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Microsoft is launching a new version of Windows Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Microsoft is boldly stepping into the future with innovative software and hardware. Windows as a service and mobility of experience were the major keywords from the recent Windows 10 briefing. Most importantly, Windows 10 will... Read More and that means everyone has one question on their minds: should I stick to Windows and upgrade or is it time to look beyond to Linux or Mac? The quick answer: if you’re on Windows, stay on Windows—and don’t worry about upgrading just yet.

I run a dual-boot system with Windows 7 and Linux Ubuntu (occasionally changing to Windows 8 as well as every new Linux distro worth trying The Best Linux Distributions The Best Linux Distributions There are many Linux distributions available for a number of different purposes, which makes it difficult to choose at times. Here's a list of the very best to help you decide. Read More ). I also have a MacBook Air for on-the-go work. I use all three operating systems every day, partly because knowing technology is my job and partly because I’m a geek. But I keep gravitating back to Windows whenever an important task looms large and I have to get things done.

If you are a long-time Windows user, you are better off sticking with it and not changing. Here’s why…

Is Windows The Best OS? It Doesn’t Matter

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Is Windows a better operating system than Mac OS X? Not really. Is it worse? Not really. The whole “I’m a PC/I’m a Mac” argument focuses too much on objective quantifications and head-to-head feature comparisons. That’s a good way to settle the debate, if it can be settled with those yardsticks. But that doesn’t matter to me, and it shouldn’t matter to you.

You’ve probably read thousands of articles that compare things like software. The Windows flagbearer will tout the genius of IrfanView, and the OS X fanboy claims the superiority of QuickSilver, while the Linux loyalist looks down his nose at anything that isn’t Terminator. The thing is, software alone is never reason enough; it’s the familiarity of the software that keeps you hooked.

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The question then isn’t “What’s the best OS?” The question is “What’s the best OS for me?” Objective research might suggest OS X is more stable, but what if stability isn’t the most important factor for you? Different things matter to different people. Don’t just rely on external reviews and expert analyses, you need to look at your own way of using a computer and decide what is right for you.

You Have Invested In Windows, Whether You Know It Or Not

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Some people think it doesn’t matter what operating system (OS) you use Mac, Linux or Windows: It Really Doesn't Matter Anymore [Opinion] Mac, Linux or Windows: It Really Doesn't Matter Anymore [Opinion] It matters less and less every year what operating system you use, because every year we all spend more time on our computer using nothing but the browser. And browsers are cross-platform. Want to have... Read More because your primary application is the web browser, where options like Chrome and Firefox are available on all systems. That’s not giving you the whole picture though. Whether you realise it or not, you have invested heavily in Windows over the years.

Investment isn’t always monetary, although that might be the case, too. If you bought Microsoft Office 2007 all those years ago, then you can still use it perfectly well. While Office 365 is great, it’s expensive software and since your old one is working fine, stick with it. The same goes with the operating system itself—if you paid for Windows 7, you can keep using it Microsoft Retires Windows 7: This Is How You Can Still Get A Copy Microsoft Retires Windows 7: This Is How You Can Still Get A Copy Windows 7 Home and Ultimate editions have been retired. If you want to get a computer without Windows 8.1, your options are limited. We have compiled them for you. Read More .

But more than the monetary investment, it’s the mental investment that matters. You have spent years becoming familiar with Windows. You know how to install a program, you know how to change the look of any window. If things go wrong, you know you have to hit Ctrl+Alt+Del. These are now things you can do without googling how to do them. The amount of time you save with your existing knowledge bank of how to operate Windows is invaluable.

It’s The Little Things

Windows-linux-mac-should-you-switch-windows-button

Muscle memory is an amazing resource and you have to factor that in. Good software tells you how to do stuff. Great software gets out of the way and lets you do stuff. Over the years, Windows has honed itself for its long-time users. My fingers are used to every keyboard shortcut in Windows Windows Shortcuts Windows Shortcuts Read More . I don’t even look at my screen any more when I want to close a maximized window—my hand is accustomed to sweeping the mouse pointer to the upper-right corner and clicking the close button. I take comfort in knowing it’s there and it will work every time I do it. The same action doesn’t work on Mac or Linux.

