12 free alternatives to Windows

Do you think that Windows costs a lot? Are you looking for something free? See in this article 12 free alternative operating systems. We are not just talking about Linux. Linux is just the beginning! There are a lot of others.

Do you need a new operating system that does not cost a penny? You may have heard of Linux, the free and open source alternative to Windows. However, there are many other free operating systems for laptops and desktops.

And not just one and two. But much more. Let's go see 12 of them.

1. Linux

Linux May 2020 why did adoption increase?
Linux is free, widely available, and has tons of web guidance, making it an obvious choice. The Iguru publishes its own Linux help guides, and we support it in every article that mentions it.

The beauty of Linux is that it runs literally anywhere. From huge servers to the dwarf Raspberry Pi. If you are looking for a free alternative for Windows, and you do not want to buy a Mac then Linux is the number one free alternative for the simple reason that it is amazing and has a full support from its users.

2. Chrome OS

Chrome OS, from Google, is available on several low-cost, high-end laptops known as Chromebooks. It is also available for free download, suitable for installation on older computers that have been running on their backs for years.

Lightweight and with an emphasis on cloud computing, Chrome OS is ideal for web browsing, social networking and word processing. It is less impressive in media playback, while multimedia editing is beyond its capabilities. The game is possible through web applications and streaming services such as Google Stadia.

If you are looking for something easy to use, Chrome OS is a good free PC operating system.

3. FreeBSD

Many people think that FreeBSD is just another Linux distribution. While sharing the roots of Linux, which resembles Unix, FreeBSD is the modern, open source version of Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD).

FreeBSD can be considered a relative of Linux and its code can be found in many places. These include Apple's macOS and Sony's PlayStation 4 operating system.

Overall, FreeBSD is a reliable operating system for servers and desktops. Although not shipped by default, there is support for GNOME, KDE, and Xfce desktops.

FreeBSD is of interest to those with security and privacy issues, offering improvements developed by the TrustedBSD project. It has the support of McAfee, DARPA, Google, Cambridge University Computer Laboratory, Apple and many more.

4. FreeDOS

Most modern operating systems are based on the concept of multitasking. FreeDOS is different. This DOS compatible operating system is as different from Windows as it was from the original Windows, as it builds on its Windows predecessor, MS-DOS.

A free operating system with support for older games and applications, FreeDOS can easily connect to your network. In addition, various software packages can be installed, from tools to enhance your DOS experience to applications and games.

FreeDOS is also very useful for productivity as well as for retrieving old data.

It does not matter if you have a modern computer, or an older one, or use a virtual machine. FreeDOS is a great choice if you are looking for a more traditional, 80s / 90s-like experience.

5. May

Another UNIX-based alternative to Windows is illumos. It is based on OpenSolaris, an operating system abandoned by Oracle in 2009. Based on BSD and System V Release 4 (SVR4), the core of Illumos is the heart of many versions of OpenSolaris.

It does not differ from how the Linux kernel is located in each Linux distribution. As a result, many illumos distributions are available. The most popular is probably OpenIndiana, which appears in the accompanying video.

6. ReactOS

If you are talking about alternatives and Linux and UNIX leave you indifferent, then consider ReactOS as your own alternative to Windows.

Originally launched in 1996 as a Windows 95 clone project, the official website states that "the ultimate goal of ReactOS is to allow you to remove Windows and install ReactOS without the end user noticing the change."

In short, the goal is that you should be able to continue using your computer as you did before. ReactOS has over 9 million lines of code and is open source.

However, ReactOS has been in the alpha stage for some time. While some applications, such as Adobe Reader, run on ReactOS, many will not. However it is light, requires only 500MB of hard disk space and 96MB of RAM to operate.

One day, ReactOS may be a perfect, free alternative to Windows, but until then, it is available for your evaluation. Install it from the boot CD or run the LiveCD on your existing operating system.

7. Haiku

Haiku is free and open source and was first released in 2001. Since then, this free operating system has been constantly evolving and running various applications such as VLC Media Player and Quake. Haiku also runs applications from the abandoned BeOS operating system.

If you are looking for a free alternative to Windows, it is definitely worth seeing Haiku.

8. MorphOS

MorphOS is an Amiga-based operating system based on 80s and 90s home computer and is available for PowerPC and similar devices. While the chances of an old Windows computer having a PowerPC processor are slim, older Macs definitely run MorphOS.

If you have a Mac OS with x86 processors from Apple, now is the time to discover MorphOS

9. Hoops

AROS is a free operating system with a similar legacy to MorphOS, but is designed for x86 systems. This means that it must be able to run on your old computer. This transforms your desktop or laptop into a modern Amiga computer, capable of running old and new software.

Note, however, that you will not be able to read old Amiga discs on a modern computer, even with a 3,5-inch drive. Therefore, you will be limited to ROMs.

However, this is an interesting alternative to Windows. Try the Live CD version of AROS to get a good taste of this free PC operating system.

10. MenuetOS

Available for 32-bit and 64-bit hardware, MenuetOS is an operating system that can be installed from a single floppy disk. For those who have never known the floppy disk, we clarify that we are talking about a simple disk with a capacity of 1,4MB.

Incredibly small and includes a full GUI desktop, a browser, a media player and a spreadsheet, all pre-installed. Built with Assembly language, MenuetOS also has support for USB cameras and handles resolutions up to 1920 × 1080 (16 million colors).

It also has some recognizable games, an email client, an FTP and an HTTP server. No floppy disk? You can also boot MenuetOS from CD or USB.

11. PrimeOS

Google has developed Android and Chrome OS in recent years. With the addition of mouse and keyboard support, Android is becoming more and more useful as a desktop operating system.

And thanks to some standalone developers, Android is available as a free download for 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.

The benefits of using Android as a free alternative to Windows are clear. After Windows, Android is the most used operating system on the planet. Android apps are everywhere and you probably already use at least one if you own a modern mobile phone.

Android offers support for standard PC applications such as word processing and email / web, as well as good multimedia editing tools.

Android can also be used for streaming media and has a huge game library. In short, Android could be the ultimate free alternative to Windows. It really depends on what you are looking for in an operating system.

Various versions of Android are available for desktops and laptops. Phoenix OS provides an Android gaming platform for PC. PrimeOS is a free Android-based laptop operating system.

12. RISC

Finally, the RISC operating system is for ARM-based computers. Although it offers basic things, RISC OS provides the user with a functional desktop experience.

All the applications you need and that you need to be productive are available for this. From word processors to image editors. It's an unusual operating system, so different from Windows and Linux, but it's worth a try if you need a free operating system.

RISC OS is developed by RISCOS Ltd and the open RISC OS community. Today a new version of the RISC operating system, Cloverleaf, is in progress [https://riscoscloverleaf.com/]

In conclusion

These 12 free alternatives for Windows, as presented above, and which are easy to use and simple to install.

  1. Linux
  2. Chrome OS
  3. FreeBSD
  4. FreeDOS
  5. May
  6. ReactOS
  7. Haiku
  8. MorphOS
  9. Hoops
  10. MenuetOS
  11. Android
  12. RISC OS Cloverleaf

If not all, some of them will suit your specific requirements and we are sure you will find a new operating system that can help you grow.

And if you are interested in seeing how operating systems have evolved over the years, Take a look at these classic operating systems which you can access in your browser.

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