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Zorin OS 7 Released – A Ultimate Linux Desktop with Windows 7 Feel

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Since Linux is founded in 1991, Linux is transformed into a mature operating system, ready to use operating system even for people that never touch a computer before. Linux at the beginning only had Command Line Interface (CLI). Over time, Linux begins to have Graphical User Interface (GUI).

However, Linux came after Microsoft Windows. Many people are more familiar with Microsoft Windows than Linux. One of the reasons why people are reluctant to switch to Linux is because of its user interface. On the enterprise level – at least in the place that I work – it is not easy to push employee to change from Microsoft Windows into Linux. Changing from Microsoft Windows to Linux, means that they must learn about how to use Linux.

What is Zorin OS

To reduce high learning curve, now we have Zorin OS. From Zorin website, it said that:

“Zorin OS is a multi-functional operating system designed specifically for Windows user who want to have easy and smooth access to Linux.”.

By default, Zorin OS will have a graphical interface which similar with Windows 7. Based on Ubuntu Linux which is the most popular Linux desktop across the globe, Zorin OS is trying to influence Windows users.

Zorin Features

Here’s are some features that Zorin OS have:

  1. No risk of getting viruses
  2. Much faster than Windows 7
  3. An easy to use and familiar desktop
  4. Customizable user interface using Look Changer
  5. Stable as it is based on the robust Linux operating system
  6. All the software you will ever need out of the box
  7. Extremely versatile and customizable Open Source software
  8. Available over 55 languages

Download Zorin OS 7 DVD ISO’s

Zorin OS is divided into two versions. Free and Premium. You can download the free version from Zorin OS website.

  1. Download Zorin OS 7 Free Version

Premium version is available in exchange for a donation for physical DVD or download directly from Zorin OS dedicated server.

  1. Download Zorin OS 7 Premium Version

Next you should burn it into a DVD. If you prefer to use USB stick for the media, you can try using UNetBootin.

  1. Install Linux from USB Device Using Unetbootin

Zorin OS 7 Installation Guide with Screenshots

In this article, we are covering Zorin OS 7 Free version and 32 bit system. Once you have Zorin OS in the DVD or USB stick, we can start the installation.

This first time Zorin OS is booted, you will see a Grub Screen. If you want to try before install it, press Boot the Live System.

Boot Zorin OS

Boot Zorin OS

After waiting for short time, you will see a Zorin OS in Live System. As you can see, the the feel of its taskbar is similar with Windows 7 although not 100% identical.

Boot Zorin Live CD

Boot Zorin Live CD

If you want to install Zorin OS right away, double-click the Install Zorin OS icons. Then we continue to the next step. The first installation screen of Zorin OS is the language. You must pick one language before go to the next step.

Language Selection

Language Selection

Then Zorin will ask you confirmation about this installation. Make sure you have at least 8,1 GB free space on your harddisk.

Preparing to Install Zorin

Preparing to Install Zorin

Don’t forget to choose the installation type. If you are a common user, the Erase disk and Install Zorin option is the best. But please notice that this option will delete any files on the disk.

Select Installation Type

Select Installation Type

Then Zorin will ask you keyboard language. Just pick one.

Select Keyboard Layout

Select Keyboard Layout

Next, pick your timezone.

Select Timezone

Select Timezone

Enter your user detail. Even using weak password is allowed, but it is not recommended.

Submit User Information

Submit User Information

After that, Zorin will start copying files to your computer.

Copying Files

Copying Files

Copying Files Process

Copying Files Process

Copying Files Process Continue

Copying Files Process Continue

Almost Finished Copying Files

Almost Finished Copying Files

Completed Copying Files

Completed Copying Files

When its finished, reboot your computer and remove the DVD / USB Stick.

Zorin OS Desktop

Zorin OS Desktop

Sneak peak of Zorin OS

As we are know, Linux has many distribution. Zorin OS is based on Ubuntu Linux. As we mentioned before, one the advantages of Zorin OS is its graphical interface and its feel like Windows 7. Here are some screen shots about it.

Windows 7 like Start Menu
Start Menu

Start Menu

Intuitive Login Screen
Zorin Login Screen

Zorin Login Screen

Guest Login

Zorin also enabled Guest User by default. So if your colleague want to use computer, just let him / her use Guest User.

Guest Login

Guest Login

Browser Manager

To surf the Internet you will see Google Chrome browser as default. If you prefer to choose one, you can easily install Firefox, Opera, or Midori browser. Just point your cursor to Start > Internet > Zorin Browser Manager.

Browser Manager

Browser Manager

Control Panel

Zorin OS has clean interface for its System Setting. The System Setting is divided into three section : Personal, Hardware and System. If you want to search some function, just drop your cursor into searching box which located on the top right area and type what you want to search.

System Settings

System Settings

Firewall

Zorin OS is protected by ufw Firewall. Ufw is a front-end to iptables firewall. Ufw is running it console mode. Luckily, Gufw as a graphical front-end to iptables is installed by default.

