I have to say, Microsoft really did a great job here. The beta version of Windows 7 (Build 7000) is far more usable at this stage than Vista ever was. All my issues (see here and here) with Vista are not present here.
- Wireless worked immediately; during setup, no less! (screenshot)
- All my hardware was detected and drivers automatically downloaded from Windows Update, without my intervention. (screenshot 1: All drivers installed; screenshot 2: Installing my SATA card)
- User Account Control is 100% less intrusive, and doesn’t hang while blanking the screen.
- Aero is Beautiful in this release.
- Paint got a complete overhaul (screenshot: menu) and can do something similar to Word’s AutoShapes.
- Progress bars in the taskbar. (screenshot)
- Calculator now has a “Programmer Mode.”
- It’s fast, in both setup and use.
- Address bar icon in IE8 doesn’t support PNG transparency properly. (screenshot)
- Folders no longer display the size of their contents unless the contents are selected. (screenshot 1: Windows 7; screenshot 2: Windows XP)
- Paint uses the Ribbon Interface (not an issue, just hard to get used to). (screenshot)
While the beta expires in August of 2009, I foresee great things for Windows 7.