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104 Photo Editing Tools You Should Know About [Organized List]

Hey photo lovers,
Last two month, I was doing a market research for my project Photolemur and looked for different tools in the area of photo enhancement and photo editing. I spent a lot of time on search and then posted an article 61 Photo Editing Tools and Apps You Should Know About (Organized List).
After this, I have got a lot of comments and messages with a new portion of great tools for photo editing. I decided to post a new article with a new large list of tools and apps. I believe all these services might be useful so let me leave them here for you.
Just to make it easier to find something specific, the list is numbered. Enjoy!
You can send your suggestions for new services and software in comments.
P.S. Thank you for all comments and suggestion of new services and apps.
UPD. Just launched Photolemur beta. Feel free to contact me with feedback
  • Photo enhancers (1-3)
  • Online editors (4-21)
  • Free Desktop editors (22-26)
  • Paid desktop editors (27-40)
  • HDR Photo Editors (41-53)
  • Cross-platform image editors (54-57)
  • Photo Filters (58-66)
  • Photo editing mobile apps (67-85)
  • RAW Processors (86-96)
  • Photo viewers and managers (97-99)
  • Other (100-104)
Photo enhancers
1. Photolemur - the world's first fully automated photo enhancement solution. It is powered by a special AI algorithm that fixes imperfections on images without human involvement (beta).
2. Softcolorsoftware - automatic photo editor for batch photo enhancing, editing and color management.
3. Perfectly Clear - photo editor with a set of automatic correction presets for Windows&Mac ($149)
Online editors
4. Pixlr - High-end photo editing and quick filtering – in your browser (free)
5. Fotor - Overall photo enhancement in an easy-to-use package (free)
6. Sumopaint - the most versatile photo editor and painting application that works in a browser (free)
7. Irfanview - An image-viewer with added batch editing and conversion. rename a huge number of files in seconds, as well as resize them. Freeware (for non-commercial use)
8. Lunapic - just simple free online editor
9. Photos - photo viewing and editing app for OS X and comes free with the Yosemite operating system (free)
10. Fastone - fast, stable, user-friendly image browser, converter and editor. provided as freeware for personal and educational use.
11. Pics.io - very simple online photo editor (free)
12. Ribbet - Ribbet lets you edit all your photos online, and love every second of it (free)
13. PicMonkey - one of the most popular free online picture editors
14. Befunky - online photo editor and collage maker (free)
15. pho.to - simple online photo editor with pre-set photo effects for an instant photo fix (free)
16. pizap - online photo editor and collage maker ($29.99/year)
17. Fotostars - Edit your photos using stylish photo effects (free)
18. Avatan - free online photo editor & collage maker
19. FotoFlexer - photo editor and advanced photo effects for free
20. Picture2life is an Ajax based photo editor. It’s focused on grabbing and editing images that are already online. The tool selection is average, and the user interface is poor.
21. Preloadr is a Flickr-specific tool that uses the Flickr API, even for account sign-in. The service includes basic cropping, sharpening, color correction and other tools to enhance images.
Free Desktop editors
22. Photoscape - a simple, unusual editor that can handle more than just photos
23. Paint.net - free image and photo editing software for PC
24. Krita - Digital painting and illustration application with CMYK support, HDR painting, G’MIC integration and more
25. Imagemagick - A software suite to create, edit, compose or convert images on the command line.
26. G’MIC - Full featured framework for image processing with different user interfaces, including a GIMP plugin to convert, manipulate, filter, and visualize image data. Available for Windows and OS
Paid desktop editors
27. Photoshop - mother of all photo editors ($9.99/month)
28. Lightroom - a photo processor and image organizer developed by Adobe Systems for Windows and OS X ($9.99/month)
29. Capture One - is a professional raw converter and image editing software designed for professional photographers who need to process large volumes of high quality images in a fast and efficient workflow (279 EUR)
30. Radlab - combines intuitive browsing, gorgeous effects and a lightning-fast processing engine for image editing ($149)
31. Affinity - Professional photo editing software for Mac ($49.99)
32. DXO Photo Suite - Powerful photo editing software for ($189)
33. Pixelmator - Pixelmator for Mac is a powerful, fast, and easy-to-use image editor ($29.99)
34. On Photo 10 - professional photo editor with easy-to-use interface ($89.99)
