Hard turning and grinding are precision processes in many cases for manufacturing various mechanical products. Product performance is highly dependent on the process induced residual stress. However, the basic differences in residual stress profiles generated by hard turning and grinding with and without the presence of a thermal white layer have not been well understood. This study aims to compare basic characteristics of the residual stress profiles using an extensive residual stress measurement for five surface types: hard turned fresh, hard turned with a white layer, ground fresh, ground with a white layer, and as heat treated. The X-ray diffraction data revealed distinct differences in the residual stress profiles for the five surface types. Hard turning with a sharp cutting tool generates a unique “hook” shaped residual stress profile characterized by compressive residual stress at the surface and maximum compressive residual stress in the subsurface, while “gentle” grinding only generates maximum compressive residual stress at the surface. The depth of compressive residual stress in the subsurface by hard turning is much larger than that by grinding. The high hertz pressure induced by the cutting tool in turning is the determining factor for the differences in residual stress. High tensile residual stress associates with the existence of a turned or a ground white layer. The coupled effects of high hertz pressure and rapid temperature change induced by tool wear play an important role in the resultant tensile residual stress. In addition, residual stress by grinding is more scattered than that by turning. Compared with the deterministic influence of machining process on the magnitudes and profiles of residual stress, the effect of heat treatment is minor.