After downloading the Windows 7 beta last week and tossing it on a VM, I finally made the move and made it my default Windows installation. Normally, my Windows desktops are VMs that I RDP into from my Macs, via the VMware Workstation console on my big Linux workstation where they run. However, I have an IBM Intellistation zPro running Vista that's my "big box" Windows install. It's been powered off for a few weeks now. Instead, I opted to take an HP 2710p tablet and turn it into my physical Windows 7 box, at least to start with.
There was nothing special about the installation, except for the fact that it thankfully only takes a few clicks. Much to my surprise, however, when the 2710p booted post-installation, just about every piece of hardware was accurately detected and available. A few pieces missed the cut, such as the fingerprint reader, but Windows 7 helpfully pointed that out and even gave me a link to download the Windows 7 driver and software for it. That was very handy.
The new taskbar is supposedly the killer feature of Windows 7, and it's inarguably an improvement over every other taskbar implementation Microsoft has introduced. Unlike some others, however, I don't see this as besting Apple's Dock, but it's definitely a better alternative to anything found in Windows XP or Vista. However, the fact that clicking on an open application icon in the taskbar doesn't actually bring that application window into focus if it has multiple open windows drives me nuts. You have to click the icon, then select the window you want -- too much mousing around.
After reading Tim Sneath's "Bumper List of Windows 7 Secrets," I opted to place the taskbar on the left of the screen, and I find it handier on smaller screens.
The eye candy when hovering over active applications is nifty, and it makes window selection simpler to some degree, with the caveats noted above. Microsoft even introduced single-app window selections, a la Mac OS X's Cmd-~ switcher, but it's really annoying to access. To only switch between windows in the active application, you must hold down the Ctrl key and repeatedly click the icon in the taskbar. This is less than useful. There's an Alt key and a tilde key on this keyboard -- use them.