Official how to switch from Windows 7 to Ubuntu Linux tutorial now available
If you are still using Windows 7 on your computer, you are making a huge mistake. Running an unsupported operating system is pure foolishness -- there will be countless exploits in the future for which you simply won't receive patches. In other words, your data and overall online safety is now at major risk. If you insist on sticking with Microsoft's operating system, you might as well upgrade to Windows 10 -- either by installing the operating system on your current computer or buying a new PC with the OS pre-loaded.
Understandably, many people are scared of Windows 10 -- Microsoft's data collection through extreme telemetry can make it feel like your own computer is spying on you. In that case, a Linux-based operating system should be considered. Today, Canonical releases an official guide for those thinking of switching to Ubuntu from Windows 7. Not only does the guide address potential hardware incompatibilities, but it provides a handy list of popular Windows software and its comparable Linux alternatives.
"By and large, Ubuntu has good, broad support for hardware, and often you will not require to make any manual modifications, like installation of drivers, to fully initialize and use your hardware. There can be exceptions, and in some cases, your particular hardware kit may not be fully supported. For instance, some printers may not have drivers for Ubuntu. Unfortunately, there is no definite list that can cover all the available scenarios," says Canonical.
The Ubuntu-maker further says, "However, one of the great advantages of Ubuntu is that it can run from live media, like DVD or USB thumb drive, without having to install it to the hard disk. This means you can fully trial Ubuntu on your computer to see whether you like the look & feel, test the applications, and check the hardware support – all without making any modifications to your computer! If you find something you don’t like, you can simply try a different Linux distribution."
So, yeah, you can run a live DVD or flash drive and try out Ubuntu and see if all of your hardware works. But what about software? Canonical offers some great Linux alternatives to popular Windows programs. For instance, instead of Outlook, you can use Thunderbird. Rather than Adobe Photoshop, GIMP is a fabulous option. If you absolutely need Microsoft Office, you can simply run the online version in a web browser! But also, many popular programs that are on Windows also exist on Linux, such as Skype, Google Chrome, Spotify, VLC, and Steam.
If you are interested in upgrading from Windows 7 to Ubuntu Linux, you can find the official guide here. It is chock-full of excellent information, including how to backup your data and ultimately transfer it to Ubuntu.