How I Switched from Windows 10 to Linux Mint

This article is all about my journey on switching from Windows 10 to Linux Mint 20, how I got easily adapted to the Linux environment, and some resources that helped me to set up a perfect Desktop environment.


Ok, now I have decided to switch to Linux but here comes the first question. Which distro will satisfy my needs both in terms of GUI and other aspects? Linux is not something new to me since I have been working with RHEL based distros in my work for the past 4 years with the command-line.

I know RHEL based distros are good for enterprises but not for personalized desktop environments, at least that’s what I am thinking till now. So I started my research to find the distro that should be easy for me to use and at the same time should have good community support if in case I ran into some problem. Among many Linux distros, I drilled down my list to 4 flavors.

Before deciding the Distro it is necessary you formulate the list of tools/programs or packages needed and check if the distro you choose provides all those features.

For me, I use Linux for two main purposes: one is for my professional development work, writing articles, and second for my personal use like Video editing and Movies. Most of the popular software are created to be compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux like Sublime Text, VSCode, VLC Media Player, Firefox/Chromium browser. Other than these software, cloud-based services make our life easy Like Microsoft Office 365 or G Suite.

Considering all these I decided to go HYBRID. All my tools or software are cross-compatible or cloud-based so in any case, if I have to switch back to windows or Mac os I can use the same set of tools.

Reason to Choose Linux Mint Over Other Linux Distros?

Well, this is purely a personal choice. Based upon the comparison between different distros like Ubuntu, Mint, Manjaro, and Arch Linux I chose to opt Linux Mint.

Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and Debian and comes with three different desktop flavors (Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce). Linux Mint is the go-to OS for people switching from Windows to Linux for the first time.

Below are the articles published in this site, which will help you to install and configure Linux Mint on your machine.

Linux Package Management

The first thing I did before installing Linux Mint was to learn how to work with package management. Since I already had some experience with yum command it is easy for me to learn from other package managers. There are many ways we can install packages starting from getting the source binary, Synaptic package manager, Snap store, or via the apt package manager.

Linux Terminal

For me, the real beauty of Linux is the terminal interface. I installed oh-my-bash to make my terminal look cool and aliased my frequently used commands to increase my productivity. I did everything via terminal starting from Monitoring the system, Disk Management, Network Management, Package Management, etc…

List of Software I Use in Linux

Here are the list of software I use for my personal and professional work.

Web Browsers
  • Firefox
  • Chromium
Multimedia Player
  • VLC Media Player
Code/Text Editors
  • Sublime Text
  • VSCode
  • Nano/Micro

I use Python, Bash, Git, and MySQL databases for my day-to-day work so it is necessary for me to set up the correct tools and workflow. The advantage of setting up a programming stack in Linux is I wrote a simple bash script which is a one time work. So next time, if I have to switch to a different Linux distribution I don’t have to spend my time setting up the stack from the scratch. I use Sublime Text 3 and Vscode for my development work and use Nano for command-line editing.

Productivity Suite

On a daily basis, we need tools like an email client, calendar, task creator, to-do list, Powerpoint, Word Processor, Spreadsheet, collaboration medium like slack, Microsoft teams, etc.

There are two ways you can set up the productivity suite. Either find the right set of tools and install it in OS or use cloud-based services. I use cloud-based services (G Suite and Office 365) which satisfies my needs. But there are a bunch of tools you can explore and configure as a productivity suite.

Other than the described tools, below are a set of tools that I use for system management and other purposes.

For all the list of software I mentioned in the above sections I created a bash script that will take care of installation, configuration, and retaining the perfect environment that I created now. Let’s say if I am switching from Mint to Ubuntu then I can retain everything with a single script.

That’s it for today. If you are a Windows user, try installing Linux. As a newbie, you will have some difficult time in scratching the surface, but trust me once you make your hands dirty with Linux you will never regret switching from Windows to Linux. We are excited to hear back from you about your experience with Linux.

