Absolutely Upgrade to Windows 8 - It's Windows 7 on Steroids
Seriously, it simply makes no sense to continue to use the tired, bloated, relatively slow and insecure Windows XP any longer. Both Windows 7 and 8 are more stable, more secure, more user friendly, and faster operating systems. I built and manage three computers in our small office and have built over 70 over the years. I've switched exclusively to Windows 8 because it is faster, more stable, more forgiving, and more secure than Windows 7.
The objections to Windows 8 revolve around the loss of the Start button and menus on the desktop -- but that is easily overcome with the $4.99 application Start8 from http://www.stardock.com which restores the Start button to the desktop as well as the menus and easily enables you to boot directly into the desktop (there are a slew of other utilities that do the same, but Start8 does it best; some of the others are pretty unstable and just plain wiggy). I've upgraded or built from scratch 6 Windows 8 computers so far; four 64-bit and two 32-bit. I've had no problem installing and running such ancient programs as Lotus WordPro 9.8 and Corel Ventura Publisher 10 --neither of which has been updated since the glory days of Windows XP. The keys to installing these older programs is to change the properties of their installation file (like setup.exe) to "Run as Administrator" and "Run in Windows XP compatibility mode" -- right click the installation file and select "properties". After you install an older program, you might also want right click its executable file (like wordpro.exe), select properties, and tell it to run in Windows XP compatibility mode. Chances are good that you can google your favorite older program and find instructions on how to install it in Windows 7 (which almost always works for Windows 8 as well).
All that being said, be aware that you'll need to do a fresh install of Windows 8 since there is no direct upgrade from Windows XP -- which should give you some idea of how different Windows 8 (and 7) is under the covers than Windows XP. While some folk here counsel sticking with Windows XP, I urge you not to be afraid of change (after all if we were so afraid of change, we'd still be working in DOS and very few people would be using PCs at all). The PC world is full of folks uncomfortable with change -- don't be one of them. Switching to Windows 8 from XP is not changing for the sake of change. It's changing for something a whole lot better and easier to use.
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