As of yesterday support for Windows 7 came to an end. That means nearly 30% of you, those still running Windows 7, now find yourselves on the outside looking in.
Believe me, I get it - I really do. If there ever was a version of Windows that worked like people want their operating system to work, for the most part pulling with them instead of against them, Windows 7 was as close to 'it' as Microsoft has ever come.
But, Windows 7 is dead. It's time to make a change. Linux Mint, a truly exceptional open-source desktop, just might be your right move all things considered.
The choices you have as things now stand: You can keep running Windows 7 without vital security patches, which would be beyond stupid. If you run a business you can pay Microsoft for Windows 7 Enterprise or Pro 'Extended Security Updates' (ESUs) until 2023 on a per-computer per-year basis - typically anywhere from $50+ to $200+ per device per year, depending on a variety of factors, with prices increasing year to year. Windows 7 Home is no longer supported at all.
Of course you can pay the price and migrate to Windows 10, either upgrading your current PC or buying a new one - depending on the machine(s) you presently own. However, since Windows 10 was introduced way back in July 2015, it's kinda obvious if you haven't made that move by now that you most likely don't want any part of Windows 10.
The main reason people stay with Windows is for its applications, and because it typically comes preinstalled on new PCs. The main question people ask when contemplating a move is how would they accommodate the apps they use if they moved to Linux - in this case Linux Mint?
Microsoft Office? Run Microsoft's free Office Online, which comes with versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; Microsoft Teams? It's available on Microsoft's Linux Office app; Skype? It has long been available on Linux. And on and on it goes, right down to running a huge variety of Windows programs in WINE on your Mint desktop, or running any Windows apps you care to in a Windows 7 virtual machine that you isolate from the internet inside Linux Mint.
Hey, this is 2020! No longer do you have to run Windows to run 'Windows programs'!
Microsoft is said to be on the verge of bringing its cloud-based desktop office suite 'Office 365' to Linux, so there aren't many good excuses left. For your day to day software needs there are open-source native Linux programs that are equal to and often better than anything Windows has to offer.
A giant plus for desktop Linux is it's far more secure than Windows. Sure, trouble can find you if you go looking for it hard enough. But it's nothing remotely like Windows where every passing day sees a new opportunity arise to be blindsided by the latest malware exploit. Been there. Done that. Not fun at all.
Mint's built in Software Manager makes installing software 'Point, Click and Run' easy - simple as that.
There's a number of excellent Linux desktop distros other than Mint to choose from. Over the years I've tried many of these in virtual machines. Still I recommend Mint as the ideal fit for Windows users making the switch. Its latest MATE user interface looks and functions much like Windows 7. There's a very mild learning curve you'll quickly be comfortable with, but nothing like you'd face moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10 or, heaven forbid, MacOS.
A big advantage with Mint 19.3 MATE is it's extremely lite on system resources. Unlike Windows 10 that requires all your PC has to offer and begs for more, Mint runs well on pretty much any Windows 7 or Windows XP PC you may have. If you have an older machine that Microsoft warns would likely choke on Windows 10, Mint can transform that computer into a responsive up to date desktop PC that once again you'll enjoy using.
Mint doesn't cost anything other than a bit of time invested in a fun learning experience. Unlike Windows, you don't have to commit to Mint without trying it out first. Run it from a 'Live USB Stick'. If you decide it's not for you, remove the USB stick, reboot to Windows, then figure out where you go from there. Simple as that.
If you do like Mint, and we think you will, then install it either alongside Windows or in place of Windows, your choice. If you install Mint alongside Windows you can choose which OS you want to run at boot-up. If you install Mint in place of Windows you can run Windows 7 in a 'Virtualbox' virtual machine inside Mint, keeping it isolated from the internet, and use it to run any Windows program you need as you become familiar with desktop Linux. If that's too much, simply install WINE (find it in Mint's Software Manager) in Linux Mint and you can run a lot of Windows programs right from your Mint desktop.
You won't know 'till you try! So, with icy roads and winter in full bloom in the northern hemisphere, take some time, give Linux Mint 19.3
a try, then let us know what you think!
Questions? Feel free to ask! Honestly, we don't bite. Helping others get comfortable with Linux Mint is something we enjoy doing!..