Back around winter 2011 I tried the Windows 8 preview on my laptop. How impressive was it? I went back to Windows 7 hours later.
I went at another go with the RTM. Rather than groan about the changes, I came to a realization. Rather than keep the mindset of the Windows 8 desktop 'just another app', I went in reverse and treated the Start page and its metro apps as 'just another app'. Just because there's metro apps doesn't mean you have to use it. There's no advantage in using the metro browser over the desktop counterpart. So ignoring the metro aspect, the desktop portion of Windows 8 is a nice improvement over Windows 7. With tweaks, permissions changes, and restoration of the old start menu, Windows is not just tolerable, but a positive experience now. The start screen is regulated to an app launcher, the equivalent to launchpad on Mac OS X Lion. I removed all the metro apps besides calendar, pictures, and weather. Boot, restart, and wake up from sleep times are insanely fast (on an SSD) compared to Windows 7.