re: MS will turn this around...
I can remember well when XP was on the horizon - compared to 98, 98SE, and particularly ME (mong edition?), you could SEE that XP was (kind of) more secure, more stable, etc etc. Ok, so some hardware needed new drivers - though most of the time, Win2K drivers would do an adequate job - but there was the sense of a natural transition to a more grown-up OS, though naturally - this being Microsoft, one with teething troubles - has MS *ever* released a product into the wild that didn't feel like a beta version until a couple of upgrades / service packs down the line? Anyway, back to my main thread - you could *see* the value of XP over the Win9x line.
Using vista, you just can't see this. It is an absolute retrograde step, with MS "partners" bottom lines as the main objective, not the poor user who has to jump through hoops to get the simplest task done. At home, for the first time, I'm now considering replacing machines as they die with macs (a mac mini will satisfy my needs for less than half of the price of a slower performing vista box).
If Microsoft were in charge of ferrari, you would see all the power of the engine used to power a glitterball hanging directly over the steering wheel, thus making it the only thing the driver could see, with only a small amount of power being directed to the process of pushing the car forward... (which would then pause for a minute each time you turned the wheel, but I think I've stretched this analogy far enough, probably too far)