I was a great fan of Windows 3.11 OS after that I never like any of the Microsoft OS. For my luck the company in which I was working also had inclination towards Open Source products and Linux. So I did dive into Linux for many years. Of course I did use Windows 98 on my old desktop and it was nightmare to maintain that OS and also keeping it fast and clean. Same goes for my earlier laptop which was shipped with Windows XP media center edition. No matter what the OS used to slow down and if I install more than 20-30 programs it used to show signs on over load and slow corruption. I stayed away from Vista as I was able to see on every laptop I migrated from Vista to Ubuntu why people were shifting. God known why Vista used spin hard disk all the time. The light never used to stop slowing down every application it started. Recently I purchased a new laptop that came with Preinstalled Windows 7. Yes I went for Windows 7 laptop over Linux based because it was way to expensive! Of course I had full plan to install Linux on my laptop as soon as I get it. To my bad luck the hardware was pretty new for Ubuntu and Fedora. There were issues in Display, Sound drivers. I decided to use Windows 7 till the time Linux is ready. To my surprise I have installed more than heavy 30+ applications and Windows 7 is still running as peak speed. (I do not have any data to show but its solely on my experience) The laptop still boots very quickly. It starts many programs at the boot time without affecting speed. Also I have not seen any blue screens, registry errors in my 2 months usage, that's really impressive. Also file copying speed in Windows 7 is far fast between USB and laptop or between laptop and network PC than I used to get it on Linux ( I get speed of 25 Mb/Sec in Windows 7 while in Linux I used to get 12-15 MB/Sec) However I have not tested the same data transfer on Linux on the same hardware. I may be wrong cause the new Intel hardware of my laptop is super fast. Intel i3 2.16Ghz with Dual Cores and 4 thread support with 4 GB of RAM and 3 MB cache! Also with 7200 RPM hard disk drive. All in all I'm happy with Windows 7 and its pretty fast and error free OS as of today. The downside of running windows at present is only one that you need to be very careful of viruses, Malware and Windows 7 is no exception to that. I'm running Avast under personal user license with A-Square malware removal both apps are free for personal use.
All the Windows and Microsoft people who are still running XP can move to Windows 7. You wont be disappointed like Vista. Of course do check if your favorite app can run on Windows 7.