@Steve et al. XP needs to live to Windows 7.
"That in mind - what is so bad about Vista? On a new PC with no OEM crap installed there is nothing worse in Vista than XP - but there's a lot better and a lot of new stuff too. (UAC, IE7+, DX10, BitLocker, Instant Search, ImageX, new GPO's, new GUI, better driver support, mobility centre, numberous security improvements, etc.)"
I had to laugh when I read this... I was suckered into buying Vista ultimate because i got it OEM through work and avoided the absolutely mind boggling pricing structure most people will have to pay.
Bitlocker, number one reason I can't upgrade to SP1 of vista home premium on a laptop one of our clients has brought into us. A known fact that M$ seems to ignore. And I have no known use for it. Encyrpting my porn collection or my games files is a little over reactive, most home users won't need to encrypt half life 2 save games. Unless I am missing something.
IE7 + - That would be the annoying IE version that just does what IE6 did with what firefox brought to the market place in a vain attempt to be cool and hip.
GUI. Yes it has a new GUI, but as other people have said, people want a working OS that doesn't crash and lets them surf the web, play games and listen to music. The GUI is just icing and if the cake is tasteless and bland or lard assed and bloated, who cares for the icing.
DX10 - Only really makes a difference if the rest of the hard ware is upto it (ie an 8000 series graphics card) and ony a few games really show this off. (I can think of two) For most users DX10 is a little known benefit. Solitaire, Word and Powerpoint don't use it.
UAC - The worst and most annoying piece of crudware on this side of any knonw universe. Asking a person upto three times if they actually wanted to do something. It makes people seem like morons who end up second guessing themselves because they don't know what it is or why it is there. If a person clicks on an icon to run something, they clicked on the icon, asking them are they dumb enough to know what they just did is just pathetic.
Numerous security improvements, see above. Treating people like morons to the point they get paranoid and don't use it is an annoyance. Having to run eveything as admin just means everyone will run everything as admin, removing the safterly features behind it. Putting people back to square one. That and the fact rolling out about a dozen patches a week shows how many holes there were and where the M$ staff are concentrating all there time now.
Driver support. Only because SP1 is out with it's 54000 drivers added, Prior to that you were lucky if things worked at all (Halo 2, SLI...)
PC's hardware is capable of running it now, with 2 GB ram and dual core, but that spec gives mediocre performance, in XP that spec gives a much greater boost. Vista chews it up and does nothing with it, running to stand still.
I have gone to linux after Vista because it treats people like they are right to own a machine they bought, and not like moronic sheep who should only do what M$ tells them.