Re: XP isn't the latest, but maybe the best
I prefer 7 to XP - faster to launch programs (just type the name at the start bar, rather than having to navigate through menus, or have dozens of shortcuts); faster to boot; better 64 bit support; seems more resistent to graphics driver crashes (a graphics driver crash on XP would crash the OS, where as 7 seems to be able to recover); better security model (programs no longer have permissions to do what they like), an additional side-benefit of which is that user data is now stored in user space rather than program folders, making it easier to back up.
I don't see what's wrong with Windows 8? Even if you aren't interested in the benefits (which aren't all to do with tablets, incidentally) and there's no point in upgrading, I don't see why it's worse? Honest question. I've tried the previews, and they work fine still with keyboard/mouse (you don't have to use the Metro stuff, and the start screen works just like the start menu in Windows 7, just giving you more space).
What about Windows 2000? I remember when XP came out, the geeks saying 2000 was much better than XP, which just had stuff that you had to turn off (and I myself ran 2000 for years, rather than XP). I find it funny that XP is now hailed as being the best MS OS...
Indeed, on that note I could say the same about the XP start menu, I find it odd the way this is now hailed as being some wonderful thing. I remember all the fuss from MS with Windows 95, and I couldn't see what was so good about it - just an awkward menuing system. I'm glad to see it replaced in Windows 7 with something that actually works well.