Hi Adam -- I used to like XP, but I think you'll find Windows 7 is GREAT -- check out these blogs wot I wrote:
ErickJ - I understand your sentiment: "Change or become irrelevant." Many years ago, I vowed to myself to never become a Luddite or lose touch with the particular technologies that I deal with. I think I've done a decent job of it, but not perfect - There are a few things that I ask my kids to help with. In some senses, I do feel overly harsh with my criticism of Windows 8, but in others I feel it's justified.
My first approach with Windows 8 was to just dive in and see what I could figure out on my own. The Internet was my fall back for actual instructional material.
I've managed to figure out how to more or less mimic the start menu and pretty much anything else I can do in Windows 7, and I'm sure there will be a utility to make it easier at some point. I would say making things that much more difficult is a poor business decision.
That's the crux of my extreme level of disappointment. The interface formerly known as metro has its place. It works on tablets and for consuming material. - I think Max articulated it better than I've seen anywhere else - The default setup is designed around consuming content, not producing it.
This is a case where Microsoft really had an opportunity to differentiate between home and pro versions. Pro versions could default to ease of creation and home versions to ease of consumption, with an easy switch either way. In my opinion, not doing that stems from not really understanding their customers, is a very poor business decision and a very large opportunity lost.
As a member of the 60s generation I understand resistance to change. I have been through GEOS, DOS, WFW, NT3.51, the linux distros, Chicago (W95), Longhorn (WinSver 2008), Win7 and now the Win8 (2012svr)evolutions.
Change is constant and if MS does not change then android will give us the next great OS. My two granddaughters see Win8 modern ui as completely intuitive. They are the android touch generation. These are the next consumers.
Change or become irrelevant. Harsh but true.
I am a technology instructor and change is my bread and butter. I will not become "irrelevant".
Besides (Is that a word?)I find watching the resistant flail is fun.
Max - I downloaded the final release preview revision of Windows 8 and have been using it off and on in a virtual machine for a few months. I was bound and determined to not be thwarted by the changes in it.
I have to admit, that Windows 8 has been very helpful to me in one regard. It's done a very good job of, no, an excellent job of curing my addiction to computers and saving me money by ensuring that I will never buy a PC with that floperating system until it's fixed and turned into a useable product.
I understand that tablets do okay with the full-screen, non windowed paradigm. But I also understand that that paradigm is there as much because of the tablet CPU limitations as it is for useability and it only works because of the touch screen. So, they've taken something that mostly works in a specific form-factor and shoe-horned it onto a completely different platform with a completely different set of functionality and requirements, where it simply doesn't belong.
The frustration I feel at people like you, is more i'm sure than the frustration you feel for Windows 8. So you liked the 'Search programs and files' feature in windows 7?, well it hasn't gone anywhere, yes you still type while in the start screen to find the programs and files you want, actually there's 20 odd things you can choose to search. As with anything, 5 minutes of reading some simple information would have saved you the hours of frustration, with little things like right clicking while in any metro app to get options, top right corner to get to that program's settings or devices to output to printer (or the forever present Ctrl+P), the Start key on your keyboard to return to Start (Home) just like on an iPad. These simple methods are NOT hard and will get anyone on their merry way to enjoying Windows 8. But instead you choose to be ignorant and not spend 5 minutes to read a guide.
I've been purchasing refurbished computers so I can get them with xp installed. I have used vista and 7 and they both don't suit me. When I can no longer keep xp running, I guess that I will be forced to move to Linux.
Max, follow my theory, never use a windows OS until its at least 2 generations out of date. By then they may have ironed most of the bugs out, and you'll by then have had enough exposure to the new OS that when you HAVE to move to it you don't get an experience like the above. (you get some funny looks sometimes, though... :-)
There's a nice article on the subject here