Linux users: How long has it been since you last used Windows?

Has it been ten years since last you used Windows, or ten seconds?
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clouds in windows CC BY-SA 4.0

If you're a Linux user and have been for years, sometimes you can forget that much of the desktop world is still on Windows.

Or perhaps it's not so hard to remember.

Many of us hold day jobs where we're not lucky enough to be able to choose our own operating system and are stuck with whatever IT has gifted us. Or, perhaps, you still keep an old Windows PC around for running that one application that just isn't available on Linux.

Whatever your reason, it's still a mixed computing world, and is likely to be for some time to come. Whatever system you're using, there's probably a strong selection of open source software available for it that we hope you take the time to investigate.

So let us know: Has it been ten years since last you used Windows, or ten days? Perhaps you're even using it right now. Whatever the length of time, we hope you'll use the comments below to tell us a little bit about what (if anything) is holding you back from making the switch to being a full-time Linux user.

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I use Windows at work, and I don't have much choice in that.

At home I have a mix of Windows and Linux systems. I have 2 laptops and one of the laptops has 2 hard drives; a Linux and a Windows one.

I would probably be more single-OS (Linux) focused if I could curtail my distro- and desktop-hopping.

I think the best situation for me would be if I got a new Linux computer (System76?) with enough horsepower to install Windows on it (for those few times) and enough horsepower to play my couple of games (via WINE).

Since I retired earlier this year, the only time I used Windows was to assist someone in copying and importing documents to a Chromebook, then we shut off the Windows system and have not used it since. I use either an Android phone, a Chromebook, or a Linux desktop. Note all 3 at least have a Linux kernel.

In reply to by dragonbite

I have to use a Windows machine at work. I should be able to switch to Ubuntu in the next year or so. At home I run nothing but Linux systems. Finally retired the last Windows machine almost a year ago.

OK just a bit of clarification. I voted that I never used Windows. That is completely true for all of my personal computers and all but one of my jobs.

I have never used Windows as the primary OS on any of my own personal computers. I do have a VM with Windows 10 on it as so I can do a bit of research for books and articles that I write. It has been weeks since I used that VM. Hope to not touch it again for another decade or so.

That one job required me to use Windows because the PHBs were too stupid to understand the advantages of Linux over the crap they were administratively (as in we will fire you) forcing me to use. I mostly used it with PuTTY anyway so I could login to remote Linux computers. I quit that place after a year. Then I went home and did most of my work on my own Linux boxes anyway.

I have also tried almost every version of Windows there has ever been for a few minutes at least. I tried Windows 286 (anyone here remember that - pre-Win 3.1) for a couple days on a test machine and decided - like all other versions of Windows I ever tried - that I understand why others might want to use it but it won't work for me. I went back to TopView and later back to OS/2. Then I switched to Linux and never looked back.

So in one sense none of the available answers were quite accurate. But life and Linux are complicated.

Windows is not for me but you can use it if you want to.

Hi David,
Which Linux distro and desktop environment do you use ?
And have you ever tried Solus ?

In reply to by dboth

I apologize for not responding sooner to you. I use Fedora for my workstations, especially my primary one. I use CentOS 6 and 7 on a couple servers.

I have used Ubuntu and Mint at various times but always return to Fedora. I used to use KDE as my desktop, but it has gone through too many cycles of major releases where it did not work properly for months at a time, and it has grown to have so many unnecessary (in my opinion) daemons spinning their wheels uselessly in the background and sucking up so much system resource, memory and CPU, that I have given up on it. I have used Cinnamon, LXDE, MATE, GNOME 2, GNOME 3, and Xfce for at least a month each. I have also dabbled a bit with a few others. I am currently using Xfce and find it very useful, flexible. and with all of the features I need.

I have not tried Solus. When I get some time I may install it on a VM to try it out.

