Motley, i really can't tell if you're trolling with your whole 'i love XP and everything before it'. It boggles my mind that anyone would say 'i want to run windows 98' in this day and age.
As for LU, sure it _could_ run on Win98, 2000 etc but LU has never ran on anything older than XP (i did test 2000 once for shits n giggles). Dropping XP support is a good step for everyones sake.
XP is full of so many security flaws these days it's not even funny. There is no way to secure XP anymore due to huge unpatched issues. The only people running a 'secure' XP these days are isolated government systems but they don't run the normal consumer versions. I've taught people how to break fully patched XP systems without even touching them, it's so much fun! It's actually possible to format your entire machine right now by placing a tiny bit of code on the LU forum... *whistles*
Also, i feel sorry for your SSD as WinXP doesn't know how to handle an SSD nicely and it treats it as a hard drive. XP doesn't have support for TRIM and it even tries to defrag them (NEVER defrag an SSD unless you don't like it very much).
You say you connect to 10 VPNs, are these public VPNs? Because that's just silly. The only secure VPNs are ones you control yourself. What's to stop the people running the VPNs from snooping on your traffic?
As for ReactOS, that might work with WINE. I haven't actually tested it but as WINE has the compatibility of what's essentially Windows 7, it might work. If someone could confirm that it'd be great
Anyway, GTAV is calling so i'll finish my rant (for the moment!)