Need a new operating system? You may have heard of Linux, a free, open-source alternative to Windows. However, there are many other free operating systems for laptops and desktop PCs.
If you are thinking about choosing Linux or Windows, we recommend that you read - Windows vs Linux - Which operating system is right for you?
These free operating systems are capable of standard everyday tasks and are a powerful alternative to Windows.
Linux is a free, widely available OS and has a great online guide, making it an obvious choice.
And this is the beauty of Linux: it will work on literally everything. If you're looking for a free alternative to Windows, try Linux Mint, currently one of the most popular Linux operating systems. If you are used to the macOS interface, then you can consider Elementary OS as an option.
Download: Linux Mint
2. Chrome OS
In a sense, this is another obvious choice. Google's Chrome OS is available on a number of low-cost and some high-end laptops, known as Chromebooks. Chrome OS can also be downloaded for free and is suitable for installation on outdated hardware.
Lightweight and cloud-centric, Chrome is great for web browsing, social networking, and word processing.
If Linux isn't your cup of tea, but you're looking for something easy to use, Chrome OS is a good free alternative to Windows.
Download: Chrome OS
Many people think FreeBSD is just another Linux distribution. Distributing Unix-like Linux roots, FreeBSD is a modern open-source version of the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD).
FreeBSD can be considered a relative of Linux, and its code can be found on many devices. These include Apple's macOS and the Sony PlayStation 4 operating system.
In general, FreeBSD is a reliable operating system for servers and desktops. Although it is not delivered in the desktop environment by default, there is support for GNOME, KDE, and Xfce desktops.
FreeBSD is of interest to those involved in security and privacy issues, offering enhancements developed by the TrustedBSD project. These are McAfee, DARPA, Google, the computer lab of the University of Cambridge, Apple and many others.
Most modern operating systems are built around the concept of multitasking. FreeDOS - This DOS-compatible OS is as different from Windows as possible - FreeDOS is based on the predecessor of Windows, MS-DOS.
FreeDOS is a free operating system with support for old games and applications that can be easily connected to your network. In addition, various software packages can be installed to enhance the classic DOS experience to applications and emulators.
FreeDOS is useful for both improving performance and restoring old data.
It doesn’t matter if you have a modern desktop, an old installation or you are working on a virtual machine. FreeDOS is a great option if you are looking for a more traditional experience reminiscent of an 80s/90s PC.
Another free UNIX-based Windows alternative, illumos, is based on OpenSolaris, an operating system abandoned by Oracle in 2009.
Illumos includes the kernel, device drivers, system libraries, and system administration utility software. This kernel is currently the basis for many different OpenSolaris open source distributions, similar to how the Linux kernel is used in various Linux distributions.
If you are not impressed by the talk about Linux and UNIX alternatives, consider ReactOS as an alternative to Windows.
Originally launched in 1996 as a Windows 95 cloning project, the official website states that "the ultimate goal of ReactOS is to give you the opportunity to remove Windows and install ReactOS without notifying the end-user."
In short, the goal is so that you can continue to use your computer as before. ReactOS contains over 9 million lines of code and is an open-source OS.
However, ReactOS has been in alpha for quite some time. However, it is lightweight and requires only 500 MB of hard disk space and 96 MB of RAM.
Haiku OS is free, open-source and was first released in 2001. Since then, this free operating system has been constantly improved and supports various applications. You heard some of them, for example, VLC Media Player and Quake. Haiku can also run applications from an abandoned BeOS operating system.
However, Haiku releases are infrequent, making them perhaps the least attractive alternative on this list. However, if you are looking for a free alternative to Windows, it is definitely worth taking a look at Haiku.
MorphOS is an Amiga-like operating system based on an 80s/90s home computer and available for PowerPC-like devices. While the PowerPC processor is not likely to be installed on an old Windows PC, older Macs will run MorphOS.
However, if your Mac experience ended with the adoption of Apple x86 processors, this alternative to Windows might prove to be useful.
AROS is a free operating system similar to MorphOS but designed for x86 systems. This means that it should be able to work on your computer. In a sense, your computer or laptop turns into a modern Amiga computer, capable of working with old and new software.
However, note that you will not be able to read old Amiga drives on a modern PC, even with a 3.5-inch drive. This way you will have a limited ROM.
MenuetOS, available for 32-bit and 64-bit hardware, is an operating system that can be installed from a single floppy disk. Just to clarify, this is a single 1.4 MB floppy disk.
Incredibly, it includes a full desktop with a graphical interface, a pre-installed browser, a media player and a spreadsheet. Created in assembly language, MenuetOS also supports USB webcams and supports resolutions up to 1920 × 1080 (16 million colors).
Some games are also built-in, along with an email client, FTP, and HTTP server. You do not need to boot MenuetOS from a floppy disk - it can be installed from a CD or USB.
The advantages of using Android as a free alternative to Windows are obvious. After Windows, this is the most used operating system. Android apps are everywhere, and you probably already use at least one.
Android offers support for standard PC applications such as word processing and email / Internet, as well as good multimedia editing tools.
Android can also be used for multimedia streaming and has an extensive library of games. In short, Android could be a better alternative to Windows. It really depends on what you are looking for in the operating system.
Various versions of Android are available for desktops and laptops. Phoenix OS provides an Android gaming platform on a PC; You should also consider PrimeOS for the Android desktop.