If I had upgraded from XP, I would have given this product 5 stars, it really is a very good OS - easy to install, easy to use, every program seems to run on it first time (so far!) and there's some very nice new features.
So, it's perhaps a little harsh that I have only given it 3 stars, but that is purely because, in my mind, I already bought this product 2 years ago when I bought a new desktop with Vista installed. There is very little to differentiate it from Vista, apart from one big thing - it works!
My experience with Vista wasn't all that bad, but I have had constant explorer freezes over recent months and since August, Windows Update hasn't worked at all and therefore upgrading (or re-installing XP) was my only option (I'd tried to fix the problems without any luck). I therefore justified the cost, especially as I thought I might be getting something new as well.
£80 (or £65 through Amazon) is a lot of money to have to spend because the previous product didn't work. I'm not sure any other company would get away with this - if you'd bought a brand new car and it constantly didn't work and repairs didn't help, would you just buy a newer version!?!
Anyway, I did, and I'm happy that it works, happy I got a good price through Amazon, but not happy with Microsoft for not just releasing a further service pack - for this is all this product really is.
As previously mentioned, there are some nice new features (especially if you are coming from XP). The Aero interface is nice to look at, they've added the Snap, Peek and Shake features since Vista, which are all ok, but nothing groundbreaking. The taskbar thumbnails are better than before, especially when you can actually interact with them when using Windows Media Player or iTunes
Windows Media Center is better than before, as is for the most part Windows Media Player - a couple of items have been removed at my annoyance, and the gadgets are a bit better, as they don't have to be on the sidebar (which has been removed) so can be anywhere on the desktop.
But all in all, the biggest improvement is that it works - no freezes, no crashes, no blue screens of death. Hopefully, with future service packs (the first due in December) this will continue to be the case.
So if you want a version of Vista that works, get Windows 7