I have been playing around with Windows 7 in a virtual machine for a little while and it does seem better than vista. Its still a major change from XP, the aero does nothing for me. The start button is actuall a lot more usefull and you nolonger need to short and keep it clean as you can just search and the programs you use the most will come up first anyway.
It seems quite fast, a few things are a bit more hidden and somethings are rearranged vs xp, but mostly its pretty intuative from xp once you get used to the layout. Alot of nice improvements re: task bar. with the ability to pin programs to it, so the quick launch is gone, but its a nice feature and its a lot easier to move stuff around and pin stuff and unpin, so you change your work enviroment very quickly to suit what you are doing. The system try is nice and quiet and can be made to be silent. As apposed to vista which was a source of constant annoyance. The problem with MS is that they advertised vista as the second comming, it was not. And its a pattern. 95 vs 98, 3 years difference but availability wise probably only 2. 2000 vs xp, only 2 years. Its been 2 years since vista and win 7 will be released in a few months. XP is VERY simmarly to 2000. Win 7 is very simmilar to vista, but it just works significantly better.