35. Corel AfterShot Pro 3 - professional photo editor with the world's fastest RAW photo processor ($79.99)
36. Zoner - Everything from downloading onto your computer to editing and sharing, all in one place. For Windows only ($99)
37. Acorn 5 - an image editor for macOS 10.10 and later ($29.99)
38. Photosense - Quick and easy batch photo enhancement software for Mac & iOS ($18.97)
39. Photo Plus - easy-to-use professional photo editor for PC ($99.99)
40. DXO - photo software that automatically corrects your photos by taking the camera model and lens into account ($129)
HDR Photo Editors
41. Aurora HDR - the easiest and the most advanced HDR photo editor for Mac ($39)
42. EasyHDR - HDR image processing software for Windows and Mac ($39)
43. PhotomatixPro - one of the first HDR photo editors in the world for Windows and Mac ($39)
44. Fotor HDR - free online HDR photo editor
45. HDRExpress - easy to use HDR processing software for Mac and Windows ($79)
46. HDR Darkroom - fast and easy-to-use software for Mac and Windows for creating impressive landscape images ($89.99)
47. Photo-kako - The free online photo editor, a photo-like composite can be processed into HDR images.
48. Light Compressor - simple post processing app that lets you combine multiple exposures into a high dynamic range image for Mac ($3.99)
49. Hydra - another easy-to-use HDR Mac App ($59.99)
50. Dynamic Photo HDR - a next generation High Dynamic Range Photo Software with Anti-Ghosting, HDR Fusion and Unlimited Effects for Windows ($65)
51. LuminanceHDR - Free application to provide a workflow for HDR imaging, creation, and tone mapping.
52. HDRMerge - Free software, that combines two or more raw images into a single raw with an extended dynamic range.
53. EnfuseGUI - Enfuse is an Open Source command-line application for creating images with a better dynamic range by blending images with different exposures (free)
Cross-platform image editors
54. polarr - pro photo editor designed for everyone (pro version - $19.99)
55. Pixlr - High-end photo editing and quick filtering
56. Fotor Pro - cross platform editor and designer, available on every major mobile device, desktop computer and online with One-Tap Enhance’ tool and RAW file processing
57. GIMP - a cross-platform image editor. Free software, you can change its source code and distribute your changes.
Photo Filters
58. Creative Kit 2016 - 6 powerful photography apps and over 500 creative tools inside a single, easy-to-use pack. For Mac only ($129.99)
59. On1 Effects - Selective filtering for advanced photo effects (free)
61. Vintager - Vintager is fun, creative and easy-to-use software that provides you with a number of special effects that can be applied to your photos to give them a retro/vintage style
62. TheNick Collection - A professional-level filter selection, now made free (by Google)
63. Noiseware - Award-winning plugin and standalone for photo noise reduction ($79.95).
64. Topazlabs - a lot of photo editing plug-ins that works with software that you already own. Including Photoshop, Lightroom, and many others (from $29.99)
65. Focus Magic - Focus Magic uses advanced forensic strength deconvolution technology to literally "undo" blur. It can repair both out-of-focus blur and motion blur (camera shake) in an image ($65).
66. Eye Candy - Eye Candy renders realistic effects that are difficult to achieve in Photoshop alone, such as Fire, Chrome, Animal Fur, Smoke, and Reptile Skin($129).
Photo editing mobile apps
67. LightX - Advanced Photo Editor to make cut out,Change background and Blend photos ($1.99)
68. Afterlight - the perfect image editing app for quick and straight forward editing ($0.99)
69. File New - The Ultimate Photo Editor ($0.99)
70. Pixomatic - Blur, Remove Background, Add Color Splash Effects on Pictures ($4.99)
71. 99 Filters - All types of filters and overlays for Instagram and Facebook ($0.99)
72. Photo Lab Picture Editor - effects superimpose, pic collage blender & prisma insta frames for photos (free)
73. Avatan - Photo Editor, Effects, Stickers and Touch Up (free)
74. Retrica - camera app to record and share your experience with over 100 filters (free).
75. Aviary - Photo editing app (bought by Adobe) Make photos beautiful in seconds with stunning filters, frames, stickers, touch-up tools and more. Provide SDK for app developers (free)
76. Snapseed - a photo-editing application produced by Nik Software, a subsidiary of Google, for iOS and Android that enables users to enhance photos and apply digital filters (free).
77. Instagram - Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your mobile phone, then choose a filter to transform the image into a memory to keep around forever. One of the most popular mobile photo apps (free)
