• Free Operating Systems •
For the most of the listed Operating Systems you can get so called Live-CDs which could naturally be used by everyone who know how to burn ISO images and to boot up the computer from CD ... You can also create bootable USB-Sticks and Windows Live CDs or start a Linux image under Windows thru the program MobaLiveCD and other tools. Read more some lines below!
∗ Linux Operating Systems ∗
is an often used and popular Ubuntu and Debian respectively, derivative. It works very well, is easy to install, easy to use and it looks really pretty. The MATE start menu (view Screenshots) is nearly the same as the one from openSUSE but you can replace it easily with the splitted or the main menu. When you start the system for the first time after installation you'll see a welcome screen which provides a list of features and a user guide in PDF. Featured Linux Mint Editions: Mate (GNOME 2 based) 32/64-bit, Cinnamon (GNOME 3 based) 32/64-bit, Xfce 32/64-bit), KDE (32/64-bit) and LMDE = Linux Mint Debian (Mate and Cinnamon, Xfce, 32/64-bit). OEM editions (32/64-bit) for computer vendors are also available. Advantage of 64-bit: No RAM limitation which is only important if you have more than 3 GB of RAM and a 64-bit compatible CPU. Otherwise, use the 32-bit edition!
MATE Screenshots: Control Center / Menu Firefox / Network
Cinnamon Screenshots: File Manager / Menu Settings / Menu
Linux Mint has a large community with Wiki, Forum, Blog and local Websites and Forums.
Visit the Linux Mint Homepage!
PCs and Laptops with Linux Mint and the mintBox!
There are more links to Linux pre-installed near the bottom of the page.
Download the ISO image, burn a CD and start working with Xubuntu. AbiWord for text processing, Gnumeric for working with spreadsheets (like LibreOffice presented on my Office related page), an image viewer and GIMP for advanced image editing, a reader for PDF documents, the web browser Firefox, the eMail Client Thunderbird and some more applications are already integrated. Additional programs like the FTP client FileZilla could be installed from the large online repository thru using the Software Center or Synaptic the Package Manager.
You can use Xubuntu (32/64-bit) on PC's, Notebooks as well as Netbooks.
Xubuntu works with the Xfce Desktop Environment.
Here is a Screenshot for you.
Get a lot of nice Backgrounds, themes and more: xfce-look.org
Visit the Xubuntu Homepage, download, burn and explore your new Operating System!
Don't forget to visit the Ubuntu Homepage and discover other derivatives!
Linux Mint and Xubuntu are ready for the efficient and everyday use and also recommendable for beginners and people who want to switch from Windows! Cause you get Live-CD/DVD you can test the system first and if you want you can install it after testing enough. Just click on the icon in the upper left corner and you'll be supported with a graphical installation wizard in many languages. If you have a Windows system installed on your machine: Don't worry! You only need enough free space on your hard drive. After the installation process is done, you have to reboot the computer and you can chose (up and down arrow keys) between Linux and Windows.
Linux Lite - Based on Ubuntu with Xfce like Xubuntu but with it's own nice tools and LibreOffice instead of AbiWord and Gnumeric. Firefox, Thunderbird, VLC video and music player, an image viewer, GIMP for image editing, Xfburn for CD/DVD burning, PDF viewer and more apps are included. Additional software is available and easily installable.
Zorin OS - Described as The gateway to Linux for Windows users.
PinguyOS - Linux beginner friendly system for users coming from Windows and Mac.
Until this point i can recommend the featured Operating Systems without any restriction and with clear conscience for installation (also beside existing Windows systems) and for the efficient and everyday use for Linux newbies, cause these OS are really easy to install and to use! Naturally this applies also to Debian which is the base of Ubuntu and many other Linux based OS! Here is a Screenshot i made from Debian.
From this point on, the systems are more recommendable for advanced users!
Simplicity - Made for Desktops, Laptops and Netbooks.
If you like the Cloud, try Jolicloud and/or peppermint.
ONLY browsing systems: justbrowsing and IWK/UB.
KNOPPIX - The first time I used this great Debian based live system from Klaus Knopper was in 2004 and I found it to be very useful. Since ADRIANE started with KNOPPIX 5.3, the distro is also very recommendable to partially sighted and blind users. You can run the Live-CD (Screenshots) also embedded under Windows thru qemu! KNOPPIX works with the pretty looking LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment). It's not only fast, it also eats less memory and CPU than other Environments like KDE and GNOME do!
Vinux - Ubuntu based system for visually impaired people with screen-reader and full-screen magnification. Available as a Live-CD, easy installable to hard disk and USB flash drives.
Tails - Incognito Live OS, useful if there are censorships in your country!
SliTaz - Very small (approx. 40 MB) but powerful and will load completely in your computers memory if there is enough RAM available. After SliTaz has fully loaded, remove the Live-CD and you can use the device e.g. for burning a data or audio disk or to save data if you use a pen-drive. Add the applications you like thru the package manager, configure the applications and the system like you want and write a new ISO or put your new SliTaz onto an USB flash drive!
Fatdog64 - 64-bit derivative of Puppy Linux. Screenshots: Fatdog Puppy
4MLinux - Nice and small distribution with various useful and yet smaller editions.
Slax - Another small and useful distribution (many localized ISO files).
Rescatux and Super Grub2 Disk - Start systems with corrupt or broken bootloader, recovery and repair operations on Windows 98 - 8.1, Linux, Mac and FreeBSD, 32/64-bit machines.
Redo Backup & Recovery - The Name says it all.
Firewall systems: Smoothwall, IPCop, IPFire and Endian.
Tip: The Ultimate Boot CD!
∗ Systems for Kids ∗
Safe internet for kids (LiveUSB) is a Browser-only-OS with content filtering based on Chromium.
