The install finished without a hitch and it wasn't long before I was running Windows 7. And I really mean it wasn't long; the news out there about how fast it boots is right on the money. From hitting the switch on the computer through booting to a usable environment, Vista takes about 5 minutes on my system. Windows 7? Less than a minute. Maybe a touch over half. Usability land isn't all rosey good news, though. The first program I tried to get set up was Google Chrome, my favorite browser. It turns out it has known compatibility issues though, and while technically it will run, it can't render pages, making it kind of useless. So I installed my second choice, Firefox 3. That one, I'm happy to report, does run perfectly well right away.
Windows 7 has a lot of new features, and I won't go into them all here because, well, because Microsoft isn't paying me for this. That, and I haven't even scratched the surface of what's changed in this thing. The new task bar is both good and bad. I like how you can pin applications to it, similar to the way MacOS works. I like the preview windows; they've improved over Vista's previews and now act as a selection mechanism for apps that have more than one window open. I don't, however, like the fact that the quick launch icons are gone now. I can understand why, since you can pin shortcuts to the bar, but as a creature of habit, it's going to take me some time to get used to that change.
I've had some issues with audio as well. At the time I write this, my Creative X-Fi sound card isn't supported, so I won't get to test out Fallout in the immediate future. It's a good thing the games I'm actively playing right now are console games; Animal Crossing: City Folk on the Wii and Persona 3 FES on the PS2 are going to be getting most of my gaming attention for a while, I think.
The Win7 interface has been cleaned up a lot from what we got in Vista, and for the better as near as I can see. I haven't dug too deeply into things like changing network configurations and other nitty-gritty details yet, but I was up and online with it in no time, and those things I have tried to configure have been pretty easy to get to. My adventures with Windows 7 are just beginning, and I'm sure I'll have more stories to tell, both good and bad, in the coming days and weeks.
For now, thank you for putting up with my long-windedness!