View Full Version : how do you wean someone off of windows?

September 5th, 2007, 05:55 AM
If you've read one of my recent posts, you may remember me saying that I tried to convert my parents from windows to linux but I ended up failing,

because their kind of old... and.... well.... you know how some old people don't like to learn new things about technology right? That and they've been using windows since Nov 1998.... so Linux would be a big change to them.

What I'm trying to ask is, how on earth do I convert the average PC user over to Linux? The reason why I don't pass out Ubuntu CDs to the people at school is because I'm one of the few people there that actually has an interest on computers.... instead of sports and annoying high school drama. If I pass out the CD's, I'm sure at least half of them will be thrown away without being used, because it seems almost nobody there cares about that stuff, or at least alternative software.

If I went on about viruses and spyware, I'm sure no one at my school would really pay attention.

I think the only place I'll have any success with this is at my Vo-tech class, were the students have at least some interest in computers... but they aren't really average users, because over half of them actually want a computer related job.

Another big point is, why will the average windows user want to use linux when they find out that they cant do all the music related stuff that itunes can, and that they cant make movies because their arent any good debian video editing programs?

Even worse, why will they want to use Linux when they find that they cant use their favorite windows programs without having to emulate them? I know it sounds unethical that they wouldn't give Linux a chance, but thats the way it seems to be a lot of the time.

I suppose its cruel to say average users are this way... when they are not.... I suppose I should be aiming for the "durka-dur-I-barely-know-how-to-use-a-computer-an-I-refuse-to-learn-anymore-about-them" kind of person. I'm talking about those people who frequently yell at their computer, and never try to really learn how to use it, and complain about how their computer hates them.

But it almost seems as if those people make up the average computer user.... even though they really don't....

So how on earth could you convert someone like that?

September 5th, 2007, 06:20 AM
you could dual boot their computer with windows & ubuntu.
Most people I know dont wanna switch to linux because they dont get anything special from it. You can customize it however you want but the average person has no idea how to do that. Most people just want quick internet and be able to type their things and play games. I dont think viruses/spyware are enough to make people switch

September 5th, 2007, 02:36 PM
Every person has to be approached in a different way simply because everyone is different in how they use their PC. My mother, for example would be an easy convert to Linux because she wouldn't know the difference. It would be equally easy for her to check her email and maybe look at a website once in a while. My Dad, on the other hand, knows quite a bit about computers and constantly uses one. He does many many things on his and has many favorite apps. He would be MUCH harder to convert. My brother and I are slowly wearing on him though; he'll break eventually, even if it means a Live CD or a dual boot.

September 5th, 2007, 03:17 PM
The easiest way is to start introducing applications to them which would be available in Linux. Sometimes that would be fairly easy, Some applications would require some work to get used to. Either way, eventually they will see a greater benefit to using the free/open software over the ever changing closed source.

There are other ways I know of, but this one is one of the easiest paths to take.

September 5th, 2007, 03:23 PM
Yes, showing people individual apps can help too. I've done that to convert one of my co-workers :)

September 5th, 2007, 04:13 PM
In the past, I tried to convert some people. I felt like I had to, since all of them could keep doing their tasks on linux. There would not be any case of "I used to do it in windows, and now I can't do it in linux".

My sister used linux until she bought a sony camera that couldn't be recognized. My brother once told me he wanted to use linux, but it has been months ago. He still says he wants to, but no action has been taken yet. My father thinks linux doesn't work. My girlfriend is afraid of not knowing how to handle whatever problem that might show up.

Since Breezy, I've been using Windows only for games. I'm quite happy with it. And now I know that some people just won't change, no matter what. Maybe Vista, or Vista+1, will give us a little help. :)

September 6th, 2007, 12:00 AM
Maybe Vista, or Vista+1, will give us a little help. :)

From the complaints Ive heard, and the ones I have myself, you might just be right....

I suppose the method I like doing the most, is giving someone an older computer (that I manages to get cheap) with xubuntu, and letting them see how it competes at speed with their newer computer.... which is probably bogged down by viruses and spyware. :P

Ive only tried this method once with a friend, because he needed another computer for downstairs, and he and his brothers seem to like it.... in fact they grew into liking it a lot quicker than I thought. I guess it was because their XP computer upstairs runs at snail speed (their dad likes Symantec (Norton) security products), and the junkie old 500mhz 256 mb computer I gave them out performed it speed wise.

March 6th, 2008, 10:30 PM
It may not be as soon as we like, but Windows Vista seems to be helping promote Linux adoption. Windows Vista, after all, sucks so bad even to people who wouldn't normally consider anything but Windows. Granted, the majority of them are wanting to return to Windows XP, but Microsoft is planning to drop all support and sales of XP over the summer, so that's something that won't go on forever, I'm sure. Others have decided to shell out the money for a Mac, but there are still others that have decided to give Linux a try, so Apple and Linux are bound to gain from Microsoft's Windows Vista faux pas.

In other words, I think it will happen naturally, just give it some time.

March 27th, 2008, 09:58 PM
I suppose the method I like doing the most, is giving someone an older computer (that I manages to get cheap) with xubuntu, and letting them see how it competes at speed with their newer computer.... which is probably bogged down by viruses and spyware. :P

That's the method I used to slowly convert my girlfriend to Linux. I bought a cheap laptop and loaded Ubuntu on it. At first she didn't like it, but now she does. It took a while though.

