welcome, Let me be the first to welcome you as a new maya user if no one has already. I can try to help by providing what i know about maya and max since i was also a max user many moons ago.
1) You can make a hot key for the 4 panel view by going to the menu Window>setting and pref>hotkeys there you select catagory>windows and to the right of that select four panel view and to the right of that select a hotkey.
2)what i do here is before importing my image plane into maya i use photoshop to make my image a 1:1 ratio (3x3, 5x5..so on) then when i import it doesnt distort. If you look on www.highend.com
you might find a script to do this in maya. Note: with maya, you dont need plugins to do most of the things you need as oppsoed to max. Maya has its own programing language, so you can write your scripts to do just about anything you want or download someone elses script.
3)you can find the edit poly window in the modelling menu. make sure your in the modelling menu in the upper left part of your screen.
And after calming me down with some orange slices and some fetal spooning,
E.T. revealed to me his singular purpose.
--TOOL, 10,000 Days---