I have a confession: I actually like Vista. It has some nice new features.
Vista beats the pants off of XP. Both my work laptop and a recently-purchased
workstation at home run Vista (business and home premium, respectively) and
I've never looked back. I can't tell you if it's slower, or if it eats more memory, because I haven't thought about it (because it's not a problem).
I didn't like it at first. They moved everything. Normal control panel
operations were totally moved around, icons changed, start->run went away. It
took me atleast a week to stop looking for folders like "My Computer" or "My
Documents" which had been renamed simply "Computer" and "Documents".
The two best things so far are search related: the start menu search box and
the search box in the control panel are both awesome. Forget futzing around
with %PATH%, the start menu search box will just search for things in the start
menu as you type (and perhaps other areas); certainly a nice touch.
The control panel search is awesome, and actually helped me stop asking "Where
the F is network configuration?"-type questions. I type 'disable uac' and get this result - so useful.
Aero is meh, but it's not displeasing. The task switcher showing a thumbnail of
the actual window is kind of neat and slightly helpful, too. I installed virtuawin to give me multiple
desktops and everything's been peachy.