Windows 10 alternatives will help you to enjoy another operating system. If you’re still using Windows 7 on your PC, you’re not alone. Almost half of Windows users are still on the Microsoft operating system first released in 2009. Considering Windows 7 is currently used almost as much like Windows 10, it looks like a lot of users are satisfied with it and don’t see the need to upgrade to Windows 10.
But there is a problem on the horizon. Microsoft will stop providing security updates in early 2020. This means at that point, Windows 7 will have to be considered an unsafe operating system. There are probably a lot of reasons to not use Windows 10.
Maybe you’ve privacy concerns, maybe you don’t like the look or maybe you don’t want to use Microsoft products. Whatever it may be, let me show you a few options for your next operating system that isn’t Windows.
6 Best and Reliable Windows 10 Alternatives
The first options should probably be the second most used operating system in the world after Windows MacOS. While it looks different from Windows and also works differently in a lot of ways, I would consider it an easily usable OS even for beginners.
MacOS has a reputation of being more stable than Windows and almost every major software that’s available for Windows also exists for MacOS. It’s even catching up in available games but Windows is still ahead in that department.
Unfortunately, macOS is not easily available on all computers and Apple is known for having restrictions on what you can do or device you can use with MacOS, although that has gotten better in recent years.
Officials devices running macOS are usually more expensive than Windows computers and aren’t freely configurable. Unofficially, macOS can be installed successfully on a wide range of computers which is known as a Hackintosh.
Since installing macOS on non-Apple hardware is against Apple’s license agreement, you can’t expect any goodwill from Apple but so far there hasn’t been any legal action against Hackintosh users. In my experience, Hackintoshes are only recommended for advanced users that are willing to put in work getting the system to run.
These computers usually don’t work perfectly after installation but require research for drivers or the correct hardware. If you’re willing to spend the money on Apple hardware, I would consider macOS the all-around best windows 10 alternatives.
Probably the most well-known Linux distribution, Ubuntu. It’s a free and open source operating system made by the Canonical Foundation and the Ubuntu community. First released in 2004, Ubuntu has seen a lot of development and the over the years, a lot of variants for different usage scenarios based on the official Ubuntu have been released.
The default installation contains a wide range of essential software from office software, a web browser to photo editing. It’s easy to set up even for non-voice users and includes an app store with thousands of popular programs.
Fortunately, many software developers today includes releases Ubuntu and Linux distributions and even games are getting more support now. Adobe sadly doesn’t publish it’s very popular Creative suite software on Linux which could be a major drawback for some users.
Considered a controversial move by the Linux community, Ubuntu also includes proprietary software and drivers to deliver a better out of the box experience. Most former Windows users, on the other hand, will probably welcome these additions because they, for example, enable MP3 and Adobe Flash playback.
If you don’t want to commit to Ubuntu immediately, you can always try it out using the installation CD without installing it on your hard drive.
3. Elementary OS
Elementary OS is developed by the company elementary LLC and offers basic applications by default. A web browser, an email client, a calendar and more are included after installation but there are many more apps available through the operating system’s compatibility with Ubuntu.
Elementary OS has been in development since 2011 and is very easy to use but seems a bit rudimentary compared to established operating systems like Windows or macOS.
Just like Ubuntu, you can try it out before actually installing it.
Fedora is a Linux distribution developed by the Fedora Project since 2003. It has a shorter life cycle and integrates new technologies quicker than other Linux distribution.
Fedora comes with a wide range of open source software preinstalled and while it’s main focus is free software, it does allow to install third-party applications.
It can be run in a live environment without installing and is often used by software developers. Fedora aims to minimize distractions and to offer a powerful operating system for fast use.
The operating system Solus is based on Linux and is relatively young. It was first released in 2015 and comes in several editions all with different desktop environments. It targets both beginners and advanced users and prioritizes usability over availability.
Solus uses curated rolling releases which mean users will continuously receive updates without having to worry that their OS will reach the end of life.
Users get to choose which updates to install except to mandatory security updates. Essential software like Firefox or Thunderbird is preinstalled and additional software is available in the included software center.
6. Linux Mint
Linux Mint claims to be a modern operating system that is both powerful and extremely easy to use. It is developed by its community, free of cost and open source.
Just like Solus, Linux Mint takes a conservative approach to new software updates to be safe and reliable. It provides full out of the box multimedia support by combining proprietary and free software.
Standard applications like Firefox, LibreOffice or VLC media player are preinstalled and it comes with a number of desktop environments to choose from. Linux Mint is able to run as temporary live OS from USB or DVD in many languages.
It has multiple editions for different needs or concerns.
There are lots of other Linux distributions to choose from but I wanted to provide a brief overview of what I would consider realistic Windows 10 alternatives. If you’re wondering why the most operating system that isn’t Windows is based on Linux, you have to consider the amount of work and money that needs to be put into creating an operating system.
Most development teams that aren’t billion dollar companies like Microsoft or Apple don’t have the same time and resources to develop a full-fledged operating system.
Unfortunately for the consumer, the past decades of software development led to Microsoft’s dominance and the few options of advanced operating systems we have now.