We compiled an inventory of the ten best Linux distributions for Windows users in 2023 based on how easy they are to adopt and successfully migrate from Windows.
Although there are hundreds of Linux Distributions, very few of them can seriously replace Windows operating system. With the advancements and stability across Linux Kernel and desktop environments, 2023 is the perfect year to adopt Linux as a daily driver. This applies to students, school administrations, hobbyists, scientists, and related work profiles. In addition, the hardware makers also provide Linux support for their device line-ups.
Linux, in general, still requires some workaround for specific workflows. However, Linux is still catching up on specific niche work profiles. The reason is some specific application vendors do not provide Linux executables. But there are plenty of alternatives available for everything in the Linux world.
Moreover, for day-to-day work from an average user standpoint, the Linux operating system is now at a stage that can perform all the work you throw. With that in mind, we compiled the below 10 best Linux distributions in 2023 for Windows users. These should cover almost all possible use cases and work profiles (including Desktop or Laptop).
Best Linux Distributions for Windows Users in 2023
1. Zorin OS
The first Linux distribution we feature in this list is Zorin OS. And there are reasons for that. From a new Windows user standpoint, familiarity is essential and stability.
Zorin OS is the perfect starting point for Linux Journet for windows users. It comes with built-in Windows-like themes, which you can apply with just a click. Not only that, the main taskbar an appearance you can change with its easy to use settings manager.
In addition, Zorin is based on the Ubuntu LTS version. Hence, the user gets ultimate stability in packages, applications, and multi-year security patches.
Other than that, Zorin OS maintains three editions – Pro, Lite and Core, which cater to the different user bases. The Pro edition is a paid version with additional themes and tweaks out of the box with a minimal fee.
You can download Zorin OS from the below link.
2. Linux Mint Cinnamon Edition
If you are ever confused about which distro to choose, you can blindly choose “Linux Mint”, especially the Cinnamon edition. Linux Mint Cinnamon edition is a robust Linux distribution that brings a traditional menu and icon-based desktop design perfect for Windows users.
For the first time, Linux users (from Windows), installing apps, packages, and other aspects might be overwhelming. But the Linux Mint team did an outstanding job with this distribution, which makes your day-to-day work super uncomplicated.
In addition, it brings all necessary applications pre-installed, which are helpful for new folks. Other than that, printers, multiple displays and all peripheral device works are “out of the box” in this distribution.
Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and Debian. Hence you should get good stability for multiple years. Finally, a helpful community to help you in need via its forums.
You can download Linux Mint Cinnamon Edition from the below link.
3. Kubuntu LTS Release
A Linux distribution list is incomplete without Kubuntu, which features the stunning KDE Plasma desktop. Kubuntu is a well designed and stable Linux distribution which brings a fusion of Ubuntu and KDE Plasma desktop.
The primary selling point is the KDE Plasma desktop which brings a friendly and easy-to-use desktop environment similar to the Windows operating system. It has the typical bottom taskbar, panels, icons, and widgets that remind you about Windows 11 or 10.
Moreover, the KDE framework and KDE applications enrich this desktop overall. One of the plus points of KDE Plasma with Kubuntu is the active community and development.
If you are a new Linux user, you can get help from the hugely popular forums and documentation.
The Kubuntu download link is present below.
Deepin Linux distribution is one of the most popular Linux flavours among Windows and macOS users due to its aesthetics and stability. This impressive open-source GNU/Linux distribution is based on Deepin tech and features free and proprietary software. Deepin is popular among users who want a beautiful Linux while being stable.
At the core, Deepin is based on Debian, which is more stable and provides support for more than sufficient years of security updates. Hence once you install Deepin, you can keep on using the set-up for a longer duration.
In addition, Deepin features its own App Store, which definitely helps windows users. Also, you get fingerprint support, new hardware support and an additional application pre-installed.
You can download Deepin from the below link.
5. Ubuntu LTS Release with GNOME
The fifth distro we feature is the Ubuntu Linux (the default GNOME desktop edition). The Ubuntu LTS releases (with default GNOME Desktop) are the most used Linux Distribution today. It’s the most popular, most downloaded, and most used by users, enterprises, and real-world needs.
There is no doubt about the Ubuntu LTS version’s power and stability. It has been time-tested. With the vast community support, Ubuntu LTS versions with customized GNOME might be the perfect fit for your needs.
From a Windows user standpoint, the Ubuntu LTS release’s advantage is the applications and games support. Most of the app and game developers target Ubuntu in Linux in general for initial support. Hence, if you are a Windows user with a critical workflow consisting of complex applications, you should choose Ubuntu LTS editions with GNOME desktop.
I would not recommend Ubuntu to a Windows user experiencing Linux for the first time.
Finally, you can download Ubuntu using the below link.
6. Endless OS
We added this distribution because its underlying packages and system remain intact, and it is read-only. The isolated user-space deals with your work and applications. That means it never breaks, and your system always remains fresh as the first installation.
