Hazel, I'm sorry I'm so late to this! And I haven't read every single post, so sorry if this has already been mentioned!
I've had Vista for two years now. I HATED it at first and had many fits with tears over it too. Now I'm used to it though and don't mind it. A few things, let me know if you're in interested.
--There's a way to "Neuter" Vista so many of the "pretty," but memory sucking functions are turned off and it's back to more of a basic OS again.
--To run anything as an Administrator, right click on the icon and chose, "Run as Administrator."
--Directions for exporting and importing mail from Outlook to Windows Mail:
--This Vista forum was and still is VERY helpful for me!
--Firefox runs much faster than IE on Vista. You may want to install Firefox and use it for everything but your newsletters. It makes everyday browsing much easier.