I think Windows Vista is a fine OS, if you have the hardware. Here's my thoughts on why such a great OS is generating a generally poor response from new users:
I get a huge amount of people who tell me that they heard Windows Vista is way too buggy and is not worth upgrading from XP yet. I think the reason for this is that the beta testing for Vista went way too public and it created this aura of concern. Now, it seems, that everyone thinks that the bugs found during the beta testing are still present today. I'm not sure how many of those bugs are still present, but I know it's not nearly as many as people think.
Also, I have to admit, I think M$ was thinking WAY too far ahead on this operating system. Vista is not intended for many of the machines I have seen it sold on. (Celeron processor, 512MB, with integrated Intel graphics trying to run Vista Basic is a joke). I think that M$ overestimated how many people would just throw out their P4 with 1GB RAM and run to the nearest electronics store waving cash around saying "I NEED A VISTA COMPUTER"
. Those people that walk out of the store with a Core2Quad with 3GB of memory and at least some form of Nvidia 7000+ series graphics, enjoy your new Vista. As for the other 90 - 95% (exaggeration?) of us who want our current machines to run Vista, M$ wasn't thinking about us when they made this.
I have seen Core2Duo computers with 2GB of memory running Vista just as slow as a P4 with 256MB running Windows XP.
Give it about another year, and a Service Pack or two, and I think Vista will be a nice OS. Till then, XP does everything I need, but faster than Vista.
Just my two cents, and I am open to criticism about anything I said.