A passionate software engineer who loves to explore new technologies. He is a public speaker and loves writing about technology, especially about Linux and open source.

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  1. If Mint is not working out for you, there are many other Linux distros that you can try. One of them is bound to work for you. This article is about switching from Windows to Linux Mint but it applies just as well to other Linux distros.

  2. Hello,

    Yes! I too have come up against problems regarding Linux Mint & installation of & configuring of an HP-Laser jet printer. However, recently I upgraded my OS from Linux mint 20 to Linux mint 20.1 & I also downloaded the latest release (version) of HPLIP software. This has now successfully fixed the printer problem & I was able to finally install my HPLaser-jet 1100 mono printer. It works beautifully now!

    Furthermore, this leads me to consider wiping my W10 machine in order to install Linux Mint 20.1 on my second machine. i.e. loose & replace Microsoft windows entirely? It’s a big job wiping, & rebuilding the system from scratch & I still haven’t made a final decision as to whether to commit to this.

  3. About once per year, I try to switch from Windows to Linux. Right now I’m testing Mint. Sorry to say it’s going to be a non-starter. When I can’t even share my Windows printers without pages of arcane commands it’s a no-go.

    I run into this every time I try to switch. Yes, there’s lots of help on the web, but it all assumes you are comfortable with all of the terminology and command syntax required.

    I keep hoping. Maybe next year.

    • > I keep hoping. Maybe next year.

      This year did it for me. I’ve tried several times in the past but always ended up going back to Windows as the primary system. Granted, I was not sophisticated enough in command line knowledge to achieve what I wanted.

      This time, managed to set up my system in the proper way as I like. What pushed me was Windows 11 announcement and what utter garbage they are going to release this October. Tried Insider Beta and Dev channels to see what it is and except for UI re-invigoration, it’s a downgrade from 10.

      Those are pretty much features that were supposed to ship to Windows 10 but instead become a new OS which you’re forced to use if you want all that new stuff. Or stay on Windows 10 till 2025 but with no new cool stuff which is W11 exclusive. Screw that. Currently using Mint and am quite happy.

      Best wishes.

      • I made the move 10 yrs ago to All Linux across my business. Granted I was a Windows programmer 1st, But Linux is 150% better and then some. Why else is the entire Web/Internet, most phones, and the
        top 500 Super Computers in the World running on Linux?

  4. I like to load up the occasional Linux live distro every once in a while just to experiment a bit and see how things are going in Linux land. The other day it was Mint 20 Cinnamon.

    It still has abysmal support for my peripherals. I couldn’t even get mouse sensitivity to work right. And not because I didn’t know how – the lowest allowed sensitivity (achievable via terminal only) was too high for my mouse’s default DPI.

    It’s not ready yet.

    • Change the Mouse, not the System:-)

      I have no issues, across 20 office computers and 4 Servers all running a combination of CentOS, Fedora, and Mint, with any peripherals!

  5. So…where are the steps to convert about a decade worth of my Illustrator and Photoshop files, configs, and scripts? Oh, also my Project files? And my client’s Point of Sale system they have been using for about 15 years (full of the customer, B2B information, inventory, sales, and tax records) that is only available on a Windows platform? And all my payroll for the past 20 years in QB’s?

    Yes, Linux is cool. But I cannot use it to replace Windows in my or my client’s business because of the cost of conversion, lack of tools, training costs, etc. When I can convert without those costs (and those services are not all on the cloud and OS agnostic) I will look at it. But not today

    • “When I can convert without those costs”

      Then you’d better stick to Windows because there is no, and never will be, a magic wand or incantation that will automagically convert software system(s) of one O/S to another O/S. Do you think that converting the business from Linux to Windows can be done for free? You will encounter the same costs (conversion, lack of tools, training costs, etc). There ain’t nothing like a free lunch.

      BTW – Google is your friend. You are not the first or the last to convert their own and/or a client’s system from Windows to Linux. It is being done every day. Some of those who have gone through such a conversion even left detailed instructions on the ‘Net on how to do it.

