The 14 Best Linux Distros for Windows Users in 2021 [Updated List]

If you’re new to Linux or are switching to Linux from Microsoft Windows, you’ll want an OS that is GUI(Graphical User Interface) focused like Windows.

Microsoft Windows 7 is long gone but even in 2021 Million PCs were actively using it.

You can either upgrade to MS Windows 10 or switch to Linux. Considering that you do not like Windows 10 or just cannot have your old system run Windows 10 or your current system configuration may not be compatible with Windows 10 and you might want to consider using Linux instead.

There are many different distributions of Linux, and some aim to replicate the look and feel of Microsoft Windows. This helps during the transition from Windows, since you don’t have to fight with an unfamiliar interface.

With Linux boasting improved hardware support, long term stability, and a more comprehensive range of software applications, there is no better time to try it! In this roundup, We introduce you to 14 Best Linux Distros for Windows Users.

1. elementary OS

An Ubuntu distro, elementary OS has made a name for itself for crafting a very usable and aesthetically pleasing desktop distro. Everything from its pre-installed apps to its home brewed desktop is designed to give a comforting experience to users new to Linux. Its custom-built Pantheon desktop, is a pleasing aesthetic take on the classical desktop metaphor.

One of its distinguishing features is the picture-in-picture mode that enables you to select an area of a window or the desktop, and then pops it out. This pop-out is movable, resizable, always-on-top, and can move across workspaces. The distro comes with a carefully pruned collection of pre-installed apps that’s been assembled to make the desktop experience more consistent and appealing to new Linux users.

In fact, many of its most-used pre-installed apps have functional names like Mail, Music, Photos and Videos, which makes them easier to discover. The distro also has an onboarding app to help new users set up their installation. elementary OS also uses its own custom package manager to give users the opportunity to flesh out their installation without being inundated with options.

It takes a similar approach to system settings with its custom app that exposes the bare essentials instead of throwing an endless stream of toggles and switches.

2. BackSlash

Image Credit: fossmint.com

BackSlash Linux was an Ubuntu based operating system developed in India by Kumar Priyansh for AMD64 and Intel x64-based personal computers.

It was based on free software and every release of the operating system is named after the characters of the Disney film franchise Frozen. BackSlash is a Linux distribution with a custom-designed User Interface that mimics that of macOS.

It uses KDE(K Desktop Environment) as its default desktop environment and although it doesn’t look like Windows, you might realize that what you need is a look and feel that is unique but works in the same way your previous OS does nonetheless.

3. ReactOS

Image Credit: reactos.org

ReactOS is a very old operating system that has been active development for the last two decades and it aims to be the most aesthetically pleasing OS that steals you completely from Windows. If you thought Windows 10 was quite the looker, give ReactOS a try and you’ll almost never look back.

The OS comes with a complete and unique customizability set which is quite comparable to that of Zorin OS but much more extensive and consistent all through the operating system.

Given that ReactOS is a relatively old operating system.

You might be a tad unwillingly to give it a shot, but believe me, I’ve test-driven it for the well part of a week and I can very well say the stability is top-notch and comparable to the rest of this list which is why I gave it the number 2 spot.

4. Solus

Solus is another excellent Linux distro that is best for beginners and Windows users alike.

It features a beautiful user interface that is intuitive for beginners and children. It also carries most of the Windows DNA, making it a perfect replacement for Windows. For example, it has a Software Center that allows you to manage all your installed apps and is more or less like the Windows control panel.

It also ships with a host of preinstalled apps, including Mozilla Firefox; Files, which resembles Files Explorer in Windows 10 for managing documents; and GNOME MPV for controlling media playback.

Solus is also highly customizable, with every tweak designed to deliver a cohesive computing experience.

5. Linux Lite

Windows 7 users may not have the latest and greatest hardware so it is essential to suggest a Linux distribution that is lightweight and easy-to-use. Linux Lite targets Windows users with a similar UI offering a taskbar, Windows-inspired wallpaper, and a lot more to go on with that includes the Libre Office suite as well.

You do not need to upgrade your system just because Windows 10 is resource hungry.

Linux Lite should work perfectly fine with an old configuration as well. If you are curious to try other distros, you can check out our list of lightweight Linux distributions. But the user interface in most of the options may not be like Windows 10 or 7.

6. Ubuntu

Ubuntu is one of the most popular flavors of Linux and is strongly recommended for Linux newbies, as it’s extremely accessible.

That’s why we’ve already featured two variations of Ubuntu in this guide, but it’s worth considering the main Ubuntu release itself. New versions of Ubuntu are released every six months, and every other year the developer Canonical releases an LTS (long term support) version of Ubuntu.

These guarantee five years of security and general maintenance updates, so you can carry on using your machine without the hassle of running a full upgrade every few months. Standard releases are supported for one year only.

The current LTS version of Ubuntu uses the Gnome desktop environment, which may be less unfamiliar to Windows and macOS users. Ubuntu has also become increasingly integral with cloud computing services, making it not just a good distro for easing beginners into Linux, but also one for those looking to develop their long-term business IT skills.

7. Xubuntu

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Xubuntu is an Ubuntu flavor created with simplicity, adaptability, and familiarity especially for computer users migrating from Windows to Linux. It works well on older hardware too.

