"Minimum" requirements are meaningless with most software products. I'm not familiar with Windows Eight, but it does defy common wisdom that software gets more
inefficient with every release, and less compatible with older systems that have no commercial value anymore. According to Wiki, Win98 "requires" 16 MB of RAM. Let's bump it to 32 MB. The naked OS with very lean
drivers (implies ancient hardware) will boot, but you won't be able to add any applications or allow to for registry growth. Software publishers seem to have a vague definition of what constitutes a functional computer, and leave options open to stretch the facts with cherry picked cases.
For example, we can see here a demonstration where Win Eight is supposedly faster or on par
with XP, and of course more "secure" than anything that came before it.
And yet, it takes the multi-core PC more than a minute
to open the Event Viewer with its logs fully parsed. A similar amount of data is read with the older XP's management console in seconds.
That is unless you were to compare a Pentium II doing the same operation. Microsoft somehow manages to get away with taking credit for faster processors, video cards, HD audio and megapixel pictures, as if their OS somehow was crucial in enabling these parts to work.
I've had a rather "upbeat" first experience with XP's GUI. I think I was impressed by its warm color scheme. The PC in question had the standard reddish Luna theme, but also the brown "Autumn" wallpaper. In retrospect this was rather silly. But that is how I remember. The PCs I got to work with were a generation behind with quarter the memory (64 MB) running Win2K.