Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Feel Scammed By Microsoft? Switch To Linux

Posted by Gary Newell  |  at  21:02 18 comments

I have been on holiday for the past 10 days so I haven't had much of a chance to test new Linux distributions or work on any tutorials.

I have had lots of available reading time however and there was one particular story in Web User magazine that really amazed me, or should I say annoyed me.

Basically Windows XP and Vista users were enticed into trying out the "Insider Preview" version of Windows 10 to help Microsoft find bugs and react to feedback.

As a reward for their input into Windows 10, the "Insider Preview" users were to be given a free upgrade to the full version when it has been fully released.

Except of course now they aren't. Microsoft has changed the terms. Only Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will receive a free upgrade to Windows 10. 

There have also been rumours circulating that the upgrade will only be supported for 1 year for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, at which point the operating system will work on a subscription basis. These rumours are considered to be false.

This article on the "The Inquirer" explains the situation further.

Quite simply if you have Windows XP or Windows Vista there is to be no free upgrade to Windows 10. If you wiped XP or Vista from your machine to install the "Insider Preview" and you don't have Windows disks or a recovery drive then you have been left high and dry. 

That is a big slap in the face from Microsoft isn't it? Thank you for trying our software and letting us fix the bad bits. They will now take all of the glory and your hard earned money as well.

It doesn't stop there of course. If you are a Windows 7 or Windows 8 user then you have to have a genuine version and that means if you upgraded from XP or Vista to those versions you are again in a tricky position.

What happens if Microsoft does indeed end up switching to a subscription model as they have with Office 365? Everyone is then locked in and Microsoft can basically set their own price from that point forward.

Switch to Linux. There are no scams, no teasers, no tricks. You can try it for free and you can use it for free.

Don't worry about the learning curve either. There are versions of Linux that are easy to install and easy to get to grips with such as Linux Mint, Zorin, PCLinuxOS and for those with older machines Lubuntu.

Need a guide? Try one of these:

There are many great reasons to use Linux. 

As well as being free to download and install (although it is a good idea to donate to the people that make the distribution you are using), there is a huge support network and people get back to you with answers to your queries far quicker than the Microsoft support forums and the answers are actually helpful.

The community is great. If you are looking for support, a bit of banter or want to contribute then it is easy to get involved but if you just want to use your computer that is perfectly fine as well. It is all about freedom.

If you are worried about certain software packages not working or hardware issues such as your printer not working with Linux then don't worry too much.

Every printer I have bought in the past 5 years has been easier to set up with Linux than it has with Windows.

There are thousands of really good free software packages available for Linux whether you are looking for a word processing package, spreadsheet tool, graphics editor, audio player or email client.

10 years ago Windows was dominant. Now you don't really need it. Don't let Microsoft get away with treating their customers like mugs.

Thankyou for reading.

About the Author

Gary Newell started the Everyday Linux User blog in 2010 and has written reviews on dozens of different Linux based operating systems. He has also written a number of tutorials.

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  1. I have longed to switch to Linux ; everytime I think I am going to make the leap, I run into "ok, which one do I choose ?". Can you help me navigate that decision ?

    1. I wrote a guide about this on ( That may be over elaborate however. Tell me how old your computer is, what you mainly use it for and how experienced you are at computing and I will try and recommend a couple of them to you

    2. Just go with Ubuntu, easiest distro to use, most people us it. When support comes to linux for something, Ubuntu is always on the list. (I've used linux since 1998, RHAT, Fedora, Mandrake, Debian, SUSE, dabbled with Arch, did LFS, etc.)

    3. Thank you Gary. The computer is just over a year old. Website admin for a few websites, photoshop user, email, research and the like. When computers came with manuals, I read them :) I would like to purchase hard copy as my internet connection is not strong enough to handle the large download needed to do it from the web. I have not been happy with the forced changes that Windows has been making and the time has come to move away from the tyranny LOL

    4. Hi Cheryl, The only real issue you have is with Photoshop. It isn't compatible with Linux (some people say you can use WINE with it but I'm not so sure. It depends whether you are a heavy user of Photoshop or just a casual image editor who does a little bit of it).

      As your computer is just over a year old I would imagine it is sturdy enough to use any of the distributions. For new users I generally recommend Linux Mint or Ubuntu. Linux Mint is what you want to use if you like a start button, menu and icons on your desktop. Ubuntu uses a different style interface called Unity which is great when you get used to it but not everybody likes change. If you are from the US you can use to buy a USB drive or DVD of the distribution you wish to buy. The other distribution I like to recommend to new users is PCLinuxOS. It is just as easy to use but for some reason is never quite as popular as Mint or Ubuntu.

    5. I will continue to use photoshop ; probably with more frequency as time goes on. I use to do photo restoration for a living and had to give it up due to illness. The world has changed since then with so many "trying" to do it themselves; so, that may be lost but I still enjoy the creative use. I know I can install the two systems side by side ; I just don't know what the implications are.

    6. The question of email was brought up further down in comments. I hadn't thought that changing operating systems would effect the use of gmail or other web functions; but, I don't know what to look out for. ... . I don't mind change if I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Change for change sake is not my cup of tea.

