There was a good while when if you were using a computer, chances were it ran Windows XP. I used Windows XP on the family laptop growing up (though never connected to the Net), and my first memory of properly using an actual computer is my parents helping me set up a user account on the laptop when I was seven. (Multiple user accounts with fast switching, by the way, was first introduced to consumers with XP.) Even now, in 2023, when I look at the state of modern computing, it's painfully evident to me just how much we've lost since that heyday of computing. Although nowadays, I am a devoted Mac user, Windows XP is, in my opinion, quite possibly the best OS ever made, and so I'd like to pay a little tribute to it.
From the moment you turned XP on, it greeted you with a colourful log-on screen (pictured above), and the entire "Luna" interface theme was fun and welcoming, a great contrast to the drab, flat, minimalist interfaces of modern Windows. The blue and green of the default theme go well with the default background, and liven up the computing experience. And for the people who didn't like the default theme, you could replace the blue with silver or olive green, or even go back to the classic theme, which was wildly customizable, or even download other themes (like Microsoft's shiny Royale theme, a screenshot of which is shown below). And that's one of the main things that Windows is missing today: choice. Look at Windows 10 and 11 and tell me that they're the bastion of customizability that Windows once was, and that many think it should be. It's more customizable than Chromebooks, sure, but it's nowhere near where it was, or what it should be.
It was also a lot simpler and more lightweight. Ironically, though modern Windows seems like it's intended to be super minimalist and speedy, it absoutely chugs on hardware that's even a few years old, like a spinning hard drive, on hardware that its predecessors ran on flawlessly. XP, meanwhile, could run well on a flipping potato even during its original run, and the entire OS has one program included for each function and one cohesive visual identity. This was also the era where computers were computers, not massive tablets with keyboards and mice, so the interface is reasonable to use with a keyboard and mouse, and doesn't feel like it was made for the lowest common denominator.
Windows XP was also stable. Although people will freak out at anyone still using XP in 2023, because of the "security issues" (although anybody with a half-decent antivirus and enough Web-surfing common sense will probably be okay in that department), XP keeps on chugging along and even has a decent little community dedicated to keeping it alive, with programmes like Mypal (the latest version, based off Firefox Quantum, is pictured below) making XP usable in 2023. And XP never had any forced system updates that broke the system, nor did it have invasive nagware forcing you to "upgrade" to a newer version of Windows.
For the better part of a decade, Windows XP was the most-used version of Windows, and the fact that it still holds up to some extent twenty-two years after its release should tell you just how good it really was. If I had to choose between my modern Mac and Windows XP (with everything fully functioning and all), I think I'd really consider XP! Windows XP really was the pinnacle of computing, and in short: I miss XP!