Why are you recommending Win7 over Win8? What is wrong with File Explorer in Win8?
Because Mr. Bill said he didn't want tiles.
Also Explorer in Windows 8 uses "the ribbon" interface instead of the older menu-type interface. You can find articles on the Internet about the differences, like ***this one***
Since you're using XP, neither 7 nor 8 will have a taskbar that looks exactly like XP. But I didn't have much trouble with the Windows 7 Explorer while the Windows 8 Explorer continues to aggravate me (I don't like that ribbon interface).
Besides, File Explorer is only part of the problem.
In my experience, Windows 8 takes more mouse clicks to get things done. Getting a 3rd party utility that allows you to boot directly to the desktop and restores your Start Menu can help. Windows 8.1 may give the option of a Start button, but that Start button only takes you to the Start Screen (with all the great honkin' tiles) and there is no Start Menu. When doing a Search using the search box on the Start Screen, you have to click to search three separate sections -- Apps, Settings, and Files -- and what you think is an App may be considered a Setting by Microsoft.
Some games don't work in Windows 8 because it lacks some of the compatibility modes that are still in Windows 7. For example, Still Life has to have Compatibility Mode set to Windows NT to work on Windows 7. When you install the GOG version of Still Life on Windows 7, it automatically sets compatibility to NT during the install. But since Windows 8 has no compatibility mode setting for NT, the game won't work.
A lot depends on how much time it takes you to learn new ways of doing things, and whether it's worth your while to take the time. Going from XP to Windows 8 is a bigger jump than going from XP to Windows 7.