I found Windows Vista to be quite polished after I installed it. Many people have said it has major incompatibilities with various programs, but the average user won’t see these. Software companies have had over a year of beta testing to test and release patches for their software to work under Vista. The only program I need that isn’t supported yet is Symantec PC Anywhere. Of course I can use many other VNC / RDP programs to satisfy my remote-server-fixing needs.
Once disabling Superfetch, Windows Search and the User Account Control I found the experience to be quite improved. Disabling superfetch and windows search eliminates most of the performance gap between XP and Vista. Superfetch caches programs in memory for quicker loading and usage which is fantastic for systems with large amounts of memory. Users with any less than 2 GB will find it a nuisance. Gamers and anyone else that uses their computers mainly for single processes (minimal multitasking, such as games, video editing, etc) will likely want to disable this. User Account Control asks you once or twice about every decision you make. It is good for a while, forcing people to re-think their computing decisions, but gets old fast.
Overall, I like Vista and when the first service pack comes I think there will be major adoption in the home and small business sector. Only a few kinks to work out, but still much fewer than the first edition of XP. Remember, XP has had 5 years to mature into a very usable, stable product.
Disable Vista Superfetch here: http://www.iishacks.com/index.php/2007/06/10/speed-up-low-memory-system-running-windows-vista/
Disable Windows Vista Search here: http://www.iishacks.com/index.php/2007/06/19/disabling-windows-search-in-vista-stop-hard-drive-running-constantly/
Speed up Vista Start Menu here: http://www.iishacks.com/index.php/2007/06/09/expanding-start-menu-folders-very-slow-in-vista/
Speed up Vista File Operations here: http://www.iishacks.com/index.php/2007/06/09/vista-file-operations-slow-green-bar-in-windows-explorer/