I haven't gone away, but my computer did, for a while. It was a bad stick of RAM. In the process of getting it back, I formatted my drive. Then I had to fork over cold hard cash for a new copy of Windoze XP. I got it only because the software I use for composing and recording music, Sonar, requires it.
I refuse to use Vista. Bill Gates was recently interviewed on Gizmodo and basically admitted that Vista was a failure. Voted one of the 10 Worst Tech Products of 2007 at Yahoo Tech, then as one of the worst tech products in history over at CNet UK. MicroSoft now has a class action lawsuit against them for their bungled "Vista Capable" PC sticker program where even a MicroSoft executive claimed he'd been burnt... suckered into buying "a $2100 email machine" that won't run any of Vista much-touted features.
If you want eye candy, you have a lot better options. You could get a Mac. Or, you can use one of many free Windows shell replacements, like LiteStep. Or if you find shell replacement a little daunting, there are several options for user-friendly Linux-based operating systems. Ubuntu is a really popular choice, and the new gOS looks really good, too. See www.thinkgos.com.
In fact, complete prepackaged eGos PCs are available for $199 at Walmart or possibly your local computer store.
Stunning 3D visual effects have been part of Beryl (now called Compiz Fusion) for a long time already. They don't even require fancy hardware and will run on systems several years old with minimal RAM.
I plan on never buying another operating system again. For a long time people have been waiting for Linux to mature to the point where it was nearly as user friendly as the commercial operating systems. Now MicroSoft has handed the open source community a huge advantage by releasing a product that is so much worse than the competition.