I've been a Windows user ever since the 3.11 days. Each Windows succession promises that this version will be better than before - I think MS is referring to its feature-set and not its quality.
95 was a visual remake of 3.11. 98 saw a stability enhancement and IE integration. 98SE continued the progression on both of these tracks. WinME? I have no idea why it was released and never bought into it. 2000 was NT's version of the 95-98 succession. Now we have XP - basically, it's 2000 with a new GUI (and a few other under-the-hood enhancements).
How do I feel about it? Well, I didn't have the ease of upgrade experience from 98SE this author claims. Several times during the installation (and in the subsequent weeks) I found myself wishing I had done the reformat and clean install. I should know better than to think I could simply "upgrade".
What did I find? MS had completely taken over my hardware - substituting my name brand drivers (downloaded with care over time from hardware web sites) with MS drivers! Naturally, my monitor's settings were all wrong and 3D acceleration suffered. Luckilly, I still had all the downloaded drivers ready on the hard drive for the reinstall of each one (printer, scanner, sound card, video card, and even the monitor - which now shows as a "plug-n-play" monitor).
What's it like after the dust has settled? Well, XP has been on my PIII 500 (256 RAM) machine since a week after the OS made it's debut. I've seen the browser (IE6) actually lock up the system about half a dozen times. I've noticed that "Winword.exe" hangs the system and hogs 100% of its resources until I manually kill the process. Why Winword.exe even pops up (while using the browser) I can only attribute to the MS theology that almost everything is now embedded into the OS. Just last night I found it necessary to reinstall the printer drivers and occassionally, I have to reboot if I want to scan and have previously used the shared LP1 port for printing.
What are my plans? Well, each time I've decided to upgrade my hardware, I would peer over the fence at the Apple camp. Each time, I would settle for another PC. I'm getting close to that time again and the new flat iMac with OSX is looking pretty good. OSX still has some maturing to do though - I need to be able to sync my Palm and I need to share out the printer (two problems I've read OSX has problems with at present).
All in all, I'd say my Windows days are numbered. Windows' bugs and bloat is strike one. Product Activation is strike two. The ".Net" initiative (and the ongoing Passport security issues) may be the final blow to this long-time Windows user.