78. Lifecake - Save and organise pictures of your children growing up with Lifecake. In a timeline free from the adverts and noise that clutter most social media channels, you can easily look back over fond memories and share them with family and friends (free)
79. Qwik - Edit your images in seconds with straightforward hands-on tools, and share them with Qwik's online community. With new filters and features being added every week, Qwik is constantly keeping itself fresh and exciting (free).
80. VSCO Cam - VSCO Cam comes packed with top performance features, including high resolution imports, and before and after comparisons to show how you built up your edit. Free (with paid filters $57/each)
81. Camera MX - The Android exclusive photo app Camera MX combines powerful enhancement tools with a beautifully simple user interface. Thanks to intelligent image prcoessing you can take visibly sharper snaps, as well as cutting and trimming them to perfection in the edit. (free)
82. Lensical - Lensical makes creating face effects as simple as adding photo filters. Lensical is designed for larger displays and utilises one-handed gesture-based controls making it the perfect complement to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S Plus's cameras (free).
83. Camera+ - The Camera app that comes on the iPhone by default is not brilliant: yes, you can use it to take some decent shots, but it doesn't offer you much creative control. This is where Camera+ excels. The app has two parts: a camera and a photo editor, and it truly excels at the latter, with a huge range of advanced features($2.99).
84. PhotoWonder - Excellent user interface makes Photo Wonder one of the speediest smartphone photo apps to use. It also has a good collage feature with multiple layouts and photo booth effects. The filter selection isn’t huge, but many are so well-designed that you’ll find them far more valuable than sheer quantity from a lesser app. The 'Vintage' filter works magic on photos of buildings or scenery. (free)
85. Photoshop Express - As you would expect from Adobe, the interface and user experience of the Photoshop Express photo app for Apple and Android devices is faultless. It fulfils all the functions you need for picture editing and will probably be the one you turn to for sheer convenience. 'Straighten' and 'Flip' are two useful functions not included in many other apps (free).
RAW Processors
86. RAW Pics.io - the most popular in-browser RAW files viewer and converter. Support the most DSLR RAW camera formats. ($1.99/month with free trial).
87. Rawtherapee - is a cross-platform raw image processing program, released under the GNU General Public License Version 3 (free)
88. Darktable - an open source photography workflow application and RAW developer
89. UFRaw - a utility to read and manipulate raw images from digital cameras. It can be used on its own or as a GIMP plug-in.
90. Photivo - handles your raw files, as well as your bitmap files, in a non-destructive 16 bit processing pipeline.
91. Filmulator - Streamlined raw management and editing application centered around a film-simulating tone mapping algorithm.
92. PhotoFlow - Raw and raster image processor featuring non-destructive adjustment layers and 32-bit floating-point accuracy.
93. LightZone - Open-source digital darkroom software for Windows/Mac/Linux
94. RAW Photo Processor - a Raw converter for Mac OS X (10.4-10.11), supporting almost all available digital Raw formats
95. Iridient Developer - a powerful RAW image conversion application designed and optimized specifically for Mac OS X. Iridient Developer supports RAW image formats from over 620 digital camera models ($99)
96. Photoninja - a professional-grade RAW converter that delivers exceptional detail, outstanding image quality, and a distinctive, natural look ($129)
Photo viewers and managers
97. Digicam - Advanced digital photo management application for importing and organizing photos (free)
98. gThumb - an image viewer and browser. It also includes an importer tool for transferring photos from cameras (free)
99. nomacs - nomacs is a free, open source image viewer, which supports multiple platforms. You can use it for viewing all common image formats including raw and psd images.
100. PortraitPro - PortraitPro is the world’s best-selling retouching software, that intelligently enhances every aspect of a portrait for beautiful results ($79.90)
101. Lucid - stand-alone desktop software that makes it easy for lifestyle photography enthusiasts to improve pictures ($49)
102. Photomecanic - a standalone image browser and workflow accelerator that lets you view your digital photos with convenience and speed
103. ImageNomic Portraiture - professional skin retouching software ($199.95)
104. Acdsee - photo manager, editor and RAW processor with non destructive layer adjustments all in one ($49.95)
submitted by brunotaut to photography

