11 Aug 2015

Zorin OS 10 Core: install and forget

You may have noticed that DarkDuck publishes articles about certain operating systems more often than others. They are LinuxMint, Emmabuntus and Zorin OS. The reasons are different, though I can tell you that I keep good relationships with both Emmabuntus and Zorin teams. That's why I cannot miss a chance...

And there is a chance this time!

It has been more than a year since Zorin OS 9 was released. And the 1st of August 2015 saw the release of the brand new distribution from the Zorin team: Zorin OS 10.

I downloaded the image of Zorin OS 10 Core 64-bit from the official site. It is easy to navigate, though a torrent option is definitely missing for downloaders. ISO image size is just below 1.5 Gb in size.

Then I faced the same issues with Zorin OS 10 that I previously had with Emmabuntus 3.1.01. Neither Ubuntu's built-in image writer tool, nor the dd command worked for me. Unetbootin helped me to deal with Zorin OS image this time.

So, USB-stick is ready and plugged into the port of my Toshiba Satellite L500-19X laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

First impressions

Passing the standard Unetbootin boot menu, you get into the Zorin OS 10 boot screen. It contains a Zorin OS logo, streamlined and modern-looking. A few seconds more, and you get onto the default desktop.

It has a wallpaper in blue tones as well as panel at the bottom of the screen. The panel has a menu button at the left, shortcuts to the Firefox browser, file manager and e-mail client next to the menu button, and few icons in the notification area in the right corner.
Zorin OS 10 default desktop

Once booted, Zorin OS 10 Core takes about 460 Mb of memory.
Zorin OS 10 resource usage

Zorin OS has always been known for the available design configuration options. Let's check them out.

If you dislike the default wallpaper, you can choose from alternatives that are available if you right-click on the desktop. There are about a dozen images, some of them Zorin-themed.

Zorin OS 10 Core menu and panel design are similar to Windows 7. If you dislike it, there is a Zorin Look Changer in the menu folder System tools. It allows you to switch between Windows 7, Windows XP and GNOME 2 layouts. A new thing here is that Zorin Look Changer no longer requires you to reboot the system to apply the new layout. It happens immediately when you click the relevant button. In other words, it is now available in the Live session too! However, Windows 2000 design is no longer available. Who does remember that operating system now?

Another feature of Zorin OS 10 is Zorin Theme Changer. It has some new features too. Being introduced in Zorin OS 8, it allowed you to switch between three default themes. Now it allows you many more options by varying "Highlight" (blue, red, orange and green) and "Background" (light, dark and black) elements of the theme. However, theme change does not always work properly. Do you see the white elements on the browser tab in the Black theme?
Zorin OS 10 Theme Changer

There is no switcher between the virtual desktops, or workspaces, in the default Zorin OS layout. However, if you right-click any window title, there is an option to move the window to another workspace. It actually works. If you then click the application button on the panel, you will see the desktop cube rotation animation. You can also rotate the desktop cube yourself holding the left Ctrl and Alt keys together and using the mouse.
Zorin OS 10 desktop cube

Network connection

Zorin OS 10 Core did not have any problems in detecting and configuring the wireless card of my Toshiba laptop - Realtek 8191.

The network indicator is in the notification area in the bottom-right corner of the screen. Click it, select the home network, enter the password, and I am connected.

Network drive

The default file manager in Zorin OS 10 Core has a Connect to Server tab in the left panel. It calls up a window where you can type in the remote server and folder names. It worked for me, and I was able to browse the folders on my shared network drive in no time.

Keyboard layout

The default keyboard layout in Zorin OS 10 is English US. If you want to switch it or add another layout, you need to select the Text Entry element in the System Settings panel.

The process of adding layout is very simple. The list of active layouts is in the left part of the window. You can add, remove or change the order of them. The right part of the window allows you to change the keyboard hotkey. You simply click the relevant field and then press the desired hotkey, for example Ctrl-Shift.

You can delete the Caps Lock key too. It is under the Options button in Keyboard layout configuration window. There are also a lot of other single-key options there, just like back in Ubuntu 10.04 days.

There is an icon on the panel from the very start that shows the current layout. Right or left click on that icon calls up a menu with few elements, like switch the layout, show character map or go to the text entry settings. Unfortunately, none of them actually works with the right-click. They work with the left click although.

As I've touched the keyboard, let me touch touchpad here too. It works fine, but... By default, Zorin OS 10  uses two-finger scrolling. If you prefer an "classic" way of one-finger scrolling at the edge of the touchpad, you need to change that setting in the Mouse and Touchpad section of Settings panel.


As usual, Zorin OS 10 Core comes well-packed with the applications for different purposes, although the list is smaller than the one you have in Emmabuntus.

Internet tools are represented by Firefox 39 browser, Empathy messenger, Geary mail client, Remmina remote desktop client, desktop sharing tool. There is also the Zorin Browser Manager, which allows you to download and install Google Chrome, Midori and a "Web" browser, which is likely to be Epiphany, the default GNOME browser based on WebKit.

Productivity tools include LibreOffice Calc, Writer, Impress and Draw along with the PDF viewer and Calendar.

If you work with graphics, then GIMP, scanning tool, image viewer and Photos manager are under your fingertips. And LibreOffice Draw too, of course.

Zorin OS 10 comes with a selection of simple games like Sudoku or Mines.

Brasero, OpenShot video editor, Rhythmbox, Parole media player and Cheese Webcam are in the Sound&Video section of the menu.

Of course, there are simple system tools and accessories like Gedit, System Monitor, Terminal, disk manager, password manager, calculator and so on.

Zorin OS 10 is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. It means that you have a huge list of available applications from Ubuntu's standard repositories and personal archives (PPA).

And if that isn't enough, then Zorin OS gives you the Wine option. It allows you to install and use Windows applications under Linux operating system.


Zorin team includes all necessary codecs and plugins to enable multimedia in their operating systems. Zorin OS 10 is not an exception here.

Rhythmbox and Parole players are good for MP3 and local video playback.

Firefox works well with web videos, both on standalone and embedded pages.
Zorin OS 10 multimedia capabilities

General impression

Zorin OS 10 Core feels solid, fast, responsive and powerful. I did not experience any crashes or lags when running it in the Live mode.

There were some bugs that seem relatively small. I've mentioned two of them above.

Another bug that I noticed is visible when you try to create a folder in the Save File dialogue, for example in the screenshot tool. When you enter the new folder name, the "Type folder name here" invitation does not disappear. It is still there in white font while you type the folder name in black fonts. It is a bit annoying, but, again, a relatively small issue for the otherwise nice operating system.

I would recommend Zorin OS 10 to people who want to install and forget about their operating system. It simply works. I would also recommend Zorin OS 10 to people who don't want to change their habits after changing from Windows. These fresh Linux migrants are actually the people the Zorin team works for.

Enjoy it!


  1. Thans for this review!!! Will try it..as i have been under mint for 2 years now...

  2. Just moved over from Windows, am not a geek..hence i use Zorin, bottom right hand there is thing that lets you flick round the desktop,like 4 tiny cubes, whats the point in having this rubbish, if it just gives you the same Desk Wallpaper each time on every 1 of the 4 cubes, you would expect it to give you the option of 4 different wallpapers?

    1. Using the desktop cube in Zorin OS lets you open different windows on different desktops in order to keep you more organised.
      You can show different wallpapers on different desktops by following this guide: http://ubuntuguide.net/different-wallpapers-on-each-workspace-in-ubuntu

      Bonus tip: You can switch between the desktops by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Left/Right and you can move your current window to the next desktop by pressing Shift+Ctrl+Alt+Left/Right.

      Best regards,
      Lead developer - Zorin OS

  3. Sorry for last post, Its called the Shiny Shifter...whats the point in having this? each one of those should let you have different wallpaper at least, then it would be better, as it stands i does nothing for me anyway, it just comes back to the same setting desktop display..