Such little things matter. You take them for granted when going about your job regularly, but they become painfully hard and time-consuming in their absence. My long-standing gripe was that even though I use Linux and Mac every day, I still often have to search how to do “simple actions”—until a friend pointed out that the actions weren’t simple, it was that I instinctively knew how to do them on Windows so my brain qualified them as “simple”.

There are things you miss on OS X if you are a Windows user 4 Things About Windows That You'll Miss On A Mac 4 Things About Windows That You'll Miss On A Mac Thinking about switching over to a Mac? It's easy to find faults with Windows. But are you aware of the things you'll miss? Read More . That’s not faulting OS X in any way; it’s a commentary on how you use computers. Change is difficult for anyone, so if your primary demands of a computer are being met with Windows already, then there is no reason for you to change.

Bottom Line: It’s About You, Not About The OS

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You can answer three questions to choose between Linux or Windows Should I Use Linux Or Windows? 3 Deal-Breaker Questions You MUST Answer Should I Use Linux Or Windows? 3 Deal-Breaker Questions You MUST Answer Linux. Windows. We aren't here to tell you which one is better; rather, we're here to help you decide which one is better for you. Read More , and you can gripe about how Windows is killing the traditional desktop 6 Ways Microsoft Is Killing The Traditional Desktop In Windows 8 [Opinion] 6 Ways Microsoft Is Killing The Traditional Desktop In Windows 8 [Opinion] The traditional desktop is still around in Windows 8, and it’s probably the best Windows desktop yet (aside from not having a Start menu.) But Microsoft is setting it up for the kill. The writing... Read More , but all that is fluff. The purpose of an operating system is to put forth an environment where you can get things done—where you can get things done. You are what matters and everything else is bullshit.

In closing, let’s hear about your experiences of the big switch. How did you find changing your primary operating system? Have you stuck to the new one or come back?

Image credits: Damian_Yerrick/Wikimedia, Chris Owens/Flickr, philly_j/FreeImages

  1. John S
    September 26, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Today I think Windows succeeds because it's already installed when you buy a PC. I doubt many consumers see much option then maybe a Chromebook when shopping for a computer.
    It's really a choice between a Mac, PC with Windows a Chromebook or a tablet with Android or IOS. Nobody see's a Linux install on a retail notebook much. If you seek one out that's another story. Windows 10 was the first Windows release that gave me pause to consider something else. Like Chrome OS Windows has become it's own boss in deciding everything for the user. From updating, to sharing data to taking over default settings. It's a mess to go through all the settings to gain back some control. Chrome OS is even worse because your stuck in a Google world. But if your accepting of either of these operating system's then you must not care that much about privacy. Windows 7 was probably the last we will see of a Windows OS exclusively dedicated to being just an OS not a data miner. Once Microsoft began to move into a Microsoft ecosystem with the Microsoft account sign in. The end user began to accept the effects of losing privacy with cloud syncing. Sure you can negate some of this by turning off features, using a local account but in the end you also lose some function of Windows 10. For me it was the last straw with Windows, I decided to move past Windows OS to Linux. Not because I want too, but because I need to maintain control over my hardware. Something Microsoft has decided it wants to control now.

  2. Yves Legault
    January 9, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    I have worked with almost all Micro$oft products since MSDOS 2.1 up until Windows XP, including the many MSOffices, but excluding the windows servers line of products. UNIX, and now Linux, always had far more reliable products in the network field.

    They never were the first to put a software out or the best at writing them since about mid 1980.
    They were very actively buying competition and integrating their newly acquired toys in their product line.

    What Micro$oft has accomplished was to take what has been a vertical market until then and turn it in an horizontal one. This process was well under way before 1981 came around, but they must be recognized as such. It is a visionary dream come true.

    One other thing MIcro$oft is very good at is... Marketing! They are among the best in the world at it!

    That being said, should someone switch OS?
    - If you are not afraid to toss half of what you have learn to be the law in the Micro$oft world, go ahead. You'll find out that in the other turfs, the law does not change as often, which comes as a blessing. But remember that learning curve you will have to cope with.
    - If, for you, a change is a change, then changing OS or not is not an issue. What other OS's have to offer, compared to Windows might very well be at the top of your concerns.
    - If you want technologically advanced stuff that does not let you down, a switch is mandatory.
    - If you seek connectivity, then the marketing edge of Micro$oft comes into play and you may not want to switch to another OS.

    The bottom line is that 99.99% of people will never be anything more than computer users. Some of them may turn pirates, but no intimate knowledge of what makes theses wonderful boxes tick is ever considered. It is a usage-based decision.
    As for the 0.01% left, I must split them in two groups:
    - 1 The engineers, the technicians, and the programmers that actually make computers and network do profitable work and keep them busy at it.
    - The hackers, not the pirates, who have created that world and are still keeping his spirit alive.

    A pirate is a bad person to start with. There is generally little good, if any, that can come out of his actions.
    A hacker is a knowledgeable person that is proficient in an art or another. It is true that hackers have the potential to become very dangerous pirates, especially in the computer world.

    So, stop using the wrong word for the right thing!

    ... And, if you decide to depart from Micro$oftland, you will probably never get back there... except to save a few lost souls.

  3. daniyal141
    November 20, 2015 at 9:39 am

    The change from Windows 10 to Linux was very stressful. But in the end I did not read any documentation or anything. I just installed it the way I thought was right. My windows partition got corrupted and now I'm actually glad that this happened.

  4. Erinti
    March 25, 2015 at 2:04 am

    I've been using Windows since 2000 and Linux since 2005. Recently I started working with Mac, because my company provided me MacBook. For work (programing and extensive usage of command line) Linux is best. I am using Windows just for games and MS Office. Mac? I don't like it. As Linux user I am used to freedom and possibility to change almost everything in my system. I really hare graphical environment of Yosemite and my eyes just hurt. I think for programing or database management Linux is best. For office's tasks (especially if specialised software is required) Windows is best, as well as Windows is best for playing and watching DVD movies. Mac is best for showing off.

  5. Jack
    March 15, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Love Windows..even 8.x. Love Mac OSX. Outside of fanboidom, both are great OS's. Both have their place in my life, often times intermingling with each other. The one thing I have a hard time with going to my Win laptop after Mac is the track pad. I keep clicking my touch pad on my Win laptop. On the other hand and gives me fits sometimes. Having used both environments for years, I really love Win and Mac. If either had an edge it would be Win for my games. Mac has games but nothing like the library of Win games I have collected (and still play) over the years. On the other hand I can put Win, Chromium, Ubuntu, Linux and other OSs on my Mac through Boot Camp (win) and Parallels (all others).

  6. tlotz
    March 10, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    I've been telling people for years that there's going to come a point in time that the OS doesn't matter at all. My OS of choice hasn't changed over the many years I've been using computers. I've used the three primary operating systems for years, and the thing I find most frustrating is exactly what you mention: familiarity with how to accomplish a certain task. I find myself going back and forth all the time. I find that the task I'm trying to accomplish is what dictates the OS (or really, the device) I use. If you want to be a fanboy of some OS, go have your fun arguing the ridiculous points of your chosen OS ad nauseam. If instead you want to get things done, find what works for you and stick with that. The best software (or OS) in the world isn't going to be effective for someone if they don't need the software, or can't use it the way they need to.

    • Healthyevan
      March 11, 2015 at 1:55 am

      As someone already posted- You cannot stick to a chosen OS. Very few things change as fast as the computer world. You can either change intelligently or you will be forced to accept defaults. Not always does the "best" win. Sometimes we have to cut our ties and learn something new because we are changing. I love the resources that are available to us in this day and age to learn. Who would have thought that I would be doing video editing or music creation with a computer, even 20 years ago. We have come a long way baby. Now I can create multiple websites with just a few mouse clicks in just one day. Wow, are we having fun yet?