Still on Windows 7? Don't want Windows 10? Consider switching to Linux (and specifically, Ubuntu). A Guide.

Any actions taken as part of this guide are solely at your own risk - unfortunately there is no way to account for every hardware configuration or error that may potentially crop up. BACK UP YOUR CRITICAL DATA BEFORE DOING ANYTHING
On the 14th Jan 2020, official Windows 7 support ends for most users. This means if you run Windows 7 beyond that date, you're no longer going to receive security and system updates, which will leave you increasingly vulnerable to viruses, malware and system failure. Depending on how critical your data is and how often you back up - if at all - there's a potential you can lose everything.
This is a somewhat opinionated but no-bullshit guide for those of you still on Windows 7 who really don't want or won't move to Windows 10. Aside from my own additions, it's going to reference a lot of great guides and advice written by other people, but conveniently collected in a single place. It's crazy, but it might just work.
Have you considered... Linux? Specifically, Ubuntu.
No, hear me out. Because I'm going to start (and save you a lot of time) by telling you why you SHOULDN'T switch to Linux. If any of the criteria listed apply, then:
The guide is broken into the following sections, if you want to jump to the points that are relevant. If you want to get straight to it, go to (4):
  1. Why shouldn't I go with Linux?
  2. Why should I go with Linux?
  3. Why Ubuntu?
  4. What's involved in switching?
  5. Installation of Ubuntu
  6. Tips for new users using Ubuntu
  7. Gaming on Linux
  8. Alternative Software
  9. TL;DR or The Conclusion
  10. To do list for the guide

1. Why shouldn't I go with Linux?

If you:
  • Don't feel comfortable installing an operating system and you don't have someone that can do it for you;
  • Have someone that helps you with all your IT-related activities who is not familiar with or dislikes Linux (ask them);
  • Are big into multiplayer games. (There are exceptions here, discussed in more detail in the Linux Gaming section);
  • Use multiple game clients and have a lot of games on platforms other than Steam;
  • Are into any sort of VR;
  • Absolutely need Outlook and refuse to consider any other mail client, like Thunderbird;
  • Use a VPN provider that doesn't have a Linux version and aren't willing/able to change;
  • Are subscribed to multiple video streaming services other than Netflix and watch these on your PC frequently;
  • Use Photoshop, Premiere, 3D Studio Max - actually, if you have any Windows software that you are locked into due to muscle memory, experience and/or professional requirements and that have no Linux version. (There are, however, often a Linux alternatives for a lot of these);
  • Require assistive technologies, such as screenreaders. While Ubuntu comes with several built-in assistive tools, there's a lot of specialised assistive use cases, tools and hardware that don't work on Linux and have no comparable alternative;
  • Want to be able to buy whatever piece of hardware that takes your fancy without researching it and expect them to work out the box with zero hassle. Especially niche and specific hardware like flight controllers, sound boards and so on;
  • Use iTunes extensively for your media library and/or interacting with your iPhone;
  • Have a large archive of Microsoft Office documents that use complex formatting, macros and/or formulas that you refer back to frequently.
  • have the worst-case scenario: rely on legacy or ancient software or hardware you're not sure you have the installation media for anymore, can't find a replacement, can't download it and it doesn't work on Windows 10. In this case, you're going to have to keep that Windows 7 box around and it's even more imperative that you make sure it's not accessible from the web or network. Start looking at moving to a more modern equivalent of it AND converting your work to a format that'll be accessible.
Some of this stuff you can work around with some effort, but it's more likely going to be more trouble than you're willing to put up with. And that's fine; Linux can't help everyone. The more of these that apply, the more certain you can be that you shouldn't consider Linux and should just go with Windows 10, unless you're willing to ~sacrifice~ compromise.

2. Why should I go with Linux?

Because whether you're a general user, a gamer or a specialised user with niche interests or requirements, Linux can provide you the same experience you're getting now with some already stated exceptions. In many ways, it's better - it's free, it's generally runs better on older hardware than Windows, it's relatively more secure due to a small user footprint and you'll have a huge, vetted library of free software that you can access. There are some applications - older Windows software and games, for instance - that don't work on Windows 10 but do on Linux, thanks to projects like Wine and Proton. It can 99% of the time update itself without interrupting whatever you're doing.
That being said, it's not perfect. You will lose some things. You will need to learn new ways of working with your PC. This is inevitable. That's the cost of switching.
Which is not to say Windows is without a cost. Unlike Windows, none of this functionality comes at the cost of your privacy and freedom. Linux will let you configure it as you like, and dive into the nitty-gritty settings to fine-tune it further. It will not try and trick you into creating yet another online account to use it. Aside from a few missteps (Ubuntu and Amazon, for one), it keeps its nose out of your business. It does not come with a unique advertising ID that links your multitude of online and offline interests and programs into a nice, tidy, profitable pack of data to be shared with "trusted third-parties". It does not serve you ads in a product you paid for. It does not try and push you into multiple online services.
In short, it does not suffer from any of the privacy concerns of Windows' future.
Now, I know people are going to throw snark about lead-and-tin alloys, their pliability and how easy that makes it to fashion headgear, but please note I said "future"; while they're not necessarily prying now, your operating system - and for almost everyone, that means Microsoft - has a very privileged position in your life as far as personal data is concerned. Any time you search in the file manager, every word you write and document you save, your budget calculations, every photo you view and program you use, every voice command you give Cortana, Windows - and by extension Microsoft - knows about. And there's nothing in their Terms of Service that stop them from starting to collect more detailed data if they so choose.
It's not a question of whether you prefer Windows 7 over 10 - Windows 7 got the same telemetry features as Windows 10 ages ago. Rather, ask yourself if you're happy with Microsoft's evolving business model, one that is shifting more and more of your content online and is intricately and opaquely tied to your personal data? If you're not, you're not alone: Holland isn't happy. Germany's not too thrilled either. There are legitimate reasons to be wary of Window's market dominance and increased level of embedded user analytics. Linux offers you an alternative.

