Re: Windows, your reign is over ....
Give it six months to a year and then see how you feel.
I still think Mint is great, but I wrote a few very enthusiastic pieces like yours soon after first installing it and it's not long enough to work out where the frustrations are hiding.
First experiences are that it boots fast, everything works like it should, you can browse and email and all the usual stuff absolutely no problem. For free! Amazing.
Then at some point you'll want to do something that Wine can't handle, or you'll install software through the Mint Software Manager that doesn't work and end up in a cycle of Googling and typing in command line instructions that you don't understand in an effort to fix things.
For me, a couple of those were Picasa (which flatly refused to upload pictures) and MySQL (which is all one straightforward package on Windows and on Linux, not).
Partly it's lack of familiarity with the environment - which isn't Mint's fault - and partly it's that things aren't as simple as on Windows. Whatever slightly more niche thing you want your PC to do - interface with a GPS, run a database, do video editing, whatever... Windows will cope easily and on Linux, you can probably do it but it's harder and your preferred choice of software might never work.
It actually makes you appreciate how much Windows does well underneath those bloody irritating bits that MS insist on putting on top (Charms Bar anyone?)
Anyway, all this has got nothing to do with Spartan. I'd like to hope it's a fresh start, but they've put Cortana in it, which doesn't sound very Spartan to me. I'm betting probably better than IE, but not as good as a good browser.