Now this is like a big essay from a real (new) user not a youtube fanboy , that just installs a distro like zorin , show some skin deep features and keep praising it as the ultra linux OS , or best windows replacer .
I hate windows as much as the next guy here , or even more ! I came from winXP straight to W11.
It has been disappointing . Familiar but even more bloated OS , that looks ugly too. I have to put my money where my mouth is , and make an effort to go try linux. Everywhere you read about escaping windows , or the many youtube video’s about it , ZORIN and MINT CINNAMON are most recommended. So I’ll try it and give it more than my best shot . I really need to get away from ms & windows !
Here’s the good news : despite my new Dell XPS not being on the list of computers “ready” for ubuntu , zorin installed well . Secure boot on , SSD on NVMe (not the RAID like Dell puts ‘em in).
Problem with install was my wifi did not connect well and the install froze. Hard stop and then no connecting to internet for updates , you can do them later. No problem with the 4k screen like others had although in the beginning it toggles the display brightness up and down . After install it asks for MOK , I did not know what this was , so I went further without and wasn’t asked again.
Dell delivered it with 6 ! partitions !!! Dell/W11 “stole” about 95 GB of SSD space and 7 GB of Ram.
It went down to about 65 GB SSD and 5,5 GB ram after some “cleaning” of the bloated windows corps and Dell parasites. Zorin was about 12 GB after the install in 2 partitions and 2 GB ram.
Of course after installing some apps , that went up.
Like I said : this is not a YT review where everything is awesome , this is a real live user review , I am not a troll.
Zorin works , it works well ….BUT a lot of small and bigger grievances . From each you can say , oh come on , that is just a detail , get over it . All OS’ses have their little annoyances , and W11 has many too !
Sure you can ignore some of them , but the goal is to get away from windows , so suck it up.
But when there are so many big and small annoyances , it gets really tough. Let’s start with hardware :
SCREEN : in zorin I like the scaling on a fractional 175 % , BUT this puts a big ripple distortion horizontal on about 1/3 from the top ! Clearly seen with scrolling in a browser or moving a window from left to right or right to left . Movement in a movie SEEMS ok though. I must put it on 200 % to get rid of the distortion. Doable of course , but a clear bug.
At logon screen the brightness goes up and down a bit , once logged on it is ok.
SOUND : Zorin doesn’t “feel” an HP or other jack plugged in , nor the combined HP/micrphone.
No biggie , you can switch in settings > sound . It does remember the last settings. But again it is a nuisance going to the (slow) settings to change it everytime.
Pulsaudio seems to be installed natively but not the full UI ?
Battery & Fans : I had the Dell Power manager (or MyDell) set on cool profile and stopped the battery from loading further than 55 % . ZORIN took this over ! Why ? because the fan profile and custom charge profile are in the BIOS ! Zorin can’t do anything about it ! If I want to change this I must go in the BIOS everytime ! Now that sucks ! Positive is that the cool profile I selected (because I live in a hot climate) , keeps the computer as cool as it did in w11 with the Dell app.
I have not tested the playtime of the battery in zorin and the tlp app.
Touch ! My big touchpad is awesome , it is a joy to use …. in W11 ! In zorin not so much . In Zorin you can’t get the 2 finger scrollspeed right (too fast) , and even worse : not pinching or stretching like to get photo’s or a website bigger or smaller ! A real bummer. 3 and 4 finger are much better in W11.
Touchscreen even worse ! Yes you can click and select , but no scrolling at all , and no pinch/stretch. Luckily I don’t use touchscreen much .
Keyboard light works the same as in W11 , it is also adjustable in bios.
SD cards : yes no problem sticking in and read/write , but taking them out I nearly never get that notificating that I can take it safely out. With USB flash drives , it seems better. I do get this error :
USB devices like my LAN dongle , mouse and port extenders , USB A to C all work.
No real scroll speed adjustment like in windows for the mouse though.
Internal webcam . Used in : ”Cheese” only gets me 10fps !! This was not so in W11- camera app.
