Ready to ditch Windows for Linux? This is the ideal distro for you

This Linux distribution is very Windows-like in look and feel but very Linux-like in stability and security.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
The default Windowsfx desktop.

Windowsfx is an elegant alternative to Windows 11.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

For many, Windows is the only desktop operating system they've ever used. For them, there's a familiarity that makes dealing with the usual troubles associated with Windows (random restarts for updates, failed drivers, and insecurities) tolerable. 

But what if I told you there was an alternative? There is, and it's been around since 1997. That alternative is the open-source Linux operating system. 

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Now, before you throw your arms up in the air in frustration, hear me out. Sure, there are tons of Linux distributions available to install for free. Those distributions range from the very basic to the incredibly complex and everything in between. In fact, the choices can often be overwhelming to those only familiar with the Microsoft or Apple way of doing things.

Along with those varied versions of the operating system, there are numerous desktops you can opt to try, such as GNOME, KDE Plasma, Mate, Cinnamon, Pantheon, Enlightenment, and more. 

Also: How to choose the right Linux desktop distribution

Some of those desktops stick with the traditional layout of a bottom panel, system tray, desktop menu, and desktop app launchers. There are also Linux desktops that completely re-invent the wheel to make something altogether more modern and elegant.

For those that stick with Windows simply because it's what you know, I have a treat for you. 

Windowsfx is a Linux desktop operating system that uses the KDE Plasma desktop environment to create a very Windows 11 look and feel. 

In fact, if you just took a glance at Windowsfx, you'd be certain you were looking at the Microsoft desktop operating system and not Linux. 

Also: The best Linux laptops for consumers and developers

But Windowsfx isn't just a simple theme that retools KDE Plasma into a very Windows 11-like interface. Windowsfx also includes Android app support, and MS applications pre-installed (such as Edge, Teams, Skype, PowerShell, Office Online, and OneDrive). You'll find apps like:

  • KMail (and all the basic KDE apps)
  • AnyDesk
  • Google Chrome
  • K3b
  • Java 17
  • Steam
  • VLC Media Player
  • Winetricks

Out of the box, Windowsfx has you covered, regardless of what you need. 

With two different office suites, two different default web browsers, and Wine pre-installed (for running Windows applications), there's very little you cannot do with Windowsfx. Just click on the Start button to reveal the desktop menu where you can access all of the installed applications. 

The Windowsfx desktop menu.

The Windowsfx desktop menu should look very familiar to Windows 11 users.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

But how does Windowsfx perform?

In a word, Windowsfx performs flawlessly. No matter what you need, this operating system can do it. 

Even a quick test of installing the Notepad++ Windows application went off without a hitch. Just download the .exe file, double-click it, and walk through the installer. 

Notepadd++ running on Windowsfx.

Installing Windows apps on Windowsfx is simple.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

One thing that you might want to consider is this: With Windows 11, you're very limited in how you can customize that desktop. Now, imagine you have a very Windows 11-like OS that is highly customizable. That's what you get with Windowsfx. 

Also: 8 things you can do with Linux that you can't do with MacOS or Windows

If there's something you don't like about it, change it. And making those changes isn't nearly as hard as you think. Open the System Settings app and you have a world of customizations at your fingertips.

The Windowsfx System Settings app.

Customizing Windowsfx is all done through the System Settings app.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

This is Windows 11 on steroids… but only if you need it. If you're not looking for a more customizable version of Windows 11, you can stick with the Windowsfx basic settings and enjoy an operating system that's very Windows-like in look and feel and very Linux-like in stability and security.

Also: Want to save your aging computer? Try these 5 Linux distributions

Whatever you want your OS to be, Windowsfx can be it. If that's not reason enough to try it, I don't know what is.

In the end, if you're looking for the perfect operating system to help you migrate from Windows, Windowsfx is probably your best bet.

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