 performing at its full capacity, even as far as edging ahead of Windows 11 in some aspects.
Will Windows 10 Slow Down My Computer?
If you have Windows 7 on your computer and want to upgrade to Windows 10, you’ll experience a drop in performance without sufficient hardware.
That’s because Windows 7 is optimized for computers built between 2010 and 2016.
These computers typically have less than 8 GB of RAM and dual- or quad-core CPUs.
On the other hand, being a newer OS, Windows 10 assumes your computer will have more physical resources.
The minimum requirements for Windows 10 are deceptively low, and they’re the same as Windows 7 and 8.
However, it comes with much more functionality.
The operating system consumes more than 3 GB of RAM to load all its features and functions.
Therefore, we don’t recommend Windows 10 on older machines.
The Headache With Old Computers
While we generally consider Windows 10 to be faster than the previous Microsoft operating systems, it could slow down your PC if you’re using an older computer.
As we will demonstrate later, Windows 10 isn’t that much faster than Windows 7 or 8 on older machines.
A 32-bit Windows 10 needs a minimum of 1GB RAM, while the 64-bit version requires a minimum of 2 GB.
Since the 64-bit version of Windows 10 is faster, people have gradually abandoned the 32-bit version.
Plus, you can only install up to 4 GB of RAM on the 32-bit version.
With that in mind, 2 GB of RAM is the absolute minimum for Windows 10.
However, with that much RAM, you won’t be able to do more than turn on your computer to check your emails.
Running Windows 10 in this condition will also engage your CPU, making it run at a 100-percent load all the time.
This is because there isn’t enough RAM to hold temporary data, forcing your OS to move older data to the hard drive and only keep the most recent data.
This causes an endless loop where your computer is busy moving files in and out of the hard drive without doing anything useful.
If your hardware isn’t up for it and you want to use your PC for heavy stuff like video editing, gaming, photo editing, etc., stick with your old Windows 7 or 8.
The picture is slightly different for newer PCs with bigger RAMs and more advanced CPUs.
Computers with a minimum of 4 GB RAM will have no problem running both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10.
You won’t get the best experience.
You can run Microsoft Word and Photoshop simultaneously with little effort.
You can even open a few tabs on Chrome, but good luck playing YouTube videos in 4K.
Another factor in old computers not working well with Windows 10 is their processor.
Old single- or dual-core CPUs only cover the basics of running a newer operating system.
If you install Windows 10 on a computer with a single-core CPU, you’ve already reached the ceiling.
hat CPU cannot run Windows 10, only install it.
You can say goodbye to browsing, writing on Microsoft Word, editing photos and videos, and maybe even using Microsoft Paint!
On the other hand, if you have a quad-core CPU equipped, you’ll undoubtedly get better performance out of Windows 10.
You still won’t be able to run five programs simultaneously, but at least you’ll have a smooth experience with more security and features.
The amount and type of storage on your computer can also significantly affect the performance of your Windows 10.
Newer computers increasingly come with an SSD, greatly enhancing Windows performance and even doubling the speed in some aspects.
However, that’s not the case with old computers, whose I/O performance is limited because they use mechanical hard drives.
If you can upgrade your storage unit, we recommend getting an SSD because it’ll be a game-changer.
If your motherboard has a SATA port, you can add an SSD.
Some new motherboards also have an M.2 interface, allowing you to install an SSD without cables.
This new generation of SSDs called NVME SSDs, are as small as a stick of gum and exponentially faster than their SATA counterparts.
Windows 10 Vs. Windows 7 And Windows 8
After covering the minimum hardware for running Windows 10, it’s time to discuss how Windows 10 performs compared to its predecessors, assuming the right hardware is available.
Windows 10 isn’t a revolutionary OS compared to Windows 7.
While it offers better performance in some aspects, it falls behind in others.
1. Time To Boot
It may come as a bit of a shock, but Windows 10 is slower than Windows 7 and 8 in terms of boot time.
We define boot time as the time it takes from the appearance of the Windows logo to the appearance of a usable desktop.
Techspot’s tests show that Windows 8 takes a mere four seconds to boot, followed by Windows 7 with a five-second boot time, and Windows 10 with six seconds of boot time.
However, it’s unlikely that you will notice this difference in reality.
Many users perceive Windows 10 to boot faster despite the numbers saying otherwise.
The reason is that Windows 10 doesn’t load some of the drivers until after showing you the desktop screen.
Users will often think that their PC is ready to perform when it’s still loading features and drivers in the background.
Previous versions of Windows didn’t use this trick, so users had to wait longer to see their desktop screen.
2. Running Applications
Windows 7 and 10 are neck and neck when it comes to everyday applications like Microsoft Excel.
Windows 10’s improved memory management capabilities allow it to run intensive programs like Adobe Photoshop slightly better.
