I ran Vista on my laptop and got the thing up to a fairly decent speed after stripping out most of the dross. By that time though the ***t had hit the fan and whatever MS did was largely an irrelevance. Folks avoided it like the plague and most were eager to downgrade to XP.
The media are very quick to jump on the negative bandwagon over Win8 but in fairness it's all about first impressions. They (the media) usually haven't got the time or inclination to play around with programs. They're too busy chasing deadlines whether it's for web or print publishing.
Personally Win8 is not for me as there are no benefits over what I already have. But for others then I'm sure it will meet their daily requirements. As has been discussed extensively in this forum over and over, MS could have avoided all of this (controversy) if only they had offered the option of Classic or Metro UI at install time but hey, who knows what they are thinking. One thing I am convinced of though is that it would not have been beyond the scope of MS to have gone down the option road.