Check Out This Free Windows Clone
Some diehards are never going to upgrade to the latest Windows version. They like the legacy look and feel of Windows XP, Windows 2003, or even Windows NT. They don’t like Microsoft’s strong-arm tactics that try to cram Windows 10 onto every PC. But switching to Mac or Linux isn't a workable solution for them. Is this free, open-source Windows clone the answer? Read on for the details...
What is ReactOS?
Not ready to move to Windows 10? Not a fan of Linux or Mac? There is an alternative: a clone of Windows NT called ReactOS. It’s an open source project, so the ReactOS operating system is free to download and use as a Windows replacement. The download file is offered in two formats: a bootCD ISO file that enables installation of ReactOS on a hard drive, or a LiveCD ISO that runs ReactOS without installing it on your hard drive.
ReactOS got its start in 1996 as FreeWin95, a Windows 95 clone. But that project bogged down and stopped releasing new versions. Several project members, led by James Filby, picked up the pieces and started the ReactOS project in 1998. Window NT is the version that ReactOS most closely resembles, but any pre-Win 7 user will be right at home with the user interface.
ReactOS is still in the alpha stage of development, as indicated by its fractional version number 0.4.x. That means it’s incomplete and prone to crash. It does run several dozen open source Windows apps that have been tested with ReactOS. Firefox, LibreOffice, and 7-zip are three essentials that work well with ReactOS.
You can see a gallery of 25 popular Windows programs running ReactOS. Other Windows software can be tried on ReactOS, but compatibility will vary. Test results for dozens of Windows programs are listed here.
Even a ten year-old Windows XP computer can easily run ReactOS. ReactOS requires only 500 MB of disk space when installed, compared to 20 GB for Windows 10. ReactOS needs just 96 MB of RAM, while Win 10 wants 1 GB for the 32-bit version or 2 GB for the 64-bit version.
Astute readers may wonder if ReactOS shares the security vulnerabilities of the obsolete Windows versions it mimics. The project team has not commented on that, but it’s probably a non-issue because ReactOS’ code is not the Windows code that contains those bugs.
[GEEK ALERT] Most of ReactOS is written in C and C++. The project, which claims to consist of over 9 million lines of code, makes use of many open source components, including the Wine Windows emulator; Samba code to support print spooling, NETLOGON, LSASS and other Windows services. FreeType is used for fonts rendering. A Linux component NTFS-3G is used for NTFS file-system support. The NDISwrapper for running Windows WiFi drivers is included.
The ReactOS website bills ReactOS as a "Free, Community, Open Source, Collaborative, Compatible" operating system. That seems largely true, but I don't agree that ReactOS is ready to be your day-to-day operating system.
ReactOS is still in the Alpha stage. In the software world that means it's mostly complete, ready for testing by intrepid users, but is likely to have bugs and crashes.
ReactOS has been downloaded more than 6 million times, but when I tried the Live CD version on three of my computers, none of them was able to get ReactOS up and running. Still, you may find it promising and fun to play with, and it may get up to version 1.0 by the time you’re finally ready for a new PC.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 14 Nov 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Check Out This Free Windows Clone (Posted: 14 Nov 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved