If any pre-beta software ever called for a close look and benchmark testing, Windows 7 was it. I rolled up my sleeves and dove in. I started by examining Windows 7's innards--the kernel and other low-level structures--then slowly worked my way out to subsystem behavior and application runtime characteristics. Because one of the focal points of Microsoft's keynote presentation was improved performance, I looked for signs that Windows 7 would be faster, more responsive, and less resource-intensive than the bloated Windows Vista.
Bottom line: So far, Windows 7 looks, behaves, and performs almost exactly like Windows Vista. And it breaks all sorts of things that used to work just fine under Vista. In other words, Microsoft's follow-up to its most unpopular OS release since Windows Me threatens to deliver zero measurable performance benefits while introducing new and potentially crippling compatibility issues.