Saturday, 3 January 2015

An Operating System Worth Trying

My old VIsta laptop has died, literally. I suspected a hard disk failure as it is making all these "never heard before" noises. It just would not load the operating system. Could not repair it as I could not find  the rescue disk made during it's first start up. Thinking that if I have an operating system in a thumb drive, I may be able to run it and rescue my files within it! Using the other laptop, google pointed me to try elementaryOS, a linux based operating system with Luna as code name. Downloaded it and put it on a USB drive using UNetbootin. Unfortunately, it did not work with the old Vista and I am convinced that the laptop can no longer be revived.

Intrigued about the OS, I tried it in the other laptop running Windows 7, I was very impressed with it's performance, and here are the reasons why!

Very fast boot time.

After changing the boot sequence (F12>boot>then choose USB drive) to start with the USB drive, I restarted the laptop with the elementaryOS attached to one of the USB ports. Then at the selection menu, I have chosen to run without installing it. This is booting much faster comparing to windows, It came to life and ready to use without installing  it in seconds! As this is booting from a USB drive, this makes it  very portable and handy that it can be carried and tried anywhere.

 Very clean interface.

I could not stop saying 'wow' at the interface. It is very minimal and clean. Not the usual clutter of folders, icons and other shortcuts. The application dock at the bottom of the screen behaves like apple's OS. The usual icons for speaker, wifi and other available connections, battery and power off is handily available at the right upper corner of the screen whilst the  rest of the application can be  accessed at the opposite corner of the screen. The layout is a bit confusing if you are used to windows but could be straight forward if you've used apple before.

Easy internet set up and fast browser.

There's no other thing to set up but the internet connection, the WiFi icon at the upper right is very handy for setting up. Just right click on it and search for your home wi-fi ID.  The Midori browser is fast and minimal looking. It is defaulted to run under it's VPN network and Duckduckgo search engine which is known for it's no ad and no track policy. This means your searches will be invisible so that you will not be bombarded with targeted unwanted ads, which can slow down browsing.

As this is basic to surfing the web, you might need plug ins to download when it encounters files that might need additional softwares to play or render. This can be a good thing as it could block potential threats from rogue flash contents but could also be frustrating specially when playing unsupported video files. This shortcoming is compensated by it's lightning fast render of web pages.

No known viruses.

Safety online is usually compromised with threats from viruses, malwares, adwares, pup ups and other nasty web elements from programmers  driven by greed. This OS has no known virus that can infect it, making it one of the safest OS at the time of writing. You can be confident using it with online banking and shopping.

Improved touch pad functions.

I am also amazed for the first time that the touch pad is behaving like an apple's touchpad. When using the built in browser(Midori) you can scroll the active window up and down with the touch pad, also it allows you to scroll from left to right using the same.

Shutting it down takes seconds as well.

Improved battery life.

My laptop is already 5 years old and the capacity of it's battery has dropped to disappointing 1 hour to atmost about 1 hour and 30 minutes when using windows 7, but using  with elementaryOS dramatically extends it's battery life to at least 3 times, again owing to the very basic software.

Additional applications.

The packaged application with the download is very basic but it is already sufficient for browsing and most of the things you will do with a computer. There is also an application center where you can freely download other apps if you like a bit more like other browsers, aside from the native Midori, more powerful photo editor and more.

Download the OS at   and to create a bootable USB disk at 

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