3. Why Ubuntu?

Ubuntu LTS is by far the most commonly used desktop Linux distro and the one with the widest support by software developers and hardware manufacturers involved in Linux. If you're searching for solutions, you'll mostly find Ubuntu ones. Lastly, Ubuntu's LTS versions are supported for long periods of time: 18.04, which we'll be recommending, is supported until 2023, while the next version coming out in April, Ubuntu 20.04, will be supported until 2025.
One of the things you'll quickly learn about the Linux community is that someone will ALWAYS suggest a different Linux distro. In this case, it'll probably be Linux Mint, which aims to be a newbie-friendly Linux. It's based on Ubuntu, is similar to Windows 7 and will MOSTLY work the same as Ubuntu. I still suggest Ubuntu, but whatever, follow your heart.
To keep this guide as approachable as possible, and to have access to the widest range of help and support, I decided to focus on Ubuntu. Anything other than these two and you're just making things harder for yourself as a new user. You can always switch once you get a feel for how things work.

4. What's involved in switching?

I promised you a no-bullshit guide, so I'm going to cut straight to it. Take your time with all of these steps, do them properly, and you shouldn't have a problem.
First step: back up all your important documents, photos, email, games - whatever is important to you, and preferably somewhere external to your machine. This is just good advice regardless of whether you're switching to Linux or not. Always have a backup.
If you're a gamer, check out the following guide by PC Gamer's Jarred Walton on how to back up your games across multiple clients.
While you're backing up, install Thunderbird (Mozilla's open-source mail client) and copy your mail over to it. You'll have a much easier time doing this in Windows than in Linux to start. Thunderbird can automatically pull your mail from Outlook if installed on the same machine. Then follow the steps here for backing up your Thunderbird profile. You'll restore this in Linux later. Make sure you have your mail account details.
Get hold of your Windows 7 serial key. If it's physical media, like a DVD, then check and make sure the key is in the box or on the disc. If it's a laptop that came with Windows 7 preinstalled, it's usually a sticker on the specific laptop. You'll need this if things go awry and/or decide Linux is not for you.
Check the minimum specs for Ubuntu 18.04.03 here. If your system doesn't meet them, you're going to have a bad time regardless of whether you go with Ubuntu or Windows 10 (Windows 10 minimum requirements are bullshit, btw. 1Gb Ram, 1Ghz processor? I challenge anyone to link me to a Windows 10 video running on those specs where it performs acceptably.). There are lightweight alternatives if you can't afford a new PC, (Lubuntu, for instance), but upgrading your PC should be your first step in this case.
Here comes the arduous bit. Make a list of your current hardware, software and services that you use frequently, make sure you have the installation media for the critical pieces of software you use (Don't expect to be able to just copy/paste the applications you have) and do a search on whether they run on Linux. I'd recommend following the "Software" section in this guide on Migrating to Linux by PBLKGodofGrunts]
A lot of the Linux software alternatives, such as LibreOffice and GIMP, are available for Windows as well. Consider downloading those that interest you to try out in Windows and get a feel for how they work.
Ultimately, to echo the advice you'll find that you can either run it, have an alternative or just can't switch. That's okay; Linux can't help everyone.
Download the Ubuntu LTS 18.04.03 distro. The "LTS" means it's a long-term support version - you won't have to think about this exercise for the next three years if you're lucky. Ubuntu LTS 20.04 is coming out in four months, which'll be supported until 2025, but since most of the focus is still on 18.04, you're better off sticking with it for now.
Whichever you choose, you'll have to write it to a DVD or USB. If it's a DVD, use whatever you normally use to write DVD ISOs. If you're going to use a USB, here's a guide to doing that.
Did I mention to back-up your important data? Back-up your important data. Double-check that it's all there. If you want to take an extra precaution, you can use Clonezilla to clone your current OS drive. It's not necessary, but if things go bust, Clonezilla allows you to restore your PC to precisely the way it was before you started without needing to install Windows from scratch. However, Clonezilla can be a bit daunting if you're not technically inclined. Check out this somewhat out-of-date video by cButters Tech for a general idea of what's involved.
Lastly, try running Ubuntu as a Live CD/USB first. This will allow you to run Ubuntu as if it were installed, but without making any changes to your current installation. Please keep in mind that the Live is not indicative of performance... it will run slower than if it was installed, as it has to read everything off the DVD or USB stick first and load it memory. The important thing to check here is that it's picking up all your hardware, that it's displaying on your screen correctly, that all your drives are available, and so on.
Live USB should perform better than a Live DVD. Check out the "Okay, it's installed/Okay, I'm running the Live CD. What tips do you have for using Ubuntu?" section to get an idea of what you should be checking.

