Bummer. Sounds like you had a miserable experience.
I'm using Windows 7 on a work PC, and haven't been disappointed. I really like it. Maybe I've just been lucky because I haven't installed much on it yet.
My favorite operating system is still Windows 98 SE. ...old dogs, new tricks. ...you know?
I learned a long time ago -- all the way back to Windows 3.0, I suppose -- wait until at least one Service Pack comes out before upgrading to any new operating system. It's the same story, from a rather vocal minority, for each new OS that comes out, including Windows 95, 2000, Vista, and yes, even XP. But to be honest, I don't necessarily blame Microsoft. If you think about what they're up against, you'd realize the difficulty of trying to accommodate millions upon millions of different users, knowledge levels, peripherals, hardware systems, software choices, and backwards compatibility. It's a daunting task, and usually doesn't get ironed out until the first major patch release (which is why I wait). A lot of the crashes are related to legacy drivers that come from printers, mice, monitors, routers, and other hardware -- this is really the fault of both user and hardware company for not updating them properly.
Robert ...gratia autem Dei, sum id quod sum