Well, it is an improvement...
I'll give it that, light years better than vista in terms of performance, stabiltiy, and look/feel.
A few notes: (OK, more than a few)
1) cant resize the fracking start menu!!! since it's now more of a tree than a menu, and browses like explorer, this needs to DYNAMICALLY F***ING EXPAND. You can't even MANUALLY make it bigger.
2) only way to see traditional control panel list is to change settings on steart menu to display control panel as a menu list instead of an icon. Control panel folder is a web page, not an actual directory...
3) still can't move a user from drive to drive with a 1 step proccess, have to use a preferences pane to move each sub folder manually one at a time (and MANUALLY create the target folders, which have to be named exactly right btw).
4) even LESS options for backup, including that now you can only keep 1 system image at a time and have less control over file backups than before (including that in sheer stupidity it deletes your CURRENT GOOD image to make a new potentially bad image, and it does this EVERY DAY if you want file backups every day, so in essence, you no MUST make DVD backups of your system image. They're also equally bugged as Vista and can not be moved/copied once made or the restore utility won;t find them. Since they have further crippled this, don;t even bother, just get a real backup program like acronis, and whatever file backup too came with your external HDD or NAS (or deploy a WHS w/ FP3)
5) Control panel design is completely inconsistant. took me 5 minutes to notice the stupid "add printer" button in a place noone would typicalyl go looking for it....
6) Task manager still sucks. they bought Sysinternals YEARS ago, yet nothing has moved from procxp to taskmanager yet...
7) can resize the icons on the task bar, but they don;t actually change in SPACING, so changing the size give no additional room for icons...
8) no equivalent to quick launch bar anymore. Have to pin lots of icons to taskbar and have Aero graphics enabled to tell which are running and which are not. Also, if I have an excel window open, clicking the pinned icon switches to it or minimizes it, and does not launch a new instance of excel, which is what i want, so you have to open the start menu to open more then 1 version of the same application.... (maybe there's a keyboard shortcut to do this, but since there's no manual, who knows...)
9) not a single new screen saver. Theme templates are nice, but not very customizable (can't control what images rotate on the desktop directly, or how often, very little customization outside of colors)
10) Advanced power options have been further limited.
11) XP mode is a joke. Seriously, if you;re going to make me A) understand how to run virtual machines, and B) have to patch, secure, and maintain is as a complete seperate machine, the LEAST you could have done was cross integrate the user home folders, let me control the VM hardwaree more directly, automatically share connected devices like printers, and make the cross integrated apps show up in a unified apps menu not segregated under a seperate virtual machine menu system. this is WAY behind VMWare or Parallels integration, and not even a comparrison to Rosetta which "just worked" and didn't require intervention.
12) networking at home with other non-7 systems is now more difficult for everyday users. Netowork controlls in general are more obscured as well, buried behind difficult to read control panel panes, and less consolodated than before.
13) still no automated checkdisk/defrag functions. C'mon, it's been 14 years, since NTFS came out, can't we finally get some tools to automatically maintain system health!?!?!
14) Every program I've launched since i installed launches in full screen mode by default the first time. 7 is good about remembering window positions (mostly), but c'mon, nothing in a multithreded OS should ever launch full screen, as if we didn't run other programs concurrently...
15) search options still suck, but it seems faster, and indexing seems to behave and not slow down the machine. in fact, without tweaking the Os AT ALL, its faster than either XP or Vista was tweaked to it's fullest on the same hardware.
16) still no virtual desktops, yet again staying at least 5 years behind all the other competitors.
OK, for the nicities:
A) jump lists and libraries are a nice attempt at making browsing more productive. Its easier to get to more recently used things.
B) mouse-over pinned icons shows all windopws seperately for running programs, making switching easier.
C) it certainly is faster
D) No issues with my hardware. Have to get a new copy of Roxio though to keep ISO and CD burning features working that should have been free with the OS since Win98SE...
E) even viewer window is now resizable. Granted, it should have been from day 1 in Vista, but at least it works now.
F) UAC is friendlier, snappier, and I can control how often it pesters me. It's still useless as anyone without a clue will simply click OK, and anyone with a clue doesn't need the prompts that an AV client would not already disclose...
G) It's prettier.
Verdict: Honestly, to have to sepnd real cash on a real PC to run this "well" you need a decent Core 2, 2-4GB of RAM, a FAST HDD, and descrete graphics. Yea, it'll run on less, but not "well" and certainly not in a state i could use as my only PC. If I'm gonna spend $1000-1500 on a decent PC to run this on, i might as well buy a mac and run it on that with Boot Camp... It;s a worthy replacement for XP, but it's not worthy enough to continue to buy PC hardware. (I'm too old, too busy, and too tired to keep manually rebuilding systems; I want warranties and someone else to be responsible, and at that price, no boxed PC or laptop compares to Mac hardware, i've looked, hard, at leats, not once you considder a few apps like adding backup, AV, productivity suite that's compatible with Office and syncs with Exchange, etc).