  7. Rick
    February 27, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Q4OS looks just like windows.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 28, 2015 at 5:56 am

      Interesting, I had never heard of it before. Will try it out, thanks!

      Anyone who wants to check it out: http://q4os.org/

    • Healthyevan
      March 11, 2015 at 1:41 am

      I have installed two different "New" wireless printers and they all work great in Linux. Before I buy a printer I look to see if it is supported by Linux. The same with Scanners and other hardware. They work better in Linux than in Windows and they are the same machines.

  8. Shimon
    February 22, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    I started using computers long long ago. My firt computer had a tape instead of a HD. From terminal to modern windows-based GUIs, I'd worked with many diffrent systems and OS. I'm familiar with most of OS, including Windows XP.. 8.1, Linux distros - specially MINT, and OS9, OSX. Not a single one OS is perfect or suitable for everyone or every kind of activities, business or enterteinment needs. MY OWN selection is OSX. I loved it. I'm now working windows 8.1, and I hate it, but I have no option just because our company is all windows-plattform based. Lunix is Ok but I'm not using it on daily bases since I can't even print on my band-new wireless printer.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 28, 2015 at 5:56 am

      Oh really? Which Linux distro were you using that didn't work with your printer (and which printer)?

  9. ElvisShotJFK
    February 13, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    I'm happy with Windows after about 18 years of use, from 3.1 to Windows 7 (I could even tolerate ME, after doing a few things to it), but hate Windows 8 on the handful of occasions I have to use it. I'm comfortable with Windows and familiar with it; it took a bit of time to get used to some of the changes over the years, but it's not that much of a re-learning curve and I sometimes struggle when I have to use a computer that's not Windows 7. I've no interest in switching back to Macs and Linux doesn't really offer a compelling reason to switch to using it on a regular basis (I've used a couple utility live CD's, that's about it).

    As some have alluded to, one of the things that keeps some people from switching is cost. Quite frankly, a Mac costs more than a similarly equipped PC/laptop and what the software you've purchased has cost you is something to also thoroughly consider. Though there are many exceptions, most software is not licensed for cross platform use, even if available on multiple OS'es, and sometimes you have to purchase a cross-grade license to to so if there is one or buy the other version full price. There are some programs that are available for only one particular OS, but there will almost always be a comparable program. More and more developers and publishers are making games for Linux and Mac OS, which is a good thing, but Windows is still king when it comes to computer games. We are long away from the days when a Mac was simply better than a PC, part of which is how much closer they are in regards to their components, but Windows has improved vastly over the years.

    I have spent a lot of money over the years and could not afford to make the switch and there are plenty of pros that have spent more on software and hardware than I have who would be in the same position, not to mention companies that may have multiple computers to switch over if someone (IT dept. or otherwise) convinced them to change platforms. It's not as simple as buying the new machine or OS and moving on without interruption.

    One argument I have seen in the Mac/PC divide was that you can install Windows on a Mac. True, but if I'm going to spend the vast majority of my time in Windows anyway, why not just get PC or laptop instead and save me the extra cash that I'm not spending on having a Mac? Plus, if I have the budget for it, I can spend the same amount of cash for a superior system that has the stuff I want, rather than picking from a more limited set of options.

    So, as a former Mac user, I am happy with Windows, even if I could be considered an "above average" user.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 13, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      Let's hope Win 10 can change your mind about your unhappiness with the current version, and repay your faith :)

  10. Pablo Cabrera
    February 13, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    It looks to me more like being afraid of change rather than anything else. Sure software is a valid reason, I don't argue on that one, but not willing to learn a new OS is not a very good excuse. That's like being stuck in some old programming language because you don't want to invest in learning a new one. Is like not learning french because is too difficult... is like not driving left-hand side because you drive right-hand side.. is like... aaa you get the point.

    The things you mentioned that you are used to in Windows not being available in OSX or Linux applies the other way around too. For instance, in Linux, the window manager is by far better than windows. You can do things like adjust transparency of a window, or set a window to "always on top" or switch the windows to another workspace, which doesn't even exists in Windows (I could be wrong, the last Windows I used was Win 7).

