My upgrading history goes like this. Year ago I bought new comp and I got Win 7 and 8 pro versions with it. 7 was ok to be a Windows but I still didn't feel happy. 8 was a disaster for me. I started to feel somehow tired to whole computing hobby.
I looked at my options and they were basically Linux or Mac. So I contacted some friends of mine in IT-business to get consultation.
I ended up to buy a Macbook Pro and for that computer I had those 2 Windows versions I installed Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon. If I would have older comp I would tried Mint 17 Mate.
Linux Mint is very good option replacing XP or even Win 7/8. It has been working so well. Also installation was made so easy. Just few clicks with mouse and vóila.
And what comes to Mac i felt in love to OS X and other features on it. Even that much I changed my Android phone to iPhone to synchronise easier. Haven't regret that neither.
Now I have been with OS X and Linux for 3 months and this has been worry free computing time all along. My decision is to keep away from Windows now-on at least for some time. Even my free time studies has catch the wind when I have been able to concentrate to study, not to solve all kind of problems, error messages etc.
This path has worked for me, and I encourage people to try new things. Yes you might need to do a bit of research and testing but Linux Live CD is one good way for that. Also dropping by closest hardware shop and testing example Mac don't cost a thing. And for this date since topic is old there has come lots of other devices like Chrome-books for casual web surfers and those who survives without full office packets. Be curious!