In reply to by Aku

Hi, no worries :)
Oh I thought KDE was supposed to be light on memory usage and also quite stable.
Nice time to try Solus with their recent ISO refresh. Solus KDE will be a future option, some users say it's one of the best KDE distros !

In reply to by dboth

Like several others here, I have to use Windows at work as we are an old school "Windows shop". A few Linux servers are making it into the data center, but they are few & far between for now. However, we do have a BYOD policy so I have my KDE Neon laptop with me whenever I'm not at my desk.

I've ran some form of Linux system as a server since the late 90's but only dabbled with it as a desktop here and there. Earlier this year, I took the plunge & am running Linux exclusively on all my personal machines (other than a pfSense firewall & FreeNAS storage server).

Now if I can just find a company to work for that will let me have a Linux desktop there too... anybody hiring? :)

The last Windows I used was XP. The last one I had on my home computer was 3.1 (or was it 3.3?)

Switched to Debian shortly after XP sp2 came out and never looked back

If it wasn't for work......I would never use Windows. Personally I have all Linux machines at home. My HP Server is now a Ubuntu server that hosts my media. My laptop is Debian now and have multiple Mint users in the house. It is nice to go home to things that just work (lol).

We have five PCs at home, three run Linux Mint 18, one runs Linux Mint 19 and an ageing laptop runs Linux Mint Debian Edition 3. There's been no Windows here since the last install of Windows 7 was overwritten with Mint four and a half years ago. Windows became such a bad experience that I dislike even the thought of using it if ever I need to use it somewhere out of the home that thankfully is very rarely.

I use only Linux at home. Librem 15 laptop running qubes. At work I use Windows but run WSL on it so it is able to do normal scripting

Well ... occasionally I use Windows. This can happen every time: the last week I tested a web application on Edge using a virtual machine; the week before a friend asked me to help her ... I think that a more meaningful question is: "what percentage of your computer time did you spend using Windows in the last year"? Surely, less than 5%, maybe 1%.

I do most of my development work on Ubuntu. Right now, I'm running Windows 10 with Cygwin and I run Ubuntu inside a headless VagrantBox (Vagrant with VirtualBox with no desktop)! Cygwin is running the X server on Windows 10. I would start a Gnome-terminal in Cygwin and ssh into the VagrantBox virtual machine. The terminal then acts like any windows application! I can have as many tabs as I need inside one Gnome-terminal. Copy and paste works right. window switching also works great. Everything works so well together and I have the best of both world!

I'm using windows at work right now but as system administrator, I already started converting company's system into Linux almost 30% of the system is already on Centos, Btw, same as other users here Im using Linux at home

I am a IT professional and I mainly work in unix. Though at workplace I need to use windows and using ssh client i login to unix servers. From the very beginning unix gave me an immense pleasure of command line usage so in 2010 when I got my 1st laptop, i started using ubuntu 10.04. and it was really great. I could feel the great smell of open source. Since then i am actively using linux in my personal laptop. Currently i am on ubuntu 18.04 LTS and I don't think I will be able to use windows or Mac. My laptop has dual boot windows 10 which came pre-installed but I rarely get in there as its too buggy and slow. I see people have an impression like "linux is all about command line and all apps are not available". I tell them though i prefer command line but as of today linux GUI experience is also great. Its superfast.less buggy. And all necessary applications are available in linux as well. All you need to do is google.

I have some virtual machines with windows for work and studies purposes (and I don't think that counts) but apart from that I haven't had it installed on any of my computers in more than three years so I vote in the fourth category.

Not sure how to vote. Since the last week of 12/2015 Linux Mint has been my daily driver, and it is installed on all 4 of my computers. I also have Windows 7 as a VirtualBox on 2 of those machines, and Windows 7 as a partition on 2. That said, I rarely use W7. It is there more 'just in case' I need it.

I use Linux for both home and work.

When the workplace provides me with Windows, I only use it as dumb client to Linux remote host with full gnome desktop covering the whole Windows desktop, so I cannot say I've been using Windows in a normal sense of using Windows applications.

