You may have noticed, Microsoft ends its support on Windows XP next week. What does that mean? Does it stop functioning? No, it will still work. However, Microsoft won't fix any bugs anymore. They won't fix security leaks either. And they don't update their virus scanner for XP any longer.
Is it possible to keep using XP? Yes it is possbile. However, it's not recommended. If you stay on XP, please install a decent virus scanner and a firewall. Furthermore, use a modern web browser. In stead of the Internet Explorer, start using Firefox, Chromium or Opera.
You'd better install another operating system to replace XP or alongside it. But which one? Windows 8 requires much more processing power. Your current computer won't be able to run it smoothly. But there are alternatives. I recommend Xubuntu, a Linux distribution ('distro') with a lightweight graphical user interface. So it is stable and fast. And best of all, it's free (as in 'freedom').
Before installing, you may test the live CD. Just put the CD (or DVD) in you computer and restart it. Now you can play with Xubuntu without changing anything to your current configuration. If you're satisfied, you may install it.
Installing is easy: just follow the wizard. Xubuntu comes with decent software like LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird and more. Installing new applications is easy using the Software Center: just select and install. This operating system is user friendly. If you're still a bit uneasy: there's a very helpful online community.
For those interested, there's a whole bunch of other Linux distro's. For instance Linux Mint XFCE which is also a good choice. Many people love its polished looks. Another good one is Debian XFCE as it is very stable and fast. (XFCE is the graphical user interface used in all distro's mentioned above.)
Which OS are you going to use?