(hopefully avoiding knee-jerk reactions and moaning about how awful metro is).

So, I have a laptop that came with windows Vista Ultimate. I bought it a few weeks before they announced Windows 7 and they had a really evil upgrade system in place from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7. Ultimate was excluded from the special pre-order pricing and I wasn't impressed with the idea of having to pay 300 bucks to upgrade on OS i just bought. So I basically just stayed on vista and forgot about it.

I've actually had no real complaints with Vista, but recently my laptop is feeling a little sluggish, and all the hype for win 8 has started to kick in - talking about how 7 and 8 are less resource intensive, so i was thinking it might be a way to slightly rejuvenate and freshen up my laptop.

But a win 7 ultimate upgrade still seems to be insanely expensive. A win 7 Pro upgrade is a little cheaper, but requires a full re-install. I wasn't that interested in win 8, but the pricing seems to be really low ($30 vs $120). I guess they're hoping to make their profits on the app store / dlc.

I have a few issues with the app store's monopoly, but I'm not as fervently anti the ideas of win 8 as some people.

What do people think? What are the pros/cons of upgrading to win7 or win8 these days?

Also, I'm currently on vista 32 bit. When i got it there were a fair number of compatibility issues with 64 bit. Is that all sorted out now? How about running older software? Win7 had a XP virtual machine right? Does win 8 have that, or will half my older games/software stop working?

Also, have MS snuck in any sneaky DRM/Anti-consumer tech this time?

There was a win8 demo right? Is that still available? Does it dual boot with your existing OS and how long does it take to set up? Is there a live cd?

(I'd like to get some balanced opinions rather than the usual rants about vista or about win8 being dumbed down for tablets.).