      I know that some of my hosts have had Macs and they are running into compatibility issues with things like blogtalk where there is computer interaction to operate the audio system. Not one of my hosts has Linux so I have no idea what issues I might run into there. Being the network's trainer and weekly show producer, I have to be able to function there. Sooooooo side by side is probably going to be a reality for me. Does that change your recommendation ?

    7. Hello Cheryl.

      I'm not quite sure why it wasn't mentioned, but there's a really good alternative to PhotoShop available in Linux called the GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program). You'll find it works and behaves like PhotoShop in many ways.

      Gmail, YouTube, Facebook - among many other web functions/applications - work absolutely fine (perhaps better?) on Linux, so I wouldn't worry about that.

      The most difficult thing to wrap your head around when you first start using Linux, is the sheer amount of choice it has to offer! I would go for the distros already mentioned in the replies to your post. The only regret I have since using Linux, is I wish I had started using it sooner! I started using Slackware in 2006, and now use Debian as my default OS.

    8. Thank you Dudley ;; I very much appreciate the additional notes ! Ubunto has been recommended before; so, unless you have a better recommendation, that is what I will plan on. Thanks again everyone !

  2. I tried but Linux does not have any real alternative to Microsoft Outlook. And do not write me about Evolution or Thunderbird because it's a tragedy.

    1. I guess it depends on the features you need from an email client. I actually find Evolution to be more than acceptable but I only use it for emails. Generally for home use I have GMail and the web client and my phone app is generally good enough for that.

  3. Don't forget the Xubuntu alternative to Lubuntu for older machines. I played with Zorin 9 Lite, Zorin 9 Core and Lubuntu. I am now running Xubuntu and like it.

    I have an IBM Thinkpad T42 with 1.6 GHz Pentium M which was built in 2005. Back in the day - as they say - there wasn't a graphics accelerator. All the OS previously mentioned ran poorly with 512 MB of RAM. I upgraded the RAM to the machine maximum of 2 GB.

    I burned an image DVD of Xubuntu and installed. I had a few false starts installing the OS but once I negotiated the forcepae (see the Ubuntu Wiki) the install was smooth. No harm no foul... again as they say.

    Xubuntu 14.04.1 runs great and is another alternative worth considering.

    1. I really like Xubuntu as well. Good shout.

  4. Hi Gary,
    I would like to switch from Windows to Linux and in my searches I have diligently read blogs about Linux for new users including yours.

    I know nothing about IT stuff, that includes creating book disk, partitions, pressing ‘F this’ or ‘F that’ to boot into UEFI or whatever the jargon is. I only know how to use the applications that I use.

    I have narrowed my search down to try one of these distros: Ubuntu 14.04, Linuxmint Mate 17.2, PCLinuxOs and Zorin 9 or 10 -leaning towards Zorin (so the big Q I need to answer is 9 or 10) or Mint Mate.

    I was thinking of Zorin because of the included WINE and PlayOnLinux software. This is because I use ADE, Kindle for PC and Kobo for PC with Calibre. I’m already using LibreOffice, GIMP and Inkscape.

    My computer is just 1 yr old. A Dell Insp2350 AIO Touchscreen, running Win 8.1 64bit. 12GB Ram, i7-4700MQ, 2.40ghz processor; hybrid SATA SSHD and god knows what else is in there. Oh yeah, Bluetooth something or other.

    A second computer - Pentium 4 and 1.49 GB RAM; Win XP. Which distro would work best on this one?

    All of this to ask you, Gary, based on the computer I have which distro would best suit? I wirelessly connect to an HP printer.

    I was reading your blog on The Easiest Way To Create A ZorinOS USB Drive, I get it up to the point where you end with: That is it. Just keep the USB drive in your computer and reboot. Reboot and do what? Would I need to press any ‘F-key’?

    1. A 1 year old Dell should be great for running Linux because Dell is a pro-Linux company. I'm not sure you should go for Zorin. I would recommend Linux Mint. You can always install PlayOnLinux afterwards. It is just that bit more stable than Zorin.

      For your second computer (P4 with 1.49 gb RAM) you could try Linux Mint with the XFCE desktop first (that way your two machines are aligned with the same OS).

      Connecting to a wireless HP printer should work on most mainstream distros such as Mint. I connect to a wireless Epson printer without any issues and I use Bodhi Linux which is a variant of Ubuntu with the Moksha desktop (not necessarily recommended for your first Linux experience but one to consider later on in your journey).

      With regards to your Zorin USB question when you reboot you should get a menu with an option for trying Zorin. If you don't then all you need to do is turn off the fast boot settings within Windows, hold down the shift key whilst rebooting and a blue screen should appear. I'm thinking I should do a video to show this part. Bare with me and I will try and create something.

    2. Gary, thank you for replying to all my questions. I'll give Mint a try on both. Will surely check out the vid once you get the time to get one going.

      thanks again. I'll post my experience once I'm done.

      Great and informative blog(s) you've got.

  5. Hi Gary, ... I went to ; there are TWO PAGES of Ubunto products to choose from ; aajiajiajiajiajia. I could use some help with these terms please : live install and persistence, if you would, so I can narrow the last of it down. Thanks again for all your help. Windows fouled one last time for me and I am pushing forward.


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