Zorin OS 15 – An Ultimate Linux Desktop Designed for Windows and macOS Users

In the advent of Linux’s grand entrance into the PC space back in 1993, has been an insurgency of operating systems and that time also happened to be the wake of a technological-oriented generation adopting computers at a much faster pace than ever before.

In the light of this fact, Debian took off grandly (two years after Linux was born) and through it, a staggering 200 independent distributions have poured out – thanks to Ian Murdock.

We can likewise say thanks to Canonical/Ubuntu for driving the concept of user-friendliness and usability for the “normal human” which other distros like Linux Mint et ‘al have perfected over the years to the extent at which it is more than reliable in this day and age.

Recommended Read: 10 Top Most Popular Linux Distributions of 2020

While it’s easy to argue that nothing beats Linux Mint, let me be the one to bring it to your understanding that there are quite a reasonable number of well-optimized operating systems targeting potential newbies on entry into the Linux space.

One of these “well-optimized” operating systems is no other but Zorin OS. Zorin OS is an enterprise-grade operating system that I fondly call a “Windows look-a-like on steroids”; why you ask me?

Zorin is built from the ground up with beginners in mind especially targeting those transitioning from Windows and macOS.

Zorin Desktop

Zorin Desktop

Zorin OS 15.2 which happens to be the latest “dependable” release is built atop Ubuntu 18.04 which is an LTS release that is going to last through to the the year with security updates.

While the “cutting edge and advanced” version of the operating system a Zorin OS 15.2 is essentially the bleeding edge version of Zorin where you get new features and functionalities without delays.

Zorin comes in 3 main variations: Zorin Ultimate, Core, Lite, and Education. Among these variants, Zorin Ultimate packs with most software applications and features than any other. The latest version of Zorin Ulitmate is Zorin 15.2. It was released in March 2020.

Zorin Ultimate ships with new improvements such as:

  • It comes with 6 desktop layouts (Ubuntu, macOS, Windows, Windows Classic, Touch, and GNOME).
  • Updated productivity applications for image editing, video production, and Office work.
  • Linux Kernel 5.3 with the latest security patches.
  • Support for third party graphic cards such as Radeon RX 5700, and AMD Navi.

Download Zorin OS 15.2

Zorin OS 15.2 is available in a paid ‘Ultimate’ version and a ‘Core’ free version. I am downloading Zorin OS 15.2 Core free image for this guide, however, the procedure isn’t any different for the rest.

In this article, we focus on how to install Zorin 15.2 Core on your PC.

Installing Zorin 15.2 Core on PC

Before you get underway with the installation, ensure that you make the USB drive bootable using the Zorin’s ISO image that you downloaded. You can easily achieve this using the Rufus tool.

Once this is done. Plug your bootable medium into your system and reboot.

Begin Zorin 15.2 Core Installation

Upon booting, you will see a list of options on the first screen as shown. IF your PC is equipped with an NVIDIA graphic card, feel free to select the third option ‘Try or Install Zorin OS (modern NVIDIA drivers)‘.

If your system ships with a graphics card from a different vendor, then select either the first of the second option.

Zorin OS Boot Menu

Zorin OS Boot Menu

The installer will then present you with two options as shown. You might consider trying out Zorin before installing, in which case you will click ‘Try Zorin OS’. Since we are installing Zorin, we are going to proceed and select the ‘Install Zorin OS’ option.

Select Install Zorin OS

Select Install Zorin OS

Select the Keyboard Layout

Next, select your preferred keyboard layout and click on the ‘Continue’ button.

Select Zorin Keyboard Layout

Select Zorin Keyboard Layout

Select the Updates and Software to be Installed

In the ‘Updates and other Software’ step, select Download updates and third-party to install all the software packages including web browsers, media players and office tools to mention a few.

Install Updates and Software

Install Updates and Software

Partition the Disk and Install Zorin OS

The next step presents you with 4 options that you can choose to install Zorin OS.

If you want the installer to automatically partition your hard drive without your user intervention, select the first option which is ‘Erase disk and install Zorin OS’. This option comes in handy particularly for beginners who are not comfortable with manually partitioning their hard drives.

Zorin Installation Type

Zorin Installation Type

To manually create your own partitions, select the option ‘Something else’. In this guide we will show you how to manually create your own partitions, so we will go with this option.

So click on ‘Something else’, and hit ‘Continue’.

Zorin Manual Partition

Zorin Manual Partition

The next step displays the hard drive that you are about to start partitioning. In our case, we only have one hard drive labeled /dev/sda. To begin partitioning the drive, you need to, first of all, create a partition table. So click on the ‘New partition table’ button as shown.

Create New Partition for Zorin

Create New Partition for Zorin

A pop-up dialogue will prompt you whether you want to proceed to create the partition table or go back. Click on ‘Continue’.

Confirm to Create New Partition Table

Confirm to Create New Partition Table

We are going to create the following crucial partitions:

/boot - 1048 MB
/home - 4096 MB
Swap - 2048 MB
/(root) - Remaining space

To begin creating the partitions, select free space and click on the plus sign button ( + ) as shown.

Create Partitions for Zorin

Create Partitions for Zorin

We will be creating /boot partition, so specify your partition’s size in MegaBytes (MB), – in this case 1040 MB. Leave the next 2 options as they are and select ‘Ext4 journaling file system‘ from the drop-down menu and select /boot in the mount point drop-down menu. Once you are satisfied with your settings, click ‘OK’.

