My first Windows PC was Windows 98 - I still have lots of great memories of the noises turned on for everything from minimising windows to opening menu options in the start menu.
Windows Vista is often maligned, but with the appropriate settings changes (turning off UAC), it wasn't all that different to what Windows 7 became.
The look of Vista was so much nicer than XP, and it felt like a major upgrade at the time - even if you had the Media Center or Zune themes installed.
Windows 7 did optimise things over Vista, admittedly, but Vista gets a lot of undeserved stick in my opinion.
I had a similar experience with Windows 8 to Vista; once you got used to the invisible start button and full screen start menu (altered in 8.1), it was a decent upgrade to Windows 7. 10 was like a polished version of 8. At the same time, an upgrade to 8 from 7 wasn't quite the leap as it was from XP.
Neither of them are at ME levels of poorness (which was utterly pointless).
Avatar Credit: © Independent Television News. Avatar Subject: Jonathan George Snow HonFRIBA