If you are stuck with out-of-date Windows XP and don't want to spend money upgrading or your machine won't upgrade, then these days changing to Linux is definitely the answer. It's free, easy to install and just as easy to use but far more stable and comes ready equipped with much of the software listed on this site.
It's possible to get a system that works in a very similar way to that you are used to. The most suitable in this respect are:
Both can be downloaded and put onto LiveDVDs which means you can try them out without making any changes to your machine. Then, if you like one of them it can be loaded to dual-boot which means that it sits alongside your Windows system and you can boot into whichever you wish. It really is very easy.
Windows XP is now out of date and is no longer supported by Microsoft therefore it is now insecure.
You can replace it with free open source software which can do just about anything that your computer was doing before.
PCLinuxOS is another easy to use system designed for the Windows convert. Download and try it from a live dvd or USB stick.
Kubuntu is an easy to use operating system that looks and feels very similar to XP. It contains most of the software you'll need but other packages are easily installed.