Endless OS is perfect for schools and organizations that manage labs with many desktop computers and have a little budget for maintaining (updates, upgrades, etc.) those desktops. In addition, its unique and customized GNOME desktop is perfect for first-time Linux users coming from Windows.
A Windows user may not know what GRUB is, right? Hence, the team designed its installer in a unique way for those use cases. Also, it has a unique and friendly way of educating Windows users on its installation with a detailed step-by-step guide.
In addition to the above points, if you are ahead of IT of schools, non-profits and planning to get rid of Windows for many desktop units, then it is a perfect distribution to try out. For an individual user, you can use it if you are a little experienced in Linux.
You can read a detailed review of Endless OS here. And download it from the below link.
7. Linux Lite
You might be wondering why Linux Lite is a list of distributions for Windows users. Think about a million desktops and laptops that are so-called “outdated” by Windows requirements. They are perfectly well and can run for years with perfect Linux distribution that caters to older hardware.
Hence, our seventh distro in this list is Linux Lite. It is based on Ubuntu LTS release and comes with easy to use and lightweight Xfce desktop environment. In addition, Linux Lite also supports 32-bit hardware for older hardware. Moreover, it brings its in-house utilities that make your day-to-day work super easy. If you have a laptop or desktop with Windows 7 or Windows 10, you can easily format and install Linux Lite for better support.
You can download Linux Lite from the below link.
8. Pop OS
The Pop OS is developed by American computer manufacturer System76 for their lineup of desktops and laptops. System76 sells and supports high-end desktops and notebooks with Pop OS pre-installed.
Hence, you get better hardware and additional support if you use this distribution in your Windows 10 or Windows 11 system.
Moreover, Pop OS (based on Ubuntu) is primarily known to have perfect for modern hardware (including NVIDIA graphics) and brings some unique features absent in the traditional Ubuntu with GNOME desktop. For example, you get a well-designed COSMIC desktop with Pop OS, a built-in tiling feature, well-optimized power controls, and a stunning Pop Shop. The Pop Shop is a software store designed by its maker to give you a well-categorized set of applications for your study, learning, development, gaming, etc. This distribution is also perfect for gaming if you plan to start your Linux journey with gaming in mind.
In addition, if you want to get a professional-grade Linux distribution with official help and support, you should check out actual System76 hardware with Pop OS.
Furthermore, many OEMs, such as HP, recently decided to launch special edition laptops using Pop OS. This shows how vital this distribution is today and perhaps a professional-grade Windows replacement after Ubuntu.
You can download the Pop OS for various hardware for free using the link below.
9. elementary OS
Our 9th Linux distribution for Windows users is the famous elementary OS. The elementary OS is a Ubuntu LTS based Linux distribution, which brings a mac-OS style user interface. However, it looks like macOS but can be an ideal replacement for Windows.
Firstly, it’s stable and well-designed, keeping a professional experience in mind. It is based on Ubuntu. Hence you get a wide range of help and support already available for Ubuntu Linux.
Second, elementary OS brings its own curated App Center with a wide range of applications specially designed for elementary OS.
Moreover, thanks to the beautiful Pantheon desktop, it doesn’t get into your way of working. Overall a little different Linux distribution for Windows users.
You can download the elementary OS from the below link.
10. Peppermint OS
The final Linux distribution in this list is Peppermint OS.
Peppermint OS is a Debian stable-based Linux Distribution that featured LXDE components alongside Xfce earlier. This operating system is primarily used for older hardware which requires stability and minimal maintenance in terms of software.
Peppermint OS is a user-friendly Linux distribution that is perfect for older hardware. It is based on Debian’s Stable branch, which gives your system multiple years of security updates. In addition, it is also based on an Xfce desktop environment like Linux Lite in this list.
But it has one unique selling point for Windows users.
First, it’s well designed welcome screen that gives shortcuts for tasks and activities, which is beneficial for Windows users.
Second, the Peppermint Hub is an excellent utility which brings all the necessary shortcuts for your system management, from changing themes to updating and downloading software from the repository.
If you are a new Linux user from Windows ecosystem, Peppermint Hub will take care of most system management tasks from one single point.
You can download Peppermint OS from the below link.
Twister UI is not a Linux distribution. You do not need to download separate icons, themes or cursors. But it’s like an add-on to your Linux Mint (Xfce Edition), which gives you a one-click look and feel of Windows 7, Windows 98 and Windows 10 in Linux Mint. The Pi Labs created this UI, making the Twister OS for Raspberry Pi and related hardware.
We mention this here because many “older-generation” Windows users can easily migrate to Linux with help from their friends and family. They mostly know how Windows behaves based on the UI, menu, icons and colours. And it’s easy for them to start with Linux.
Here’s how it looks (Windows XP theme). For more details, read the Twister UI review.
I hope this list of “best Linux distributions for Windows users” helps you finally decide and pick one distro for yourself, your friends and co-workers. The above list is prepared based on their current status (active project), prospects (i.e. it has a well-defined vision for the future), how friendly they are to Windows users, and their stability.
Finally, which Linux distribution for Windows users do you think should be in the top 10 list? Let me know in the comment box below.