Published on November 16, 2023, 9:39 pm

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A Guide to Switching to Linux Mint on Your Old Laptops

If you’re looking to give your old laptop a new lease on life, consider switching to Linux Mint. Linux was once considered a niche operating system, but it has come a long way in terms of user-friendliness and compatibility. In fact, there’s no reason why Linux shouldn’t be your primary operating system.

While Ubuntu is a well-known distribution, many Windows switchers end up choosing Linux Mint. Based on Ubuntu, Linux Mint offers a familiar interface with its Cinnamon desktop environment. It retains many of the constructs that Windows users are accustomed to, such as the taskbar, applets, and desklets.

Another option worth considering is Zorin OS. While the Pro edition comes at a cost of £39, it offers an impressive Windows 11 desktop theme that is hard to match.

Although Linux only commands around 3% of the market for desktop operating systems, its community is vibrant and supportive. You’ll have no trouble finding help when you need it and keeping your system secure with regular patches and updates. Linux Mint 21.1, also known as Victoria, is based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and will receive support until April 2027.

One of the biggest misconceptions about Linux is that it requires familiarity with the command prompt. However, this is rarely the case anymore. Thanks to built-in app stores and comprehensive settings applets, you can easily install software and configure your system without touching the keyboard too much. Plus, keyboard shortcuts from Windows carry over to Linux, so you’ll already know how to navigate your way around.

When it comes to document compatibility with Microsoft’s Office formats, LibreOffice bundled with Linux Mint offers broad compatibility alternatives for fonts such as Calibri or Cambria used in Office. Fonts like Carlito and Caladea were designed as metrically equivalent substitutes for these fonts. Additionally, Microsoft has made other fonts available for installation using Terminal.

Compared to the system requirements of Windows 11, Linux Mint is much lighter. It only requires 2GB of RAM, 20GB of disk space, and a 1,024 x 768 display. This makes it an excellent choice for older hardware that may not meet the specifications for newer versions of Windows. By switching to Linux, you can extend the lifespan of your hardware while reducing e-waste.

One concern many users have when considering switching to Linux is whether they will still have access to their favorite applications and programs. Thankfully, many mainstream Windows apps have Linux equivalents or can be run using WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator). WINE creates a compatibility layer that allows certain Windows apps to run on Linux. You can browse the WINE app database to check if your preferred applications are supported.

While Ubuntu may be a popular choice, some argue in favor of choosing Linux Mint due to its faster update releases and fewer links in the development chain. Ultimately, the specific applications you need may determine which distribution is the best fit for you.

Overall, if you’re looking for a user-friendly operating system that breathes new life into your old laptops while offering a secure and supportive community, consider making the switch to Linux Mint. It’s a sustainable choice that helps reduce e-waste and offers an ecosystem of applications that cater to diverse needs.

Disclaimer: This article originally appeared on ITPro’s sibling magazine PC Pro.

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