I've found the biggest complaint people have with vista is they can't find things or things aren't organized exactly the same as it was in XP.
This is easily alleviated by the yet to be often used "search bar." Everything is index via the windows search indexer, so all your information is accessible by the search bar. I have little need to dig though menus, icons, and lists of options when I can simply type in a keyword or two and go straight to what I need. If you find it hard to remember how to spell words like "resolution" or "wallpaper," you can always try "display" instead.
The second complaint is people are really freaking out about the UI.
Aside from the glass look, the vista UI was specifically designed to address common issues and desires people had with the NT4/XP interface. Why do I say the NT4/XP interface? Because it hasn't fundamentally changed since NT4. There were some minor tweaks here and there between NT4, 2k and XP, but the basics are still the same. With the edition of things like the search bar (a long beloved feature of OSX), details in the real time update of on screen information with details available at a glance (a feature that excels even OSX's functionality), and the scalable vector based screen elements themseleves, the new Vista UI rivals, and in my opinion exceeds, the usefulness of OSX. Not to say that the new UI is without fault (some instances of inconsistency in layouts, resource requirements), but the more I work with it, the more I hate going back to an XP desktop's UI.
But if you really prefer the look and feel of 2k and want to organize everything the way you want it exactly,
Just note that Vista is not targeted towards you anyways. It's targeted for the average Joe who does care about the look, who does care about the neat tools available, and who does make up the vast majority of the market share.
Console mode? As in no GUI and a command prompt only? I'm not sure (as I've never even done that with XP) but I would guess it's available via the same options and configuration steps. Vista's options are fairly similar to XPs for a lot of things. I personally use RDP for my remote access needs. Works 3x as fast as VNC.
Personally, I've been trying to break myself of the habit of opening a cmd window to do things faster via typing than using a mouse.
On one final note, concerning the costs of Vista due to the DRM implementations....
I love how the people bitch about Vista's built in DRM system which 1) eats resources, 2) restricts access, 3) disables functionality, 4) blah blah blah blah blah.......
Yes..it is all (generally) true. But is Vista having a DRM really to blame? Do you think they would care to implement a DRM if they didn't have to? Who do you really think is behind everything that is DRM related? It sure as hell isn't the people who are making the applications who play the media.....Do you really think Linux is going to be able to play all your DRM'ed media once DRM is 100% active?
Taken from the (highly biased) anti Vista article referenced above....
The only reason I can imagine why Microsoft
would put its programmers, device vendors, third-party developers, and
ultimately its customers, through this much pain is because once this copy
protection is entrenched, Microsoft will completely own the distribution
channel. In the same way that Apple has managed to acquire a monopolistic
lock-in on their music distribution channel (an example being the Motorola
ROKR fiasco, which was so crippled by Apple-imposed restrictions that it was
dead the moment it appeared), so Microsoft will totally control the premium-
content distribution channel. Not only will they be able to lock out any
competitors, but because they will then represent the only available
distribution channel they'll be able to dictate terms back to the content
providers whose needs they are nominally serving in the same way that Apple
has already dictated terms back to the music industry: Play by Apple's rules,
or we won't carry your content.
What kind of retarded company would not see that in this age of high capacity digital media where the content providers rule, that you must attempt to comply with their needs to get their product. This is a consumerist society who enjoys entertainment. With the increasing imposition of DRM over media, companies are having little choice but to comply or fail. See the noted Motorola ROKR example for a prime example! Good grief, if it wasn't for the success of Apple's iTunes demonstrating that DRM'ed media can be accepted in the public market, content providers probably wouldn't have such a strong pro DRM argument to begin with.
Here's an offer to Microsoft: If we, the consumers, promise to never, ever,
ever buy a single HD-DVD or Blu-Ray disc containing any precious premium
content [Note K], will you in exchange withhold this poison from the computer
Honestly, they probably would... But here in the real world, Microsoft is a business, and in order to do business in the real world, you have to do business with those who supply and those who buy. And when those who buy want what those who supply supplies, if you want to survive you need to find a compromise between the two. Sadly in this situation, those who buy are not willing to wield their power over those who supply, resulting in the business needing to cater more to those who supply than those who buy.