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  • Zorin OS 15 Lite, a Windows 7 replacement

    Posted on Alex5723 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems Linux – all distros Zorin OS 15 Lite, a Windows 7 replacement

    This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  wavy 3 weeks ago.

    • Author
    • #2009046 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

    • #2009139 Reply


      I’m not clear on how Zorin OS 15 Lite is a Windows 7 replacement. Will it run Windows 7 software? Or is it merely something to move to if you don’t want to go to a newer version of Windows? That’s what it sounds like.

      “Lite” implies that Zorin will run well on older computers, something that would definitely be a benefit.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #2009146 Reply

      Rick Corbett

      In my opinion it wasn’t a particularly good video review. There was no mention at all of the differences between ‘Core’ and ‘Lite’ versions of the Zorin OS 15 distro (I’ve been following it and experimenting since Zorin OS 9).

      In my experience, if you’re currently happy with the performance of Windows 7 on your device then you should have little, if any, trouble running the more capable Zorin OS 15 Core (which is also free… it’s only the even more capable/skinnable Zorin OS 15 Ultimate that costs – approx. $43).

      The ‘Lite’ version comes into its own with very old kit – say around 12-15 years old approx. (but very much depends on CPU and RAM). For those already using, say, Linux Mint, think of the lightweight ‘Xfce’ version rather than ‘Mate’ or ‘Cinnamon’.

      I haven’t used Zorin OS since version 12.2 (and haven’t commented online since Zorin OS 9 and Zorin OS 11 on Windows Secrets Lounge when I compared them with Linux Lite at the time). At the time I found support for cross-platform file-sharing to be ‘difficult to almost impossible’ to set up without adequate documentation… but that may well have been down to my lack of familiarity as much as Zorin’s lack of hand-holding and documentation.

      IMO, the Zorin OS interface is quite attractive, particularly because of its similarity to Windows 7, and it was very easy to setup printing. Scanning? I didn’t manage it… but, again, that was very probably down to the scanner I was using at the time. I now have a different scanner that works well with Linux Mint so results will hopefully be different. I just wish the video review had mentioned hardware support other than only Bluetooth.

      I’m just downloading both ‘Core’ and ‘Lite’ versions of Zorin OS 15 to have another look. (Note: Only ‘Lite’ has a 32-bit variant… Core appears to be 64-bit only.) I’ll try them out in VM’s first to see if cross-platform file-sharing has been made easier then – if all goes well – compare them on 2 identical Dell laptops to see how bare metal performance and hardware support compares.

      (I’ve zapped the previous install of Deepin 15.9. It was very nice and tried very hard but when I needed info I often ended up on Chinese-only threads with no English support.)

      Hope this helps…

      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2009239 Reply


        IMO, the Zorin OS interface is quite attractive, particularly because of its similarity to Windows 7

        This is the thing that would appeal to me. The fact that Zorin is Ubuntu-based tells me that I can likely do everything in Zorin that I currently do in Mint, so there doesn’t appear to be any downside to Zorin (as compared to, say, Mint).

        I’m really happy with Mint, so I’m not likely to change to something else. But if I was starting from scratch, I probably would give Zorin a serious look.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        • #2009767 Reply


          I tried both the core and lite versions just now, and I don’t find them to be any more Windows 7-ish than most other Linux desktop environments.

          On the core version, which uses GNOME 3, it’s worth mentioning that it uses the Windows standard of a single panel (taskbar, in Microsoftian) at the bottom, with a menu (Start) button on the left and the system tray with the clock on the right.  GNOME doesn’t use that format by default, having panels both top and bottom, though obviously it can be configured to a more Windows-like appearance.  Xfce, KDE Plasma, MATE, and Cinnamon all use that format by default on all the distros I’ve tried.

          I was not impressed by Zorin core, but that’s to be expected, given the dislike I have for GNOME.  The once-powerful Nautilus file manager has been gutted, and is the least powerful, least configurable file manager I have seen offered as standard by any Linux distro.  Want to copy and paste the URL of a file on your system into its file manager, Nautilus?  Hope you know the secret hotkey to open the text entry window, ’cause it doesn’t have one otherwise, and there is no button or other UI that lets you know it is even possible.

          It’s Control-L, by the way.   People have asked GNOME devs to put back the button to toggle between the path bar and the text field, but GNOME refuses… they say that the text field is not a real feature, per se, but more of an Easter egg for those that know the secret.

          A text entry field in a file manager is an Easter egg.  Absolutely bonkers… it’s decisions like that that led to the existence of Cinnamon in the first place (a fork of GNOME 3 that aims to restore traditional PC design features like GNOME 2 had), and also MATE (which was then a continuation of GNOME 2 after the GNOME devs moved on to GNOME 3).

          The Windows 7 file manager, Windows Explorer, absolutely destroys GNOME’s Nautilus in every conceivable way in terms of UI.  The Windows 7 UI comes with menubars turned off by default, but you can turn them back on and get all of that utility and information scent (it’s a real UI term!) right back.  Nautilus has no such feature, and the hamburger menu (an abomination under the best of circumstances) is woefully sparse of options.

          Neither the lack of a text field nor the appalling lack of configurability is all that much like Windows 7.  Cinnamon’s Nemo (a fork of Nautilus before it was wrecked by GNOME devs) is far more like the Windows 7 Explorer than is Nautilus.

          Zorin Lite uses Xfce, a desktop that I like much more than GNOME.  It’s a pleasant enough Xfce distro, though Mint’s Xfce version is too.  I’m not wild about the theme, but it’s not terrible either, and certainly a theme is nothing to judge a distro by… there are plenty more of them that you can try if you don’t like the one with which it came.  Xfce’s file manager, Thunar, is light on features by design, but compared to Nautilus, it’s a powerhouse.  It has a text field that you don’t have to know a secret control sequence to use!

          All things considered, Zorin Lite seems pretty nice, but I would still prefer Mint Xfce over Zorin Lite (though I have to admit that I haven’t used Mint Xfce in about a year, so the more recent versions could have changed).  I like Mint’s idea about preserving the traditional desktop UI with the menubar rather than chasing the hamburger that appeared in a few places in my quick trial of Zorin.  Xfce isn’t GNOME, but it is part of the GNOME ecosystem (as is Cinnamon), and if the devs don’t actively work to de-GNOME things, well… you get GNOME UI.  If you are okay with that, or if you prefer it that way, then Zorin Lite may be a good choice for you.



          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2009929 Reply

            AskWoody Plus

            at least with Linux sane folk can come onboard and keep the good stuff going even if some devs are going all windows minimalism. 🙂


            Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
            1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2009182 Reply


      ? says:

      Hi Rick C.,

      sitting at starbucks running Knoppix 8.6 with KDE Konqueror and my brother is running Slax with Chromimum 73 kinda like windows 7?

    • #2009514 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Rick & ALex
      The addins for Ultimate look like mostly games, likely free ware by themselves??
      Now for addins Zorin OS Education looks more interesting …


      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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