You should not have any issues using Windows based software that was released in the last four years or so. The problem that you are talking about is with old 16-bit software. XP runs in a true 32-bit environment. Most developers new well in advance that the Windows OS would be moving to this more powerful architecture, so they accommodated for this.
Unless you are running something very old then you may have issues. But, quite frankly, if you do have a problem I think you have squeezed every ounce of use out it and it is time to upgrade.
I agree with the last post. Windows XP should not have any trouble with any of those applications. Newer versions of ACDSee are much better (read:faster) though, and might be worth the upgrade. I believe that they offer discounts to returning customers too.
I would encourage you to upgrade to XP Pro, if you're looking to spend some money. Pro is much more stable and configurable. Just my .02 .
Just wanted to report that Capture works without a problem, maybe because I didn't install SP2 (but as I'm not going to use this computer on the net, I see no problem with that) so the thumbnails still are there
ACDsee 3.1 also works without any ripples
Only Photoshop initially gave problems due to a message that I supposedly didn't have enough memory.
As I have about one Gig, that seemed impossible (I run the same program on my PII 350 with 256 MB RAM, sloooowww, but still it runs)
where after some reading I saw mentioned to simply turn of the function with which XP designates a portion as Virtuel Memory.
Won't say it's legit, but it did the trick for me
BTW, the Acer Aspire 1703SC (with 1Gig RAM and 120 Gig HDD) I got (second hand) is great.
Downloads a 512 MB cf card in 1 minute 30, batch processes over 100 NEF's in RBG Tiffs in under 7 minutes, and with a lovely big 17' screen as extra.
Only downside is the weight (7 kilo's) and limited battery life (about 1,5 hours)
But as I don't plan to lug it along all the time (more like for downloading, initial postprocessing and CD burning in the hotel in the evening, with ACDC so not depending on the battery) that's not really an issue.