but as a general safety buffer.... avoid those major updates that happen twice a year until the general public has had a chance to test them because it seems like with each major release in March/September of each year there is some semi-major/major issues and after maybe a handful of updates things start to stable out again. I tend to adopt each major update a bit before the official release which is usually once the tech sites pretty much confirm the build is the final version which will be released to the general public soon. but before I do upgrade from the previous version of Windows 10 to the current one, I use Clonezilla (free hard drive imaging software) and make a image of my boot drive (to a image file on another hard drive I got) just in case all hell brakes loose I can always revert like the upgrade never happened.
also, at least for us USA users I think one can still obtain Windows 10 for free if you got a valid Windows 7 etc license by using the official tool from Microsoft (i.e. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 ) and selecting the 'upgrade' option as there was a article from July 2018 of this year saying that still works (i.e. https://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how-you-can-still-get-a-free-windows-10-upgrade/ ). I did it back in Dec 2017, on a 10 year old laptop I got used that same month, and I could still obtain a free Windows 10 license at that point by upgrading from Win7 to Win10 (then I simply used the ISO and wiped the drive and installed Win10 from scratch after I confirmed it activated). but I currently have Linux Mint v19 on that laptop (HP DV5-1002nr) and put in a Intel 545s 128GB SSD (I got that SSD for only $31.99 a bit earlier this year which is the best SSD I have seen for around $30 so far) as it's decent enough for a basic internet machine as I think if that was my main computer I would likely put Windows 10 back on it and connect a actual mouse to it as using a computer for any length of time a mouse is far easier on your hand than using that crappy touchpad which is slow/clunky to navigate stuff. but one area Linux Mint is better than Windows 10 on that old laptop is the right side of the touchpad, the one that's used to scroll webpages, does not work on Windows 10 as there is apparently no drivers for it where as with Linux Mint it works perfectly fine.
You said, "Which apparently win10 needs to become not such a horrible, buggy crap pile."
It's not as bad as some claim it is as it's been solid on my main computer (i3-2120 CPU etc). sure, for some people it can be a clear problem at times but for the vast majority it's a solid upgrade from Windows 7 overall. I have been on Windows 10 since Dec 1st 2015 and while I did have some issues here and there it's generally been solid enough. I remember it had a big problem back in Jan 2018 (I think it was build 16299.192) with my 10 year old laptop causing it to basically get stuck in a upgrade and revert loop as it happened to have one of the CPU's effected by that. like it would boot up fine, attempt the 16299.192 update, it would install fine, and upon reboot it would hang at Windows loading screen and I would have to hard power off etc and eventually it would revert (after it goes into repair mode etc) to the previous build and things would be fine again but then Windows Update would attempt to install 16299.192 again and that process started all over again. that's pretty much the biggest problem I had on Windows 10 and, like I say, this was just on a backup laptop computer as my main PC was fine.
but I will say that bug recently, which only effected a small amount of users, with Win10 17763.1 (i.e. 1809) which was released on Oct 2nd and I think they pulled it on Oct 5th (I had 17763.1 installed late September) that took out the Documents etc folders was obviously a major screw up on Microsoft's part. but I did not have the issue as it appears that bug either takes out everything or nothing and I still had the small amount of Documents still intact so I was good. but in general I avoid storing files in their default locations and generally save them to different hard drives so even if I did get effected the damage would be minimal. but currently there is a problem with .zip files on 1809 (even the newest 17763.104) but only if you use the built in .zip manager which I don't use as I always use 7-zip and that appears to be fine along with other programs besides the default Windows 10 one.
with that said... if one wants to play it a bit safer, just avoid installing the major upgrades, which happen twice a year, until they have been tested by a decent portion of the general public. that should keep your chances of any major bugs to a minimum since that's usually what happens as on initial release they have some decent screw ups but after a handful of updates or so things stable out again until the next major release.
You said, "10 has a Vista vibe to it, which also sucked, and I skipped it in its totality."
The only Microsoft OS I skipped completely, as in never had it installed on my main PC, was Windows 8 because upon release it's interface was horrible for Desktop/Laptop users and after that it got a bad image and never recovered. because I temporarily tried it in a virtual machine and instantly hated it due to the interface as it made basic tasks a chore to do and changed things too much from what we have been all used to for ages now. it's pretty much the only OS from Microsoft I never had on my main computer at some point or another and I have been using PC's since the mid-1990's basically. so basically in my case I have been using Windows since Windows v3.11/Windows 95 era to date.
but from what I have noticed with Microsoft is they tend to have a pattern which held true since Windows 98 to date (which is pretty much when computers went mainstream).... Win98(good)/WinME(bad)/WinXP(good)/WinVista(bad)/Win7(good)/Win8(bad)/Win10(good). NOTE: I left off Win2k as while that was basically the first stable OS from Microsoft that the average user could use (I used it at one point back in the day), it was not marketed towards the common person so I did not count it.