Just today I decided to see if there was life in the old hag yet. I installed Windows XP Professional (64bit) Service Pack 2 on my main machine, and I was baffled just by how horrible the entire experience was compared to installing and setting up Ubuntu 10.04 or Windows 7.
The installation process is remarkably archaic, and updating the operating system is an exercise in frustration. Not only does it take ages for a single update to download, you'll also be running about 4-5 batches of updates, marked by reboots. The operating system takes ages to boot, hammers your hard drive to pulp even after the desktop has already loaded, and applications are slow to load. Responsiveness is terrible, and there's graphical tearing all over the place while performing operations like window dragging.
I never liked Windows XP (during the XP days, I used BeOS, Mac OS X, and Linux), and I just can't understand people still clinging to it to this very day. I have several machines on which I've tried both XP and 7, and in every case, Windows 7 blew XP out of the water on every level - performance, stability, responsiveness, consistency, prettiness, and so much more. Mind you, we're talking, among other things, two Atom machines, and a 2002 Pentium 4 - hardly powerhouses.
In other words, I'm happy Microsoft finally realised it's time to nut up and put a bullet right between the eyes of Windows XP. Puppy eyes or no, this girl has to die. Luckily, OEMs are agreeing with me, since 81% of US netbooks are already sold with Windows 7 pre-installed instead of Windows XP. Who would've thought OEMs could do anything good, software-wise.