That's just the point -- people shouldn't have to do anything to get Acceptable performance. It should work passably STRAIGHT FROM THE BOX. Most people don't have any particular interest in computers. They just want to switch them on and run the applications they are interested in.
So we have these problems with Vista straight from the box.
1) The ultra mega mega annoying whole UAC experience.
2) Vista would regularly for no apparent reason just stop for a while due to hard disk(s) thrashing -- often for up to 10 - 15 minutes a time --not a pleasant user experience even if there are ways to fix this.
3) Networking Vista into an XP mix was a real pain --most people at home want to share things like printers or disks but for a lot of people getting XP and Vista to co-operate was a real pain - especially X64 Vista with X32 Windows XP.
4) zillions of unnecessary services would be continually running making the whole OS really sluggish at times - even on a 2Gb core duo laptop running an application like Photoshop was a nightmare.
5) The number of different versions etc was totally confusing to the user -- for example what does Ultimate really deliveer to a home user that Home Premium doesn't apart from Remote Desktop.
Fixing some of these problems especially in optimising services requires computer knowledge way beyond the average users level of competance.
Windows 7 just "Loads and Go" even on a 1Gb lowly specced laptop. This can even run Photoshop acceptably as well.
I doubt that you'll get many users wanting to revert back to Vista after using Windows 7.
There's always ONE somewhere so I'll probably expct to see a whole set of threads about "Why I prefer Vista" -- well if they do that's their priviledge. Reality however shows that Microsoft so far has come out with a Winner in Windows 7 and it's only a BETA remember.
1. UAC is very easily disabled choice. there is a simple Help feature is windows, which had anyone complaining about it, taken the time to type.... "Disable UAC" in help, could have easily found a solution. all these people you talk about, who just want the system to up and go without any computer knowledge... that's exactly the people UAC is aimed at protecting.
2. i've never had an issue with thrashing in Vista, i had 2GB in my system when i ran Vista. my general multi-tasking consisted of anywhere from 2-6 applications at a time. if your HD is using that much Page Filing, then you obviously need more RAM. memory usage is based on the individual application, not the operating system. *see #4 for even further detail about programs being to blame for lack of memory*
3. i've never had an issue with networking, but if theres issues with XP and Vista compatibility... fair enough.
4. again, not the fault of microsoft. microsoft doesn't go out and tell all these programmers, to create applications that run background services. these companies do that themselves... and if your using Norton Anti-Virus or some bloatware like that... then i really have no sympathy for you. learn to disable the services or go complain to the software company that made the services that are slowing your system down... not microsoft.
5. i'll admit the versions are confusing. that's why Windows 7 doesn't have as many versions, it's already being fixed.
no one is saying Vista couldn't be optimized to use less memory, but if Vista slows down when you start installing applications, then it should be extremely obvious what's causing the bulk of your problem. i agree with you on #5, and i'm not going to split hairs about #3.... but the rest of your post is easily avoidable. it's just a matter of, whether you choose to know what your doing, or keep dishing out money to Geek Squad.