5. Installation.

You've done all the above, triple-checked your backups and either decided that you can't make the jump or you're ready.
However, before you begin installing, you have one last decision to make.
There's a lot people that suggest dual-booting - that's where you keep Windows around and just install Linux alongside it. This is often proposed as a safety net and a means for people to have the best of both worlds. I don't, for a couple of reasons:
  • If you are going to dual-boot, you'll need to update to Windows 10 anyway, and if you're going to do that, why bother with Linux in the first place?
  • Data will be spread between two operating systems. Instead of backing up and maintaining one OS, you'll be maintaining two. It's doable but a PITA.
  • You're sabotaging your efforts, and your switch to Linux will likely fail. That's not a statement on Linux's capability or ease of use. A lot of things are easier on Linux - but they won't be at first. You probably have years of Windows use ingrained in you; you've come to expect things to work they way Windows works. That's not ease, that's familiarity; that's a boiling frog. And the moment something throws you a challenge in Linux, the temptation to just "do it" in Windows will be too great. And the more you do that, the more running Linux will seem like a chore than a choice.
  • If you absolutely have no option but to run Windows 10, do it in a virtual machine - you get the benefits of dual-booting but with the bonus of limiting Windows 10 to a virtual environment where access to the rest of your system (and personal data) is restricted while allowing you to run your non-negotiable applications (other than games or any intense 3D applications) just fine.
If you decide to dual-boot, you'll need to find a recent guide that covers this. Typically, it's best to update to Windows 10 first, then follow the guide to dual-boot Ubuntu. None of the guides I found seemed good for beginners, so I'm willing to take suggestions from the comments.
If you take my advice and simply dive in, installing Ubuntu on your machine will be a painless process: just follow the steps here in a beginner's guide written by Jason Evangelho and you should be fine.

