New hard drive, ditch Win7 for Win8 or Ubuntu?

I snagged a new SSD during cybey Monday. I don't have the install media for my Windows 7 OS anymore and I'm thinking with this new hard drive I should either put Windows 8 (it's a whole number newer?) or Ubuntu (free) on it (or both). I've dabbled with Ubuntu before, but never spending more than a few hours in it, and never running it as my main OS. Any tips on making the transition?

I read that there is a Netflix package that makes running Netflix on Ubuntu a hell of a lot easier than it was a few years ago. Other than Netflix the things I use are:

Amazon Prime Video

I know that everything above will work with Ubuntu with the exception of WinDirStat and some Steam games. Is there an equivalent for Linux? I download a lot of crap and it helps to visualize what best to get rid of to make room for more crap. Other than that, any advice while trying out Ubuntu? Or on the other hand, anyone rooting for Win8?


  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian
    edited December 2013
    To be fair, it's not just "some games" under Steam that don't run under Linux. It is still "most games". Last I checked, the Linux library was up to about 350 games, which is a damn sight better than it was a year ago, but it's nowhere near the number of titles available for Windows. If you have another Windows box in your house, you will eventually be able to stream games from that Windows box to a Linux box (doesn't have to be Ubuntu, btw). If you don't, and you value being able to play most of your library, I'd say stick with Windows. Honestly, it's the only reason I have a Windows box at home anymore, and I will continue to have one for the foreseeable future so I can continue to play my games and stream them to the Steam Machine that I will undoubtedly end up buying or building.

    Also, my personal opinion, stick with Windows 7. I still think 8 (and 8.1) is a train wreck, and strongly recommend against them. If you have a valid Windows 7 license, then just acquire new install media from someone and use it.
  • BlueTattooBlueTattoo Boatbuilder Houston, TX Icrontian
    @Signal, you don’t have to give up Windows 7 or even reinstall it. You should be able to clone your current “C” drive to the new (amazingly fast) SSD using something like Ghost or software from the SSD manufacturer.

    If your old system drive has too much data for the SSD, you will have to delete or move some data off to another drive first. You can also uninstall some software to be later reinstalled to “D” drive. Clone the drive. Boot to the new drive. Reinstall apps. Enjoy.

    I did this on my current desktop system. The old system disk (WD 1T) is now “D”. The stuff that I want fast is installed on the SSD. I used Ghost because my SSD didn’t come with software and I didn’t do a complete reinstall because I’m lazy.

    Windows 8 is also fine, but not much of an improvement if you don’t have a touch screen.
  • Don't clone a partition on a spinning drive to an SSD. If the alignment of the partition on the spinning drive doesn't line up correctly on the SSD, you will end up getting degraded performance out of the drive. You'll want to let the windows install set up fresh partitions on the SSD to be sure that everything is aligned correctly... unless you really like fidgeting around with moving partitions around to get things aligned properly, which tends to be a time consuming pain in the ass.
  • SignalSignal Icrontian
    I'm going from Crucial 120 GB M4 to the Samsung 256 EVO for what it's worth. While I appreciate the drive cloning advice, a new drive is a new beginning for me. Time for a fresh install. This not only gets rid of the OS and program cobwebs, it's a time to rebuild my software. Kind of like how you could live with a piece of furniture while you're at your current residence, but when it comes time to move to a new place, there's no way that's coming with. I don't think I'm ever going to uninstall Firefox even though I use Chrome 100% of the time now. However, Chrome and IE are the only browsers going on the new OS. For now it's there if I ever want to use it. New OS I'll download it if I ever want to use it. If that makes sense.

    I think right now I'm just going to add this drive as a second OS drive and try out both Ubuntu and Mint. I'll let you know what I like/don't like about each one.
  • Finding replacement install media should not be a big problem assuming you have your old Windows 7 key, I'd just stick with it and save the money.

    I've found that Windows 8.1 does little to improve the desktop users experience. The UI is tailored to try and give you a consistent experience across touch platforms, I don't see a great deal of value in it for desktop users if you have a perfectly valid Windows 7 key.

    Ubuntu is both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. I use it with some frequency. Most compatible Steam games feel like a work in progress. Many have bugs to work out yet. Most common is that network and online game performance tends to be a mixed bag, I get higher pings and stutter and disconnect more frequently, I have tested this across a few machines. Ubuntu gaming is getting better all the time but it's still developing.

    The thing about Ubuntu though, if you have the time and patience for it you can tailor the hell out of your user experience. So many little things you can do to customize the UI to your liking. Also to your point, with a little effort you can get Netflix to work just fine.

    For you, I'd say get Windows 7 back on that new SSD, re activate the key you already paid good money for. To satisfy your curiosity on Ubuntu, use your old drive or consider a reasonably quick external USB 3.0 drive of some kind. It won't likely be your everyday OS, but it's worth fooling around with. Frankly I prefer it for everything but gaming.

  • Part of the problem with gaming in Ubuntu boils down to Unity (Canonical's desktop environment). If you switch to something like XFCE, KDE or Gnome, a lot of those issues go away. At least they did for me.

    I'm excited to see what SteamOS will bring to the table though. Seems promising.
  • BlueTattooBlueTattoo Boatbuilder Houston, TX Icrontian
    edited December 2013
    @ardichoke, you made me look. The Windows 7 desktop that I cloned to SSD with Ghost is properly aligned. All is well.

    Yesterday, I received the Samsung EVO 250 from Amazon (Black Friday sale) for my wife’s Windows 7 Sony laptop. I used the Samsung software and SATA-to-USB adapter to clone the drive (2 hours 30 minutes) and replaced the HDD (10 minutes). Offset is correct. Boot-up went from 95 seconds to 43. Wake from hibernation went from 39 to 29. Everything loads faster. I still like cloning if the build is good and I don’t need to change anything.
  • Mt_GoatMt_Goat Head Cheezy Knob Pflugerville (north of Austin) Icrontian
    The new ultrabook I got this summer had a 256 ssd and win 8 that I tried to get along with but it never played nice with me so I just replaced it with an EVO 500 with win 7, Ubuntu and Mint. I am now extremely happy with my ultrabook. This gives me the most diverse arrangement with the best in versatility. Forget win 8 anything as has been mentioned it really isn't that great of a desktop OS but more of a mobile/tablet platform. I just left the old ssd intact with OS and have it stored away just in case I need it.
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian

    This is a huge time-saver when installing/reinstalling a Windows OS.
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