I would just jump to Windows 7 right now, especially if you you don't already own Vista (ie, not pre-installed, etc.) and are clean installing anyway. The W7 Release Candidate is free of cost and will be licensed into 2010, thus delaying any OS costs for you. Any one can download it. Our company is a PC and server tech company and we are Windows beta testers going well back in each Windows development version. W7 is definitely a step-up on Vista, and Vegas 9 versions run fine. W7 will also find and install drivers more painlessly than Vista. Our experience is that W7 recognizes all Vista drivers, and all XP ones that we use in our business. [This is the first pre-release version of any Windows or other Microsoft product that I have ever recommended for non-techie users to install....]
> I would just jump to Windows 7 right now, especially if you you don't already own Vista (ie, not pre-installed, etc.) and are clean installing anyway.
I agree. Buying Visa now is pointless. Windows 7 will be released later this year. You can get and use the Windows 7 Release Candidate now. It is basically Vista SP2 since it fixes a lot of problems with the original Vista. IMHO, spending money on the "bloated" Vista is money wasted. I'm using Vista 64 SP1 and I feel like a beta tester. So many little things don't work and settings don't stay put. It drives me nuts. I can't wait to move to Windows 7.
I too am using the W7 RC and Vista (both x64). Unfortunately, I sense that a lot of people are drinking the Microsoft Kool Aid, as I honestly don't see any significant improvement. I would characterize Windows 7 as Vista Service Pack 2.1. In other words, Vista isn't that bad and Windows 7 isn't that much better than Vista.
On the other hand, if you are still running XP, then switching over to W7 is the best course of action, since the intermediate step of upgrading to Vista makes no sense, unless you can find a Vista upgrade DVD for cheap.
And despite the large file size for the Vista SP2 installer, if you already had automatic updates turned on, SP2 will hardly install any new files, since almost every patch that it contains has already been installed previously.