Just this week Microsoft took the wraps off an update to Windows 8.1 that, coincidentally, will start rolling out on, you guessed it, April 8. The most significant thing about this update is that Microsoft has finally thrown in most of the towel with respect to preservation of the desktop. While the "Metro" tile-based interface is still the default, Windows 8.1 can now be made to start in the desktop rather than on the start screen. A number of other changes make things like settings more accessible, especially to those without a touchscreen or who still want to use the mouse and keyboard.
What this means is that while migrating to Windows 7 will be least jolting to a Windows XP diehard, Windows 8.1 is no longer an earthquake. That levels the playing field considerably.
So, given a choice, which "new" version of Windows should you move to, 7 or 8?
Remember that Microsoft's policy about support extends for two versions of Windows, the current version (that would be 8) and the previous version (7). In other words, Windows 7 is just one version away from falling into the security-support-only abyss.
One example. Internet Explorer is currently at version 11. IE11 is not available for Vista (two versions back) but is available for Windows 7 (just one version back).
Get it? You want the version of Windows that will be fully supported for the longest possible time. Windows 7 was released in late 2009 and is four years old. Windows 8 is just a year old.
With the good updates coming for 8.1, it's a no-brainer.