I've been working with Vista (for the past several months on my Media Center and since pre-RC1 on my main box), and I must say, I'm impressed. It's come a long way in the last year, and has really shaped up into a solid OS. Can't say it's a must have upgrade for the average joe yet, but I'll get it.
- Glass. Very pretty, lots of nice graphical touches that make the system feel more natural.
- Compatability. Pretty much everything I've thrown at it has run without a problem except for graphically intensive games, and that's more a problem with drivers, than anything. Visual Studio 2005 runs great, even before the SP1 release.
- Media Center support.I like that Media Center is built into the system. I've built up a nice HD Theater recording system in my office, and I can capture a good number of shows in HD with an OTA antenna. And then watch it over the 360 in my den.
- Ready Boost. Easy way to add affordable memory to the machine, Not that I'm adverse to cracking open the case, but memory can be expensive, and flash memory is a lot more affordable.
- autounattend.xml on a usb stick. I don't know if this was a feature before, but you can put an answer file on a USB stick and do an unantended install of the original media. Nice for a hobbyist like myself to re-install without going through the same settings every time.
- Windows Sidebar. To me, the lack of ability to run gadgets with real access to the local machine makes it poor use of real estate. Get desktop sidebar instead.
- Driver issues. Not so much a MS problem, but NVidia and soundblaster need to get good drivers out. The geforce drivers glitch up several times a day.
- UAC. I understand the concept, but it means I can't do a lot of things from the command-line, so off it goes.
There was something else I was going to put here, but I can't remember what it was. Guess I don't have that many dislikes after all. I remember what it was. You can't put a PCI card along side a PCI-E or AGP card and get Glass effects. In fact, it just won't bring up the PCI card at all. Pretty frustrating way to lose a third monitor, and there probably should be a better warning about it.
All in all, it's going to be a nice upgrade from XP, and even nicer from 98 or even 2000. The Windows team has come along way. Congratulations, and can't wait to see the finished product.