Now legacy apps are more reliable and the Windows 7 system is not encumbered with the extra subsystems needed to handle legacy systems. With Windows XP having been such a dominant player like no Windows platform before, this approach is brilliant and a shrewd move on Microsoft's part.
XP Mode delivers a level of confidence that existing apps will continue to work on Windows 7 even apps that no longer see active development and are not being tested against the newest Microsoft operating systems. Once again, Windows 7 provides more than its predecessor in an area where we would not expect to see this, backwards compatibility. Windows 7 is dramatically more compatible with Windows XP software than Vista is.
Branch Cache's ability to seamlessly store previously accessed CIFS and web resources out to a branch office can, for some businesses, mean that extra equipment and costlier Internet connections need not be purchased, which can result in substantial cost savings and branch office productivity gains. Branch Cache will also reduce loads on central storage systems, allowing file server dollars to be stretched a little farther too.
Direct Access adds seamless a VPN to Windows, which gives users a unified experience between remote and "in office" computing modes. No longer do users need to manage their VPN experience as long as they are online they are connected to the office.
Direct Access leverages IPv6 and IPSec for simple, efficient and extremely secure remote computing. Direct Access is designed to work with Microsoft's existing authentication systems, allowing it to be used for normal, everyday computing without breaking communications with Active Directory. This means that both the machine and the user can properly authenticate even when work working remotely.
At the end of the day, what makes Windows 7 compelling isn't any significant feature. In fact, it is the lack of major features that makes Windows 7 so important. Like XP, its spiritual predecessor, Windows 7 tweaks a working formula.
Vista introduced the new kernel, the new interface, UAC and other features. Introducing change is painful. Windows 7 takes what works and makes it better. Windows 7 is the long term, strategic desktop decision because it is a polished system that introduces small, incremental updates and relies on established features to drive its overarching value. If Vista was revolutionary, think of Windows 7 as evolutionary.