Switch to Linux with these top distros

Windows 7 is dead; it might be time consider switching to a stable, secure and fast alternative

Windows 7 has just turned ten and, to celebrate, Microsoft ended support for its most popular operating system to date. Around a third of all computers still run it, and if yours is among them we have some bad news: there’s no such thing as safety in numbers. It’s time to consider your moving options.

In many cases, this will be an upgrade to Windows 10 but, if you’re running older hardware or are in the mood for a change, perhaps it’s time for another look at Linux.

Regular contributor Jon Honeyball has fallen for the charms of Linux Mint – and we can understand why – but Mint is far from the only flavour on offer. Each distro has a different style and skillset, with variants to suit every taste.

In this instance, we’re more interested in usability than we are in raw numbers, as this is about the computing experience as much as it’s about what you can do with each OS. 

Moreover, we’ve cut each candidate greater slack than we’d usually be prepared to do. We had issues with each distro – without exception – when installing them on our current-specification laptop, spanning wobbly Wi-Fi, touchpads that stopped working, mute speakers and, in some cases, distributions that wouldn’t install at all. 

This is by no means an unusual occurrence in the world of Linux, which often works on a system of trial and error. Linux has a reputation as being the sole province of hardcore tech-heads, and while that's not quite true any more, it certainly not for the faint of heart, and we'd advise anyone who's worried about using a command-line interface to turn back now.

The winner, then, isn’t so much the quantifiably “best” open-source operating system on test, but rather the one we’d be most likely to stick with if it was time to wave goodbye to Windows altogether.

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