With Windows XP's end of support date having now arrived, users are going to have to find ways of migrating to later versions of Windows.
This presents a problem. Alot of computers that are 10 years old newer are still plenty capable of doing most everyday tasks for most people, so their owners can't justify upgrading to a new computer for a butt ton of money. However, these same 10 year old computers also can't run Windows 7 or 8 well without some major upgrades, all of which aren't really worth it. So, what to do?
Microsoft has a solution, although not intentionally, nor is it one that you would expect. Their Embedded OS, in particular Embedded POSReady 2009, is based on Windows XP, shares the same interface, and cuts out alot of the crap so it even runs better than XP. Obviously since it is made for POS systems there is some junk on there that is meant for that purpose but fortunately that can all be turned off with a custom install.
POSReady2009 updates can also be backported to Windows XP. Microsoft has tried stating that this can result in an unstable system, and various applications have taken it upon themselves to attempt to thwart this, but as of yet there has been no reports of any problems whatsoever. Take that Microsoft!
You can download a 180-day trial from Microsoft. After 180 days, however, it will fail to log on unless you purchase a license. In the past I have had luck using TweakNT to remove the timebomb, however your mileage may vary. If it does not work, there are actual license keys for POSReady floating around on the internet.
Embedded POSReady 2009 uses a new "WinPE" based graphical setup utility, as opposed to the old text-mode setup of Windows XP and prior.
The splash screen was taken straight out of Windows XP, however.
POSReady 2009 uses the same dialog box for logging in as previous versions of Windows. I don't believe it includes Windows XP's graphical login.