|Windows 7 Beta fish|
I think Microsoft had a hard time for a while. Internet Explorer 6 held on for a lot longer than it should have. Windows XP was great after it was released, but it started feeling old after three years or so. (XP just celebrated its 10th birthday). Vista was horrible. After all of that, Microsoft released something great with Windows 7.
It's difficult for me to complement and like a Windows OS. For the past few years, I've been mostly a Mac and Linux user. I've been in the Anti-Microsoft camp for some time. But I do still use Windows at work and every once in a while at home and feel I need to give credit when a company releases a good product.
So what's nice about it? Well, it actually works. When I was in college, I re-installed XP about once a semester because it would get so full of junk and start slowing down. 7 hasn't junkified itself over time in the same way, I haven't ever needed to do a re-install of it.
It is also a whole lot more secure than XP. You don't run as an administrator by default and if you're running the 64-bit version there's more protection against unsigned drivers and rootkits.
For me, the interface is a whole lot nicer to use. The search in the control panel and start menu make it easy to find things. The nice window adjustments that let you maximize a window or put it to half of the screen are helpful. It even comes with some interesting and non-traditional desktop backgrounds.
It's not perfect, by any means, but it is actually a very good product. Microsoft has scored pretty well for me lately. I've written about IE 9 and Windows 7 is another really good piece of software. I hope Microsoft can continue the trend.