Vista is a funny thing as far as like/dislike goes, or perhaps better to say, as far as the reported and/or perceived user experience goes. And it doesn't necessarily seem to have anything to do with computer expertise or even demand placed on the system, or hardware, or anything else.
Take me for example. I've been using computers for over 20 years. I've seriously used every version of Windows since 3.0 and DOS before that, of course. Windows 2000 was my favorite OS for a long time, and it took me a while to embrace XP, but eventually I did and now I love it. XP was going to be tough to beat for me, but I tried Vista with an open mind. Hated it. Nonetheless I bought it (for business reasons) and figured I might as well give it a real chance. So I used it for a year. Hated it. What was the problem? There are a lot, I'm not sure which order to go in.
I'll keep it short for now and elaborate if anyone is interested (probably not).
I think the main things were the new Windows Explorer was *less* usable and functional for the way I work (despite having some good ideas). The new search functionality also sucks in my opinion (I wrote a blog post partly about this and how to fix it in Win7
). The new Taskbar and Start menu changes were not appealing to me (I always set XP to "Classic" mode and turn off taskbar grouping, and turn on Quicklaunch). UAC was also a major annoyance. As a savvy computer user I've seldom, if ever, had major security issues, so it was - for me - a solution in search of a problem, and really just turned into an annoyance. Fortunately I could turn it off, but Vista still bitched about that (Security Center warning). I've also never been an appreciator of flash and glitz, shiny, pretty UIs for the sake of just shiny and pretty (a shiny, pretty UI that improves *functionality* on the other hand is wonderful), and I felt like a lot of the "upgrade" in Vista was things like Aero and Glass, neither of which I needed or wanted. Last but not least, subjectively and objectively, by almost every measure, Vista was slower for me than XP, except in resume from sleep time (boot time was still slower than XP).
The biggest thing, which I did find odd considering all the new tech and optimizations, was that despite running it on a very nice (for the time) quad core with a healthy amount of RAM and a nice graphics card, Vista still felt sluggish and "chunky". It seldom crashed, yes, but it somehow often felt like it was going to crash, and I even feel like maybe my apps themselves were more prone to crash, or at least freeze, under Vista. Overall it just felt less polished, solid, and performant than XP.
Windows 7 fixes that last big problem pretty darn well, at least. The Explorer and Start issues are still there, not to mention the Taskbar is now *irrevocably* changed to something I don't like (did MS forget spatial memory is an important part of UI interaction?). But at least using Win7 *feels* nicer, faster, more solid. Win7 is what Vista should have been, and I'd have been happy to wait a couple more years for MS to get there, avoiding the entire Vista debacle entirely.
So anyway what I'm saying is I'm one of those people who hated Vista with, I feel, good reason, and I do like Win7 and consider it a worthwhile upgrade. Though I do wish MS charged less for it like Apple does. Fortunately one of my newer machines is apparently eligible for a free upgrade.