IMO Vista was good, even on release. I even went to one of their Release event things at a movie theater where they explained all the features and everything... got me a free Ulti 64-bit version. I didnt have any issue with it needing more resources, but the thing that annoyed me to no end was trying to figure out where everything was again. Add remove programs... where is my connection settings. IMO, Win 8 was worse than Vista. Removing the start button, and i actually had to google, how to log off a VM of Win8 when remoted into and not just dissconnect (which leaves resources allocated).
At least with Vista the major changes they actually kept in the next version. When you look at Win8 to Win10, they removed a ton of the stuff they were pushing. Vista was a jump with stuff that needed to be added, while Win8 was just annoying. The worst part of Win8 was that in beta you could flip a reg setting and bring back the start menu... they eventually removed that around the end of the beta.