Windows 7 includes a lot of improvements in the Windows Explorer. Most of them are fairly obvious, but the new preview pane is likely to go unnoticed (or passed over as the same as Vista’s preview pane) by a lot of people.
The new preview pane supports a much wider range of formats than the Windows XP and Windows Vista preview pane did, including the ability to preview HTML, text files, XML files, images, videos, music, and WordPad files without any additional software installed. If you have Microsoft Office installed, you get previews for all of the Office document formats and if Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed, you can preview PDF files.
To enable the preview pane, you can use the explorer toolbar button, the Organize menu, or by pressing Alt+P: