The operating system is the glue that holds everything together when it comes to machines, in our case computers. It allows all of the components to work in unison and provides a graphical interface for programs, utilities, and executing commands. And, with every new update, the operating systems not only get prettier but also gains new features. The main reason for making a switch from Windows is probably monetary. We know that not everyone is ready to pay more than $100 for the license. There are other reasons, such as curiosity, outdated and weak computer components, compatibility, and the need for customization. With that in mind, here are some of the Windows alternatives.
The most common option when looking for operating systems like Windows is Linux. Or rather, one of many operating systems based on Linux, also known as distributions, one of which is Ubuntu. A lightweight alternative that required 4GB of RAM, 25 GB of HDD space, and a 2 GHz processor. Furthermore, Ubuntu versions usually come with LTS (Long-Term Support) and are guaranteed to receive maintenance and security updates for 5 years after release. The system itself comes with a simple, yet effective orange-purple interface, which can be customized to your liking. Most importantly, it’s open-source and free to download, share, and use.
Right off the bat, we’ll mention the second most popular operating system for desktop and laptop computers, created by Apple. Officially, it is only available for Apple products such as MacBook Air, Mac Pro, iMac, and Mac mini devices. So, to make a switch, you will be forced to shell out hundreds of dollars. And for the right reason, mind you, because macOS is stable, has a beautiful interface, and is constantly updated. But, people were never deterred from a little DIY, and came up with a so-called “Hackintosh”. Through a wide variety of workarounds, they made it possible to install and use macOS on unsupported computers.
3. Linux Mint
Do you like the color green? If so, you will fall in love with Linux Mint, an operating system based on the Linux kernel. It has a beautiful Dark Mode that makes everything better and comes in three desktop environment editions – Cinnamon, Xfce, and MATE. In terms of security, the number of programs and utilities, and the base features, they’re identical. The only different thing is the GUI, allowing you to pick the one that looks the best to you. It is free, lightweight, and comes pre-installed with a lot of programs needed for everyday tasks. As such, it is recommended for people who are just transitioning from Windows.
4. Elementary OS
Another derivative of the Linux kernel is Elementary OS, a lightweight, open-source operating system inspired by Linux, Windows, and macOS. It can be installed free of charge, although donations are encouraged. Elementary OS also requires much less space in comparison to Windows – only about 15 GB after the installation is complete. It will also work perfectly with as little as 4GB of RAM. It is very easy to use and has one of the prettiest user interfaces around. Plus, you have access to the Store, where you can find all of the applications you’d ever need, so you don’t need to scour the Internet yourself.
5. Zorin OS
If you are looking for a similar OS to Windows in terms of GUI and making the switch easy, ZorinOS is a great option. A relatively new operating system, Zorin offers multiple versions – a paid version with a full set of features, a free version with some of the features, and a Lite version intended for old computers. All three can be customized in a few clicks to look very similar to Windows, Linux, or macOS. It is much easier on the system resources than Windows, doesn’t carry the same privacy intrusion concerns, and promises to be much more resistant to malware.
Is it possible to have a lightweight but highly functional operating system? In our opinion, most definitely, and Solus is a strong contender. Based on the Linux kernel and previously known as Evolve OS, Solus has a very minimalistic look to it. By default, its GUI can be customized by installing desktop environments such as Budgie, GNOME, MATE, and Plasma. This allows you to customize every little detail about it, unlike on Windows where third party tweaks and hacks are required.
7. Chrome OS
Are you a college student who needs a laptop to do this essential work and nothing else? Or do you have an older computer that has trouble working fluently with Windows installed? In both cases, Chrome OS is most likely the solution. Although it comes pre-installed with a range of Google’s Chromebooks, low-cost laptops, it is also available for download and installation for free. This makes it a for purposes of using social networks, using Google Docs, and browsing the Internet. While media playback is possible, it is limited in terms of resolution and bit rate. And don’t even think about media editing and serious gaming.
You wanted a Windows-like OS, and you got it. People created ReactOS as a Windows 95 clone project back in 1996. Their goal was the ability to replace it with ReactOS without the user noticing the change. A lot has changed since then, but not its core capabilities. It is still intended for older computers, just like ZorinOS Lite, but requires even less hardware. You only need 500 MB of HDD space and 96 MB of RAM to run the system properly. it is not intended for modern use, but for people nostalgic about the 1990s and fans of old-school games, it’ll scratch the itch.
We don’t want to leave developers and system admins out of the picture. Surprisingly, OpenSUSE is not based on Debian and is a stand-alone release. It’s a community-developed open-source operating system and has a dedicated fanbase around it. We recommend downloading Leap, a stable version updated on an 8-month cycle. Furthermore, it has a YaST, a control center that allows full control of all aspects of the system, allowing you to truly feel like you’re the owner. As for desktop environments, you can install GNOME and KDE Plasma by default.
The constant improvements and features such as Samsung DeX made developers add desktop functionality into the Android source code. Also, having a Google Play, a centralized app distribution, helps new users adapt quickly. Plus, it is extremely easy on the resources and still supports all the personal, education, or enterprise tasks you want to complete. Best of all – there are many operating systems to choose from. Independent developers created bootable Android 9 installations, while others built custom Android-based systems, such as PrimeOS and Phoenix OS.