Windows XP was a key release for Microsoft. Each successive release of Windows built and improved on the last. 95 finally unified Microsoft DOS and the graphical Windows environment. ME was a massive dip in quality. Windows XP needed to shine and blot out the recent memory of ME and finally jettison the DOS underpinnings and bring together the consumer operating systems lines and the New Technologies of the enterprise grade operating systems.
When acquaintances asked me whether to upgrade or not I told them “There is no compelling reason to upgrade to Vista and, given how flaky it is, every reason to stick to XP.” Acquaintances are great. All to often they prefer to listen to advertising hype and reviews written by no nothing bloggers (like myself) who have no support experience rather than IT professionals. We will often get the OS early, install it on the legacy equipment most home users will have themselves and get to see all hoops you will need to jump through just to get it to boot. You're a fool if you don't listen to the professional. I often get to have a good laugh at the expense acquaintances that refuse to listen. Vista was no exception. Downgrade became a popular word during the short-lived Vista years. Downgrade and shambles.