After about a week of Windows 7 Professional (32-bit), I can safely say it will remain installed on one of my removable hard drive cassettes. So far, all of my apps and utilities that were running under Windows XP Pro are also running just fine under Win7 Pro. Adobe CS3 Master Collection, MS Office 2007, Quark Express Passport, they're all good. That had been a major concern of mine, seeing how the horror stories of Windows Vista made me loathe to move to that operating system, let alone the follow-on.
The install itself was considerably quicker than even XP Pro, and save for the Radeon HD4670 video and Canon LiDE scanner drivers, everything was discovered and configured correctly. That included my Hauppage TV/FM tuner card. Win7 Pro immediately started up the Windows Media Center setup and requested ZIP Code info, at which point it figured out my local cable provider. Then it downloaded the TV listings, and within minutes I was watching TV on the 23" monitor. Pretty neat!
I find Win7 Pro to be a glossier package than Win XP Pro, and although I've throttled back some of the animation and glitz, I've left Aero alone for now. I'm bummed that Win7 Pro will only use 3.25Gb of the 3.5Gb memory inside my IBM, but that's about par for the course, especially since the video card is a 1Gb resource hog to begin with.
Programs seem to run just as fast as, if not a little quicker than, they did under Win XP Pro. Games like Wolfenstein 2009 and BioShock scoot along very well, so if there are additional overhead requirements for Win7 with respect to hardware and code, I'm not seeing it. I do notice that at idle the Windows Task Manager Performance view shows between 800Mb and 1.0Gb memory being used, so the operating system does require more of that resource.
All in all, my trepidations have been diminished. My legacy hardware runs just fine under the latest iteration of Windows, and although I'll keep the XP Pro hard drive cassette running every now and then, I'll be ready when Microsoft drops support for the latter.