ReactOS gives a Free (GPL) Windows replacement that can use USB devices. Sometimes one needs to use a Windows VM when USB devices are required since WINE does not yet support USB devices without considerable hacking.
- Use VirtualBox version recommeded in ReactOS installprocedure
- create a new VM with name “ReactOS”, which should auto-populate needed settings
- when installing, use FAT file system instead of buggy, experimental BTRFS at this time.
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ReactOS advantages vs. Windows
- ReactOS boot image is under 150 MB and 400 MB for base installation, while Windows 10 is nearing a 10 GB install
- no OS license maintenance with Free (GPL) ReactOS
- no licensing worries about making many copies of a working ReactOS install. Get a VM working and copy it to many workstations.
- ReactOS “Lautus” theme looks, works and feels like Windows XP, so there are few concerns about transitioning users reluctant to change
ReactOS is 32-bit, so all programs installed must not be 64-bit. 64-bit ReactOS is progressing and may be available in the future. ReactOS 0.4.x API level is Windows NT 5.2 (Windows 2003 / XP). Programs requiring Windows NT 6.0 (Vista) or newer will likely not run. Unfortunately Python newer than 3.4 does not work with ReactOS 0.4.x due to the Windows NT 5.2 API level. You might consider trying an older version of the program you want to install, that is still noted to work with Windows XP when using ReactOS.
ReactOS 0.5.x is anticipated to have better NT 6.x API like Windows Vista. This is important as many programs, including open source programs, have left Windows NT 5.x unsupported and non-functional for their programs.