Ok, fair enough, rocky start for you. But, i've already solved all those problems with my installation. I mean, there's got to be a few differences between OEM and retail, but not much. I just did what I always do when I get a new toy: I hacked it to pieces.
We all remember that you had to tweak XP a little before you got it just right, and it ran smoothly and silently in the background when you did whatever you wanted. Well, i can't really speak for anyone other than myself and a few others, but that's what I ended up doing, and I did the same thing with vista. DRM and the annoying User Account Control, out the window after you unlock and overtake the disabled true administrator account, found a hack to rid myself of the black theme. Not that I don't like black, it's just that I like 'individualism.' If everybody else is using every color except pink, guess which color my taskbar and explorer bumpers are? yep. pink. (i'll take a screenshot later.)
But i totally agree with you that the UAC is utterly annoying. And show of hands, does anyone actually 'read' the alerts?