XenDesktop 7.7: Windows 7 vs Windows 10

Everyone loves a good battle

  1. The Simpsons vs Family Guy
  2. Kirk vs Picard
  3. Star Wars vs Star Trek
  4. Microsoft vs Apple

And now, we have one more, which will be a big debate for 2016… Windows 7 vs Windows 10

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing some of our single server scalability testing results for Windows 7 and Windows 10 across Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer utilizing XenDesktop 7.7. Each test compared a different image management model, Citrix policy and operating system optimization configuration.

What was more interesting, and worrisome, was when we started comparing the same test across the different desktop operating systems. The results went something like the following:

  • MCS Winner: Windows 10
  • PVS Disk Cache Winner: Windows 10
  • PVS RAM Cache Winner: Windows 10
  • User Experience Winner: Windows 10

STOP EVERYTHING! This can’t be right. The ProjectVRC.Team did performance tests comparing Windows 7 to Windows 10 and their tests showed Windows 7 always gave higher density. Did we screw up?

Seriously, we were extremely worried that all of the testing was flawed. But with only a few more tests left, we pressed on to see if the results kept favoring Windows 10.

Surprisingly, the very next test changed everything. Windows 7 gave us higher density.

  • Optimized for Scale Winner: Windows 7
  • Optimized for WAN Winner: Windows 7
  • Optimized OS Winner: Windows 7


How can we explain our mixed results vs other 3rd party tests that show Windows 7 winning the battle of server density all the time? As it turns out, most other tests simply focus on cramming the most number of users onto the server while we wanted to also look at User Experience. And Windows 10 outperforming Windows 7 is due in part because Aero (Aero Glass) in Windows 7 is consuming a lot of resources. Windows 10’s version of Aero is more optimized.

When our tests switched from user experience to scale, using the Citrix policy template, Windows 7 Aero was turned off, giving us a huge jump in density. To prove this point, we ran the same Windows 7 test comparing Aero enabled and disabled and the results aligned. But with Windows 10, we didn’t see the same drastic jump when moving between User Experience and Scale, because Aero in Windows 10 is different than Windows 7. For instance, there currently isn’t Aero Glass, which was shown to consume a lot of resources.

So, what will you decide… Windows 7 or Windows 10? Let the battle begin.

And for what it’s worth, my answers: The Simpsons, Sisko (DS9), Star Trek, Microsoft, Windows 10

Daniel (Follow @djfeller)

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