It was the same when XP was the new OS (people said it looked good but was hard to use),XP set a standard,Vista didnt lol but now i think windows 7 has aswell,personally i really really like it once you get used to it.
One point though,they might have thought ahead with drivers,that is the 3rd party programs devolpers themselves to coincide there new drivers with the release of Windows 7,but..my ATI and Realteck are running perfect,so i cant really complain.
Also you have to remember XP is 10 years old,tech was easier then,but as the world went forward technology wise Windows has to keep up (internet,virus's,HD) . Windows 7 came with most of this ,where as XP did not.
thats how i see it anyway
But on another point,your a self described non-geek,so setting up a dual boot would seem complicated,most non-geeks usally do get a PC store to do all this for them,im not having a go,just saying what usally happens here ,they bring it back and get it fixed,and they dont touch windows files etc
It seems to be its only when people try to use old software with new software/hardware/OS you have problems,if you think about it, a 10 year old car of the same make and model you will rarely find a part that is exchange-able,you usally buy new parts.
At least windows 7 gives you the option to run a program designed for a 10 year old program on it.
Sorry for the long post,got carried away