There are tools out there, although I'm always skeptical of them (Because many of the are free--and who knows what lies beneath).
Anyway, you could use a password cracking system to get to your data, back it up, and then do a re-install of the OS just to make sure the cracking program didn't leave any traces. I'm always worried about malware in some of those password cracking programs. You could also plug the drive into another computer to get your data (depends on if you make your user account "private"--meaning that only the user it belongs to can access the files--or not). If not, then usually you can read it from another computer. Sometimes it work, sometimes it doesn't, but it's worth a shot first before using a password cracking app.
If you used bitlocker on a previous Windows drive, then you're pretty much screwed if a password recovery program doesn't help. With any Windows drive that was encrypted, I've had zero luck in using any password recovery program. Just FYI.
For what you wish to do though, I don't foresee any issues. I would, however, recommend Win7 Ultimate over any version of Win8. Personal preference perhaps, yet I still abhor Win8 in any form.