Re: Behind the Curve....
I have been derided for clinging to WinXP far beyond its sell-by date. However, I had no option: my pension didn't stretch to buying Win7.
If in UK contact a local Linux User Group (LUG).
Consider getting either Xubuntu (if your hardware is running XP SP3 ok it can *probably* cope with Xubuntu) or Lubuntu isos put on an old USB stick (2G fine) so they are bootable and run 'live sessions' to become familiar with Linux. A second USB stick can be used to store files &c so will not touch your existing hard drive.