Windows 9 is still far enough away that it's worth persisting with Windows 8.1, rather than digging out your Windows 7 DVD (or downloading to disc image) and going backwards in time. If you're still not satisfied with the operating system's reworked user interface, you might be able to solve a few of your problems with a new tool called ModernUI Tuner.
Put together by Winaero's Sergey Tkachenko, the utility focuses on tweaking a bunch of settings in Update 1 for Windows 8.1. They relate to Charms and application closing behaviour, as well as app-switching and the start screen.
Admittedly, there's not that many options to tweak, but if you're frustrated with timeouts, hover delays and other small details, ModernUI Tuner should allow you to get the interface feeling a little more responsive.