  6. Good article. Thanks.

    How about showing us the scripts for quick installation. I’m not expecting the ‘Mona Lisa’ if scripts but at least a pointer in the right direction.

    • The vast majority of Linux distros can be installed in about 10 minutes. Each distro has a built-in installer, no special install scripts are necessary. If you use the auto-install function, the installer will ask you 3 or 4 questions and then will proceed to install the distro. If you wish to create custom partitions, that will add a couple of minutes to the install time. A Linux O/S install is easier and faster than a Windows install.

      The DIY distros, such as Gentoo, Linux From Scratch, Arch, and a few others, do take much longer because you have to compile every component you want to use.

  7. Unfortunately, businesses have only one choice, Windows. No perfect alternative for MS Office and Accounting software as QuickBooks pro. And no professional software like Adobe Creative Suite either. If I could get I will ditch Windows 10 for Linux.

  8. I made the switch years ago, went to upgrade my system to windows 10, had heaps issues, so spat the dummy installed Linux Mint 17 and never looked back, running Mint 20 currently, even got rid of windows of my wife’s laptop and installed Mint, she is totally computer literature, as long as she got Facebook, able to surf the web, Gmail, libre office, she happy, Mint so stable and easy for Linux newbies too use

  9. I am using Linux Mint since version 17 and made around over 30 people switch to Linux. I give them support. I can tell you while Linux is free your time isn’t. I spent a lot of my time fixing problems.

    Yesterday I had to stay home take one day off at work to fix why Evolution keeps asking password for the keyring. Later on, I was told disable auto-login (passwordless login) as this can cause the issue. For me, these things would have been flagrant with windows but searching for that solution in Linux was a pain.

    I don’t know who is faulty but this keyring issue has been around for a long time. Second issue if you set up mysql, PHPMyAdmin, Apache, 99% chance you won’t be able to login PHPMyAdmin without messing with resetting the root password or use a command tool to create a new mysql username.

    For windows users jumping to Linux isn’t free. Get prepared to spend days what you can do in minutes with windows.

    Before you start hammering me. I am not paid by Microsoft. I am using Linux and teaching others to use Linux because today Winx users are at the mercy of hackers while Linux is still safe, I know need to take precautions as well. To mitigate risk a Linux backup is a good idea.

    • “Get prepared to spend days what you can do in minutes with windows.”

      How long did it take you to learn Windows to the point where you can do tasks in minutes? After you spend that amount of time using Linux, you will be able to do those tasks in minutes also. It takes long time Linux users hours to do things in Windows that they can do in minutes in Linux. Nobody is born with the knowledge of Windows (or any other O/S). Every O/S has to be learned from the ground up.

  10. I converted my 81-year-old dad’s super slow Windows laptop and put Linux mint 19 on there, and it’s not only like a new computer, but it performs better than any laptop in the world. Windows is malware.

  11. I use Vivaldi which is Chromium-based. All of its extensions come from the Chromium store. I have been using it since its early beta days and find it very satisfying. Jon Von Tetschner, who created the Opera browser, also founded the Vivaldi project. And Vivaldi is available for Linux, Mac, and M$Windows.

  12. I do graphics work, in past I used manjaro Linux but, I need adobe products, Linux need more support for graphics app, now I had to switch windows, but windows 10 is not perfect

    • “Linux needs more support for graphics app”.

      Most definitely but it is for companies that develop those graphics apps, like Adobe, not distro developers, to provide that support.

  13. You know you can use more than one computer, right? You only need Windows and macOS for commercial software like AutoCAD.

    Windows uses ever-increasing resources forcing you to replace your whole computer.

    Windows is where most viruses thrive.

    • So, if I have to use two computers to do my job, why would I have Linux if it didn’t run all the software I needed? So many replies seem to be from home users, rather than from the business perspective of budgets and resources. I have 25 users who need products not available on Linux. Why would I suddenly want to manage 50 machines with different requirements?