Ext logitec webcam in OBS gave the 30fps as it should.
Internal microfoon went great , even better than in W11.
External HD’s : in windows devicemanger you can set that external drives do not go to sleep after a time not used , this stops the starting and stopping . Where do you do that in zorin/linux ?
And just like SD cards , you can unmount them , but you go back in files click on them and they are mounted again and ready to go.. Ext HD wil not stop after dismount , I had to shut down the computer to safely remove !! Another thing that s-cks !! How is this possible in a 2023 linux distro ??? And this is not all , when powered down , these modern USB 3.2 keep the power on , so the ext drive stays powered on !! From this whole list this is the last “experiment” , just today and
must be one of the worst here on the list and the drop that overflows the bucket.
Then when copying large files , there is no dialog or graph window to see the progress, so I mean a progressbar like in windows , nor the copying speed like in W11 with more detail. Only a little round circle on the files explorer top bar . That is just …. I mean making backups and copying files has become even more boring. Even the drag ‘n drop in a full window is so much worse than W11.
For me this is not a small detail to ignore , just to desperately get away from ms windows !
SSD. Dell put a WD SSD in mine. Go look at the WD site for their SSD’s : They are for windows and Mac’s NO LINUX. I chatted with them and they (or the dude chatting with me) , comfirmed that WD’s SSD are not tested or certified to use with linux !!!! Of course we do it anyway !
Windows 11 takes care of garbage collection and TRIM . In the LINUX world there is barely a peep
about garbage or trim !!!! WD dashboard app , takes care of it , if you want to do it yourself or don’t trust windows , but guess what : Dashboard does not work in linux , it’s a windows app AND WD doesn’t support linux…. I would not trust it in Wine. Samsung said they supported linux and told me their magician software did support linux although I haven’t found a marked download for linux of it.
So f… WD , Samsung lying ? What about trim and garabage collection in linux > Zorin ?????? Without factory app that go in linux , our SSD’s are scr_wed ?
This Dell has thunderbolt with DP and HDMI , I can’t test for that , don’t know if zorin has the right drivers for that. I don’t use bluetooth so I can’t test it , but I can switch it on. The fingerprint on the powerbutton , I don’t use it , don’t know if that works and don’t care.
Hardware buttons for volume and brightness , and keyboard light all work. Play-pauze , mute too. Although screen brightness is much more in steps than before.
A Smartcard reader that works perfectly in W11 , doesn’t work in zorin. Don’t know where to go look for the right driver in zorin , can’t see where it installed the software for it .
Ok this was the hardware : Yes zorin works BUT some major and minor limitations with the hardware. Now let’s look at the software , beginning with zorin itself:
When you install zorin and it is not your first time , you can get through the settings in 15 minutes ! Great !
In W11 , it will take hours to get through that maze of hundreds of settings , to keep control , keep some privacy , keep telemetry and data collection out , or as much as possible ….
Zorin is faster than bloated W11 , but not that much. My old XP computer with 5400 rpm HD and 2006 dual core processor feels snappier. Why do settings in zorin start so slow ? W11 with antivirus and bloat with all those settings is as fast (or slow) as zorin settings when you click on the settings icon..
W11 is ugly . A window is a white piece of paper (or black) with some lines or text on …. Zorin is just the same , who stole who’s ugliness ? Yes you can make the taskbar smaller or another place , but it is the same ugly W11 grey or black or seethrough , in W 11 you can change the color somewhat (not great either). Luckily zorin has colorful folders. Coming from XP , I still prefer the start menu over the pseudo windows one , like in zorin or the new type like W11 . The other 2 zorin start menus are certainly not for me. I like buttons in tasbar like XP and the second zorin desktop BUT you don’t really see the buttons well and the text on it is too long and makes the button too wide. The buttons are also not ranked like when you opened them. FF is in the taskbar, but no matter how many other buttons of other open app there are , if you open FF , it will be the first on the left.
