My opinion, for whatever it's worth, is that Vista isn't THAT bad. It has its own set of annoyances, but overall I'm not finding it to be nearly as bad as all the horror stories have made it out to be. I've only been using it full time for less than a week, so there's still a chance it could disappoint me tomorrow or the next day.
Something I've been saying for a very long time, but very few people seem to really pay attention to, is that if you put Windows onto a crap system with crap hardware, it will run like crap. Give Windows decent hardware to work with, and it will generally be quite stable and problem free. Windows certainly could use with some additional fault tolerance, since it will frequently trip and fall on systems that you can usually get a reasonably stable Linux config going on, but most of the people who complain about it crashing and what not are probably HP/Compaq system owners. Not all to be sure, but a good sized majority I would wager.
It'll take a little work to sort of tune Vista, and switch off some of the stupid bits, but the same is really true of any version of Windows.
However, I would say that in the end, if your current system is in good working order, save the hard drive, and is presently meeting your needs adequately, I'd just spend $100 or so on a new hard drive as opposed to buying a new system completely. Unless you can write the new system off as a business expense on your taxes or something.
I suppose if you did get a new system, you could still always get a new drive for the old one and keep it around as a spare. Or dedicate one to personal use and the other to business functions.
I couldn't answer you on the Quickbooks question. As yet, my finances are not so complicated that I need something like that.
The moral of the story I think, is that if you run Windows on a decent quality system and with sufficient hardware power (2-3X recommended) you'll be just fine. If you try and save a couple of bucks and buy a system from HP/Compaq or one of the other quality bottom feeders, you will pay for it.
This is a two step question. I just had my HDD crash in my XP Pro machine (Dell Dimension 8300). I use the machine for business and personal use. I've spoken with Bob Proffit and Kees regarding the HD problem who informed me of its failure. The machine is a 2003 model, what is the opinion on installing a new HDD and reinstalling XP Pro versus a new machine with Vista? (Cost is a medium concern)I've heard several negatives about Vista and haven't spoken with actual users. I've read the reviews in several of the magazines which makes me question the decison. The second question is, does Quickbooks 2003 run on a Vista machine? I've got all my business files backed up on disk and need to be sure if I buy a Vista machine that I'll be able to install the XP backup's to it. Any information will be greatly appreciated!