Many of the elements that we use every day in modern versions of Windows have their beginnings in the early days of computer. First, the Command Prompt, which is still very useful in Windows 7, is based on the functionality of the command interpreter that was part of MS-DOS – command.com. You can still use many of the same commands today that were used in the 1980s.
Second, the use of icons has been with is since the Xerox and Apple computers first introduced them and they are still the primary way that we launch files and applications. This is true for desktop and laptop computers as well as most handheld devices.
From Windows 3.1, we still have the concept of the Control Panel in Windows 7. The Windows 3.1 Control Panel had a whopping 11 applets in it right after installing Windows. Needless to say, Windows 7 has many more applets in its Control Panel, but the Control Panel remains just the same.
To see an interesting video demonstrating the history of the Windows operating system through sequential upgrades from one to the next, search for Chain of Fools: Upgrading Through Every Version of Windows at YouTube.com.