No one is more surprised than me that I am featuring Windows 7 as a cool tool. I hated the early versions of Vista with a passion and still don't like it. I've always tended to not care about operating systems. I just wanted an OS to run my applications. But Windows 7 delivers on the broken promises of Vista. If you are still using Win XP, you should understand that you have an upgrade path. (Although if you have an old computer with XP, it probably makes more sense to buy a new PC with Win 7 preinstalled.)
I won't go into all of the great features here, but the Federated search is really impressive, particularly for those of you who never used a third party desktop search tool like X1 or Copernic. Pinning the most commonly used applications to the Taskbar is a nice timesaver. Even the old Windows Calculator has a face lift; now it does many kinds of unit conversions (temperature, weight, area, and eight others), date calculations and amortization of loans.
I have to confess that I probably wouldn't be using Windows 7 yet if my Executive Director hadn't asked me to do a presentation on it at the annual meeting of the National Association of Bar Executives in August with Catherine Sanders Reach of the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center and Nerino J. Petro, Jr., the Practice Management Advisor for the Law Office Management Assistance program of the State Bar of Wisconsin. As a result of that presentation Nerino prepared Windows 7 Resource Links that are Useful. I strongly suggest you visit that resource.
There is a nice collection of articles in the PC World Windows 7 Center with numerous free articles like 10 Tips That Make Windows 7 Simpler and Windows 7: The Top 10 Hidden Features.
Ellen Freedman points us to a free 50 page guide to Windows 7 from Gizmo.
And for many of you lawyers still using Windows XP, will want to read Scott Basset's post on why you probably want to buy Windows 7 Professional Instead of Home Premium.
If you are moving from XP, there will be some re-training. If you are moving from Vista, there will be happiness. "Upgrading" from Vista isn't easy as a removal of the old OS and a clean install is required. But i really think most every Windows users will like Windows 7 — a lot!