ReactOS installed on real hardware ThinkPad T23 instead of Windows

Is ReactOS ready for prime time on real hardware? Let’s give it a try on an older IBM ThinkPad T23 with a full install on disk. Seeing is believing, so check out the video of this installation and app testing as well!

ReactOS is a Windows compatible OS that is supposed to eventually replace the original. It is in alpha stage for decades now but is making steady progress in the last years. So let’s try version 0.4.9 stable release. Will ReactOS eventually more successful than Linux in conquering the desktop?

To start your journey you have to visit reactos.org and download the latest iso file (just a bit over 100MB) and burn it unto a CD because there is no official USB boot support yet. How do you get your standard Windows drivers on the system? Burning a driver CD with Ethernet, video and audio drivers had to do the job, feels like the 90s again. The app-manager had some free Windows software available like Firefox 48 or Diablo II and both of them ran fine but a bit slower. Of course you need working internet for this feature.

Let me summarize my experience, some of the pros are:

  • Free and open source
  • Fast install and boot with no problems using default settings
  • Basics like screen, keyboard, trackpoint work fine
  • App-manager with a range of free preselected and compatible Windows apps just like in Linux
  • Ethernet drivers did work in this installation and we have internet access

Some of the negatives are:

  • USB not working (USB storage, mouse, etc) but there is a patch with USB support that should be added into the main releases in the future
  • Sound is buggy. I had to use the ‘screen’ boot option to get sound but it remained buggy
  • S3 video drivers crash the system and the generic drivers are slow and support no advanced features
  • Sometimes slow an unstable, mostly depending on the apps
ReactOS on ThinkPad T23
ReactOS desktop on real ThinkPad T23

Thanks for reading! You can check out more of this blog or my YouTube channel.

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