Every time I do Sage I have to use Windows. Other than that I use Linux. It's a shame GNUcash cannot convert Sage files.

Perhaps, more to the point, Sage should have an open standard file format that apps can implement to offer compatibility. The fault lies with the proprietary software developer - they have a disincentive to offering compatibility and we need to call them out on it.

In reply to by anon (not verified)

Since 2006 I have always dual boot until about 2 months ago that the Windows 10 OS did not wanted to boot after an update. Not that it matter much as I barely used the Windows partition. Only to update once in a while and to run a program from my previous job.

I use Ubuntu 18.04 currently as my primary OS. Unfortunately, there are 3 instances where I have to use Windoze: Updating my GPS units (I gave up on trying to get this to work under Wine), and a drawing package called SketchUp (Google originally, then sold to Trimble).
The GPSes I do from a Windows7 VirtualBox. SketchUp I run on a bare-metal install of Windows10. SketchUp cannot run under a VM since it requires considerably more hardware access than a VM allows. I do not/will not dual-boot under any circumstances, so I use a removable hard drive cage setup. I also run Windows10 with the network cable disconnected to thwart the rampant "telemetry" unless I feel it has been too long since it has been updated.
Trimble has been inundated with requests/pleadings to come out with a Linux version of SketchUp, which so far have fallen on deaf ears (sigh).

I have to use Windows at work - which is a great pity. I only have Linux machines at home, and if I could install VirtualBox on this laptop, I'd be using it at work too!

I had to fill out a web-based visa application form a month ago for Bangladesh; turned out that it only worked properly with Windows, so had to use my wife's laptop in the end. =(

Which website was that ? Was it ? I put in fake details there and I was able to reach Step 4 at the payment section.
Why did it not work properly for you on Linux ? Which distro were you using ?

In reply to by Zeeshan Hasan

I operate in a mixed environment -- Windows 10 on two computers and Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 on two. I don't cut over to Linux because (1) I maintain the campus network and a dozen Windows computers at a small museum where I volunteer, and need to be familiar with Windows, and (2) Linux does not have the equivalent of useful, simple, single-purpose apps such as MyRadar, Wifi Analizer and Network Speed Test that are available in both Windows and Android environments. The Linux community has a vibrant and active development community, but it seems to be focused more or less entirely on distros and large-scale apps like Open/Libre Office, Gimp and so on. If the community could focus a bit more energy into developing apps like MyRadar, Wifi Analyzer and Network Speed Test -- simple, graphical, single-purpose apps -- I think that Linux might gain market share on the desktop. Right now, I think not for the average user.

I use Windows for 2 things: one is to do my taxes. The other is to check some problem or question that someone might have about Scribus on Windows.

Why do you need to use Windows to do your taxes ? Is it not done on a website ? Or do you need to use some special Windows-only software ?

In reply to by Greg P

I lied. I voted that I've never used Windows when of course I have. It's hard to avoid. I'm sure it's running some of the ATMs I've used, if nothing else. What I meant is that I've never used it as the working OS on my computers.

I went from DOS to OS/2 to Linux, with none of the iterations of Windows getting in there. It hasn't been easy. Putting up with the aggro from Windows users, that is. So many of them seem to take it personally. As if it's a judgement of them. Then there's the confusion some of them have between freeware and free software. If they think they're the same, then I can see why they wouldn't want to try it.

Anyway, here's to you, fellow followers of freedom.-)


I keep an old Win XP box to run Adobe Photoshop, everything else is run on Linux Mint 18, I have used Redhat before it went pro, kept to Fedora afterward but found Linux Mint. Been pushing my colleagues to switch to Linux over the years but not many took it up....
LM is clean enough not to confuse and makes it easier for my wife to use(she hates Technology). lol!

I switched my main OS to Linux almost two years ago.

