you DO get free upgrades IF:
You install Linux instead of Windows. It's quite a leap, if you're not willing to learn a few things, like a few command line inputs, and the different programs, HOWEVER, the LATEST Linux has all the bells and whistles and runs about 3X faster ON THE SAME hardware as my XP did.
As mentioned elsewhere, if your system still does what you want it to do, keep it, backup your information (VERY regularly... a terabyte portable drive made for this is only around $50) and save for one YOU want when it comes out. I wouldn't own one, BUT you might consider simply getting the latest iPad, if that's what you want.
Unfortunately, desktops are going to be a dying breed in the next few years as people switch to ultrabooks, pad-type devices, and other portable devices.
Personally, that old XP system (I dual boot so I still can use my windows-only software if needed, and no messing with virtual machines) still does what I want it to, and, as I stated, when booted into Xubuntu (Linux) runs about three times as fast for web surfing, file reading, etc.
I personally detest the eye candy in Windows 7, which makes it much more difficult to use, and Windows 8 will be worse. Give me my text-oriented dropdown menus, no icons (they all look alike to me) and something that works rather than is "pretty." You'll find you have to RELY on the desktop search (and it won't find hidden files, etc.) just to open programs, with Win 7. Me, I prefer finding them in my dropdowns, thank you.
That hardware, if its proven the test of time (as mentioned above) should still be fine even in a few years, unless there is something new you want to do with it. And, it's not worth trying to upgrade it to install Windows 7, if that's what you really want. If you want speed, install Linux, or get a portable device with Android (Linux) or an iPad.
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