Lord Illidan
March 27th, 2008, 10:00 PM
If you don't mind, I corrected a typo in the thread title.

December 9th, 2008, 03:39 AM
I managed to wean my father-in-law off of Windows. His old computer, which had Windows 98 on it, just got to where it was so slow as to be unbearable, so about a year and a half ago he asked me if I could get him one with Windows XP. It took me a while, but I finally got my hands on one with XP on it on Craig's List for only $65 (we're not exactly made of money, and neither is he, you see).

I went down there one weekend to spend it with my wife, who was on a summer job at a Girl Scout camp there in southeast Missouri, and it's a summer job she's had for quite some time that she enjoys (she's a college student right now who plans to become a teacher). Anyways, I'd gotten it all hooked up and then my wife and I went out to dinner in Poplar Bluff. While we were out to dinner, a severe thunderstorm rolled through where my father-in-law and his wife life. He didn't bother to shut down Windows the proper way, he just unplugged the computer. After the storm blew over, he plugged it back in...and Windows wouldn't boot. He called us right as we got out of the restaurant and told us what happened, so I swapped computers with him once more and took the new (to us) computer back to here in St. Louis.

I had a friend of mine look at it, and she said the hard drive itself was toast. I told my father-in-law what happened, and he asked me if I could get another copy of Windows XP -- but I really didn't have the money. I tried convincing him to switch to Linux but couldn't until my wife (who, oddly enough, I still have yet to convert to Linux) told him he wouldn't have to worry about defending against viruses and spyware anymore, and that piqued his interest, so he said he'd be willing to give Linux a try.

I wound up putting PCLinuxOS on it, as I was a KDE fan at the time before they came out with KDE4, which drive me to GNOME for computers that could handle it and Xfce for those that couldn't -- and naturally, this switch led me to Ubuntu. Anyways, I set it up to be intuitive for someone who's not very computer-literate at all (hey, my father-in-law freely admits he's computer-illiterate LOL) took it down to him, and he was quite pleased with it.

However, that computer takes a long time to get past the POST (power-on self test). This is a hardware problem and is not a problem with whatever happens to be on the hard drive. I recently bought a new computer (yes, NEW) for only $50 that was already pre-loaded with Ubuntu and I've decided to put Hardy Heron on my old computer, which works great and boots up in a normal amount of time, and give it to him for Christmas and set it up for him. Not to mention, I've found GNOME to be more capable of impersonating the Windows XP look and feel than KDE, which I think he'll like, since XP is what he originally wanted to begin with. Oh, and I'm pretty certain my father-in-law doesn't know about this site, either. SHHH!!! :lolflag:

December 16th, 2008, 05:27 AM
As a user support specialist, I often get asked to work on computers in my spare time. I often tell them I will do it for free if they will give Ubuntu a try. I back up all their personal data, load ubuntu and then copy their data to their documents, etc. So far I've only gotten 2 takers but it's a start!

March 8th, 2009, 05:53 PM
I chose the sledge hammer aproach to get my family using Linux, Ubuntu in particular. I wiped my hard drive and installed 8.10 x64. Before removing the old OS I backed up all of their pics and documents to CD so they would not lose their stuff. For iTunes I installed Vmware and put the original OS into a virtual under /opt. I then created a shortcut on everyone's desktop to run it full sceen. My wife is just at home on Ubuntu as she was with XP. The kids are a bit flustered about not having their hardcore 3D games but I reminded them we spent hundreds of dollars on game machines; they quickly understood. I have since then ordered 2 Dell Inspiron Mini 9's with Ubuntu and am awaiting their arrival anxiously.

March 12th, 2010, 03:46 AM
I would suggest a dual boot at first which is my weaning process as well from XP. I will miss Freelancer Discovery 4.85 but I only have to wait for the next crash to be reminded that Ubuntu is doing all other work on this computer. Try a dual boot with a modern computer which implies going beyond XP which I refuse to do. I don't know of anything else besides Freelancer which Windows does better. Do you actually use Vista?. I lasted 2 hours before ripping it out on my new leased computer. It may have actually voided the lease but it was completely illogical and disfunctional. That is after 3-4 months and 3-4 tries at Ubuntu which finally took hold which is noteworthy.

March 12th, 2010, 03:53 AM
If they don't want to use linux, why are you trying to manipulate them into using it? That's counter productive and it gives linux and its users a bad image, no offense.

July 19th, 2010, 02:28 AM
from an old person to you please remember that we don't even provide a revenue base of income for open source software and if you are going into computers for a living you will encounter Apache and Linux and now those two categories are making headroads into the Windows market with music and video. Take a good look at Mythbuntu and see what you can find. I would start with the Vo-Tech class and the future computer professionals and involve the teachers in some type of project of yours such as a report on Linux and the various Ubuntu programs.
Personally after 30 years I finally became proficient enough to appreciate Ubuntu. Linux is not for everybody but it is for a lot of people eventually. Hang in there and good luck,

Stray Wolf
October 20th, 2010, 09:55 PM
I don't know if you can overcome someone's comfort with something familiar. What you can do is explain how their comfort comes at an unnecessary cost. Also, remind people that Windows has been part of a culture. Most people grew up with it, ignorant of any alternatives. They learned Windows over such a long amount of time that they may not have even realized it. Basically, they were indoctrinated into the Windows culture but now they have a choice.