4 December 2023 ⋅ 7 min read
A Sneak Peek at Zorin OS 17
Test the Beta today. Experience exciting new features and improvements to take your computer to a whole new level.
We’re thrilled to finally share our next giant leap with the release of the Zorin OS 17 Beta today.
This major new release comes packed with exciting new features and improvements to take your computer to a whole new level. We paid close attention to your feedback when designing and crafting Zorin OS 17 to bring you our greatest and most refined computing experience ever.
Universal search and other improvements to the Zorin Menu
As the starting point of your Zorin OS experience, the Zorin Menu has been overhauled to make it even faster for you to get where you want. Search for files, calendar appointments, contacts, apps from the Software store, world clocks, and even use the menu search as a calculator.
You can adjust which search providers are enabled from the Settings > Search panel or by right-clicking on the menu and selecting “Search Settings” from the new context menu here (which also includes a link to the Edit Menu app and other system shortcuts).
There’s also now a new “All Apps” category in the default menu layout that lets you browse through all your apps in an alphabetically sorted list.
Zorin OS 17 makes multitasking more seamless with a new and refined activities overview.
Workspaces are now arranged horizontally, and you can open the overview with a 3-finger up/down swipe on your touchpad and switch between them with a 3-finger left/right swipe, as well as the usual Super/Logo key shortcut.
Double-tapping the Super key now expands the app grid, so you can open a new app by dragging and dropping its icon onto your desired workspace.
You can configure the app and workspace switching behaviour from the new Settings > Multitasking panel.
Introducing an exciting new way to take multitasking to the next dimension. Spatial Desktop gives you better contextual awareness about what’s happening on your desktop, all while making your computing experience more fun.
With the new Desktop Cube, you can switch between workspaces in 3D. Your app windows float off the desktop surface with a parallax effect, so you can see behind them.
There’s also the new Spatial Window Switcher, which replaces the standard flat Alt+Tab and Super+Tab dialog with a 3D window switcher. It makes it easier to quickly switch between apps with rich and informative visuals.
You can enable these Spatial Desktop features from the new Effects section of Zorin Appearance.
Faster and smoother performance
Speed has been a top focus in Zorin OS 17, so the desktop runs dramatically snappier on a wide range of hardware, old and new.
Performance optimizations have been made at every level of the operating system, from the kernel to the desktop environment. Apps open faster, animations are smoother, and loading times are reduced so you can spend more time being productive.
Refreshed Software store
The Software store has been greatly improved and is now significantly faster. It sports a beautiful new design with a refined home screen that makes it easier to explore the endless selection of apps available to download.
App details pages have been overhauled with bigger screenshots and new information tiles, which provide a better overview of every app.
All of these improvements make it easier and more enjoyable than ever to get your favourite apps in Zorin OS.
Advanced window tiling
As one of our most requested features, we’re introducing an advanced window-tiling experience for power users.
After enabling it from the “Interface” section of Zorin Appearance, you’ll immediately be able to use quarter screen corner tiling and keyboard shortcuts. You’ll also see a helpful popup to select the other app you wish to display side-by-side.
Open the information menu and switch on “Advanced / Experimental Settings”, and you’ll have access to custom tiling layouts and more granular options.
New Quick Settings menu
The panel’s system indicator menu has been completely revamped to give you additional options with a more beautiful and thoughtfully designed interface.
It now gives you direct access to a one-click Dark Mode toggle and audio device selection, and allows you to adjust your system’s performance with the new Power Modes option.
Adjustable Power Modes
Ever wanted to extend the life of your laptop’s battery on the go? Or max out your computer’s performance when you’re doing heavy tasks?
The new Power Modes option lets you change the balance between system performance and power efficiency on-demand. Switch between Balanced (for standard performance & power usage), Power Saver, and Performance (on supported hardware) with one click.
New screenshot & screen recording experience
Capturing an image or video of your screen is a great way to show or remember exactly what’s happening on your computer, making it easier to share, explain, or solve problems.
To improve the screen-capturing experience in Zorin OS 17, the screenshot interface is now an overlay on the desktop. This makes it easier to capture a window, a specific portion of the screen, or the entire desktop. You can now also record a video of the screen from here, without needing to use a third-party screen recording app.
To access the new screenshot & screen recording interface, just press the Print Screen key on your keyboard or click the camera icon at the top of the new Quick Settings menu.
Redesigned Weather app
The weather app has been completely redesigned, with a more beautiful and information-rich interface. You can now switch between a detailed Hourly and Daily forecast for the next 10 days.
This weather data is integrated throughout the desktop, like in the desktop clock menu and Calendar app so you can plan your events smarter.
Coming Soon: 2 new desktop layouts
Switching your desktop layout is one of the stand-out features that make Zorin OS so familiar and user-friendly. We’re making it even better and more expansive with the introduction of 2 new desktop layouts in Zorin OS 17: a ChromeOS-like layout and a GNOME 2-like layout.
You’ll soon be able to switch to these two layouts – as well as the current selection – in one click from Zorin Appearance in Zorin OS 17 Pro.
…And so much more
- Parental controls: After creating a Standard (non-Administrator) user account, you can access new Parental Controls from the Settings > Users panel.
- Slimmer status popups: The on-screen display bubbles for volume and brightness changes are less obtrusive with a smaller display footprint, while still conveying the same information.
- Streamlined pre-installed app selection: Due to popular demand, we’ve reviewed the app selection to include only the most essential apps in the Core edition of Zorin OS 17. The default games (like Solitaire and Mines) are no longer included to make Zorin OS more suitable for an office environment. Maps and the To-Do app are also no longer included. However, you still have access to these apps from the Software store.
- Remote desktop sharing with RDP: When you enable Remote Desktop sharing from the Settings > Sharing panel, it now uses the RDP protocol by default. This offers a smoother, more secure, and featureful remote desktop experience. You can still enable VNC (the previous default protocol) from a toggle in the Settings > Sharing > Remote Desktop options.
- Better hardware support: Zorin OS 17 comes bundled with updated drivers, which makes it easier to use Zorin OS with many newer computers and hardware peripherals.
- Updated theme styling: We’ve refined how the desktop and apps look & feel with an updated theme, which now works with native Gtk4 apps and first-party libadwaita apps.
- New logotype: You’ll notice a bolder and more refined “ZORIN” logotype during the start-up animation and on the login screen.
- Long-Term Support until 2027: Zorin OS 17 will be supported with software updates and security patches until at least June 2027. This makes it the perfect choice for large deployments in businesses, schools, and organisations.
This is only scratching the surface of what’s new and better in Zorin OS 17. With the consolidation of hundreds of new features and improvements in this release, Zorin OS 17 is the clearest manifestation of our vision we set forth over 15 years ago: to combine the most powerful desktop technology with the most user-friendly design.
How to test the Zorin OS 17 Beta
You can download the Zorin OS 17 Core Beta today from the link below. Upgrades from Zorin OS 16 to 17 are not yet available but will be added shortly after the stable release of Zorin OS 17 in the coming weeks.
Warning: Please keep in mind that this pre-release is not recommended for installation on production machines as there may be stability issues. We are aware of a small number of other issues which will be resolved before the full stable release, including:
- The full selection of default wallpapers isn’t included yet
- Tour welcome video (which appears at first login after installation) still shows Zorin OS 16
If you notice any issues or would like to suggest improvements while using the Zorin OS 17 Beta, please leave us feedback about it. You can do so by clicking this Feedback link or by launching the “Send Feedback” taskbar shortcut in the Zorin OS 17 Beta.
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We hope that you’ll enjoy using the Zorin OS 17 Beta, and we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback!
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