By default, it ships with the lightweight Xfce desktop environment which easy to customize and reorganize just like it is easy to personalize Windows. Xubuntu is perfect for those who want the most out of their desktops, laptops and netbooks with a modern look and enough features for efficient, daily usage.

8. Linux Mint

Linux Mint is arguably the most popular operating system among personal computer users after Ubuntu and it is praised for being a more reliable distro than its parent OS. This is due to the fact that its focus is to provide a classic desktop that is convenient to use and filled with multimedia support and nifty tools straight out of the box.

Linux Mint also targets the Windows 7 users trying to make the switch to Linux. Many users also use it as a replacement to Windows 10 because of its familiar user interface and useful features. Among all the others mentioned in this list, Linux Mint would be my personal recommendation.

Linux Mint is reliable, performs great, and offers several desktop environment editions as well (including the MATE desktop). If you’re curious, you can also take a detailed look at how it looks and works for one of its recent releases Linux Mint 20.

9. Kubuntu

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We have to admit that we like Ubuntu but understand that its default Gnome desktop might look too strange if you’re switching from Windows.

Unlike other Linux variants, Ubuntu prioritizes simplicity, and this approach isn’t restricted to its desktop. It percolates through its every bit. Kubuntu is the same OS as Ubuntu but with a KDE Desktop Environment.

It offers a more classic experience, much closer to what you know from Windows. Combine this familiar desktop with one of the most user-friendly OS on the planet, and Kubuntu wins the cake.

10. Zorin OS

At first glance, Zorin OS comes off as just another Ubuntu-based distro. However, what makes it unique is the home-brewed Zorin Appearance app that tweaks the desktop environment to make it resemble Windows in both form and function. Pitched as a distro for first-time Linux users, Zorin is designed to appeal to users coming from popular proprietary operating systems, namely Windows and macOS.

Zorin is available in four different versions: the Core, Lite, and Education editions are free, while the Ultimate flavour costs $39. The Core edition is the standard edition that includes all the apps you’d find in a normal desktop Linux distribution, while the Lite edition is designed for older machines.

The paid Ultimate version comes with support and a few extra features, such as the option of using interfaces that mimic macOS and is chock-full of all kinds of apps and games. The distro is complimented by a useful selection of documentation that’s again written for users migrating from proprietary desktops and aren’t used to the Linux way of doing things.

All things considered, we’d advise you to use the Core edition to take Zorin for a spin, and then switch to the Ultimate edition to experience the full potential of the distro.

11. Deepin Linux

Deepin Linux is a Debian-based distro that’s known for its aesthetically pleasing custom desktop environment called DDE. Together with several home-brewed apps, the distro is designed to ease new users into the Linux desktop. Deepin uses a first-boot configurator app to help you tweak the look and feel of your installation by changing icons, enabling window effects and more.

These are classified into two broad categories and you can use either depending on the number of available resources on your computer. On lower-end machines, you can run the installation in Efficient mode to make the best use of the limited resources, while on newer ones you can use the Fashion mode to turn up the bling.

The amount of customizations in DDE are quite diverse and extend from the main desktop area to the notification management. There’s a Deepin custom app for conducting the majority of common desktop tasks, such as watching films, listening to music, viewing images, taking backups, recording screencasts, and about a dozen more.

The other custom Deepin app that deserves a special mention is the App Store. It makes it fairly easy to discover and install news apps, which will be appreciated by new users not familiar to the Linux app ecosystem.

Also, listed besides the usual categories of apps is the Uninstall section that can help you get rid of any installed apps using a more familiar parlance.

12. Chalet OS

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ChaletOS is a beginner-friendly Linux distribution and featuring the Xfce desktop.

The name ChaletOS is derived from Swiss mountain houses whose concepts of simplicity, beauty and recognisability inspired the creation and design of ChaletOS.

Chalet OS was created with the goal of using Linux on a wide range of hardware specifications in a style that is appealing to immigrants from the Windows platform. It is based on Xubuntu but infused with a unique touch of style that makes it different from its parent OS and convenient for Windows users to use.

It provides a simple and intuitive desktop interface, modest hardware requirements and five years of security support.

13. Robolinux

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Robolinux is an interesting distro that is gunning for Windows users in a big way.

Most folks are aware that Linux users can run Windows programs in WINE. If you’re migrating to Linux from Windows and want to bring all of your programs, files, and settings with you, Robolinux can help. Robolinux includes Stealth VM, a virtual machine that it claims can run any Windows program without any lag.

In addition, Robolinux has a tool that allows you to clone your entire Windows C drive. This means you can migrate all your preexisting programs and data. While Robolinux is free, the developer is asking for donations for the cloning tool.

14. Pearl OS

Image Credit: fossmint.com

Pearl Linux OS is a distribution based on Ubuntu.

Pearl uses components of the LXDE and Xfce desktop environments to create a desktop experience which looks similar to Apple’s OS X desktop environment.

Pearl OS was created to welcome Linux emigrants from Windows and macOS with a desktop environment that is familiar and just as customizable without too much hassle. The project calls this hybrid desktop PearlDE. Pearl Linux OS is available in several editions, including GNOME, MATE and PearlDE.

Conclusion

That’s pretty much it! So, there are Best Linux Distros for Windows Users.

If you have any other favorite Best Linux Distros for Windows Users then don’t forget to share them with us in the comment below. Also, if you liked this article, Share on your favorite Social media platform.

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