Creating Boot Partition for Zorin

Creating Boot Partition for Zorin

This brings you back to the Partition table and like you have noticed, you now have a boot partition already created labeled /dev/sda1.

Boot Partition Created

Boot Partition Created

Now, we will create /home partition, again select free space and click on the plus sign button ( + ) as shown.

Creating Home Partition for Zorin

Creating Home Partition for Zorin

Fill in all the options as demonstrated earlier and click ‘OK’.

Enter Home Partition Size

Enter Home Partition Size

Now we have 2 partitions created: /boot and /home partition.

Now we will be creating a Swap partition, again select free space, click on the plus sign button ( + ). Next, enter the swap size and be keen to select the swap area in the ‘Use as’ drop-down menu, then click ‘OK’.

Create Swap Partition

Create Swap Partition

We have 3 partitions thus far: /boot , /home, and swap as shown. We now need to create the root partition, again select free space, click on the plus sign button ( + ).

Here, we will assign the remaining space to the root partition as shown.

Create Swap Partition

Create Swap Partition

Finally, our partition table is complete with all the required partitions. To continue with the installation, click on the ‘Install now’ button.

Install Zorin OS

Install Zorin OS

Confirm the changes to our partition table.

Confirm Partition Changes

Confirm Partition Changes

Select the Location

On the next step, the installer auto-detects your location if you are connected to the internet. Click ‘Continue’ to go to the next step.

Select Location

Select Location

Creating a New User

Next, fill out your user details including your name, computer’s name, and password. Ensure that you provide a strong password to fortify your system’s security and click ‘Continue’.

Create New User

Create New User

The installer will begin installing Zorin’s files and software packages on your system. This takes a while and it provides a good opportunity to grab a cup of tea or take a stroll.

Zorin OS Installation

Zorin OS Installation

Upon completion, you will be requested to reboot your system. Therefore, click on the ‘Restart now’ button.

Zorin OS Installation Complete

Zorin OS Installation Complete

Upon rebooting, you can then log in with your username and password that you specified earlier on.

Zorin Login

Zorin Login

Once you log in, savor the beauty and simplicity of Zorin’s desktop.

Zorin Desktop

Zorin Desktop

Conclusion

There you have it, Zorin OS installation and review. If there’s anything that we happened to miss, kindly let us know in the comments below, and also, if you’ve used Zorin OS in the past, do share your experience with us too.

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James Kiarie

This is James, a certified Linux administrator and a tech enthusiast who loves keeping in touch with emerging trends in the tech world. When I'm not running commands on the terminal, I'm taking listening to some cool music. taking a casual stroll or watching a nice movie.

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12 Responses

  1. dragonmouth says:

    Zorin is a Windows look-alike, NOT a work-alike. Zorin is a totally different O/S. It is not. and should not be, Windows written in Linux. Neither Microsoft nor Apple provides interfaces that look like other O/Ss.

    If we don’t require those companies to provide those look-alikes, why do we insist that various Linux distros must look and work like Windows to be usable and useful? When a Linux user switches to Windows or OS/X, he must learn the Microsoft or Apple way of doing things or else. If users need Windows look-alikes and work-alikes for their sanity, maybe they should keep using Windows.

    BTW – Zorin is not “built from the ground up”. It is basically Ubuntu with some cosmetic changes. It does not have its own repositories, it uses Ubuntu’s.

    Also, the latest Long Term Support (dependable) version of Ubuntu is 20.04. The latest Long Term Support version of the Linux kernel is 5.4. So Zorin is behind the times on two counts.

  2. Dell_Ray says:

    I downloaded Zorin.iso but having trouble getting my USB device set upright. I’ve tried 2 different methods now. The first was just riddled with error codes so I last tried Rufus. I got that error-free onto the USB stick but can’t figure out how to get the .iso file on there.

  3. Brennan says:

    Zorin 9 lasts 3 years longer then 11 ? Why, why and why. 11 is newer and should last longer ?

  4. Earl H. Kinmonth says:

    Zorin is OK but it has some serious failings as a XP/Win7 substitute. RDP support inbound, as with other Linux distributions, is feeble at best. Adding items to the launcher is clunky. There are other problems; these are just two that have bugged me in particular.

    • Jesse says:

      true that…Zorin OS shares some weak points as other Linux distributions as of now and there’s too little an end user can do about it…the most important thing right now is the potential Zorin OS has and as long as it remains, it will continue to thrive and edge even closer to Windows in terms of the functionality provided..

  5. Steve Ellis says:

    Thanks very much Zorin, you just broken my Windows 10 Partition. Rubbish!

  6. Charles Howard says:

    The installation procedure sounds just like Mint. What is the difference between Mint 17.3 and this. I am currently using mint 17.3. Also, some devices are not recognized by mint even with Wine. Such as an ATT cell phone modem (air Card) with the drivers stored within the device. I need to run it in window then. will Zorin support it.

    • Jesse says:

      actually, there’s a lot of difference between Zorin and Linux Mint; many of which i mentioned in the article. Yes it should work…the Linux kernel includes drivers for it…however, if it doesn’t work, try updating your kernel to a later version and try again..remember you’ll have to do some manual configurations under the network settings..

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