There Really are Some Great Alternatives to Windows

 While I was researching free alternative operating systems that invite lifelong Windows users to move to Linux, I came across the PClinuxOS Linux operating system. Everything I read was telling me that this is an operating system that would be immediately familiar to Windows users, so I decided to install it on an old computer and give it a try.

Obtaining and Installing PCLinuxOS

Obtaining PCLinux OS is very easy. It is readily available for download as an ISO (disk image) from the PCLinuxOS website. At 647mb for the full KDE package it is not a huge download. On my connection it took around an hour.

If you are worried about how to burn an ISO image onto a CD or DVD there is plenty of free software out there to simplify the task. ISO recorder is one that I use to do this in a Windows desktop environment.  Once downloaded and burnt to CD, you then have a bootable disk containing a fully functional operating system.

It is recommended that you have at least 512mb of memory but preferably 1gb and a minimum of 3gb hard disk space but preferably 10gb. This spec. Is usually available on any computer less than around 7 years old


PCLinucOS is designed to be easy to use, stable and a great alternative to Windows. On installation, it fired up all of my hardware including sound, video, wireless and printing devices with no real interaction from me. The desktop environment that I was presented with was immediately familiar and I had no problem understanding what I needed to do to access the preinstalled programmes.


Some of the software installed by default as part of the operating system is:-

  1. Firefox (web browser)
  2. Thunderbird (email client)
  3. Kcalc (calculator)
  4. Libre Office (fully MS Office compatible productivity suite)
  5. VLC Media Player (the best multi-media player on the planet)
  6. K3b (CD and DVD burner)
  7. kwrite (wordpad type text editor)
  8. Gimp (fantastic free image editing programme)
  9. Pidgen (multi-platform Instant Messaging  client)

There are many other really useful preinstalled packages plus another 13500 obtainable from a central repository, so you can be absolutely confident that every single use you could ever want for your PC is comprehensively covered.

Plus Points

  • The first thing that you should know is that PCLinuxOS is free and Open Source which means that obtaining and running it will not cost you a penny – ever!
  • Another good thing about the this distribution is that unlike some other distributions, they allow users with more advanced knowledge enough access to advanced settings to keep them happy whilst still maintaining simplicity for those that simply want to mouse over and click.
  • Multi-media is very well catered for with all of the main codecs preinstalled along with Flashplayer. You will have no problem running your mult-media applications and devices straight out of the box.
  • Linux is maintained and developed by some of the best programmers in the world who give their time and expertise freely in pursuit of the ultimate free operating system to rival the commercial offerings out there.


To be perfectly honest, I struggle to find any points that might put a Windows user off of using PCLinuxOS as a free alternative to Windows and would encourage anyone thinking about moving away from Microsoft to give this one a try.

In another article I review Linux Mint as another free alternative to Windows

PCLinuxOS KDE Desktop

A Great Alternative to Windows