Seriously, folks, Vista is beautiful. Really. [Are my new glasses playing tricks on me, or does the Linux penguin seem to have little man-breasts?]
Just skip this post unless you are interested in my adventures with KGRUBEditor and dual boots and oops! it should be sudo kate, just let me type that again...
Warning: nothing but geek in this post.
First things first: I love my external hard drive. I love it with all my heart, because without it I'd be a) poorer and/or b) minus every photo and word document I've ever saved on my old  Dell desktop. [Note to self: keep a copy of Contacts on the external hard drive from now on, too, Einstein.]
Ever since I got the new HP laptop [it rocks hugely, by the way] I've been messing with Linux on my desktop PC. For the record, the 64-bit Vista does not play well with others and a dual boot [Vista + the latest Kubuntu] on the laptop is never going to happen. Vista it will remain, with Firefox and Opera as my browsers of choice. On the desktop, though, an XP/Kubuntu dual boot was totally a possibility. And a reality, for a week or so. Just for practice, I started by adding Kubuntu to my machine at work and everything went smoothly, right down to a beautiful custom splash image [Yosemite] and Windows as the default OS for non-geeky subs/visitors.
The dual boot setup at home went well, too, except that something was wrong with GRUB. It wasn't just that I couldn't seem to develop a nice splash image — the entire booting process became erratic and troublesome. BIOS or the boot manager or something appeared to be seriously messed up. If I were an authentic geek instead of a hapless, freshly-hatched noob, solving the problem would have been a snap. Instead, I made it worse.
Since I knew that all the important things [photos, docs] were safe on the external hard drive, I started to experiment. I removed Kubuntu, erased partitions, fooled with QGRUB and KGRUB editors and various hard drive tools, and at one point found myself with two XPs instead of XP and Kubuntu. And at last the poor desktop decided it wasn't going to take any more abuse, and for the first time in my less-than-a-decade with 'puters, a fatal exception occurred: the fabled blue screen of death.
I called a friend who works at a software firm and got the news I expected: things were looking very bad. So I figured, what the hell — I'll give this puppy one last shot.
At some point I had loaded Active@KillDisk on a CD, so I popped it in the tray and told it to wipe the hard drive cleaner than clean. Once that was done [and it took hours: three passes plus] I put the Kubuntu disk in one last time. It reformatted, repartitioned and restored my hard drive with a shiny new operating system, which that same day became even shinier and newer with the installation of KDE 4.0.4.
Am I happy? Very much. [I'm writing this post on my Kubuntu 'puter.] Everything so far seems fast and smooth and efficient. Lots of new stuff to play with. I'm mainly using Firefox, since Opera and KDE butt heads a little bit. As of this moment I would certainly recommend Linux, with the qualification that it presumes a willingness to get a little bit geeky at times. Nothing outrageous, IMHO, but your mileage may vary. And having not one but two computers to play with...? So. much. fun. ;~)))))