I must mis-understand you here. I own windows 8 and have never used MetroUI for more than 5 minutes. I upgraded from windows 7 solely because its operationally faster and classic shell restored the windows 7 feel. Windows 7 desktop interface or DE to windows 8 DE isn't too magical. Theres a nice new task manager, a new file copy dialog with pause option (that is still lacking IMO), and some easier to see picture menus clogging up the top of file explorers, helpful if you never used windows before.
These features come at a HEAVY UI price. hot edges accidentally being selected with the trackpad/mouse, is it a menu or lablel? click and find out. (change PC settings for one), booting to install/use unsigned drivers is guide-worthy due to the steps required, so many system shortcuts removed I can't remember. Figure out where it started (DE or metro) and how to change this to one constant is time-consuming. Now its settings -> power to shut down, which used to change processor power, brightness and configure UPS times..
I think we're saying the same thing, there's great OS enhancements overshadowed by the UI. I think we disagree on the level of OS (Desktop Environment Enhancements). There's a lot more than most people see. Unfortunately, many can't get past the UI. Here's a few you may not be aware of:
Native UASP - USB Attached SCSI Protocol (in fairness, OS X Lion has this as well), significant boost to USB 3.0 throughput.
Settings Roam - allows for preferences to sync across a user's Windows 8 devices
Hyper-V - Hyper-V virtualization software comes pre-loaded on Windows 8
R&R - New "Reset and Refresh PC" functions enable simplified system wipe and restore
App Suspend - Refreshed Windows Task Manager suspends apps when they're not running on-screen
Logins - Photo, PIN (love the PIN), Microsoft Account Integration
Printing - Many, Print Class Driver Framework, Print apps no longer allowed to be part of driver
Graphic Hardware Acceleration - Just about everything, vastly improved
Explorer Ribbon - Thank God!
SMB 3 - If you don't network much, disregard, if you do, it's beyond scope of this post but look it up.
Secure Boot w/UEFI - a feature which disallows the loading of unauthorized firmware, operating systems, and drivers at boot time.
Improved Multi Monitor support - Yes, Metro kind of nullifies this
Windows to Go - Very fantastic enterprise feature. If you work in corporate IT, I suggest you read up on it
Large Disk Support - Self explanatory
Storage spaces - few are aware of this, good stuff. Storages Spaces allow you to combine multiple disks into one storage pool. The new technology is comparable to RAID, but it is more flexible and easier to configure. Probably the coolest thing is that disks can be of different size and connected through USB, SATA, and SAS (Serial Attached SCSI). Storage pools support thin provisioning (physical space is only used when the capacity is needed) and resiliency (mirroring for fault tolerance).
Power Management - Just works. On same hardware Win 7 was flaky on.
NTFS - Many many, NTFS file system enhancement including self-monitoring/repair and enhanced TRIM support for SSDs. Many very technical improvements to improve reliability of SATA and SCSI.
Global Screenhots - lol, yes, Win+PrtScr
Keyboard Enhancements - Though I have not seen a single Win 8 keyboard, let alone one to take advantage of these
There's more. Anyway, Win 8 Desktop Environment is unquestionably superior to Win 7. The poor Core Modern UI apps and the UI itself are really the only issues grating on many people's nerves.
Windows Vista was nearly the same thing as Windows 7
Just no. Windows Vista, people wanted to upgrade from XP with a passion, but UAC broke too much. Yes it was most likely the apps, but doesn't matter. Too expensive and skipped by most enterprises. Windows 7 - fixed all that and included XP Mode for extreme situations.
Microsoft has never been in this situation, upgrading from a version of Windows that was loved, productive, and no major complaints, to one with issues for many and no clear benefit perceivable by the masses, other than touch which I believe MS has over-estimated the demand for (on the desktop, and over-estimated the demise and influence of desktop computing.)