You can remove the gadgets and you can edit so the taskbar programs actually look long rectangle instead of a square with no labels.
The "All Programs" menu opens like Vista.
edit: I'm loving this OS! My favorite features, by far, are the "shake and clean" which let's you see the desktop, the short cut on the bottom right of the task bar that also lets you see the desktop, and the side-by-side windows that is enabled by dragging on screen to the left and the other to the right. Very very useful. The libraries are pretty useful too. The only thing that's annoying me right now is that I can't get the RivaTuner taskbar icon to stay there.