The start menu ! I can live with it BUT : You cannot really make it your own ! You have some control with Main Menu app, but it is minimal . No easy shortcuts , and when you get something in there you can’t get it out , another big bummer ! I’ll come back to this later.
Shortcut are so much better in windows .
Files : aka the files explorer of zorin : omg ! Yes it looks much cleaner than that mess in W11 and the search is way better than W11. Of course W11 is so bloated with files and empty folders that a non indexed search takes a very long time or even sort of crashes. Now I am new to linux , so I don’t know how bloated with useless stuff zorin is, it is at least a lot smaller than W11.
In XP , file explorer had a lttle preview on the low left side of the selected file, where you could see info and/or preview or a picture or video. W11 this is possible on the right side of the window , a bit too big and taking too much space from the detailed content . I didn’t use it. Zorin seems to have neither. Only in thumbnail view do you get to see that picture/video preview but of all the files in that folder. Not a biggie , but still less friendly.
Zorin does the irritating automatic sorting when adding files or folders , just like W11.
Big irritants : Renaming in zorin !!! No not the F2 (or for me the Fn + F2 ) , nor the right click menu , in windows, a slow double click opens up the text line , to copy , rename , paste . So much easier and faster than F2 or the right click menu and that stupid little rename window in zorin. I really hate that , and I copy file/folder names a lot , and a lot of renaming too.
Yes in properties you can rename too , but that is even worse.
Then drag and drop !! Yes left click hold drag drop works BUT right click not ! In Windows , you right drag and drop and a window asks whether to copy or move there >>>> Much better.
Moving in zorin , rightclick menu > move to or copy to is not good AND for each next file you want to move it doesn’t remember where to !! That is so stupid. Yes I hate windows but it is so much more logical , fast and easy . Rename , copy to or move to s-ck in zorin.
Files (explorer) has only 2 arrows > only 2 ways to go . Not the up allow like windows , again irritating. Files doesn’t show the full address , now W11 doesn’t do that either , but somewhat easier to get it. Both could learn from win XP !!
On the right of the title line , like : name , size, type , modified , the last one “sticks” to the right side of the window !!! Even full screen ! What the h..l ?
If there are files in a folder , XP showed their combined size on the bottom , W11 doesn’t do that
but neither does zorin. Same for trash , XP showed how much trash there was (in size), Z and W11 don’t. Can we just get back to a real updated version of XP ?
Windows shows size in KB (in folders) , for like music tracks , this gives an unique number of that file. Zorin does it in MB …. So a flac track has like 34.851 KB in windows, but it shows as like 33,4 MB in zorin . Yes I know you think what is he on about …. but this is yet something important for me and a negative for zorin.
At least zorin remembers the way I like it straight away : name-size-type-modified . W11 takes weeks to remember !
Settings : Just some thoughts :
Switching off bluetooth switches on Airplane mode , but the wifi can still be on ? What ?
Not really a fan how the wifi settings are displayed and the list of available wifi connections.
Sound ! You can choose 5 alert sounds , that’s it ?? I put it on bark , but never heard it bark.
In Windows you can set ANY sound for a whole bunch of “events” , I even put some XP sounds in W11...
Zorin , nothing ! Yes I’m sure you sudo Terminal jockeys can find a way , but I sure can’t.
Battery tab , Says charging , but it is not charging because it reached the charging limit set in the bios. In the right under pop up window it always says : estimating …. why ? You know the %.
Color : The color of my screen is pretty much what I selected in Dell premier color. I don’t think that this was in the bios like the battery and fan settings.
I don’t see how to get a different color profile in there which is a negative if you don’t like the
profile that zorin selects for your screen.
Region and language ! You fill that in during installation and here in settings BUT ! Mine wasn’t there ! I had to choose one that was as close to what I wanted , but it is not 100 % right. For W11 or XP , it was no problem. So add more countries or styles for numbers and dates ,...
Default applications : Luckily you can change that , because zorin picked some stinkers.
And now another important one !!
Zorin’s Taskmanager aka System monitor !
