@Solomon Grundy, and a few others.
I can acknowledge your findings. I have a handful of non-it folks running windows because they need to run some windows-only software. There is notably less support calls from those who've been upgraded to Vista, and given a crash-course in using the help system on Vista. Too bad this will be ruined, because some smart-ass search-giant wants to replcae the search system with one that can profile the user for directed ads (run a Vista machine on the same network as a network sniffer, after you've answered "no" to Microsoft's question about sharing usage data, and you will see that Microsoft actually does as it promises. Only thing spooky in that traffic, is something that looks like an SHA hash of the windows serial number, combined with the serial of the HDD, mainboard, and cpu. I guess this is because I'm running an OEM version. This traffic pattern is the same for Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate.) The data sharing of Windows, even with usage-data sharing _ON_ is far better than the load of traffic generated by google "desktop search". While Microsofts search-solution indexes and keywords your hdd content in a file on your computer, it seems that the comparable google product leaves the same index file on their servers aswell. Yet I don't see the "Windows is bad"-crowd yelling about googles data-collection. Maybe they don't care about the possibility that google's "no" to share officially with a TLA government organisation, may be a smokescreen over their non-official sharing? (The government org gave in far too easy, compared to what they've done to others)
Back to Vista:
I've found that Vista performance in day-to-day use is atleast comparable to XP, if not better, on the same hardware. Vistas performance on hardware XP alas lacks the driver for (adding a robson stick) is a LOT better on Vista. Period. Again I have to wonder how many of those being negative to Vista in the comments have actually USED Vista, and how many are regurgitating "facts" from "/."?
as for disk io being slowed in Vista, I doubt it, if you're running with the latest patches. However, I've found that some Antivirus programs will slow _ALL_ shell disk operations down to a snails pace in Vista. I'm guessing some of these AV manufacturers didn't quite want to make a real vista version of their product, but wanted a quick hack that would atleast install on vista. I've seen AV software steal as much as two thirds of the disk speed, without giving any indication in cpu load. In my book this pretty much says that the software is piping disk io through their process, which runs at "idle cycles" priority. I think Microsoft would do wise to release a patch that blocked these hacks from running again until the user had answered yes to a question stating something like "This software is NOT compatible with Windows Vista. Running this software will slow your machines disk operation by as much as two thirds. Do you really want to continue? Yes/No/Tell me more". Might be more fair towards Microsoft aswell, and let the end user make a more educated answer. This type of dialog should pop up on ALL software that uses system calls that isn't really compatible with (for instance) win32. (Yes, there are programs today that insists on using the old win/16 apis, and people are blaming vista for the fact that this software is slow on modern computers. Look above. To help you, search for the phrase "some of the code is 25 years old". What's the chances that code uses anything but the win/16, or even dos/16 system calls? I'm guessing that same user is just as hostile to a 64bit windows with 4 gigs of ram, compared to a 486 DX50 with 128MB ram, because their 25 year old code runs faster on the 486 using Windows 3.X? Maybe such users have so many speed issues on modern computers, Windows Vista is the least of them? (Notice, I said DX50, not DX2/50. Big difference.)
So far I've seen Vista as atleast comparable to the older windowses in performance, and FAR more end-user friendly. Of course, speedwise it's still windows (and FAR from FreeBSD), but it really works. Really. Those of you who comment on it without ever having tried it: Try to comment based on your own experiences, not something you've heard from some bloke down at the pub you can't remember the name of.