I don't have access to literally hundreds of registry keys, in fact, no one has access to them. Even psexec can't replace the rights on them since apparently they have NO Owner.
It's not a permissions error. It looks like your registry got corrupted on disk, the cure for which is a reformat. If your registry dies then it's not really surprising that everything else dies pretty soon after.
This tends to happen if you kill your computer during a shutdown, or if you break your harddisk...
That's what I thought too. Seems like a broken registry after all, which could also happen in XP.
But it's true that XP feels a lot faster than Vista. It's a lot more responsive, even after having installed SP1 on Vista... but some of this could also come from the transitions: like fading in each windows, fading out etc. But sure, not all comes from that. I noticed only after havin had XP and Vista installed side by side on my notebook. Vista seems to be slower, if you go back to XP. Even though I seem to have a pretty reasonable hardware and get 4.0 in Vista scores...
Another point is that this registry thing needs to fixed in one way or another. It can't be that you need to reinstall your whole system, because one component failed. This is not possible!!