However, because it compresses the data on your RAM, Windows 10 imposes an overhead.
Therefore, Windows 7 will give you the best browsing experience regarding how many tabs you can keep open simultaneously.
Notably, Microsoft Edge (exclusive to Windows 10) runs faster than Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome on Windows 10.
Other application categories, such as encoding and data compression, yield roughly similar performance across all three versions.
While Windows 7 and Windows 8 offer different performance levels for different games, Windows 10 consistently outperforms the two.
It’s not a surprise since Windows 10 has a unique gaming mode that helps players optimize their gaming performance.
Windows 10 is also better equipped to use the latest drivers and hardware components, most notably DirectX 12, which is a huge game-changer.
DirectX 12 allows games to communicate directly with your graphics hardware, giving you better performance and more realistic images.
Windows 10 Vs. Windows 11
There’s a lot of excitement whenever a new operating system enters the market.
Still, past experiences have taught us that new operating systems tend to take a while before reaching their full potential.
Windows 11 is no exception, so it’s best to stick to your Windows 10 for a little longer.
Generally speaking, there isn’t much difference between Windows 10 and 11, especially when you have a high-performance CPU.
However, the gap becomes wider when a less advanced CPU is used, with Windows 10 doing better in some categories.
For instance, according to Techspot, Windows 10 takes around eight seconds to load, which is one second faster than Windows 11.
This was with a Core i7 CPU.
With a Core-i3, however, the difference is bigger, and Windows 11 takes 11 seconds to load.
On the other hand, since the task scheduler in Windows 11 is different from Windows 10, running multiple programs doesn’t slow down your PC.
Moreover, Windows 11’s I/O performance remains superior to Windows 10, regardless of your CPU.
Which Version Of Windows 10 Is Faster?
Now that we’ve compared Windows 10 to other Microsoft operating systems, it’s time to see which version of Windows 10 is the fastest.
Windows 10 has multiple editions, including Home, Pro, Education, and Enterprise.
Windows 10 Home offers all the core features of Windows 10 minus a few more professional options about security and business.
Windows 10 Pro upgrades on Home by adding special features that help businesses with management.
However, both editions are the same in terms of performance, although the 64-bit version is naturally faster.
Windows 10 S Mode
There’s also a lesser-known version of Windows 10 known as S mode, which stands for streamlined.
The S version is designed to run on devices with limited hardware capacity, such as Chromebooks.
The OS targets users who want the aesthetics of Windows 10 but only have a low-end computer.
Another target group is schools and educational institutions that want to provide students with limited computing power to avoid mishaps.
Computers that have S Mode pre-installed can cost as little as $200.
S Mode is also a good choice if you insist on running Windows 10 on an older machine.
As such, it eliminates a lot of features of the standard version of Windows 10 and instead focuses on speed, longer battery life, and easy management.
However, higher speed comes with a lot of limitations, as well.
In S Mode, you can only install applications from the Windows Store, and you can only use Microsoft Edge as your browser.
This version of the operating system doesn’t recognize EXE files because Microsoft claims they compromise the computer’s security.
Microsoft also claims that verified apps are less likely to have bugs that can crash or slow down your system.
However, programs perform faster, and startup time is minimum.
Frequently Asked Question
1. If I Upgrade My Laptop To Windows 10, Will It Become Slow?
If your laptop doesn’t have an SSD or it has less than 4 GB of RAM, it’ll become slow if you upgrade it to Windows 10.
On the other hand, a laptop with ample hardware resources can benefit from Windows 10’s modern memory management and multitasking features.
2. Why Is Windows 10 So Slow?
Windows 10 isn’t generally a slow operating system.
It’s optimized to boot faster than Windows 7, and its internal algorithms take better advantage of hardware capabilities.
If you’re experiencing slow performance on Windows 10, you should look for a root cause.
Start with your RAM and CPU usage.
They should be below 40 percent when your computer is idle.
If your usage levels regularly exceed 90 percent, you may have insufficient hardware for Windows 10.
Alternatively, a process may be consuming all your resources, which you can check using the Task Manager.
3. Does Windows 11 Make A Computer Slower Than Windows 10?
Many users have experienced that Windows 11 is slower than Windows 10.
However, there’s no definitive answer because the problem is hard to test on a large scale.
It’s also affected by many variables, including hardware, drivers, and other software installed on the computer.
Moreover, Microsoft continues to release updates that improve Windows 11’s performance.
4. Does Upgrading To Windows 10 Pro Improve Your PC’s Gaming Performance?
Windows 10 Pro is a more feature-rich edition of Windows geared toward power users and those who want to use their PC for work.
Most of the differences pertain to security and network management, without many differences in the fundamental features.
Therefore, you’re unlikely to experience a performance boost in gaming by upgrading to the Pro edition.
Instead, it’s better to invest in better hardware or optimize your software for gaming.