I don't think that the old way viewing is possible in windows XP. However, your exposed problem isn't by far annoying than the one that you open a folder with hunfreds (maybe thousands) of files in thumbnail view. In this case, there is a large processing delay.
Anyway, you can use a third party tool. Example
Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
And piece together the past and the future,
T. S. Eliot
With Win 98SE Windows Explorer can be viewed as a Web Page whereby a middle screen appears between the directory and folder/file screens. When I click a file in the right screen the info of that file appears in the middle window, This is especially useful when I click a JPG, etc. file because a "thumbnail" picture of that JPG file appears in the middle screen. So I don't have to double click the file in order to see what the picture looks like. Question: how do I get the same screen or feature with Windows XP?