Is it typical, that depends on the spec. I've now got Vista on four machines, three of them Dells, and on all it goes like a train. Absolutely leaves XP standing in all areas. If your PC had a reasonable spec - say more than 2Gb ram and at least a dual core then the problem is not with Vista. There must have been a faulty component somewhere. Both my desktops have 4Gb ram, and the two laptops have 2Gb. Personally I would give it another go. As I said I doubt if Vista is to blame here.
As for XP I think its next month that it finally becomes history, except under certain circumstances when the business version can be downgraded.