7. Action Center. Originally I thought this was merely a new name for the Security Center. But in fact Action Center does more than its predecessor. In addition to altering security information (Windows Update, Windows Firewall, Windows Defender, User Account Control, Network and Internet security settings), you can now access maintenance information and troubleshoot computer problems. Here you can check for solutions to problem reports, perform backups or recovery, and more. Yes, it's a one-stop shop.
6. Jump lists. When I first saw a jump list, I'll admit it, I thought it was stupid. After using them a bit, I've changed my mind -- they can be pretty helpful. Right-click a taskbar button, and a jump list will show you common actions such as opening a new tab in IE8. You could even add your favorite Web sites to your IE8 jump list and, with a click, jump to a site. It may only save you a few seconds, but time is money, right? In an enterprise, those seconds add up over thousands of users.
5. Live download for applications. While Internet Explorer and Media Player are still included with Windows, some applications now require a download. You can download Windows Live Call, Windows Live Family Safety, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Movie Maker, Windows Live Photo Gallery, and Windows Live Writer all from the Windows Live download site. Personally I don't use these applications in Windows Vista, so I like the idea that I don't have to install them on a new Windows 7 machine. And yet I can grab them if I want them. For example, one item you may need to download is Family Safety because Parental Controls no longer include the ability to block Web sites or track your child's activity.
4. Energy-efficiency improvements. One of the most active topics in the industry is energy efficiency. Sure, we all want our systems to run faster and appear more powerful, but not use more power in the process. Go green? Absolutely -- but maintain the same and better speed. So the engineers for Windows 7 have been very focused on doing just that: reducing the power consumption and environmental impact. Windows 7 is designed toward that end by building on the energy-saving features already existing in previous OS builds like Vista with its Power Options, which reduces power consumption when the system is idle, and Shutdown options that allow the system to go into "sleep" mode. Windows 7 focuses on both reduction of idle power consumption and supporting new device power modes. Read more about it on the MSDN blog.