If you're jumping from Windows XP to Windows 7 (,which is most likely the case, since Vista wasn't really as successful as XP - in many ways) and not too keen on the geeky stuff under the hood of both OSes, you might want to read this first to somehow prepare yourself for what 7 has to offer:
What are SOME of the most noticeable differences between XP and 7 ?
1. Aero Theme:
On the interface, 7 features the Aero theme, which is basically Windows' new Transparent and 3D look -- something that is absent in Windows XP. It first appeared in Windows Vista and features Live Icons on the new Taskbar that can easily be dragged and dropped (like the tabs of Google Chrome, yes).
Aero Theme makes Windows 7 far more beautiful and easier to use than XP but it also requires a higher-end video graphics card -- so make sure you have that in your system if you want to get the best out of this feature.
2. Windows Sidebar:
Sidebar, which first appeared in Vista, is basically a strip of generally useful Windows gadgets found on the Desktop. These gadgets include Calculator, Clock, Calendar, Currency Converter among others.
3. New Start Menu:
7's start menu is more "conservative" than XP's -- at least, in terms of real estate -- because it is collapsible.
4. Windows Search:
As you can see in the grab above, the Start Menu has a Windows Search box at the bottom. This box also appears in various sections of the OS and it is one of the things that make 7 more efficient than XP ~ Search has been made a lot easier and faster.
5. Windows Preview:
With 7, as in Vista, you can preview what's going on in a particular Windows without having to Maximize the view. All you have to do is to hover on the live icon on the tab to see a small screen grab.
6. Improved Folders:
File folders in 7 show a preview of what's inside. This makes searching for files a lot easier.
7. Better Security:
Windows 7, simply put, is supposedly more secure than XP. It features Parental Controls that let the computer administrator set specific browsing boundaries for other users, especially children. 7 also offers true firewall protection, including bidirectional filters, which scan both incoming and outgoing data.
8. Performance Improvements:
Windows 7 is designed to sleep and resume faster than its predecessors, consume less memory and read USB devices faster.
There you go. A very very brief discussion on the differences between Windows XP and Windows 7 Operating Systems for the not too geeky. I'll add more soon.