10 Reasons Why You Should Switch To Linux From Windows XP

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Reasons why you should switch to Linux

Windows XP is dead, well almost. Starting 8th April, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP. Which means you won’t be getting any type of updates including security which will make your system even more vulnerable. So, you might be thinking what to do after Windows XP support ends? If you take my suggestion, I would say switch to Linux. And I will give you ten reasons why you should switch to Linux from Windows XP.

Why switch to Linux from Windows?

There are a plethora of reasons to choose desktop Linux over Windows or even Mac. Here I list 10 of the best reasons why you should consider Linux over Windows 8.1 upgrade:

1. It’s free

Microsoft will force you to upgrade to Windows 8.1 which mean you’ll have to spend around $120 just for the OS.

Linux OS on the other hand is completely free. If you choose to switch to Linux, you save at least hundred bucks. Sounds good enough a reason, ain’t it?

2. More Secure, no need of any antivirus

In Windows you cannot live without an antivirus. Even with an antivirus product, your system is continuously at risk of catching virus. If you had a premium antivirus, it would keep on alerting you of a possible threat detection.

In Linux you don’t need an antivirus. Virus and malware are alien to Linux world. Linux is known for its security features. Switching to Linux will save you some more as you won’t have to buy an antivirus.

3. Compatible with lower end hardware

A good reason why you have been running Windows XP for such a long time could be hardware constraints. Upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 requires at least 1GB of RAM. Running Windows 7/8 on the minimum configuration will be a real painful experience as it will be extremely slow and almost unusable. And if your system configuration doesn’t meet the minimum criteria you will have no option other than buying a new PC.

Welcome to Linux world. There is a Linux OS for everyone. Most of the Linux OS does not require a heavyweight computer system. But even if your system is one of those of late 90’s or early 2000’s, there are plenty of extreme lightweight Linux distributions. In other words, hardware is no constraint for Linux OS.

4. Ease of use

The one misconception about Linux is that it is “geeks only” and one needs to be computer genius and command line ninja to use Linux. No, it is not true. It is not late 90’s where Linux was a complicated operating system. These days desktop Linux OSes run out of the box, have GUI tools and have all the functionality that you look for in Windows.

5. Drivers included

As a Windows user, you must have struggled with drivers. Finding the correct driver for your system was a difficult task. I remember, I had several drivers folder in my external backup disk as I did not want to waste time looking for the audio, video or wireless drivers. But with Linux, most of these drivers are supported directly by the Linux kernel. Which means its more like plug and play for Linux, no struggling with drivers, largely.

6. It’s sexy and I know it

When it comes to looks, desktop Linux rules over Windows. Be it Unity, Cinnamon, Gnome 3, KDE or even low end desktop environments like Xfce or Lxde, they are much more good looking than the Windows desktop. So if you think Linux desktop to be a plain boring and dull looking, you are definitely wrong. Best of all, you can choose a desktop flavor according to your choice.

7. Software repository

Most of the desktop Linux OS have their own ‘app store’ or ‘software repository’. You can look for any kind of application, libraries at one single place without the need of Googling all over the internet for it. Moreover, the software thus installed will be safe, compatible with your OS and will be getting automatic updates.

8. Better updating process

Windows updates are real pain. First Windows will notify that you have system updates. When you install them, it will be configured at shutdown time at a pace that even a tortoise can beat. You will be told to “preparing to configure Windows, do not shutdown your system” and the wait is eternal. And that’s not the end. At the next boot, it will again be configuring the updates. Moreover, the software and applications installed in Windows provide their updates separately. Remember Java, Adobe or iTunes updates pop up?

Updates in Linux is a like a cool breeze. You will be regularly notified that updates are available. And these updates include not just system and security updates but available updates for different applications installed. Unlike Windows, you won’t have to wait at shutdown or start time. Updating in desktop Linux is a matter of one click.

9. Gaming on Linux

One of the major constraint one face while switching to Linux is gaming. While Linux had some native games, thanks to Steam, it has now a wide range of games available. GOG.com will also be bringing around 100 games by the year end. Apart from these, we always have PlayOnLinux, which lets you play ‘Windows only’ games on Linux.

10. Community support

Probably the best thing about Linux is the Linux community. You will never feel alone in Linux world. Apart from numerous Linux how-to blogs, just drop by any forum for any kind of problem you are facing with your system, someone will always try to help you out. Such is the support of Linux community.

Think these 10 reasons are good enough for you to switch to Linux from Windows? If yes then you might be wondering which Linux OS is best for you. In a previous article I had written about best Linux OS to replace Windows XP, you may take a look at it.

I hope this post makes your decision of switching to Linux easier. Time to ditch Windows and embrace the freedom has come. Welcome to Linux.

  • Michele Scandura

    it all sound a bit optimistic…

    • Joe LaFreniere

      I think his tone is intentional. He’s trying to encourage potential new users, so optimism probably isn’t out of place.

    • Joel Solís

      The article is trying to convince new users to switch, so I guess that was the intention, however I agree with you, and maybe this will cause some users to be disappointed in some aspects if they switch because it was not what they expected :(

      • Israel Dilan Pantojas

        I believe that the sum of all the advantages of switching, by far beat any bad experience they may undergo. If had anything to add it’s that computers are a bit tougher than they look, so don’t be afraid if the screen goes black and displays numbers, it’s all part of the process and if anything goes wrong you can always reformat and start again.

        • https://www.youtube.com/user/fatriff Fatriff

          As you say, Reformat and start again. You don’t even need to do that! There’s a few applications which will let your restore your system in a couple of minutes to exactly how it was when you installed it (even the bootloader) such as Timeshift and Back in time.

          On Windows, reformatting and starting again isn’t so simple, it takes hours! With Linux it takes about 15 minutes to install and boot into your fresh install plus you can also use the computer while it’s installing.

  • Joe LaFreniere

    Maybe you should link to an article comparing several different distros and another page with installation “how to”s.

    • http://itsfoss.com/ Abhishek Prakash

      Thanks for the suggestion. I plan to do the same.

    • David

      There’s not much to that though!

      Linux Install instructions (suitable for most versions)
      1) Instert install disk/media
      2) Start instalaltion
      3) Use your machine while it installs (optional, installs only take a few miutes)
      4) Reboot
      5) Notice how the world is brighter as you start to enjoy your new computer


  • F-3000

    I wrote a lengthy rant, but Disqus decided to wipe it to the /dev/null, so forget it.

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  • Bernard Decock

    You forgot the most important argument. Linux, open source, belongs to us, to everyone. Making use of open-source will benefit us. Making use of closed source-products makes people dependent ( free) of their providers and contributes to the dominance of them.

  • Grant Botes

    In 2009 I got fed up with Windows. I switched my laptop to Ubuntu Linux. It was very, very easy. I downloaded the ISO image, burned it to CD, inserted it in the CD reader, rebooted, chose the “install side by side with Windows” option, and it was done in about 30 minutes. I chose the Gnome desktop because I liked the look and feel of it. I have been using Linux ever since, and with no regrets. Ubuntu Linux has a quick, snappy feel with little to no lag on opening documents and dialogs. I use it for email, internet, document editing and spreadsheets (LibreOffice) and photo editing. I recently moved both my wife and my brother to Ubuntu as well and they are loving it. Over the years I did encontera few hassles with drivers because of Nvidia cards but mostly everything just worked. We will not be going back to Windows anytime soon.

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  • David Spector

    Reason 1 is misleading. Windows XP should continue to run without limit, and vital automatic security updates will probably continue to be supplied. In fact, Microsoft does not usually recommend installing Windows 8 or 8.1 over XP, so no need to pay over $100 as stated in Reason 1.

    But Reason 8 is even more important than stated. XP and other “modern” Windows OSes contain an WinSxS (or SxS) mechanism that can patch any file of any size in the OS, reversibly, using detailed XML descriptions called manifests. This means that every slow Windows update is using and storing large amounts of redundant information in the file system, including in the Registry. This causes XP to run slower and slower over its years of service. It starts becoming necessary to defrag the disk almost daily if you use products like antivirus software that create large fragmented files. It may be possible to restore your XP’s original speed by reinstalling the original XP OS on computers having a restoration partition, if you are careful to backup and then restore all programs and data, and reinstall all Service Packs, or at least SP3. Warning: I have not tried this; it may not work, and it may be unbelievably insecure. Do a Web search before trying.

    Linux is an excellent choice, if you don’t need to develop or test under Windows. Windows is still the most popular OS, so Linux is not always a practical choice.

  • ben

    That does it im goning to make the switch

    • http://itsfoss.com/ Abhishek Prakash

      Welcome.. I hope your transition is smooth :)

  • MrNuminix

    I have made the switch to Linux Mint 17 KDE. I am seriously considering re-installing Windows 7 and dual booting it with Linux Mint 17 KDE. I am only wanting Windows 7 solely for the purpose of gaming and Linux Mint for the purpose of an everyday desktop. I hate using Windows, but seems like a necessary evil in order to keep gaming unfortunately. Yes, there is some games available to Linux, but there is terrible support for AMD video cards (especially newer cards). I have tried gaming with the opensource X.Org drivers and it is hit and miss with FPS. The games that I mainly play are World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and GTA 4. World of Warcraft used to work with OpenGL, however the support was dropped a long time ago and the last thing I heard about it was that Mists of Pandaria wasn’t supported as well as Warlord’s of Draenor i’m sure. I’ve gotten League of Legends to work on WINE (WINE is not an emulator) at one point, but there must have been an update because it is broken again. GTA has only ever worked on Windows.

