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ReactOS 0.4.7

An open-source binary-compatible version of Windows

by Mike Williams

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Based on 1 ratings
License: Open Source
Operating Systems: Windows 10, Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, Windows Server, Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 06 December 2017
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 2570
Developer: ReactOS
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An open-source binary-compatible version of Windows

ReactOS is an open-source binary-compatible reimplementation of Windows.

In other words, it's free. You can boot your desktop or laptop from it. It looks like Windows (a 10-year-old version, anyway), so you already know how to use it. And it'll run some Windows and DOS applications, maybe including DOS games that regular 64-bit Windows can no longer touch.

While that sounds great, this isn't a project for the average user. It's an alpha, missing some major features (they've only just added NTFS read support, can't write yet), and what you do get has plenty of bugs.

If you're willing to spend some time exploring ReactOS, and you don't expect too much, then there are some interesting touches here. Double-click the Applications Manager shortcut on your desktop and you're able to browse and install some great tools, all in a couple of clicks: VLC Media Player, Winamp, GIMP, Irfanview, Firefox, Opera, OpenOffice, BurnAware, CCleaner, assorted torrent clients, VNC tools and more.

You can also try installing other Windows and DOS applications. This is more likely to work with older, simpler packages (Win95 text editor = probably yes, huge multimedia suite = probably no), although there are no guarantees.

For the best results, follow the download link, grab the "BootCD" file and install it somewhere (this can be a VirtualBox VM if you don't have a spare PC). There's also a LiveCD which will boot ReactOS, and allow you to browse its menus, but you won't be able to install anything.



ReactOS is a hugely ambitious project - which is partly why there was a 10-year gap between versions 0.3.0 and 0.4.0 - and the developers have achieved a lot. But it's also still very much an alpha, unreliable and packed with bugs.

If you just want a free operating system that's easy to use, you'll be much happier with something like Linux Mint.

But if you're a more experienced user, happy to spend time tweaking or exploring, and you really need to run older Windows binaries, then ReactOS could be interesting. Install it on some ancient laptop, and you just might be able to use your favorite legacy software again.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Windows 10 October 2018 Update (build 1809)

Free Full Commercial Software

This is the latest version of Windows October 2018 Update. it's a media creation tool that can be used to upgrade an existing installation of Windows or create installation media for another PC. Just make your choice after launching the tool and it'll do the rest.

What was new in Windows 10, when it was released? The OS brought back the Start Menu, though with a Windows 8 twist: live tiles keep you up-to-date with the latest news while also providing an easy way to launch apps. (Don't worry if you prefer the Start Screen, it's still there and you can boot into it if you prefer.)

Apps now work much more like regular desktop programs. They have minimise, maximise, restore and close buttons, and can be resized (to a degree) and organised however you like.

If you've still lost track of a program in the mass of open windows, a new Task Spaces feature can help. Click its taskbar button and you'll see thumbnails for everything running now, a little like OS X's Mission Control - just click something to switch to it.

Better still, Task Spaces also supports virtual desktops. Add extra desktops as required and it'll display thumbnails of each one, making it easy to identify whatever you're after and switch to it.

There's also smarter snapping, new customisation options, and even a bunch of experimental additions to the command prompt.

Fall Creators Update brings a whole host of new features for Windows 10. See the Microsoft Blog for more information.

The Windows 10 ISO here will give you build 1809 which is the October 2018 Update.