Personally, I find that each new version of the windows GUI may make things easier for users (except for the changes to the start menu, the jury is out on that).
BUT.... they make it harder and harder to fix things when the idiot's guide goes wrong.
Call it the Apple effect if you like.
As long as everything works, it works.
When it goes wrong ,it really goes wrong, and it is harder to put right..
To do any serious configuration in XP takes far more mouse clicks (this is in addition to the "you shoudn't even think of looking at the contents of this folder" messages)..
For example, I recently found a printer which couldn't be installed unless you selected "advanced" in the first page of the install wizard, and navigated to the printer drivers manually, mainly because the PC didn't have a network connection.
People want a "just works" experience, but it still lets them down.
As for Marrea's comment, I know many people (mostly my customers) who hate the XP start menu (and the new control panel view, the new network view, etc), they may use it. (mainly because they don't realise that they can turn it off), but they find in confusing and wonder why on earth it was changed.
I personally hate it because I thnk that it is poor design, and far less intuitive than its precursor.
For example, in network places>entire network, PCs are displayed in alphabetical order by name, but the first displayed property is the comment, not the name.
This means that in the displayed listing, I have a client description of "Samba server 3.1" (Fordprefect). instead of Fordprefect (samba server 3.1), yet it still appears between "Windows 2003 server"(eldorado) and "Windows xp workstation" (griffin) in the list.
This is just noise that makes life harder.
I could go on..and on.. and on... Just dont get me started on windows 2003 server or policy defaults....GRRR
The sig between the asterisks is so cool that only REALLY COOL people can even see it!