Actually, I currently use Vista on my home computer and don't have any major problems (apart from updates not getting listed, but I don't think that this is an OS problem, but is something unrelated). I also used Win ME for quite a long time and also had no problems with crashes and other stuff people complained about. But maybe I were just lucky at that time...
Yes, you were lucky.
When it came out it I think it was the worst thing to ever happen to a PC. Even some viruses don't behave like that.
By the way, how goes the process of adapting TDM to Windows 10?