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Need help deciding which OS to get.

ExPlosive_Beaner
  • 31 months ago

I plan on building new computer soon but I don't really have a lot of money left over for a retail Windows 10 OS. So I've been if I should just download an unactivated version of windows 10 and buy a key on ebay. On the other hand, I've also be thinking about getting Linux on the new computer with a distros called Zorin that looks really similar to Windows. Any advice would be welcome and if anyone has Linux or has used both in the past, I'm really interested in you'r thoughts as well. Thank You.

Comments

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

I can't recommend buying a Microsoft key from anywhere other than a trustworthy retailer or directly through Microsoft. As for Linux, I have been looking into setting up dual boot to play around with it a bit so I will also stay tuned to see what distros are recommended. I'm currently looking into Mint, but Zorin looks interesting, especially since it seems to have compatibility with a number of Windows applications.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Zorin uses a compatibility layer called Wine to handle Windows programs, which all the major Linux distributions actually support. The key difference here is that Zorin ships it by default and goes out of its way to tout that, since it more or less aims to be a Windows replacement. For the others, Wine is a few installation clicks away.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

mints pretty good

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

... distros called Zorin that looks really similar to Windows.

Keyword being "looks"
To get first hand experience, you should try it out yourself after creating a bootable USB flash drive with Zorin.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

So I've been if I should just download an unactivated version of windows 10 and buy a key on ebay

You officially can't leave it unactivated since its against the ToS and a ebay isn't going to be legit and will be equal to paying to pirate.

If you are gaming you are going to need to cough up the money for Windows, MS has a total monopoly on that.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

tl;dr Zorin might be fine for your use case, but there will be a learning curve, and don't expect it to be an exact Windows replacement. If you're a gamer, you will also have to take a long, hard look at what games you want to play. Many games, especially AAA titles, don't run on Linux.


Long-winded:

I've used Linux for eight years, and my experience is that whether it suits you depends on what you need out of the operating system. And if you're hoping that Zorin can be a nearly drop-in replacement for Windows, you might find yourself a little bit disappointed. Just because Zorin and similar Linux systems look like Windows does not mean that they behave like Windows. Windows is a long line of operating systems meant for home use, while Linux is mainly inspired by Unix - a workstation and mainframe OS. The heritage is quite different, and it shows in some areas.

If you peek under the hood, you'll realize that you're dealing with a very different beast altogether. Where's my C: drive? Where's the Program Files folder? What happened to the Control Panel? Help! These are things that someone used to Linux understands (hint, Linux does not label drives with letters :) ), but they can be very disorienting to someone who's not used to it. Newcomers will have to invest some time in learning Linux, regardless of how easy the OS tries to make things for you. This is no different from learning, say, macOS, but I guess it might be easy to fall into a double standard since you have to pay for macOS.

Warlock suggested using a bootable USB drive to test out the OS before you install it, which I highly recommend, as it'll give you firsthand experience without needing to modify your computer.

Aside from the learning curve, software compatibility is the biggest hurdle with desktop Linux adoption - because it's not as popular on desktops as Windows, some software isn't made to run on it. A lot of the time, you can work around it, since there are alternatives to many popular applications - for example, using Inkscape instead of Illustrator - but there are cases where this is difficult or impossible. You can also use compatibility layers like Wine to run certain Windows software - Wine is in fact how Zorin runs Windows software - but it won't work for everything.

If you're building a gaming machine, you can also kiss goodbye to most of the big budget AAA titles. Many indie games support Linux, but you'll find spotty compatibility with bigger games. Some titles, like CS:GO, support Linux, but performance ends up being much worse because the optimizations aren't in place. This isn't the fault of Linux itself, it's really that Linux isn't popular enough to justify many game developers supporting it.

If none of this scares you, my general view is that Linux is viable on a desktop, especially if you require either a workstation-like OS or just something simple (word processing, browsing, etc). And unless you make questionable choices with software configuration, it actually tends to run faster and more reliably than Windows.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

I've dual-booted Linux and run it in VMs for several years. I always wanted to make it my workstation replacement. But, I can never bring myself to do it. I've resigned to running it in VMs when doing development. It just doesn't offer enough compatibility with common productivity software, printing, or from what I've read with many games.

I highly advocate getting familiar with Linux. I would stick with Ubuntu. In the tech world it is prevalent. However, if you are just looking at it as a cheaper alternative to Windows, I would not recommend it. It will be more challenging, and you will never get the level of compatibility for the types of software mentioned above.

In terms of Windows licenses. If you don't purchase the full, retail, non-OEM version of Windows 10, then I think you are setting yourself up for hassles down the road. Sounds like the really cheap ones on Ebay are not legit.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Windows 10 is definitely what you want to go with. If you have any old machine (laptop or anything) that has Windows 7 or newer on it, then you could use the key off that machine. Just put the Windows 7, etc. key on your new Windows 10 install and if it starts complaining, it will give you a direct microsoft support link where you can activate it over an automated phone call. Even with OEM keys, i've never had the automated activation method reject me.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

There isn't a sticker with the Windows key on the machine itself? Check under the battery if the battery is removable. If there really is no sticker, then you can try this software to scan your registry for the key. https://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/

[comment deleted by staff]

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