Since MicroSoft has pretty much given up hope for people using other systems, I might as well give those people a helping hand.
You think Windows Vista is too much new shit? Not really your own, taking you hostage and doesn’t give you the freedom you want, but you still need to have a MS Windows based operating system, preferably one that is lightweight and up-to-date? Then Windows XP Pro Corporate – Performance Edition is the one you should try. (Yes, it outperforms Windows 2000 on older hardware.)
The only downside to that release is that it isn’t an XP x64 Edition. If you really want 64 bit, I recommend a XP Corporate x64. Based on the 2003 kernel, and the best MS OS around today if you ask me. No DRM, no obligations, no WPA hassle. No spying on you, and no silly useless fancy 3D stuff.
Need to update your Windows system, without contacting the Redmond offices?
Try one of these (great) options:
– Autopatcher (highly recommended), or
– WinDizUpdate (I recommend the extension for Moz Firefox).
You could also blame Vista for leaving Microsoft once and for all, and go with Linux or BSD! In that case, if you can stand the Gnome desktop (I hate it), go with Mint, if you’d rather use the KDE stuff, go with PCLinuxOS or CentOS. If your hardware isn’t all that new, you might like the BSD backing, and try pc-BSD.