      Does everyone have the luxury of not having to deal with the reality of having to pay for things?

      And rather than your personal opinion claim of “Windows uses ever-increasing resources forcing you to replace your whole computer. Windows is where most viruses thrive.”…

      I”m a business. A business makes decisions based on costs and risk and business need. Not on someone’s personal preference. If you were trying to convince me to go to that business model, you better bring facts to the table and give a cost assessment that should it’s a good financial move. I don’t see any of that review in any of the posts pro Linux…at least for business. Maybe as a single home user, but that’s not what I have to manage.

      • You and others with similar posts are creating a straw man. Nobody is taking away your Windows. Nobody is forcing you to switch to Linux or even run it alongside Windows. This article is the author’s private opinion aimed at those that CAN or are willing to switch to Linux.

        If the applications you need to use do not exist in Linux or if the applications that do exist in Linux are inadequate, by all means, you should keep using Windows and not bother with Linux. OTOH, there are many businesses that see no problems with switching to Linux. I have participated in several Windows to Linux while working for a large county government.

  14. My Linux journey commenced about 2000. I started with Redhat Linux before going to Mandriva Linux. About 2004 I’ve been keeping my eyes on Ubuntu, Lindows/Linspire, Debian, and Solus just to name a few. I think recently I must have tried almost every distro with my favorite at this point in time being Deepin 20.

    I am a Beta tester with various Linux distros, open-source software apps, and MS Windows insider.

    I enjoy testing new OS’s and experimenting on how they work, the ease of installation, and the simplicity of use.

  15. “Reason to Choose Linux Mint Over Other Linux Distros?

    Well, this is purely a personal choice. Based upon the comparison between different distros like Ubuntu, Mint, Manjaro, and Arch Linux I chose to opt Linux Mint.”

    To me, it’s an enigma why people are so fond of Mint. I would like to read something more detailed than “this is purely a personal choice”. I already installed and tried Mint, I didn’t see anything so special about this distro. I use another one, but I won’t specify it, so people could not wrongly deduct that I am just promoting another distro.

    Regarding Windows 10 versus a Linux distro, every operating system has its own characteristics, so I use both in dual-boot machines. But I am also trying to install and use chromium OS in my desktop computers, so in the future they will turn triple-boot.

    • ” I use another one, but I won’t specify it, so people could not wrongly deduct that I am just promoting another distro.”

      What is wrong with promoting a distro that you use and like? Every poster here is promoting a distro he or she uses and likes as the “best”. Why should you be different? Besides, the distro you use may actually be better than Mint for a lot of readers.

  16. I gradually switched from Windows to Linux during the last 4 years and by today some of the Linux distros are real substitutes of Windows. You should certainly decide first what purposes you want to use it and which of the several desktop environments is the best for you.

    For a beginner, I also recommend Linux Mint Mate, since that one looks nice, easy to handle, and works much more reliable than Windows does. Updates take much less time with no further problems like they do that in Windows.

    Later I found out that the most beautiful distro looks to be the ‘elementary’, however, that is less adjustable. While it seems to me that the most versatile distro is MX Linux.

  17. For virtualization, having Linux as a host, QEMU often gives better performance (it uses KVM) than VirtualBox. Give it a try with Virt Manager if you want a nice GUI. At first I didn’t want to leave VirtualBox because I was used to it but then the performance advantage was too big.

  18. How come people say Windows 10 is a complete disaster I cannot understand. For me, it works wonderfully and is the best OS period. I respect Linux, and I used it in the past, but you cannot exchange a working machine on Windows with a Linux one without some pain and you know it. Then there are also philosophical reasons (free software, etc) but let’s apply philosophy first to our surroundings…

    • How come people say Windows 10 work wonderfully, I always got an issue with it at work and on my relative’s computer. :-P

      To be serious, I don’t see the point to change OS if the one you work with is perfect for you, but in reality, a lot of peoples are not happy with Windows 10. And for them, changing the system makes perfect sense.