While I’m very glad that there is a system monitor with graphic display , but it is not great ! Now I don’t even like the W11 one . The XP taskmanager looks best but has not many features, but it comsumes next to nothing , like 1 % of a 2006 dual core CPU. Zorin system monitor doesn’t need much cpu too , but the graphs with the lines suck. In the processes tab , it’s like the cpu never works ! The fans say differently. Much less informative and no GPU’s !!! Compare that to W11 ! Still not ideal and needing 1 to 2 % of a fast 14 core cpu is a lot , but we get a lot of information. Not only are all the drives listed but more important my 2 GPU’s ! You can see in an instant which GPU is working and how much AND even which app/program is using it the most. Very important , especially when the nVidia fires up , so does the heat /fans and battery life ...
I don't trust taskmanager which says cpu 0 but in graphs you seen them working.
Moving something on the screen : is it really needed that that lagging orange square goes with it ?
Windows open in the middle of the screen !!! They remember size but not their place !! Super annoying. With tweak-tool app you can get some of them to open on the left .
Strangely qbittorent remembers its place . About the only one.
Notifications on top of the screen and ugly too , even W 11 does it better.
No balloons when hovering over a file or folder , another thing that s-cks. In windows , natively you get some information , what kind of file , size and for audio or video , the kind like mp3 , flac, mp4. With something installed like dBpoweramp , a mouse hover will give all the meta data that the audio or video file has.
Nothing , absolutely nothing in zorin !
Zorin Appearance ? Well I knew already from the YT video’s , changing the appearance is rather weak in zorin. If you don’t like something in linux , just change it ….. yeah , yeah , but not for “regular” folk ! At least it is easier to grap a window on topbar, than in W11 !
Zorin sleep, aka suspend : While these days Windows pushes the S1 sleep also aided by the lazy Dell folks, no more S3 !! So they can keep spying while you think your computer is sleeping. I had hoped that linux was better , and it is a little. While S3 sleep keep the cpu aktive and internetconnections AND the fans in windows 11 , in zorin the fans stop, but looking at a graph on qbittorrent and the graph in zorins system monitor , they don’t seem to stop ! The computer stays cool though in sleep with fans out. So where is zorin in sleep (suspend) ? Not S3 , maybe S2 ? Waking up zorin is not as hair triggered as waking it up in W11. Not sure what to think. But pretty sure zorin is not in S3 sleep .
Then the software !!!!!!!!!!
Look at the YT video’s of any linux distro : Thousands of apps/programs …. yeah but old unmaintained unchecked garabage with little information. Hell , stupid windows store gives more info.
In windows installing a program is easy ! Let’s take a real example : Audacity ! I love it !
You go to their website and there is 1 installer package for your windows. (14,6 MB)Download , double click >install. Automatic shortcut on desktop , entry in start menu that you immediately can change , edit or delete , or put in another place. Audacity will be in program files and some temp files in local roaming or so . Some keys in registry , uninstall will leave not much and you know where to find it, to delete.
Ok zorin ! I go to the Audacity site , and surprise , only 1 AppImage DL for linux ubuntu based 101MB ! Ok , install it : An appImage package , not just bigger , but it doesn’t really install , no entry in start menu , nothing . Starting it is awkward and then ??? It is a tiny UI , it can’t scale on 4k screen ! Not even on 1080p screens I think ! WTH ? Somehow I got a greyed link in de startmenu , that didn’t work . F… ! It is the newest 3.3.3 though.
I understand that there are 4 or more ways to get something installed or “usuable” : Snap (the worst), flatpacks (also big and not the best) , AppImage , big and not so good , in my experience , and native packs that go with the distro , like for ubuntu or dev.
So I’m thinking sudo apt install audacity , right ? It sends me to the software store , one is a flatpack of 880 MB , What ???????????????????? I picked the other from ubuntu-focal-universe 17 MB.
I install it and it has the right scaling for 4k, nicely in start menu and : yes it is version 2.3.3 from a decade ago !!! What ??