Qimo 4 Kids - (Live-CD) is a derivative of Xubuntu for children ages 3 and up!
DoudouLinux (Live-CD/USB) is based on Debian for Children from 2 to 12 years.
Sugar on a Stick (SoaS) - OS for Kids installable on USB flash drives.
PicarOS - System for Kids from 3 to 12.
∗ Pupils and Students ∗
Skolelinux - is an educational system for schools and pupils at home which is really easy to install and to use. It's directly based on Debian and works with the K desktop environment (KDE). The network interface is pre-configured so that you can set up a network without advanced knowledge about (Linux) network technology.
Two other systems for pupils: Edubuntu and openSUSE-Edu Li-f-e.
UberStudent - Learning and teaching for students and learning institutions.
∗ Windows Live CDs and Multi-Boot ∗
WinBuilder - is a program for creating Windows based Live-Systems (PE) for system maintenance and data-recovery, which can be created in conjunction with a CD/DVD of a Windows OS. OEM / System Builder versions will work too but Recovery versions won't. With WinBuilder you can directly select a project like LiveXP or a Win7PE which will be downloaded by WinBuilder. Then you can add software apps of your choice, create and burn the ISO-Image.
Program-Screenshots: WinBuilder Win8.1SE x64
Boot-Screen of Win8.1SE x86/x64 Dual-Boot.
System-Screenshots: LiveXP Win7PESE Win8.1SE Win10PESE
Screenshot of Win8.1SE x64 with some started apps thru the PStart launcher from the same flash drive, NOT with the integrated script cause that way i can use PStart also directly on any computer with installed Windows systems.
I took the lightning background from the Lightning collection!
Multiple WinBuilder ISO files on one flash drive? Read my guidance (scroll down a bit)!
Win7PESE, Win8.1SE, Win10PESE and more projects plus Forum!
Gandalf's PE page with ready to download Win8/8.1/10 PE ISO images!
BartPE and UBCD4Win (Live-CDs) will help you to save your important data if your Windows OS crashed or to recover a forgotten admin password. You have to download the program Pe Builder (you need a full version of Windows XP or an OEM CD) to build the ISO images. You can't download a ready to use image! Benefit: You can enable, disable, download and include additional plug-ins or build your own plug-ins.
BartPe Screenshots: Set1 Set2 Set3 Set4
UBCD4Win Screenshots: Set1 Set2 Set3 Set4
Forum for PE Builder, UBCD4Win and Multi-Boot.
F4UBCD - Ready to burn ISO image with all the tools you need!
Easy2Boot (E2B) and RMPrepUSB - Build your custom Multi-Boot flash-drive under Windows or Linux! Multi-Boot means, you can have multiple Operating Systems in Live-Mode (Windows PE and Linux) on your flash-drives. For a first test, QEMU is integrated.
I created a separate page with guidance and lots of screenshots for Easy2Boot.
Beginners maybe should start with YUMI!
YUMI - Create Multi-Boot flash-drives under Windows and Linux. Screenshots
IMPORTANT: If you used a Boot-Stick (E2B, YUMI ...) and left it plugged in while booting into Windows or you insert the Stick under Windows and you see an error message, you may have to update the BIOS and create a new Boot-Stick or look here for a solution!
LiLi USB Creator - A Windows program which let you create a bootable (NO Multi-Boot) Live system like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Knoppix and openSUSE for your USB thumb drives, in a very easy and convenient way. LiLi USB Creator does support various languages and you can boot up your desired Linux OS from CD or USB flash drive embedded under Windows.
UNetbootin - Like LiLi but for Linux, Mac and Windows without emulation.
LiveUSB Install - The same as LiLi for Linux and Windows without emulation.
MobaLiveCD - A Tool for Windows to test ISO Images and bootable USB drives.
∗ Mac Emulation ∗
Mini vMac - Run it on Mac OS and Mac OS X, Linux, Windows and more Operating Systems.
∗ Independent Systems ∗
MenuetOS is an alternative system, fits on only one floppy and is NOT based on DOS, UNIX or something else. Available for 32 and 64-bit computers! Spin-off but a bit larger: KolibriOS
Visopsys - Also completely independent, only a 20 MB ISO or USB image but also downloadable as floppy image. With Easy2Boot (some lines upstairs) you can boot up your machine using ISO images as well as floppy images!
ReactOS - At a first glance it looks like Windows 2000 but it is a complete in-house development written from scratch but it is in alpha stage since years and therefore only recommendable to very brave users with a separate computer for this system.
∗ Floppy Images ∗
FreeDOS - is a DOS (Disk Operating System) compatible operating system but it's free (unlike MS-DOS). Only the floppy image is a Live-System, the ISO images are only for installation! Here is a list of DOS commands if you don't remember all commands. Read a detailed review with informations about graphical User Interfaces on the site of my friend Dmitri Rabounski.
Balder is based on FreeDOS, includes many useful tools and CD driver support.
BasicLinux and blueflops - are minimalistic operating systems which fits on two floppy diks. The system will run completely from RAM after loading from the two floppies. So, if you have no hard disk and no cd drive but a floppy drive, you can use them to work with your computer.
As you can see, there are various and very good Operating Systems which you can download and use free (Open Source) of charge. Why buy expensive ones??? If you didn't find it here, visit Distrowatch, LWN.net and Wikipedia, i'm sure you will find a system which fits your needs.
Find over 300 LiveCD Systems for Desktop, Server, Science, Security, Forensic, Development, Education and more: LiveCD List
Vendors where you can buy computers with Linux OS pre-installed:
Computers and Laptops: ThinkPenguin
Laptops, PDAs and Mobile Phones: TuxMobil
Desktops and Laptops: LXer
Vendors that sell computers with Debian pre-installed.