In recent years, Microsoft has changed its attitude towards the open-source operating system Linux. A slimmed-down version can be found, for example, in the Windows subsystem for Linux. This compatibility layer allows Linux executables to be run in ELF format. But now Microsoft’s gone a step further and explains in detail on its official support page how interested users can install a fully-fledged Linux on their Windows computer.
Microsoft describes Linux as an operating system similar to Windows, but “open source and fully customizable.” According to the instructions, Linux can be installed in four steps. The first step is to select an installation method. Here, users can choose between the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) mentioned above, a virtual machine (VM), a local installation on your computer, or in the cloud.
Next comes the selection of a suitable Linux distribution. Microsoft helps here by taking into account previous experience, the performance of your computer, and the availability of detailed documentation. Then the desired Linux distro is installed on a flash drive with at least 16GB of storage space; tools for this are also specified. Microsoft also explains how to get started with Linux package managers and software.
Why are these instructions coming now?
It is probably no coincidence that Microsoft is now publishing a detailed guide to installing Linux. Until now, users with Windows 7 or Windows 8 could upgrade to Windows 10 or Windows 11 for free using their existing license. Now, however, Windows 7 or Windows 8 keys can no longer be used to activate the newer versions. Accordingly, the only option is to buy a new license. An alternative could be Linux, which, in contrast to Windows 7 and Windows 8, will continue to be provided with security updates.
Further reading: 22 awesome open source programs that do everything you need
This article was translated from German to English and originally appeared on pcwelt.de.