Zorin Firewall

Zorin Firewall

User Account

Zorin OS named a root user with Administrator. This naming remind user to Windows environment who also named a super user account with Administrator.

User Account

User Account

Change Look and Feel

Zorin OS Free version comes with 3 Look and Feel. It’s Windows 7 (default), Windows XP and Gnome 2. To change its Look and Feel, just go to Start > System Tools > Zorin Look Changer.

Change Look and Feel

Change Look and Feel

Conclusion

Zorin OS is not Windows 7. Using Zorin OS won’t give you the same experience of using Windows 7. But it’s probably closer to the user experience of Windows 7. What do you think?

Reference Links

Zorin Homepage

Pungki Arianto

Currently I am a Linux/Unix administrator. But I also play Windows both in server and desktop area. Interested in information technology, information security and writing.

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20 Responses

  1. Uncle Geek says:

    My wife was running a Win7 system and it began locking up at critical times–right in the middle of a game, for instance. In the interest of noise abatement (if you’re married, you know…), I put a Zorin laptop I had gotten in a swap on a folding table next to her computer desk. I told her it was only temporary and I’d take her W7 computer and see if I could get it dependable as soon as I got back from a trip. When I got back, something else happened and in a few days, she asked when I was going to get rid of her old computer and put the Zorin system on her computer desk.

    That was almost a year ago. I’ve been living in fear she was going to come upon something she couldn’t do in Zorin and it would get noisy again. However, except for one game she’s learned to live without, there has NEVER been a problem. She is very happy not to have lockups and seems not to even think about its being Linux, rather than that other OS.

    Try it. You might like it.

  2. Terrigenous says:

    Normally I use Mint. But have tried zorin. I like the layout. But for me, it felt buggy. It seems like. Some of the preinstalled apps that come with zorin, almost felt intergrated with the system. Sort of like windows and explorer. If you removed a app like Rhythmbox and replaced it with Banshee. It does not like that. I also installed thunderbird which is easy to transfer from one destro to another. Some reason it didn’t like thunderbird well either. I ended up going back to mint which seems to use any app you install or remove. Either way it works.

  3. Joe MacHoll says:

    Hi Pungki,
    very well written post.
    I’m using Linux Mint now for several years and I do it because it’s a kind of ‘old way’ of doing things: starting a program or use the panel to be informed. The same way Zorin is doing it. But Linux Mint is for free, has a great community and the developers are awesome. I’ve tried Zorin and I’m not convinced. Going back to Linux Mint!

  4. Matias says:

    I prefer Linux Mint. It’s easiest to install, use and update. With MATE UI one can customizes it better than with Cinnamon.

  5. jymm says:

    I have used Zorin for a few years now. It is a good Distro for starting Linux. The one real problem I have had is updates breaking Zorin. I was able to fix them, and the Zorin forum is great, but updates should no bread the OS. Also it is based on Ubuntu, and if you are not careful you end up with an orange Ubuntu desktop. The best thing about Zorin for me is how easy it is to set up Bluetooth with Zorin. It is the only Linux OS that did not give me problems when setting up Bluetooth.

  6. Keith says:

    Hi, thanks for the article.

    It would be good if Zorin OS were to act as a stepping stone between Windows 7 and Linux. However, I’m struggling to see how the desktop ‘looks like Windows 7′.

    Yes, the Menu is fairly similar but what’s with the strange panel? Also, the actual windows and settings applications look completely different and the applications function in a different manner.

    Unfortunately, I also found it to be a little buggy.

  7. vinnyparker says:

    Why use a linux that looks like Windows??
    make no sense to me!

  8. W. Anderson says:

    A Windows 7 look-alike Linux distribution, even as good as Zorin 7 is, could be a two-edged sword for the advancement of GNU/Linux as a whole in general “desktop” use.

    On the negative side, it could very well induce many Windows users to expect the “exact” same behavior as well as aesthetics, who will ultimately be disappointed and annoyed, even angry at Linux development for not completely imitating their ‘favorite ‘ OS.

    On the positive side, for those Windows users, for whom it has been clearly explained – and understood and accepted – as a bridge solution to make transition to a superior desktop experience – significantly more reliable, flexible, no viruses/trojans/worms, unlikely spyware as part of substantially better security, then the project maybe very successful.

    For the many dozens of GNU/Linux installs I have performed over the past five or so years to aid frustrated Windows users, the “hard facts” of completely relinquishing the Widows user’s interface to these converts has been a necessity for going forward with PC desktop use, resulting in well received (very select clients only) response and realization that a Windows-like GUI has been unnecessary.

  9. Pungki Arianto says:

    Our number one enemy is computer virus. Even we lock the Administrator user, somehow virus computer still can attack our computer. Then we have to install (and pay) a lot of Antivirus application on every single computer. If we use a virus resistant OS, then we may not buy an Antivirus application.