      Regarding the difficulties of migrating from one OS to the other, it will be the same for a Linux user (or mac) to switch to Windows, the most important thing is to have the choice to do so.

    • Gino,

      Thanks for sharing your opinion.

      My personal point of view – Windows is not disastrous, no OS is. I always respect the amount of time and effort put by people for creating a platform and giving it free to us. The major difference between both the platform is Open source and free software. Windows is best suited as a base OS but Linux can be best with Desktop as well as servers to handle huge workloads across the corporate.

      That being said, choosing the OS is always a personal choice. If you think Windows is better than Linux from your perspective, I respect that. But just giving a shot on a different platforms is not hazardous.

    • Three years ago, when I bought my very expensive DELL laptop with 4k display, latest 4-core i7 processor and Nvidia graphics card and windows 10 preinstalled, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING worked when I tried to compile some multicore scientific C++ programs.

      A friend of mine asked me why didn’t I try Linux. So, I installed Linux Mint (Cinnamon). Although that particular model was a gaming PC not targeted at Linux OS, it installed out of the box, and everything worked fantastically without my intervention.

      Since then, I compile and run my multicore simulations without any effort, either with GCC or clang; everything works as expected, and I am very happy with Linux. I also discovered that LibreOffice is much better when writing scientific documents with a lot of mathematical formulas. I never went back to Windows again, and I wonder why all these people are still using it.

    • “How come people say Windows 10 is a complete disaster I cannot understand.”

      What’s not to understand? After each Win 10 update, there are numerous posts on the ‘Net that detail all the new problems the update has created/introduced. There comes a point when users say “Enough is enough!” and go to another O/S.

      Then there is the data harvesting done by various MS products. Linux distros do not call home and report on the users. Then there is the matter of security, or rather lack thereof. If it wasn’t for Microsoft, the third-party security market (Norton, Symantec, etc.) would not be as large as it is.

  19. My journey with Linux started with Slackware Linux back in 2003, for a novice Linux user it was too hard to use and I moved over to Ubuntu, I ended up having problems with it at some point and moved over to Linux Mint with the “Mate” desktop and have been using it ever since.

    My Windows PC after years of service finally had a hardware fault and died and I’m not even going to replace it.

    Numerous people that I know have had no end of trouble with Windows to the point that they needed to wipe their drives and start over anyway and absolutely loved how well Linux Mint worked vs. Windows.

    Personally, I think that Windows is a dying platform that will eventually just go away, even at work I use Linux Mint on my laptop and my boss doesn’t care as long as it allows me to get my work done.

    If you are looking to get away from the Windows platform give Linux Mint “Mate” a try, you will be glad you did.

    • Hello Rushikesh,

      If you are a Linux newbie, I recommend installing a virtualization software like VMWare workstation or Virtualbox choose a Linux distro then install it. Have some familiarity with package managers, Terminal how Linux FS works. Once you fell this the moment to switch completely then there you are. Try either Linux Mint or Manjaro.

      If you are someone using Linux for some time then you know your way around already.

      • Rushikesh will have enough problems trying to learn Linux. He does not have to add to those problems by trying to install and learn virtualization software such as VMWare or Virtual Box. Most Linux distros can be run in a Live Mode, off the install medium (DVD or USB stick).

  20. Got hooked on Linux Mint over 10 years ago with LM7 and been an avid fan ever since, and while I know my way around a keyboard I’m not super techie. LM20 blazes and makes Windows 10 look like a souped-up Windows 95, which it is … all those pop-ups would drive me nuts. But you forgot to mention one very important thing about LM20 … it’s FREE!!! Just download from the Linux Mint website, install and use.

  21. With the continual disaster that is W10, switching to a far better user friendly OS is a no-brainer. Yeah, Linux Mint has a learning curve…then again, what OS doesn’t?

    W10 is fast approaching Vista-levels of incompetence. Just because something feels familiar, doesn’t mean you need to stay with it.


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