What specifically is REALLY CRAPY AND USELESS about CS2? Most version changes are just incremental changes from the previous version.
I have much more trouble with getting CS2 to work than I ever did with CS. It's highly likely that it's just compability with Windows 8; however, issues such as having a wacom tablet stop working on photoshop alone, the application browser/photo suddenly not showing on screen... never happened when I was still able to use CS....
Yes, these programs were made to work with XP so you take a big risk updating to Win 8. And Win 8 still has a lot of problems just working with the current version of photoshop CS6.
Have you updated your tablet and video card drivers to Win 8? That can be a major problem and symptomatic of what you are describing. Get the updates from manufacturers web site and not MS.