What is the Best Operating System for Your PC?
Most computer users are familiar with Windows, it’s the operating system that has come installed by default on almost all business and consumer machines for more than 25 years. Microsoft has built an unrivaled market share.
Over the last decade or so, Apple and some other companies have managed to chip away at the 90+% share of the desktop operating system market held by Windows, though that’s a somewhat moot point as Microsoft still holds more than three-quarters of it still.
With several viable options for computer users today, is Windows still the best option, or is there a better operating system?
For most users, Windows is a good option because it’s the operating system that they’re familiar with and understand the most. Switching to a different OS would require them to learn everything from scratch. For technically-minded people, this isn’t much of a problem. But for anyone who finds using a computer a challenge, to begin with, re-learning everything again is a lot of work that is simply not worth it.
Windows is also a great option for most people as it’s compatible with almost everything. Most software and games are built for Windows first and other operating systems afterward. This means those that use one of Microsoft’s products can use just about any printer, scanner, camera, or other peripheral without any major issues of compatibility. It’s also pre-installed, so there’s almost no effort required to get it set up, unlike Linux.
For businesses, Windows is typically easier to have on your network as it connects to Active Directory, allowing for easy management of the entire system.
Linux is an open-source operating system that’s been in development since the 1990s. It comes in many different flavours, each designed for different types of machines and purposes. It’s used most often in servers, thanks in part to it being free and adaptable to make it efficient as a host for websites.
In more recent years, Linux has become more popular as a desktop operating system too, partly thanks to distros like Ubuntu that are much more user-friendly and intentionally designed to feel familiar for Windows users. Lighter versions of Linux like Mint and Lubuntu are also popular because they make older machines usable again due to their low resource overhead.
However, compatibility issues with software and hardware have always made Linux less attractive to all but the most hardcore of computer enthusiasts. That is beginning to change now though as solid alternatives to popular Windows applications are available, such as OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office.
Gaming is also much easier on Linux today too. Many games are now made natively compatible with some distros, while a translation tool known as WINE can also make many titles run within Linux. In fact, many gaming companies including PokerStars and Steam even instruct their customers to use WINE to make their software run on their Linux computers.
Of course, these extra steps don’t make Linux appealing to average users, but there is a growing demand for the OS.
Apple’s macOS has been the strongest rival to Windows over the last few decades, helped by the popularity of the company’s other products like the iPhone and iPad. For users of these products, Mac is an attractive option because it integrates with the Apple ecosystem. Users can get their notifications and messages synced to their computer and access some apps from it too.
However, like Linux, there are some compatibility issues with software and hardware, though not to the same extent. Microsoft makes a Mac version of Office, while Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite is also fully compatible with the operating system.
Generally, Mac is less prone to viruses and other malware than Windows, simply because it’s less of an attractive target than Microsoft’s OS as fewer people use it. However, in more recent years, there has been an increase in the number of reported malware issues which is reflective of the increase in popularity of macOS.
Overall, Windows is still the best option for most computer users, though Linux and macOS are definitely great operating systems that anyone willing to learn the differences can definitely use. Whether they’re better or not is a different question and mostly a matter of personal preference and taste.