We already know (or at least strongly suspect) that the next major Windows release, code-named Windows Threshold, will bring back the Start menu. And there may be some other helpful features for us desktop users, too. According to the folks at Neowin, Windows Threshold could have virtual desktops:
Microsoft is considering bringing virtual desktops to Windows Threshold. The feature, which is already on other platforms like Ubuntu and OS X is currently being tested and is said to have similar functionality to that of Ubuntu. You can activate the desktops with a button on the taskbar (subject to change) and there are keyboard shortcuts that let you jump between active desktops.
Virtual desktops made a brief appearance in Windows XP as part of Microsoft's PowerToys bundle, but we haven't seen them since. Meanwhile, as Neowin points out, virtual desktops have remained a staple feature in OS X and most Linux distros.
I've got dual 24" monitors hooked up to my main PC, so I probably wouldn't stand to benefit much from virtual desktops there. On my laptop, though? Yes please. Being able to switch between multiple discrete workspaces is a godsend on a cramped 13" display. I made heavy use of OS X's Spaces feature on my old MacBook, and I've missed it ever since switching to a Windows-powered ultrabook.