Update! After reading more about Windows 8 and 7, opted for 7, as my desktop isn't exactly minty fresh and it sounds like a lot of OS stuff is pretty much the same. (Assumed the extra bells/whistles in 8 would just cause me more headaches.)
So far, liking 7 a lot, except that it while it recognizes my soundcard (an old timey, onboard Realtek deal from like, 2005), it simply refuses to allow me to use any of the drivers associated with said card. It has profoundly disappointed me. Google tells me many users have had similar issues and essentially the only fix is dicking with it endlessly or getting a new card, so I'm presently in my dicking-phase.