Continue using Zorin OS or switch back to Windows?

Hello, I'm new and have been using Zorin OS for 2 months now. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble configuring the system and applications properly, and I'm starting to consider switching back to Windows. I have some experience with Linux and have used Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and CentOS, among others, for the past 20 years. However, I now want to make a complete switch to Linux, but everything needs to work smoothly. In this topic, I want to list all the problems I encounter so that future Zorin OS users may be able to make the transition more smoothly.

The laptop I'm using is an HP EliteBook 845 G8 with the following specs:

  1. 16GB DDR4
  2. AMD Ryzen 5 pro 5650u
  3. 2TB SSD
  4. Zorin OS 16.2

The programs I've used in Windows that don't work in Zorin OS are:

  1. Microsoft Office 2021 Professional Plus
  2. Outlook 2021
  3. Microsoft File Explorer
  4. Notepad++
  5. Adobe Photoshop CS6

Microsoft Office 2021 Professional Plus

What I need I'm looking for an alternative to Microsoft Office with support for the following features: automatic saving even in the event of a system crash, the design of Microsoft Office 365, normal use of docx files, and all functions working like Office 365.

What I tried Libre office and OnlyOffice.

LibreOffice looks outdated and is slow. What is your experience with LibreOffice and what are the extensions I really need to start with? Or do you have any tips to make it look and feel more like Office 365?

OnlyOffice has a nice appearance, although it is a bit slow. However, it lacks a good autosave function, and as a result, I have lost my files multiple times when the laptop battery died.

Microsoft Office 2021 Outlook

What I need A functional email program that securely stores my data locally and has the appearance of either Office 365 or Mailspring. I often use the function to send templates and it is important to me that my signature looks nice and is displayed properly, and that I can open all emails.

What I tried
I have used the following email programs: Mailspring, Evolution, and Thunderbird. Mailspring often crashes, is slow, and cannot display some emails or attachments. Also, copying images in an email does not work, and sometimes emails disappear and then reappear later. Mailspring has a good appearance, nice search options, the ability to add templates, and a beautiful signature.

Evolution cannot find any emails, making it unusable. When I search for old emails in folders, nothing comes up, and I am forced to search for the relevant emails on my phone.

Thunderbird looks old and feels like Firefox. Unfortunately, emails in Thunderbird often look bad or unreadable, so I switched back to Mailspring.

Microsoft File Explorer
What I need File indexing on a network drive, OCR for files, one explorer that always opens, and fast file preview."

What I tried Nemo works quite well, but I miss the option for a preview display without fully opening the file. Even when I set the tiles to the largest view, it is still too small. Additionally, I have noticed that it does not index PDF files, so I cannot search for text within a PDF file. This is possible in Windows, which makes it easier for me to find files when I don't know the filename. Also, it's annoying that I can only launch Nemo manually, and otherwise, the default explorer is opened, which lacks many features.

The basic program, Gnome file manager, is unusable. It is unfinished, has too few features, and is not user-friendly. The layout is poor, and there is no option to select the location of the address bar. Ideally, I would like to replace it entirely with Nemo or a better alternative.

What I need An editor program that is similar to Notepad++ and allows for the installation of extensions. The extensions I use are focused on PHP, HTML, and CSS, with FTP being the most important. It would be nice to be able to directly download and upload files from the FTP extension.

What I tried I have tried Visual Studio Code, but the FTP extension is not perfect. I cannot download or upload files, renaming often does not work, and the connection is often lost, requiring me to log in again. At the moment, it is manageable, but an alternative that works fully would be nice.

Adobe Photoshop
What I need A fully functional program to edit photos. Do you have any tips or do you use other tools that may work more smoothly and have more features?

What I tried The program GIMP 2.10 feels outdated and does not work very easy.

Zorin OS/ ubuntu fails:
Standby without draining the battery, logging in with fingerprint or face recognition, customizing the start menu as desired, automatic screen dimming.

I have searched for the above Zorin OS/Ubuntu problems on the internet, but so far I have not found a suitable solution. The system feels outdated without these basic functions and applications. Hopefully, you can help me navigate this journey to Linux and assist me in finding a solution. Because I would like to make the switch to Linux, but it has to be workable.

1 Like

Sounds it's better for you to stay with Windows. Linux is not for everyone and there's no shame to use Windows.


Thank you for your quick response, I would like to use Linux for privacy and security reasons. Windows no longer meets my needs. I think Linux software is now mature and old enough to work with on a daily basis, but I feel that many solutions need to be implemented. I want to invest my time in that, but it would be helpful to get the right information from you so that I can take the right path without wasting a lot of time searching for alternatives.