    I could go on and on... Just check the compiz config manager to see all the hundreds of options that you have in Linux that are not available in Windows. Same goes for OSX, My wife switched to OSX a few years ago, it was difficult at first, even being used to the right/left click in the mouse, but after a while she got used to it. People even complain from one Windows version to another...

    I wouldn't recommend people to stick with their old known OS because they can accomplish more with that. I would chanllenge them to try a new one and try to see the benefits before they give up.

    People should not be afraid of change, is not that difficult. Embracing change and new challenges make us smarter and better prepared to adapt.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 13, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      Change is often good. But it's about deciding which change is worth it and which isn't. There's an objectively better way of doing almost anything, but you need to be selective about which ones you choose to do the better way. For those people who don't really need the benefits of other OSes, why is embracing change important?

    • Pablo Cabrera
      February 15, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      Change is imminent in most cases, specially in technology. If you stick to old versions of software, for example people that never moved away from XP, eventually you face security vulnerabilities, lack of support, etc. if you are not prepared for change, it might hit you harder than you think.

      In any case, I agree that not everyone needs to keep with the latest. If there is no real benefit, by all means stay with the things you trust to work, but my point is, being afraid or not willing to learn something new, shouldn't be the main thing that stops you from switching.

      I often admire the elder people who has adapted very well to the latest technology, and despite the fact that they didn't grow with computers and gadgets like many of us did, they have learned their way around.

      But in all, I see your point, adapting to something new just for a small benefit, sometimes is not worth the frustration and time invested.

  11. WD
    February 12, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    We gave up on Windows for internet use and migrated to Zorin (wife and myself). Worked. Hasn't been without problems tho...some of the Linux software is more difficult to use. We also still maintain a large collection of Windows machines (2K,XP,Win7) for internal use - but those effectively don't touch the internet and are generally "static". I'm not happy with this arrangement, but there is quite a bit of hardware which *only* has windows support.

    Given recent exploits, we're also using read only operating systems more and more (livecd). 2015 is not as much fun as 20 years ago when there were fewer punks to deal with. Hell, we don't dare run open SMB servers anymore...everything is now read only. What a pain in the ass.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 12, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      DUDE, YOU HAVE A WIN 2K MACHINE!

  12. Mong Pru
    February 12, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I still use Windows XP and will not change anytime soon, And it gives me support for all my old sofware ... and some of the new ... and I am totally satissfied with my CAD, Illustrator, old dictionaries, and others.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 12, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Ha, an XP user! That's what I call a loyalist :D You're fine with sticking to it even after Microsoft stops updates?

  13. Matthew
    February 12, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Familiarity is a virtue, and while there are some superficially windows-like Linuxes - either "some assembly required" packs, or Zorin, it's not 100% - though a Windows 7 or below User would feel more at home with Zorin than with Windows 8.

    Had the "unfamiliarity experience" with my first Android - and discovering the "move to SD" function and ways to tweak it was critical, as it was out of appspace in my first blunderbuss of loading.

    On the other hand, having tried a live CD Zorin, it was a lot easier to follow than the previous Live Cd that I used to use as a basic hardware functioning proof

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 12, 2015 at 4:50 am

      I'm glad you brought up the Android thing, because that's a great example of where two OSes still are new and haven't had that long-term familiarity. Switching to Mac/Linux after 15 years of Windows is hard. Switching to Android/iOS after 5 years on the other platform is still easy right now. I don't think it'll remain easy another 5 years down the line though.

  14. Jimmy Naidoo
    February 11, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Having been around since the early 8bit days(1980's), I am used to diverse operating systems. Used pretty much most of them at one time or another. Currently using Windows 7 and Elementary OS(beta) but usually recommend Ubuntu to new users.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 12, 2015 at 4:47 am

      I quite like Elementary for what is promises, but there are too many stability issues for my liking. I also don't like the default app choices it makes. It's an "almost there" OS for me, I'm hoping Freya changes my mind.

