Well, it might be my personal opinion. But I think you should consider trying Linux. Days are gone when Linux used to be only for geeks. Now it has become more desktop oriented by distros like Ubuntu. Note that there are thousands of Linux based distros. Its upon you what you choose. I personally like Linux Mint.
- Completely Free and Open Source. No need to use pirated versions.
- Customizable to the core. You can change almost everything according to your wish. You can also make it look like Mac OS or Windows 7.
- Lots of softwares available for all your tasks, most are free, including the popular VLC, Firefox, Google Chrome etc.
- An update updates all softwares, not just security patches like Windows.
- Virus free. Most Linux users don't have any antivirus. Those who have, just to scan files so that they won't affect Windows users.
- No maintenance like disk defragmenting, registry cleaning etc. The default file system ext4 is fast and stable.
- A lot more Visual effects than Windows by Compiz, even features such as aero snap.
- Many distros offer Live CD, you can try it without even requiring to install it.
- Hardware support out of the box. Linux supports a wide range of Hardware without requiring to install drivers.
- More stable, secure and faster than Windows, thus dominant in the server market.
- A lot of more tools for programmers.
- Might have problem with some hardware configuration.
- Requires some use of command line.
- No multimedia support out of the box. Hence you have to install them manually.
- Windows cannot recognize ext4 file system. But that's not Ubuntu's fault.
- Excellent games available, but still behind Windows.
Typical Gnome Desktop
DockBarX with Windows Preview
Visual Effects with Compiz
The Linux Terminal
Torcs - A Racing Game
Assaultcube - A First person shooterIf you want to try Linux I recommend Linux Mint or Ubuntu. If you prefer eye candy, I recommend Kubuntu.