1 Like

Okay, I see what you mean. But you need to relearn to use the alternative that's are available for Linux like the Gimp example. Did you know that you can set it up as to mimic the photoshop interface or close enough.

1 Like

There's also Google Docs.
But I'll go for Freemaker Office or WPS Office.

1 Like

Thanks for your quick response! Office on the web is possible, but I would love to not use Microsoft again if possible. If not than it's a great alternative.

Yes I saw BlueMail and found the next topic: Email - which apps keep it private | Android Forums What do you think about this? It says it's insecure.

Thanks, I've installed it before, not sure why I didn't use it again. Do you use it a lot and has it a lot of futures like photoshop? I will try and come back with some information :slight_smile:

Arc Menu
I will try, thanks!

1 Like

No I didn't, thanks! That is really nice! I will check it out today! Do you have any recommendation of the theme I need to use (link)?

This guide shows how on setting it up in Windows, but I'll see if I can find a Linux guide, meanwhile:

cd  PhotoGIMP-master/.var/app/org.gimp.GIMP/config/GIMP
cp -r  2.10 ~/.config/GIMP
1 Like

with photoshop theme makes it similar to photoshop

Notepad QQ

You can use onlyOffice, but it lacks some functionality.
Autosaving can be enabled.
Force Save option in ONLYOFFICE | ONLYOFFICE Blog


1 Like

One of the most common pitfalls I see on people using Linux is they expect things to work exactly as in Windows/MacOS. That is just not going to happen, forget it. If the title of this thread were the other way around: "Continue using Windows or switch back to Zorin OS", I would be telling you the exact same thing. Windows is not Linux and Linux is not Windows. It'll take time to get used to the tools available and adjustments to your workflow will most likely be required, sooner or later.

In that regard, I fully agree with @Storm: stay with whatever works best for you.

In GNOME 44:

In ZorinOS 16.2 Core:

Or, like in Windows, press Ctrl+L and it will take you to the address bar directly. You can also use this shortcut in web browsers, btw.

I haven't used any FTP extensions, but maybe you can try FileZilla as a fully featured FTP client.


When I first moved from Windows to Zorin OS, there was quite a time I wanted to switch back to Windows. I also didn't want to.

I am very glad I held firm and trusted myself to learn a new system.

One more recommendation I might offer is trying out Zorin OS Lite and use the WhiskerMenu for App menu Customization.


If I may add my two cents to this: about a year ago my journey started.

Out of the desire to be free from the grip of M$ that's increasingly imitating Google in it's gathering of information and is increasingly controlling what I can and cannot do with my computer. To the point that you're not really owning your computer anymore.

And the first experience was double: Yes, it does feel like your going back in time if your used to the luxurious look and feel of W10/W11. And yes getting some things done (did I mention printers?) are still a real pain.
BUT on the other hand: that experience of freedom! Being able to choose again, to tinker, to experiment, to discover. Being in control again. I never realised how much I was restricted and controlled in W10: you just evolve with it without realising.
And I second @Aravisian's comment: you have to be determined! It helps if you have a clear and strong reason for switching, otherwise the urge to go back might really get strong.

In the last year, with Zorin as my solid base, I've tried out many distro's, applications, techniques, such fun! And I'm still amazed by the sheer amount of good quality free software that is available out there. Most of them have a learning curve, but so has MS-Office been to me, I only have had more than 20 years time to master it :-).

Re. Libre-Office: I don't second your experience. LO is a strong contender for MS-Office. I'm able to do things in LO that I cannot do in MS-Office (and trust me I know the ins-and-outs of MS-Office).
But I do agree with the replacement of Outlook. Apart from Bluemail (which really comes close) I haven't found a real replacement for Outlook.

But what I learned in this year, is that the biggest mistake I could make is: try to find one-on-one replacements for things or functions from the MS domain within the Linux domain.
That is not going to work and sets you up for disappointments. I was tempted to do that in the beginning and had to unlearn that.

I would go with the advice @337harvey gives, the same approach helped me a lot.

One thing I'm still glad about is that I stumbled on Zorin early in my journey, I'm often confirmed in my choice for it: it really is a very strong distro and one of the best to change from M$ to Linux.

1 Like

I learning some software are created for some specific operating system.
Linux have many software but could be similar to windows and Apple.
All three using also diffrents partitioning.
The best sometimes taken in virtual machine Zorin for testing software if this suit for you. Then your Zorin will be cleaner without problem installing files.

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.