    • Evan Baker
      March 11, 2015 at 1:14 am

      Funny the different experiences we have. I got hits from viruses within the first 5 minutes of booting up. I am so paranoid now that I took the antivirus program off of one machine , that I knew was good to load on another machine so that when I actually went on the internet to load an antivirus program I wouldn't get malware or viruses or trojans etc. during the download and installation.
      I have two machines running XP on my desk. Why do I? because they have software and hardware that I spent big bucks for in their day, that I would loose if I went to Windows 7.
      Now I have two other desktops running windows 7. On one, I am spending lots of time trying to get XP software to run in windows 7. I just started running win 7 this year for my first time. I do it because now that XP is not supported, I am forced to make the shift. Windows 8 is garbage. It is multiple steps backwards from windows 7. It goes to show that not all people downgraded to windows 8 just because it had a higher version number. The latest is not always the greatest. Windows lost a huge market share in that stupid move in just one year. Most companies would have folded.
      Linux has changed a lot in the last 20 years. The GUI has improved tremendously. You can and could run 3D windows before Bill Gates products. I have 4 desktops currently installed but I mainly only use one, because I am rather simple minded. I installed linux mint Rebecca on my ASUS netbook and with a 250 gig SSD it acts like a new machine. when I shut it down it takes less than 5 seconds to close. In linux I can open MS Office files that I cannot open in MSWINDOWS. This works great for note taking etc.
      I can install Linux on a machine in 20 minutes off a 2 Gig flash drive. Try that with MS Windows!!!. (After the latest windows update I am at 55 Gigs) When it came to upgrading software from one version of linux to another, for example (Rebecca) I installed a new version without even having to backup my data off my hard drive. All my old data was still there. Try that with windows.
      As far as ease of use. I installed linux on my( 80 year old mom) moms computer that had been running windows XP, because she got a trojan that trashed her drive. She sent it to me and I downloaded all the files off this supposedly dead hard drive onto linux, deleted the trojan, installed linux on her hard drive. copied the data back onto her hard drive, and sent it back to her. I called her after she had received it back, spent 20 minutes on the phone walking her through her NEW linux program and desktop and she was off and running. I had very little followup support. Why? because the desktop was more like XP than Windows 7 was. If I had a choice, I would only run Linux mint. It is true that some distro's are better than others. Mandrake was far ahead of its time. It became Mandriva before it croaked. Now I had to switch to Linux Mint. It is good and stable, recognizes lots of hardware and is a joy to use and is getting better over time. Stability and reliability are huge with me. I made the transition to Linux because of that. I hated blue screens. I loved OS2 warp because it could run windows programs better and faster under it, even with less memory, than windows programs would run in windows. Windows won out not because it was a better product, but because Microsoft was better at marketing. Linux runs many programs better (faster) than the same programs run in Windows. Better programming, less overhead, more stable. Many software Companies are jumping ship to Linux because of this. Microsoft shot themselves in the foot when they went to windows 8, (a pared down version of windows 7)? Now they are scrambling to try to get this mistake repaired with windows 10? Is the general public going to continue to be suckered or not? They have announced the end of support for windows 7, even before 10 has come out. Will more of our hardware be outdated and not work anymore? Most businesses and GQ public may be sick and tired of being jurked around and paying through the nose for it.
      I probably spend 98 % of my time in Linux. The more I use it the greater my joy as I learn. Yes there is a learning curve. There was a greater one to go from XP to Win 7.
      Was it worth it?. YES! a hundred times so.

  15. brad
    February 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Just curious here as i am unsure if i am the exception to the rule. When is the last time you dealt with a virus on any of your personal computing devices? Android was the last i had to deal with, but my Windows machine hasn't had anything since.... XP i think? I run only windows defender but I am curious if the virus debate is still valid or not?

    • stijnjo
      February 11, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Hi, me too, haven't a virus since the early days of XP. And that virus was my own fault, I disabled the antivirus program while I knew the file was suspicious.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      I actually did a little experiment where I didn't run an AV on my Windows machine for a whole year. Installed one at the end of the year and I didn't have a single virus.