6. Tips for new users using Ubuntu?

Things that you should do only once Ubuntu's installed are prefixed with an [+]. Otherwise, the tip applies to both installs and Live demos:
  • Power off, log-out and running taskbar applications will be in the top-right of the screen by default.
  • To search, press the Windows key on your keyboard. This'll bring up Ubuntu's search bar. You can use this to find applications, folders and system settings.
  • In the File Manager, your Home directory will be where your primary OS and applications will typically be installed, while the Other Locations will list additional hard drives (usually your additional storage drives). By default, Ubuntu does not actually mount the drives in the "Other Locations" section. Clicking on any of them, however, will automatically mount them. If you want to learn more about the general structure of Ubuntu's file system, you can do so here.
  • Ctrl+Alt+T will bring up the terminal. The terminal is where you'll often be sent if you're attempting to diagnose a problem, perform specific tasks or install specific tools/software. Check yourself before your wreck yourself before copy-pasting commands from strangers on the 'net. Be super cautious of any command that involves "sudo" and "rm".
  • The default office suite for Ubuntu is LibreOffice. Try it out: see if you can open a couple of your documents, like spreadsheets and Word docs. You might be pleasantly surprised. Writer is the word processor, Calc is for Spreadsheets. Formating on complex documents will likely be broken. Don't save any of these at this point.
  • In fact, open up a couple of common files you normally use - images, documents, compressed files, music, videos and so on. Get a feel for how it works, what opens and what doesn't. Sometimes, you'll need to install some software first before it will work.
  • Check the list of alternative software for some suggestions on what to install if you seem to be missing something.
  • Plug in your phone and see if it detects it and you can access your files. If it's Android, you should be fine.
  • You'll notice that some commands - like updating - require you to enter your password again. This is a security feature similar to when Windows ask you to run a program as administrator or with elevated privileges. If you didn't initiate the command that brought up the password request, be cautious about entering it in.
  • [+] Change your desktop preferences and move the application bar to the bottom of the screen. By default, Ubuntu puts it on the left-side. Hey, maybe you'll like it like that! This was the one Windows habit I was never able to shake.
  • [+] Try and store your data in the pre-defined folders (Music, Videos, Documents, Pictures). You don't have to, but you'll make your life a lot easier doing so.
  • [+] Search for and create a shortcut to the Software Updater. This allows you to quickly check for and install Ubuntu updates.
  • [+] Likewise, create a shortcut to the Ubuntu Software Centre. To start with, you'll want to stick to installing applications from the Centre. These have been specifically tested to work on Ubuntu and will 99% run without a hitch. You'll be able to remove applications from here as well.
  • [+] Speaking of the Centre, Ubuntu comes preinstalled with an Amazon launcher. Use this time search for it and remove it. Or don't, it's up to you.
  • [+] Sometimes, you'll see there's two versions of a piece of software in the Centre. This is most likely due to there being a Snap version of it. Snaps are self-contained versions of the software that are usually the most up-to-date; however, they can run erratically or not have access to some things on your system, like fonts. I'd stick with the ubuntu-bionic versions for best compatibility.
  • [+] If you're a gamer, change your graphic drivers so you can get reasonable performance. For Nvidia, simply search for the Software & Updates application, open it, select the Additional Drivers Tab, and check whether you're using the Nvidia Driver. You'll want to select the one that's listed as proprietary and tested. AMD's a little more complicated and I profess to having little experience with it. I'll happily take advice from the comments in this instance.
  • [+] When downloading some games or applications specifically for Linux, you'll often get a .Deb file or a script. A deb file can often be run as is by double-clicking in Ubuntu; you can read more about them here. Scripts often need to be run from the terminal and made to be executable. You read more about that here. Again, same safety check applies to running anything you download from the web.

7. Gaming on Linux

If you're a gamer, I'd recommend the following the guide by PBLKGodofGrunts on the /linux_gaming subbreddit. But to summarise...

The Good News

Thanks to Valve's involvement in Linux through Proton and the efforts of the Wine team, Linux gaming has never been better. It's now possible to play many Windows-only games with no hassle and minimal performance loss. Just a few examples of recent games that run just fine on Linux are the Resident Evil 2 remake, Sekiro, Halo: Master Chief Collection (single-player and custom multiplayer games), DOOM, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Risk of Rain 2, Total War: Three Kingdoms, and more; you can even toss a coin to all of your Witchers. To get an idea of games that run on Linux, you can visit ProtonDB, Wine AppDB or Lutris and search for your desired game. If you're primarily a single-player gamer, the transition should be mostly painless.
Another amazing development is the number of open-source implementations of older games game engines that allow for playing of classic and retro titles on modern hardware, (such as DevilutionX for Diablo 1)often with improvements, bug fixes and quality of life improvements, ensuring they'll be able to run into the future.
However, the most critical development is that the number of developers and platforms that provide and support native Linux games has increased significantly. Feral Interactive publishes several AAA Linux ports, numerous indies now provide a Linux version, and store fronts like GOG and itch.io provide an alternative with DRM-free games.

