Unlike Vista, 8 actually runs for me. Vista lived on a test box in the office for about...4 hours.
vista ended up being a failure for lower powered machines, which a lot of people had and made up the majority of complainers when it came out. I had a quad-core 8gb ram machine, so vista was great for me. 7 was even better and I love the OS. 8, since it is such a hybrid of an OS (desktop/tablet) is doing so much better on those lower powered devices than vista ever could
As a power user and programmer I HATE Windows 8. Really tired of Microsoft progressively dumbing things down, "protecting" me from myself, and trying to turn desktop computers into glorified smartphones.
Anyone remember light pens? If so, you might also remember one of the big reasons they were quickly replaced by mice. Holding your arm out horizontally to interact with a desktop screen is quickly fatiguing, if you're doing any real work. Sacrificing mouse usability for touchscreen usability, on a desktop computer? Lunacy.
When forced to use Win8, I too use the classic shell. When I get my choice of Windows OS, it's XP.
I had no choice... there were no Win7 machines to buy and I had to replace my desktop computer. I hate the apps. Now I have an extra step to avoid them when I turn on the machine. Aside from that, and learning a whole new way to turn things off and where to find my calculator, it runs fine. My printer still doesn't have a driver for it so I can scan things, which is annoying. Hopefully they'll finish it soon. My new computer is HP, and I hate the screenlock they put on the monitor so it won't turn off. I wish they had a setting so I could just turn the lock off. It gets set randomly (I guess I'm holding it for a split second longer when I turn it off sometimes and it gets set again) and then it won't turn off.