1.- You DO know there is a checkbox, right? Tools>Folder Options> View> Open Each Folder In a Separate Process. as for why its not checked by default there are certain chips (most notably some Intel Celerons) that will have degraded performance if its checked, why MSFT didn't just put a check at install damned if i know but you check that box and that problem goes bye bye. hell I've had a burn, a copy, and a move across networks going at the same time, no problems whatsoever in either XP X64 or Win 7, although IIRC XP would sometimes choke but since I haven't had XP since i got rid of my P4s it may have just been shitty netburst acting up.
2.- and are you REALLY gonna blame Windows because some third party program hangs, really? Because i have seen badly coded programs hang in every OS from DOS to OSX, there really isn't much an OS can do because what might appear to you to be a hang may just be a program that takes awhile to process. Again its easy enough to change the delay before Windows calls a program hung but I have found some programs simply look hung and aren't, some XML based programs can take awhile to load no matter how fast the system is so its understandable why MSFT wouldn't be too aggressive when it comes to calling a program hung. that said I've not seen a program hang in Win 7 that Windows didn't point out and offer to kill or restart which again when you are talking about a third party program is really all one can do.
3.- No its called "her BF worked for a couple of years at a helpdesk and knows what to set to minimize support calls" but I didn't know my baby would be trying to get her pics off while having a dozen things on screen at the same time so she simply missed the dialog box informing her that it was copying them to her pictures folder. Once i took a couple of pics and showed her that it DOES pop up a box and inform her where they are going, but if she simply would have clicked on the folder labeled "pictures" in any explorer window? she'd have instantly seen 'em. So if you want to blame somebody blame me, my girl is used to a slow as Xmas XP box, not a fast win 7 system.
4.- WU works fine IF you actually know what the would OPTIONAL means, but for some damned reason way too many folks don't seem to grasp that concept and end up checking all the OPTIONAL updates which again are designed to fix specific issues with specific hardware. Now I will agree that the numbnuts that lists everything by KB article needs to be fired, one shouldn't have to go click on a link and pop up a webpage just to see what "KB534497" or whatever does, but if you just stick to WU and leave the optional alone? Works just fine.
5.- and high price WILL make you popular if and ONLY if you build up the brand to be "elite" and snobbish, and lets face it Jobs was a fricking MASTER when it came to creating an air of elitism around his products. of course it took 30 years and a LOT of rough patches, but even when the company was on the ropes he refused to allow the cloners to stay or cut the prices because he KNEW that building Apple as an elite brand was the key to its success. The reason MSFT can't do it is precisely what I said, you can't slap a paintjob on a Pinto and sell it for Porsche money. Does that make the Pinto a bad car? Nope in fact you could make it the nicest Pinto on the planet and it won't matter because it all comes down to public perception and MSFT spent the same 30 years killing the competition by being the cheapest game in town, supporting the cloners over IBM, practically giving away XP and creating Win 7 Starter to keep Linux off the low end, for 30 years the entire strategy has been all about volume, you can't just switch to an elitist strategy this late in the game.
6.- And what about 'em? Windows has had Home and Pro since the days of Win9X and WinNT and nobody has a problem with it, in fact the majority of my SMBs use Home over Pro because they simply aren't using the enterprise features of Pro so see no reason for the extra expense. Even I have all my systems on Home instead of pro, i have no desire to run my own domain and don't need XP mode so why get it? Do you think it would be better for everybody to have everything when a good 70%+ of the users would see those features as needless bloat?
As for marketing, whats inconsistent? Companies change marketing all the time, not like Apple is still paying Goldblum to look stoned and blather on about Macs either, so I really don't know what I'm supposed to even say about marketing. If you are talking about win 8? Already said its a trainwreck, but ever since Ballmer has taken over its been "Star trek Rules" when it comes to OSes. at least with windows, unlike OSX and Linux, if you don't like the direction? You can easily skip one, hell skip TWO releases, who cares you'll STILL be under full support. Other than the testing box at the shop I personally skipped XP and Vista so I know how easy it is to do, I went from Win2K to XP X64 (IRL Win2K3 Workstation X64) and from there went to windows 7, no problemo. I didn't keep the same box of course, 2K was on a 1GHz Celeron which wouldn't exactly be pleasant to run today but the XP X64 box did go to Windows 7, last I heard the guy that bought it is still happily playing his flight sims and surfing on the thing every day. Since Win 7 is supported until 2020 if I don't like Win 8.1 I'll skip it like I did Win 8, hell if they go to yearly releases i could skip the next 5 and STILL be supported, no worries and since the system has an AMD Hexacore with 8GB of RAM and 3TB of HDD space its not like I'm gonna be struggling to run the web 5 years from now...well not unless HTML coders get even worse with piling on the bling bling