I haven't bothered with Windows Vista, and with any luck I won't have to for several years. XP Pro is as good as it gets under Microsoft, and I'm not taking the home network any further along the Microsoft upgrade path. We'll go to Mac first. I refuse DRM, and XP does everything I want.
Over at ZD Adrian Kingsley-Hughes asks why long boot times matter. I essentially get his point, but what he overlooks are the number of software installs, not to mention seemingly random software patches from MSFT that require soft boots. Also, whether we want to admit it or not, there are many companies who require that people turn off their PCs in order to save energy. I know that's dumb and such businesses are on the verge of collapse, but... But the biggest reason long boot times are annoying is because they don't have to be.
Leaving aside the brilliance of Knoppix and other Linux on a CD rootkits that can embed very cool Windows utilities, we know that there are a whole lot of extra things that go on during the boot cycle depending upon what software you have installed on your machine. Why not just push those back to the post boot phase? When I'm logging in I know that a whole lot of profile driven stuff is loaded onto the machine. How many times have I sat waiting to get a wireless connection in an airport hoping the last few minutes of battery life don't slip away before the hourglass over my toolbar disappears? What's going on here? Something. There could be a class of applications that I want to be able to use right away just after boot, and just like power consumption priorities, I ought to be able to determine readiness priorities.