    So we tried to find a GNU/Linux distribution which similar to Windows experience, – yes, it won’t 100% Windows experience since GNU/Linux is not Windows – to reduce cost. Most of our application is web based. If there are apps which not running on GNU/Linux, I can consider Zorin PlayOnLinux built-in feature. Or may be we still can have a few Windows machine to host those apps.

  10. Furqan says:

    It is heard that (I have not experienced zorin yet) the drivers of diffferent hardwares and other useful softwares are scanty in Zorin or any other version of Linux. Like we have word, excel but we cannot find Adobe photoshop easily for this operating system. kindly explain it

  11. Pungki Arianto says:

    Hi Furqan,

    Based on my experience, I found no problem about drivers in Zorin since it based on Ubuntu. Zorin comes with LibreOffice. But we change it with free version of KingSoft Office.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t try install Adobe Photoshop here. If you really need Adobe Photoshop, you may purchase it and install it under PlayOnLinux software which is available in Zorin.

    You may want to read How to install software in Zorin OS from http://zorin-os.com/packageguide.html

  12. John Stoeffler says:

    Hi ,

    Have been a Windows user since 3.0 when I got my first computer and have never been challenged by a windows machine. I also build and refurb systems, (mostly Dells) pretty consistently I have been very bothered by the price and restriction of the OS.
    Don’t get me wrong, if anything is well authored and properly documented the author deserves what he can sell the item for.
    Zorin has pretty much blown me away. One of the main reasons I have stayed with Windows is the ability to run Text to Speech and Speech activated and controlled (dictation) software like Dragon Naturally Speaking (pro, preferred, and other upper line versions.
    But they are strict and just just mean about their licensing. Have you thought of making that a part of Zorin? If you could incorporate it as a plugin or upgrade to Zorin you would easily grab a large part of the user market. Especially someone like me who has M.S. and typing and system control are problematic at times due to my condition.
    Not to mention that the user base world wide of senior and elderly is growing immensely.
    Marketing wise, it seems to me to be the final thing that could push a Linux OS into prominence in the market. If it could be delivered at a reasonable price (NOT necessarily free :-)
    It could be the one big feature that separated Zorin from the rest and make it a must have OS for todays market of users, especially infirmed and or elderly. If it had the look and familiarity of Windows and the functionality of speech in Windows 7 and up you could dominate the market.
    Hey not so silly as Adobe’s first unique offerings/feature that allowed the rest of their success was basically a font manipulator Postscript and some unique fonts (that barely anyone can remember today. But it allowed them to set their name in desktop publishing Pagemaker, Premier, Illustrator, and so on to their prominence today and hold on the DTP and related markets.
    With Google offering their voice to text library (or so I heard) and the open source folks starting to get on to developing it, it sounds like the thing the like with Zorin could jump you to prominence in the desktop and enterprise market acceptance over Windows rather quickly.
    Now, wouldn’t the addition of voice would also allow you to be offering Zorin as a premium over the Linux open source regulations now allowing you to charge something for the value added feature? Just a thought. Write back and we can talk about this some other time.

    Now can you tell me where I can get or see about the other versions of ultimate I see mentioned (and their features)? Business, Multimedia, __?__ ? and let me know how I can order and “donate” for those?
    Thanks
    John S.
    Don’t publish my email and contact into that I will write back to you if you want to correspond more,

    (Oh and Adobe also offered PDF reader for free as another step on their way to success.. it was really I think the first widely accepted spyware :-)

  13. I will purchase this because of your good suggestion.

  14. Mridul Sonowal (Guwahati, Assam, India) says:

    Last Week I collect the Zorin-os 6 and install in my Laptop. Superb it is allmost look like windows and user friendly. Most of customers ask me (I am Service & Support Provider of IT Sector) have any low cost OS and Office for professional use ? Because MS Windows and MS Office very high cost professional version, most of customer cannot afford it. I give them Ubuntu Os but they cannot use this easily. But Zorin-os solved this problem. I am already install and trained some my customes and they satisfied and happy with Zorin-os and Libra office also. Very Very thanks to Zorin-os team. But i am feel some problem installation and operation of Tally ERP9 Software. It is most popular accounting software in India. Wine soft i use for it some issue is there. Again thanks Zorin-on.

  15. I tried Zorin on my laptop recently. Its interface is nice and really similar to windows, however I experienced some graphical glitches or problems with the distro. Maybe its because of the drivers for my graphic card but I didn’t find it quite as stable as Ubuntu.

  16. ao says:

    is it 100% compatible with win 7?

    • Pungki Arianto says:

      I am not really understand what is your question :-)

      Zorin OS is based on Ubuntu, which is a different OS from Microsoft Windows. Some of Windows application may be running on Zorin OS using an emulator such as PlayOnLinux (http://zorin-os.com/windowsprogramguide.html).

      But if you mean about the experience of using Zorin OS, I think it different for every person. For me, the experience of using Zorin on my daily jobs is very close to the experience of using Windows 7.

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