How to upgrade from windows 7 to linux

Welcome to the last day of Windows 7—the last day Microsoft is giving out security updates for the antiquated operating system , that is. While you have plenty of options for upgrading Windows 7 , and even a hack that might be able to extend your updates for years, one of the best things you can do if you don’t want to make the jump to Windows 10 is to take a 90-degree turn toward Linux.

Yes, Linux. Don’t be scared. While your first thought is probably, “that’s too complicated for me,” hear me out. There are a number of Linux distributions that look and feel like the Windows you’re already familiar with. You won’t find yourself sitting in front of a command prompt, wondering what to do next, unless that’s the kind of experience you want. Otherwise, Linux isn’t terrifying in the slightest.

If you’re sticking with Windows 7 because of a specific reason—apps that only work on that version of the OS and nothing else—we even have a workaround for that, too: virtualizing Windows 7 so you can still access it in a safe, as-you-need-it fashion (assuming your system can handle it).

Stick with us, and we’ll show you just how easy it is to switch to Linux and all the great apps that couldn’t be any easier to download and install in the OS. (We do love package managers.)

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Before we begin: Get yourself ready to leave Windows 7

For the sake of keeping this article under a million words, I’m going to assume that you’ve already saved your critical data and everything else you need from your existing Windows 7 installation. (You should be backing up your system all the time anyway, so this shouldn’t be a surprise).

If you’re nervous about switching over, you can start by creating a live CD (or live USB) of the Linux distribution we’ll be using, Linux Mint . In fact, you’ll have to do this anyway to install it, so might as well get it out of the way now. By booting to a Live CD when your computer starts instead of Windows 7, you’ll be able to explore what it’s like to use Linux Mint as if you had actually installed it on your system. Nothing you do in the OS persists between reboots—it’s all temporary—but this at least gives you the ability to try out this Linux distribution and see if you like it before you fully commit.

For most people, I recommend creating a list of all the Windows apps you’ve installed and saving that to a cloud-storage account somewhere, along with any other critical data that fits (your documents, for example). Upload your photos to a cloud-storage service as well—either Google Photos, if that’s sufficient, or an online storage server if you need to preserve your shots in their original quality. Take all the time you need to do this part, because you only get one shot at it (unless you’ve taken the secondary step of using a service like Backblaze to automatically save all your stuff or have cloned your entire drive elsewhere).