I, too, have made my share of Windows registry edits. But having once tried - and miserably failed - to install a sound driver on Linux, I really appreciate the fact that Windows Plug-and-Play (do they even still call it that?) "just works" nearly all of the time.
The common experience is that you plug something in, it shows you that it's installing a device driver for the new device, and a short time later, its ready to go, with nothing to configure at all. For example, I recently bought a small USB audio gizmo to circumvent the noisy sound generated by my PC's built-in sound. Plug it in, let it cook for a minute or two, and voila! it just works.
This latter story passes what I call "the grandma test," that is, your grandma can do it. Compare that with the Linux sound driver experience I had where even a computer professional (who was largely new to Linux) couldn't succeed at installing a sound driver - even after rigorously following the "HOWTO" on that. (BTW, Grandma doesn't even know the HOWTO exists.)