Tried al kinds of updates , global updated of the sudo type , NOTHING , still the same ! Oh yeah thousand of great apps for linux…. HaHa
I installed a lot of other apps , to tryout , about the same problems , with scaling or updating .
I hate windows , but come on , at least installing and uninstalling is straight forward and the clutter left behind is nothing compared to the extra ■■■■ of appimages , flatpacks or snaps installs and what they probably leave behind. So this is a big negative for zorin , or whole of linux.
Now the apps that come with zorin :
Very important for me is something like TEXT . Not just that it can open .txt from windows , but I use it a lot. Before I DL-ded the microsoft font package it was bad. You select text and it overcolored the selected . Microsoft font did it better , but don’t like that the text starts so close to the edge , and the title bar is not great , but it is useable.
Firefox !! In W11 I can not get the scrolling right , through settings or the about: config I think 5 settings. In zorin Firefox scrolling was good out of the box , well with mouse wheel not touchpad (see above). But FF starts twice as slow in zorin than in W11 ! I even installed that preload app, but it stays a slow starter. Now a second slower is no big deal , although I expect more from a new fast laptop especially in unclottered , no antivirus linux.
I think Edge came with translator preinstalled and I add it in firefox , or was it the other way around. I work in a different country and deal a lot with asian languages , Edge and FF translated websites in an instant . In zorin I tried 3 add ons , all three are slow and opening the translated page in a new tab ! How is that posible ? Immediate translation on same page in W11 , but not in zorin/linux ?? Now I don’t want spies like edge or google on my zorin computer , so stuck with FF with the bad translator in linux ?
Another thing : In windows when you ctl + or ctl- the WHOLE webpage gets bigger or smaller , in zorin , only the text on the webpage change size , pictures stay the same !!! So if there is a small pic you want to see bigger , no scrolling or pinching on touchpad of screen because that don’t work , but even the ctl+ doesn’t work ! This is another big negative.
Maps is slow and no indication where they come from. Maps in W11 or just google maps are faster and use the right language.
Photo viewers !
Image viewer , is a simple photo viewer , faster than the W11 native one and with the right colors.
Photos , yes ok a simple Photoviewer with some cutting and color enhancing but where is the safe as ? And how , PNG or this odm cr-p ? Another unintuitive app.
GIMP : A very difficult Photoshop replacer , very unintuitive !! Also useable in windows, steep learning curve. Only with key shorts to get it to save in jpeg ? What is this sh-t with PNG or odm ?
Very important : mediaplayers !!
Zorin ships with awful : Video’s ? Even if you DL the codec'ses , it is a useless piece of cr..
No good UI or settings , timeline clicking is awful , bad going from full screen to small window and back . This is what zorin welcomes us with ?? I nearly wanted to get zorin off my computer .
Then MPV media player , just about as bad as “videos” . It does have a better picture.
Rhythmbox audio player ?? Again timeline clicking bad , and other bad things. Those players don’t even have a stop button ! You click rhythmbox away > it keeps playing !
There don’t seem to be any good players for linux like MPC-BE or Kmplayer64 or Potplayer in windows. I tried 2 in wine > didn’t work ofcourse !
I don’t like VLC in windows , but in zorin it was not that bad . SMplayer seems to be the best. Both have options/preferences , look not as good as the mpv-be , pot or kmp64 , but doable.
LibreOffice is not bad. It can read ms Works documents , but not the column headers, and reads/writes excels.
Scrolling in these calc/excel is as bad as excel in windows . But typing in calc cells is laggy ! LO writer typing is normal . Libre office is kind of getting used to . I like ms office more although it is not as good as it used to be BUT while I installed W11 local (without the very unwanted ms account) , to activate ms office I needed a ms login ….. (office came pre-installed from Dell). So they netted me anyway.
Zorin does not have a “device manager” , kind of sucks , I want to see the status of the drivers.
It does come with disk manager called “Disks” . It’s ok , no right click on volumes. Not as informative as in windows , but doable. Devices & locations does have a detailed graph in colors to show the content of the drives , which is better than windows , although there are app for that.
