Your two year-old laptop battery dies, and the first place you go is to blame the operating system? And the fact that it no longer works in any OS doesn't give you any hints, either? Come on, this isn't the toughest mystery you'll face this week.
I don't know about GP, but the laptop I bought for going back to grad school came preloaded with Vista and included a Win7 upgrade coupon. When the disc arrived and I installed it, the machine wasn't more than 4 months old. I had the exact same experience and the battery went from functional to a brick in about two weeks after win7 hit the hardware. Fortunately for me, HP shipped me a replacement battery. It's an anecdote; not data, but it might be part of a larger trend.
Any given program will expand to fill available memory.