I would agree with your title assertion that Linux is not the answer to a large majority of Windows users and I would suspect from the original post that this would apply to the OP.
While it's true that Linux is inherently less vulnerable than Windows, it was designed from the outset as a networked multi-user system, whereas Windows origin is as a single user standalone desktop. It was, after all, Bill Gates who, in one of his less insightful statements, opined that the Internet was a fad and would not take off in the user space. Given Mr Gates overall success, I guess you are allowed the odd mistake!
But that is irrelevant to the issue at hand, people use Windows for a number of reasons, it is the system they use at work, especially in the current growth of BYOD, it's the system that came with the new PC they just bought or it's the system they've grown up with and there is no incentive to embark on learning something else, like Mac OS or Linux or whatever. This majority have a PC to get work done, carry out research or play games, not to use as a computer enthusiast.
Your comments on Linux though, are more representative of Linux past. I investigated Linux 25-30 years ago and at that time, it was a small nightmare, finding drivers and resolving dependencies but it was still a powerful system. Just recently, I revisited Linux and it's almost unrecognisable, the installation on a four year old machine was complete, in about 15 minutes, with all drivers and dependencies resolved. Most software packages could be installed with a single click - to use your wishes - it just worked! The one exception was my Canon scanner but Canon never provide Linux drivers. I used OpenSuSE 13.1 with KDE 4 Desktop - I recommend it.
BUT and it is a BIG BUT, there is a software learning curve, one example, I use Photoshop Elements for photographic manipulation. True, the GIMP will do all of the same things BUT not in the same way. As an enthusiast (albeit with 50 years in the IT industry!) I'm willing to invest in the learning curve but if my next pay cheque depended on it, I might be more circumspect.
But to get back to the issue at hand, protecting against Ransomware, There are a few things that can help. One as many others have mentioned, is to make sure you have a very recent backup of your system and files. If you get hit by an AES encryption attack, there are only two options, pay up (and risk further attacks) or wipe your system and reload from your backup - breaking the encryption is not a viable solution.
The other vital action you can take is not to go online with administrator privileges. Most legitimate systems will request authorization if you don't have the necessary status and you should know what you are doing (you might want to make a specific backup before such actions, which will protect you against the malware and also against new applications/patches that break your system).
Other "must haves" are a fully patched system, a comprehensive security suite or combination of individual components, software firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware, etc and a router with an enabled and configured hardware firewall (most modern routers have them, so make sure it's turned on and appropiately configured).
PC's will likely always be vulnerable but remember, the biggest security exposure is YOU. Be good and if you can't be good, be careful!