I've been running Ubuntu and/or Mint ever since I abandoned Windows XP. And that was long before XP expired.
Ubuntu is solid, doesn't crash, and runs on most everything. If Ubuntu doesn't have the drivers you need, Linux Mint probably does. I use Mint XFCE because I like a simple interface that gets out of the way and lets me work.
I would advise playing around with a live DVD/CD. Just burn a copy and boot from the DVD. It won't mess with your Windows install until you tell it to install. Try out several versions until you find the one you like the best, then do a dual-boot install. Or just do what I did and wipe Windows and never look back.
There are a few differences, so it takes a couple of days to feel comfortable with the new software. There are plenty of resources available online if you need to look up how to do something.
Also, Ubuntu and Mint are a lot faster than windows on modern hardware. You can still install and use Linux on old hardware that Windows will no longer run on, but it really shines on recent hardware.