If you have lots of programs running, there's a nice looking screen shown after you've chosen to restart or shutdown. It lists the programs that are still open, and they fall off the list as they close down. You can choose to cancel or to force the action. It seems like a more graceful way than in XP where you can be waiting minutes for it to notice if programs are holding up the shutdown.
The only problem for me is Textpad always has an unsaved doc that I've forgotten about, and I have to cancel the shutdown in order to get back to Textpad and choose what to save or discard. Then I have to initiate the shutdown again. In XP I could always switch back to Textpad to close it, and shutdown would still be in progress.