TBH, there were a lot of mitigating factors in the bashing that ensued with Vista's release, and even I bashed it several times myself - however, the intrinsic value of features like UAC and not having direct access to your system even as a member of the administrators group made it worth while for me to continue to pursue as an operating system.
Unlike most people, I don't believe that my computer is 'smarter' than I am, nor do I believe that my computer is a 'set it and forget' device. Just like with my car, it needs regular maintenance and there is no way that I am going to trust an application that is not neurally connected to *me* to automatically perform tasks for me. I know that there are plenty of apps around that claim to be exactly that, but the last time I tried to, for example, allow Symantec's registry tool (it's been o long that I have forgotten the name of it) fix registry errors in my system in Windows (98 or 2000) it hosed my system. Ridiculously. I spent the next week deciphering what it had done and then finally ended up reinstalling from scratch (which, in and of itself was not a bad thing as it got me into the world of backups an as well as a reinstall strategy - including keeping all my old apps around for a quick an easy installation).
You may ask - wtf? does this have to do with Vista? Simple. I am one of the few people who *likes* all those UAC prompts. I am also the same individual that does not click the check box in IE to "not show me this prompt" again, and does that for every app I run. Why? because I like to be notified when my computer is going to do something before it does it. I am the master here, not the computer, and thus I make the decisions.
Even now, with Win 7, I have UAC cranked up to warn me about most things, and I even have Windows Update set to allow me to decide what gets installed, and I do that with all my apps - DisplayFusion, Firefox, Thunderbird, Office 2007, etc.
Why, you might ask?
Simple, yet again. I was online back in the day when Micro$oft's security certificate expired - and some hackers were waiting for it to and actually tried to buy and create their own M$ certificate - presumably for nefarious reasons. Hey, if it can happen to M$ it can happen to anyone. I don't *dare* allow things to be installed automatically, nor do I allow them to update automatically, etc....
However, too many people allowed exactly that in XP - and with XP's blatant unbridled access to the entire system, well, we see what happened with that. Botnet, anyone?
As for most people not liking change, well, idiots like Randall Kennedy who dislike change for the sake of disliking change can go talk a long walk off a short plank. Those who have legitimate beef with Vista for whatever reasons can rest assured that M$ has improved the OS tremendously in Windows 7 - but it is still only as safe as the user using it.
Now, as Jacee said, let's get back on topic.