i really like the look and feel to the mail app in OSX leopard. i have had macs since 2008, but i sold my macbook to fund my new gaming computer, glad i made the decision instead of buying another mac because of price for performance, but i REALLY miss OSX and spaces, expose, mail, the dock, pretty much everything about OSX that i know and love. i might start researching hackintosh because win7 just doesnt do it for me. ill get another mac in the future, probably used or a refurb so i dont have to pay apple tax.
looking for something that is clean, when i close it it will do back ground notifications.
There are two ways you can go about getting a mac-like email notification.
The first is to use Object Dock. This is an OSX-ish doc that has many, many plugins and applets... including one for email.
The second, is to browse through the Windows 7 gadget library for a desktop gadget that does what you are looking for. Maybe one like this. The only problem with Win7 desktop gadgets is that some of them are lacking in the quality area. However, you may find one that does what you need and does it well.
i used to use object doc a little over a year ago with XP SP3, i had completely forgotten about it, thank you for the suggestion! i remember object doc had a link for a lot of really nice looking wallpapers