Power statitics : kind of useless , just the battery infomation is ok with a graph like in W11.
Startup Applications preferences : not much , but Zorin only starts an few seconds faster than W11 with normal start (and that is without antivirus in zorin) . Bios starttime stays the same. The black screen switching at startup does NOT look as nice and smooth as a W11 start. So all in all starts bloated W11, without quick boot and with AV , bearly slower than “skinny” zorin. (kind of disappointing again)
In all video’s about zorin or other linux : WINE ! It installs a typical windows envirement , with the typical windows files & folders at a cost of about 1,1 GB. Only a select group of windows app’s may work well using wine. It is worth a try , but don’t expect much of it !
Calculator looks like another W11 clone and just as ugly. In W11 I use the XP calculator ! Looks good and still works , even on a 4 k screen.
Screenshot are great in zorin. One click and automatic in your picture folder , great …. BUT PNG again and no means for another like bmp of jpeg and the photo apps to convert , s-ck.
The dedicated app , to grap parts of the screen is good too but again PNG.
Have you noticed : options/preferences windows that "stick" on their "mother" program , and when you try to move it to see the mother program better , they move together as if they stick together ?
Zorin stable ??
I had 2 freeze crashes , so hard stops because ctl alt delete or esc doesn’t work and even if I could get to the system monitor and it still worked : what would I end/kill ?
Coming back to SOUND in zorin ! Of what I have read about handeling sound in linux is that standard linux plays with 16 bit 44k audio. The ALSA “regulator” mixes all signals and converts them to 16b 44k , even if your soundcard can handle more. In W11 you get to see and set that in settings ( or via control panel) , Zorin shows NOTHING. Again, the sudo terminal jockeys may have ways around that , but for regular users , this stays hidden in the opaqueness of linux.
More over , when you play like 24b 192k audio through the USB to an extenal DAC , is ALSA going to convert or manupulate this too ? Same for Pulsaudio which seems already installed by default but without the full UI ?
There is some distro like https://ubuntustudio.org/ , but even that stays pretty opaque about sample rate freq and bit depth. Why doesn’t a “simple” distro like Zorin , standard aim for quality audio with small latency ? Linux is simpler , faster , less bloated , I thought audio and latency would be far less than bloated windows .
Hey , I’m not sh-tting here on Zorin/linux . I am very, very motivated to get away from ms windows. I hate W11 and the ones before , well not XP , or maybe W7) . I need to be a linux fan boy , zorin was my best bet ( only Mint left).
And yes again , many of these problems are trivial , but it is the sum of all these big and small negatives that drive me away from zorin , or maybe even linux , and that is not a good thing !!
Zorin works ! But after decades of linux and a million distros , they still can’t get the user experience right. They take the bad and UGLY things from windows , but not the somewhat more userfriendlyness.
I really hate the telemetrie , spying , interfering of microsoft (or apple) , the updates that even now in 2023 on a fast modern machine , take forever AND still go wrong , and pray that your last restore point will save the day. But then again I don’t like the opaqueness of linux when something goes wrong there. 2 hard stops in my first week with zorin ? That also bites for “stable” linux.
With every file rename hating it more , it is going to drive me away and that is not how I want it to go.
I am a normal user , I’m not here to whine about the taskbar on my third monitor not scaling or a problem in another exotic setup . Just zorin on a normal laptop doing normal things.
I get that mods probably want to censor this . It is not very positive for Zorin or even linux as a whole. I am not a troll , I really want to get away from microsoft , I really want linux to work for me, but come on , some of these things here still in a praised linux version in 2023 ?? Like this , linux is staying for servers and some nerds that want to dig in the source code and type in a terminal.
Zorin was #1 for me , Mint #2 , but after this I doubt Mint is going to be better in the vital things.
Yes you can use Zorin OS , its installer is good , the info and how to on their site is good , and for simple things it can be a limited windows replacer. You can keep it on a USB drive as insurance to get your computer working again , but it is NOT a real Windows replacer. Sorry !