I've been using Windows 7 for some time now and to say that I'm impressed is quite an admission. I got the early commercial pre-installed version of Vista and it was a late Alpha version, not a release version at all. The beta version of Windows 7 was more stable than the release version of Vista.
Here are some things I like about Windows 7.
It runs on almost anything. I put the beta version on a pretty old Fujitsu Notebook, and aside from some drivers that were outdated, it installed and ran without a glitch. I did have a problem with my wireless, but like I said, this is a pretty old computer. The release version was able to find usable drivers so that problem was resolved.
The system footprint is so much smaller than Vista's that there really isn't any comparison. Consequently it runs fast. I can't do a direct comparison to XP, but in my estimation it is probably pretty close. Where Vista would take two pots of coffee and a TV movie to reboot, Windows 7 has rebooted before I can return with the first cup of coffee. At first I thought it was still hung up waiting to shut down, but then I realized it was just waiting for me to enter my password and continue.
Networking is unbelievable. Where Vista would take its own sweet time connecting to my network, Windows 7 connects almost instantly. The new homegroup makes local computer sharing almost seamless. In a nutshell, it works. Another lesson learned from Apple. (Windows, by the way, was "borrowed" from Apple who "borrowed" it from Xerox - just don't try "borrowing" from Micro$oft...)
Right now I'm running Window 7 on two computers. My HP Pavilion dv6000 series laptop and an el'cheapo Compac Presario. I connect to the Internet via Wireless N with the Compaq through a VPN so I maintain my US presence even while I'm not in the US. I connect my laptop through the Compac using ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) when I need to use the VPN. Otherwise I also connect through the wireless. While there may be some slowing down using ICS, it really isn't noticeable and I do play an online game that requires the VPN.
I know there are a lot of Micro$oft bashers out there, and believe me, I have been at the forefront more than once. For you old timers who can remember, my background is CP/M--something the young bucks probably never heard of. I've been through every iteration of Windows and I used Unix (not Leenix--the proper way to pronounce Linux) since it was a pure geek operating system. In those days a "hacker" was someone who worked to make programs smaller, faster, and more efficient. Today the watchword is bloat. The bigger the better. Requires more hard drive space, more memory, faster systems, and more money from the consumer. Yea for corporate profits. But that's the way life is.
Perhaps this time Micro$oft has done something close to right. I'm using Windows 7 full time and will probably buy the release version when it finally comes out.
Compac Presario, AMD Dual Core 2.30GHz, 3 GB RAM, 114 GB Hard Drive
HP Pavilion, Intel T2080 1.73 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 111 GB Hard Drive