The Bad News

Despite all of this, gaming remains one of the biggest hurdles to adopting Linux.
If you're into multiplayer gaming, you're out of luck. While many multiplayer titles do work on Linux (LoL, Dota 2, CS:GO, TF2, Rocket League, Warframe, Overwatch, Starcraft II, World of Warcraft, Eve Online, Elite: Dangerous, Monster Hunter:World and so on), many more don't - Fortnite, some Call of Duties, Apex Legends, PUBG, Battlefield, GTA Online. Essentially, anything with an anti-cheat is likely NOT going to work, and there's always the risk that playing a Windows multiplayer game will get you banned due to anti-cheat measures that dislike any whiff of Linux. My suggestion is check which games you play and go from there.
Unless you're using Steam, running other launchers is complicated and prone to constant breakage without continuous effort and maintenance. Epic, Origin, Uplay and GOG Galaxy can all run on Linux with some effort. Lutris does sort most of these out, but you'll need to follow the instructions here, which means your going to have to install Wine first.
Some games simply don't work, and there's no solution for it.
Some of the latest developments aren't going to be available to you. VR is tiny on Linux, and you'll likely lose access to most of your VR software and experiences.
Despite being fairly technical already, many gamers do expect things to "just work". Here's a list of things that require some effort to get working correctly:
  • Super-sampling is out. Not entirely, but it's more complicated than Windows.
  • Access to things like custom shaders and injectors are also going to be limited. Mods can be more complicated or, in some cases, not available.
  • You'll lose some of the benefits of your Gsync/Freesync monitors, since the two tech don't work that well on Ubuntu's standard display compositor. This will change once Ubuntu shifts to Wayland.
  • Things like community game patches are often aimed at Windows, with no Linux alternative.
Most importantly, AMD and Nvidia graphic cards are handled very differently on Linux when compared to Windows. Ubuntu uses an open-source driver by default - this is alright for general use but terrible for games and 3D applications. To get decent performance, you'll need to install their respective drivers.
Nvidia's latest Linux drivers are made available in Ubuntu directly. However, this is just the drivers: Nvidia's GeForce Experience isn't available on Linux and you're going to lose access to all of its tools. That means no Ansel in many cases, no DSR, no predefined gaming configs and no ShadowPlay (Although OBS offers a decent alternative in this case). See the Tips section above on how to install it. On the plus side, the installation process is a breeze and Nvidia's performance is fairly solid.
AMD benefits from much better open-source drivers and active support from AMD, but unfortunately suffers from delays for support of their most recent cards and a fairly complicated install process . AMD uses the MESA Driver, combined with Valve's ACO shader compiler, to deliver performance boosts. Installing these drivers can be a complicated, multi-step process. I'm sorry I can't help you on this; I'll happily take someone's advice on getting this working in Ubuntu LTS and include it in the guide.

8. Alternative software

This is a quick and dirty guide to equivalent software for Windows applications in Linux.
  • Antivirus software: This may seem counterintuitive, but for the most part Linux does not require any sort of anti-virus software. While viruses for Linux exist, the number of viruses and such that target the Linux desktop specifically is tiny compared to Windows. You can read up about it here.. That being said, if you are concerned there are several tools available for detecting both Windows and Linux malware on the same page. Follow good internet hygiene, don't open suspicious links/mails and think before just randomly following command instructions on the 'net.
  • Microsoft Office: LibreOffice. Or you can access Office365 online.
  • Adobe Photoshop: GIMP, Krita
  • Adobe Premiere: Blender
  • 3D Studio Max: Blender
  • IllustratoCorelDraw: Inkscape
  • Xsplit: OBS
  • Windows Media Player: VLC
  • Basic Audio Editor: Audacity
  • Audio Mixing: Ardour, Mixbus
  • Adobe Reader: While there are several PDF readers on Linux you can use, almost none of them play well with Adobe PDFs with advanced features. You're better off sticking with what comes with Ubuntu, and if it doesn't work, open it up in a browser.

9. TL;DR or The Conclusion

Switching to Ubuntu is possible and relatively safe if you do some research on which apps/games/software/hardware you use will and won't work on Linux first, you BACK UP YOUR IMPORTANT DATA before doing anything and don't expect a 1:1 experience with Windows. It's all dependent on your flexibility, technical experience and willingness to learn and compromise.
If you're not, Windows 10 is a perfectly acceptable choice to upgrade to: you'll benefit from improved security compared to Windows 7, a larger selection of hardware and software and will have to put less effort to make everything work at the cost of your privacy and some ads.
If you have legacy software or unsupported hardware that doesn't run on either, you're kind of screwed. I'd keep the Windows 7 box around, make sure it's disconnected from all networks (for your sake as well as others) and start making emergency contingency plans to find a modern alternative.
I know that people are going to take issue with some of the difficulties I raised, and suggest they're really not dealbreakers. Before you post, consider whether a new user coming from Windows 7 who'll be using Linux probably for the first time in their life will have the knowledge, gumption and willingness to perform sometimes complex technical steps in an operating environment they're unfamiliar with and where it's much, much easier to really break things.
Feel free to post criticisms and suggestions in the comments. If there's some good advice worth including, something needs further clarification or I need to correct something, I'll edit it in with credit.

10. To do list for the guide

  • I'd really like to add a section on assistive technology and software that works on Linux, but as I don't use any of it, I feel my research would be limited and miss vital pieces. If you have advice on this, let me know.
  • A good, up-to-date and easy-to-follow guide for dual-booting.
  • Instructions on how to install AMD drivers correctly on Ubuntu.
submitted by DokiDokiHermit to linux4noobs