It’s Windows! It’s Linux! No, it’s Zorin, a full featured Linux OS that looks and feels just like Windows


What if I told you that you could run a 100% free, full fledged OS that can do anything that you would want from a PC, such as an internet browsing, gaming, viewing and managing media files, email, and that even offers an advanced office application, etc?

This, in a nutshell, is the promise of Linux; however, most users are simply used to Windows, and want the environment and the interface that they know.

If this describes you then check out Zorin, an Ubuntu based Linux build with an interface redesigned to look and feel a lot like Windows 7, including such elements as a start menu, taskbar, desktop, and a file system that behaves just as you would expect in Windows. Moreover, you can also install and run Windows programs using ‘Wine’, an application built into Zorin.

Zorin Screenshot1Zorin Screenshot2

Our experience with Zorin: (1) downloading (2) running/testing, and (3) being very impressed.

1. Downloading Zorin: it downloads as an ISO file. You could then either burn the ISO to a CD or USB (using say Imgburn or Unetbootin, respectively), and boot into it to install. You will be given the option to install Zorin such that you could dual boot it alongside your original OS. Or, if installing as a virtual machine your could just point the VMWare or Virtualbox to the ISO file.

The download is a whopping 1.14 gigs or so; if you don’t have a good internet connection, you may want to do it overnight (it is totally worth it).

2. Running Zorin: we ran it on WMware, first as a virtual CD without installing, and then installed as a VMware virtual machine. Note that Zorin will easily install itself as a secondary OS on your main hard drive, and

3. :The Zorin experience: if the intent of emulating Windows is to make Zorin immediately accessible, it succeeds in doing that brilliantly. But Linux has a lot that is attractive about it in it’s own merit, such as the following:

  • Zorin Screenshot4 - Software CenterComes preloaded with all (or most) of the software most user needs. Adding software in Linux remains very different from Windows though, and is designed to be more of an ‘app store’ type experience. Go to Start (the big Z in the bottom left corner); select ‘Software Center’ then browse through hundreds of titles that you can quickly install in a single click. (Actually, 33865 software titles are available as of this writing)
  • Zorin Look Changer: accessed from the control panel, the ‘Look Changer’ will let you switch Zorin’s to look like WIndows X, XP, Vista, MacOS X, or Linux.
  • Zorin Screenshot3 - running a Windows programCan run Windows software (using Wine). Check out a screenshot to the right of us running the the Windows version of recently reviewed ShiftNon Zorin.
  • It’s fast, and stable(or at least it promises to be).
  • Secure: or at least less prone to be infected with malware than Windows.

The verdict: a brilliant idea perfectly executed. Zorin is great if

Freewaregenius 5-Star Pick

(a) you want a free OS that would run FAST on old laptops or computers that you are unsure what to do with, (b) you would like to use a secure, fast OS while keeping the familiar look and feel of Windows that you are accustomed to; (c) you would like to play and/or experiment with Linux on a virtual machine or via dual booting your PC; or (d) all of the above.

There’s something attractive about this software. It is related to geeky element that many readers I suspect will also have, something cool about a copy or approximation of Windows that is actually Linux. Try it you will not be disappointed.

[Thanks to reader Panzer for letting us know about this great software].

Compatibility: you will need Internet access, a computer with at least 5GB of free space, a blank DVD or 2GB USB drive, a DVD drive or USB port and some time.

Visit the program home page to download (appox 1.13 GIGs)