i guess the bugs (or lack thereof) in any operating system are largely dependent on the user.
allow me to explain before jumping on me:
different applications use different portions of the operating system. while it's virtually impossible for any section of code written for anything to be "perfect," there are certainly varying degrees of bugginess present between the different sections of the operating platform.
Windows 2000's terrible, nightmarish page memory handling, for example.
some things work fine, and some don't.
thus: i guess it depends what you're using it for. a friend of mine who uses his computer almost exclusively for internet surfing tells me that he loves it up and down.
another friend of mine, who uses his XP machine for programming, says it's barely tolerable, and the only reason he keeps it is the driver library.
personally, i use mine split about evenly three ways, as a word processor / internet tool / game design platform, and in my experience it has been miserable. the memory handling, i will say, is great - it came virtually straight out of linux, lmao.
however, the graphics rendering, for all that the system is "pretty," falls short when it comes to gaming-type applications.
3d Game Studio, even the version written specifically for windows XP, had about a 1 in 8 chance of causing a total system failure every time i started it.
it works well with static media files, but for some reason anything requiring on-the-fly 3d rendering just plain gave it fits.
i WOULD say it was my video card - except i tried, during that time, about 4 video cards, and about the same number of sound cards, trying to find the hardware that Xp liked the best. among them: an ATI radeon 8500, a voodoo 5, a daytona "generic" card, and (my baby) a geforce 4.
the combination that ended up working the best, surprisingly, was the geforce 4, with a turtle beach montego sound card. XP just plain didn't like the sound blaster cards prior to the audigy.
out of curiosity, i decided to test my system out and try the various versions of windows on it, so i dug around and found all my original windows discs that i've bought since 95, and tried it.
my system is on a epoX 8k7a motherboard with 512 crucial DDR 2100, and an athlon XP 1700+ processor.
my results were annoying.
Xp came in last FOR WHAT I DO WITH IT. it looked great on paper, but when it came to actual performance of the kinds of things for which i use the system, it scored way lower, both on PCmark and on 3dmark, and my load times for 3dgamestudio were significantly, noticeably longer than in any other version of windows.
so i decided to go with my current configuration: using windows 2000 / ME multi-booted, so i can use 2000 for my word processing / internet whatevers, and ME for gaming.
while i tend to agree with Ron that 98 worked better than ME did, again, for the specific things that i use it for, ME ran better.
maybe M$ will make huge, vast leaps forward and bring the whole operating system up to the standard set by the parts that work. i hope so. but until and unless they do - Chris, you're welcome to it.
Need an extra copy of professional? i guarantee i won't be using THAT disk again, lol.
a postscript here - unless you really, really love downloading drivers from cryptic websites that are ridiculously difficult to navigate, do NOT buy an ATI video card. their on-disc drivers are terrible, and getting around the ATI website is a nightmare.