    I would only ever recommend Linux to somebody that doesn’t game on PC or is a console gamer. There are a lot of nice things that you can do with Linux and it is very powerful compared to Windows. But there is a lack of support when it comes to gaming and drivers from AMD. If you have Nvidia, you are in luck. They care about their customer base and provide drivers for each platform. If you don’t game at all, that is even better as there are so many free opensource programs for Linux that will basically cover all of your needs (anything to do with regular desktop use to video editing, screen recording, office needs with LibreOffice, and so on.)

    If you are new to Linux, Linux Mint 17 KDE is very easy to start out with. Many may argue that KDE is more for the technically-minded, however I find that this desktop environment reminds me quite a bit of Windows in a way. It really isn’t that hard for anyone who would like to learn it. Another great thing about KDE is that it has remained consistant in design over the years while other desktop environments such as GNOME have changed from a simple and straightforward environment to a tablet-based and a diminished environment that it is hard to really customize anything at all besides window buttons and wallpapers. Yes, there are extensions that you can install to make it easier to use or resemble GNOME 2 more, however why do that when you can have it all with KDE? I Can’t speak for Openbox and IceWM as it has been years since I last tried them out.

    The only thing I am going to say is that the switch to Linux will be dependent on a few things.

    1. What you use your computer for?
    If you use your computer for just basic word processing, video or music
    (editing maybe), or just for browsing the internet, then Linux is for you
    and you should stop giving unnecessary money to Microsoft or any other
    company in order to use their products. I’m saying this for Microsoft Office,
    Corel, Lotus, and any other thing imaginable that you could possibly sink
    money into that there is a more efficient opensource application available
    that performs literally the same function.

    If you use your computer only for gaming, then I would recommend sticking
    with Windows 7 or 8.1.

    2. Whether or not you care paying a large company for software or having to constantly hunt for drivers.
    Drivers are included in each release of the Linux kernel. Unless you have
    fairly new or very old hardware, or are using a Nvidia or AMD video card,
    your drivers will be already installed on the first use.

    When it comes down to software such as Microsoft Office, etc…

    A lot of businesses use Microsoft Office. There are very few that use Lotus
    Notes, Lotus 1-2-3…eh DFS, or Corel Office. LibreOffice is able to suite almost
    every need you would expect from a word processing suite. Best yet, it is
    completely free! You don’t even have to spend a penny on it.

    3. The driver support you are after (applying to AMD nearly exclusively)
    Linux comes with pretty excellent driver support for everything but AMD
    video cards. So again, dependent on what you are using your computer for
    will depend if you are going to be happy with the switch to Linux. Again, if
    the sole reason that you use Linux is to game, then be sure that you are
    using a Nvidia card because the lack of support from AMD sucks.

    Again, the Linux community developes the X.Org or opensource drivers for
    AMD and Nvidia cards, which might work perfectly again depending on what
    you are using Linux for.

    Finally, just to forewarn anyone wanting to switch to Linux. There are quite a few distributions out there that are available. There are some that are tailored to be more newb friendly (Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Makulu, Linux Lite, PCLinuxOS, and others) and those that are for a person that enjoys building their own desktop environment (Arch Linux, Gentoo Linux –“shudders”). If you are looking for a distribution that is newb-friendly, I would suggest checking out Zorin OS, Linux Mint, or Ubuntu. For those more technical-minded and willing to learn, I would first recommend Arch Linux, and then the more pain in the neck Gentoo.

    Also, did I mention how customizable Linux is? Instead of paying Stardock or another third party company to theme your desktop. Yep, there is literally thousands of different themes that you can get for your Linux desktop comptelely free of charge. Most of them are submitted in by the Linux community.

    Hopefully, this comment helped anyone considering the switch to Linux. I
    will say that it is quite the switch. However, if there are only
    certain things that you need your computer for (i.e., word processing,
    web browsing, or the like), then you will feel very at home using Linux. There “are” games available to Linux, but they are limited. Don’t expect to find some of the popular titles on Windows on Linux!

    • http://itsfoss.com/ Abhishek Prakash

      Thanks for taking your time to write your views.

      I agree for the gaming part and hardware support. Indeed there are not as many Games as we have on Windows. But if you have a console (like me), Linux is perfect.

      What I always suggest to newcomers to Linux, is that they should always dual boot Linux with Windows. use Linux as main desktop and keep Windows for emergency uses if you screw up with the system in some way.