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Free alternative to windows

(10 Posts)
RiaOverTheRainbow Sat 01-Mar-14 10:49:03

I'm looking for a new, free operating system, but I've only ever used windows and I don't know where to start. I'm hoping for something similar to windows, or at least easy to adapt to. Zorin OS 7 looks like it might fit the bill, but there seem to be loads of OSs and I don't know if it's the best. What would you recommend?

RiaOverTheRainbow Sat 01-Mar-14 12:48:41


wyrdyBird Sat 01-Mar-14 13:02:56

I'd probably suggest linux mint

....not because it's the best necessarily, but it might feel more familiar.

RiaOverTheRainbow Sat 01-Mar-14 13:18:25

Thanks, I'll have a look.

chateauferret Sun 02-Mar-14 22:17:20

Ubuntu Linux. Dead simple and complete suite of free software. Are you using old kit? If so Linux will outclass Windoze (even more than usualsmile) but you might want to use a lightweight window manager like LXDE instead of Unity (the Ubuntu default) for performance of so.

RiaOverTheRainbow Mon 03-Mar-14 01:37:12

Thanks smile

Can anyone tell me the name of the programme that lets you trial OSs without installing them? Something box I think?

wyrdyBird Mon 03-Mar-14 01:43:26

Ubuntu can actually be run from its installation disk without installing it, so you can do an 'on the fly' assessment that way.

RiaOverTheRainbow Mon 03-Mar-14 01:49:22

Thanks, that sounds great.

NetworkGuy Mon 03-Mar-14 17:02:49

You can generally download CD or DVD versions for free, and many call the 'demo running from disc' a "Live CD" or "Live DVD" (they generally have a menu to allow installation too, if you feel happy with the software after trying it... some are "install in parallel" ie when you boot the PC, it gives a boot menu so you could choose your existing Windows setup if need be... others will completely overwrite the hard drive, and then Windows and all data are unavailable... Only mention this because I don't want you to assume the former and find out all evidence / history of you having had Windows gets "wiped" unexpectedly. You should get a warning (or three!) about it destroying what was on disk before, but just in case they assume you're happy with switching and want to never go back, they could write the install to just 'do it'...)

You can download and then need to burn a CD or DVD. Also worth popping along to a newsagent and check for any Linux mags. Often you will find one or more "Linux Live" versions of software on the DVD that comes with the mag. (cost typically 5-7 pounds, inc the DVD, and may have some interesting articles too)

Before you seek out versions of Linux and spend time downloading, do be aware of your hardware, and in particular whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit system, as some versions of linux are intended primarily for 64-bit systems.

You'll most likely get info on a Windows PC using "My Computer" and making a note of the specification info provided there, explaining what CPU and speed it runs at, how much RAM is available, and a few other aspects.

Finally, if you don't have the time or inclination, you can find individuals/ small firms selling versions of Linux (eg on Ebay), or via small ads on sites like > DistroWatch < (as the software releases are called Linux "distributions" and made available worldwide, often by Universities, for free, in software libraries called "Mirror sites" {the file repository site "mirrors" the content of another site, by taking a perfect copy} - the UK Academic Community jointly funded a service some time ago, but now it seems to have been replaced by > <

Another link to check out is the Wikipedia list of "Live CDs" > here <

Finally - for those wanting to try the KDE (often considered to be a linux desktop environment, but apparently a cross-platform development group, with some applications available also for Windows and Apple OS X) take a look at > their KDE distro list <*

DoctorTwo Tue 04-Mar-14 15:20:24

I got sick of Windows crashing on a regular basis and requiring re-installation ao I now have a Linux distro, Fedora 20. I find it easier to use than Windows, and it hasn't crashed once in the month or so since I installed it.

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