Believe me, if I could, I would.
Alas 90% of businesses these days use it.
So it is "the norm" and if you don't have skills with it, you are less-liked by the employer.
Anyway, that aside, I can't get these files to be opened with the IDE.
"Open with" - or "Open" and then pick a progarm doesn't yield the icon being changed and used in future times.
It isn't a one-party system. You can use whatever you want at home where the employer doesn't care, right? And some employers might actually like you to be able to bootstrap yourself on more than one system. At least, these are the sorts of things I am interested when I conduct an interview for tech positions (which I do regularly.)
Even so, Windows XP 32-bit is very different from any of the modern 64-bit Windows environments, so your employer might not be getting their money's worth if you don't have "the skills".
That being said, it's not like switching to another OS will solve all your problems -- it merely switches one set of problems for another. But you "can" and you "should" at least try one of the other ones.
More to the point: the problem you describe is common, and has to do with how the Explorer saves program defaults. This is something Microsoft changes quite a bit release to release. One trick is to create a test account and see if the problem persists there. If not, then you know it is something related to the account you use, not necessarily the OS itself.