I kept a Windows partion around to play games on, but that ate itself about eight months ago now, so it's been about that long.

I happen to have been lucky to work someplace where they allow you to choose between Linux / MacOS and Windows. Needless to say as to which one I've chosen! I do have a HDD at home with Windows 10 on it. Not for anything other than to tinker around with it when I need to do something that I'd rather not do on my Linux laptops / desktop. Other than that I don't use Windows much, I recently had to log into it to see about updating it to 1803 (which took over TWO HOURS!!!???) but other than that?...its not something I even think about. For instance I've been reading up on their upcoming update structure, how its going to be similar to Linux (they want to be Linux so bad don't they!?...LoL!) But when you read it?....its reads like a confusing mess. So after the most recent update?....since I'm not a Windows user? I'm not going to be updating it anymore. And while this might pose a threat to someone who might have a Windows device on their home network.....I have no such device unless I plug in the drive with an external connection cable and fire it up.

I've never used Windows. The last product from Redmond I used as the everyday OS was DOS 3.31. After this I used :
- Apollo Domain OS
- Sun Solaris
- SGI Irix
and then I've switched to Linux. And fortunately for me I can use what I want at work.

You have been truly blessed.

In reply to by Michal (not verified)

I've been using Linux for over 12 years now.
All my household pc's and laptops run Linux.
Unfortunately I still have to use Windows at work. And I hate it!

At work I am 90% Linux use it as my day to day OS but I do sometimes need to do Active Directory work and I remote into a Windows box for that. I have been told the tools work in Wine but that is not a conversation I want to have with my employer as to why AD is dead.
At home I am 100% Linux and have been for a over 10 years.

Intuit products (Quicken, Turbo Tax, Quick Books) don't run under WINE or do so poorly. The hassle of converting years of data from the mentioned to a likely decent Linux product is not worth it. Disappointing, but Windows will live on for me. Windows is a dual boot on my system and gets about 5 % usage.

I have to use windows for work but do not have it on any of my personal computers (life expectancy of windows on a new laptop/pc 5 min to check the hardware is ok)

I haven't used Windows for 15 years, I have no use for it. I used to keep a copy of Windows on a Virtual Machine, but never actually used it.

I do all my Photography with Open Source tools (digikam, GIMP, Hugin, HDRmerge, MacroFusion and RawThereapee) on Linux, I have no need of Proprietary tools that require Windows. I program in Python on Linux, My Books, Movie and Music collections are all served on a Linux server, and viewed on Linux desktops.

I've been using Linux since 2000, and exclusively for about 15 years.

I would have all the machines in the house running Linux Mint, but my wife freaks out when she has to use my machine to print stuff.
I also have a love-hate relationship with Quicken for managing my finances. If they sold a Linux version, I would abandon Windows altogether.

At home, I started using Linux in 1999 and the last Windows install was back in the XP era. At work, it's all Windows, and that's sadly not going to change.

Back in the Dark Ages, I went straight from DOS to IBM AIX and from there to Linux--I never had occasion to use Windows, nor any interest in doing so.

It's annoying, though, that the environment at my kids' university seems to be Linux-hostile--freshman year, both kids insisted on getting Windows-based machines. (It's cool though that my rebel-with-a-million-causes son just recently replaced Windows on his machine with Fedora 28, and even my daughter had to get into some *Ix for some chemistry-department research she was doing.)

Also annoying is that my US Army son tells me that Windows is an absolute requirement in the Army--the networks won't even connect to Linux machines. I'd been under the vague impression that Microsoft's World Domination plotting had been swatted down a decade or more ago.

I have a visual impairment, and accessibility on Linux unfortunately isn't even close to what it is on Windows. Its improving though; I just wish it was a lot better than it is right now.

I use a Linux kernel at a minimum with various devices - Android phone, Chromebook, or Linux portable/laptop.

Any use of Windows is to help others, often to migrate to a Chromebook!

Last regular use of Windows was before I retired.

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