If you absolutely must use a computer to record audio, the first thing you MUST do is disable all wireless networking hardware -- just shut it off. Might as well disable all wired networking while you're at it. What on Earth do you need networking for when recording audio? The one time I've had major audio dropout problems was when I was testing a mic on a laptop with wireless networking enabled. Good thing it was only a test; it popped like a kettle of popcorn. Man, what a disaster that would have been if it had been important audio. I disabled wireless networking and that was the end of the problem.
I used to get decent streaming audio (radio stations over the Internet) with Windows XP. That all changed for the worse with Windows 7 and the new audio architecture. I can't recommend Vista/Windows 7 for audio recording of anything critical. As a programmer I work with a guy who is working on the PortAudio implementation of WASAPI, the Vista/7 audio engine (PortAudio is at the heart of Audacity). I helped him get playback working decently but recording is another matter; it is very tricky to implement. Oh, and Audacity (PortAudio) under MME or DirectSound does not record true 24-bit samples. It records 16 bit samples and pads them to 24 bits.
I have a MacBook which runs both OS X and Windows Vista and again, if you must use a computer, it's OS X all the way. It's the most robust.
A while back I was on a discussion board for voice-over artists and they started pissing and moaning about fan noise in the booth and dropouts, clicks and pops under ProTools and yadda yadda yadda. I suggested using a CF recorder such as the Fostex or the Zoom. That's when the pissing and moaning got worse. "Oh, you can't get good audio on a cheap little recorder like that" bla bla bla. One guy thought it would be risky transferring audio files from the recorder to the DAW over USB. RISKY? I truly believe that guy had a drinking problem. Fine, let them wallow in their ignorance. fuuck