      I think the virus these days is a function of the user. Most tech-savvy users know better than to click on links that look malicious or untrustworthy files. Viruses are still a problem for the vast majority which doesn't know better.

  16. Jeff S
    February 11, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    While I agree with much of what you say, in principle, you have several of your facts wrong. For example, the closing of windows is certainly different on Mac than Windows, but most Linux GUI's take a lot of care to be as similar to Windows as possible - right down to pressing the Windows key to bring up the "Start" menu and Ctrl-atl-del bringing up the lock/shutdown dialog.

    Almost every argument you make here could be turned around and said about the other operating system. Well, except for the part about stability. "Maybe you're used to you system being unstable..." Really? Please.

    At the end of the day, yes, the choice of operating system is - alot - about comfort and familiarity. But it's other issues that make people consider moving from Windows; changes to the interface, cost of maintaining an "up to date" system, (yes!) stability, and the cost of software.

    I spend about as much money helping to support open source projects as I used to spend supporting Windows. My reasons for switching are complex, but none of them were addressed in this sorry excuse for an article.

    I've come to expect good things from this site and this was a disappointment. Not because I disagree, but because the article doesn't actually SAY anything.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Sorry if this disappointed you, and I'm not claiming that your reasons for switching are invalid. I think this may be a case where the reader I'm talking to is more of a lay-user than you. I didn't identify it as such in the article itself, which is my fault, but the core point I'm making is that the investment of learning a new OS is not worth the potential benefit for most average users--"most average users" is key here. Think about your sibling/friend/parent for whom using a computer is not an intuitive process. I often like to draw a parallel between switching OSes and shifting from an automatic car to a stick shift. Yes, the stick shift is more powerful, more efficient, and will require lesser maintenance; but if you've grown up on an automatic gear box and power/efficiency/maintenance aren't big considerations in the base purpose (getting from point A to point B), then the benefits of a stick shift are not worth it.

    • Knut
      February 11, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      Your assumption about keyboard customisation is wrong. You just have to sit down and define those function keys on Mint and Ubuntu.
      When it comes to make a move from W8 to W10, there is a difference in the look and feel in Windows as well.
      How to configure Mint to be like Windows is described many places: http://www.everydaylinuxuser.com/2014/07/linux-mint-17-cinnamon-ultimate-windows.html - Customisation.
      It is then up to you if you like viruses and malware, rapid "security updates" that you are not given any reason for. If you like a computer environment with malware, Linux cannot match it. There are malware, but it is different, and consequences can be limited.

      If you want to run MacOS, you have to buy a Mac. If you want the Mint to look like MacOS - see http://www.noobslab.com/2013/10/mac-os-x-mbuntu-1310-pack-is-ready.html - but you cannot install MacOS on a Windows computer.

      MacOS has several of the same utilities as Linux (Mint/Ubuntu/Redhat) from "Disk Utility" to "Settings". Keyboard shortcuts can be changed to anything on Linux, Apple can do the same but removed this in "Settings". It is up to you to set ALT+F4 or ALT+Q / Ctrl+Q to "Quit". The application receives a signal for these keyboard shortcuts.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 12, 2015 at 5:04 am

      Knut, do you honestly think most users are willing to / have the expertise to / feel like doing those things? Has that been your experience with most of the people around you, who I assume you have told about the same benefits and customization you've listed here?

  17. Knut
    February 11, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    You read the comments above, and fail to provide one reason to stay with Windows other than "it will get better" and "remain as things are". How impressive arguments.
    MacOS is not alternative, that will require that you buy a new laptop.

    BUT:
    Linux Mint is free, there are no viruses and just about everything is available. If you have MS software with license - e.g. MS Office or Photoshop, use Wine and install it on Mint (e.g. Cinnamon). The best reason is that you get the power in the laptop back, no need for a cup of tea / coffee while you search for a file, and the UI is better, very similar to Mac but can be made to anything.

    There are numerous other distributions, usually for very specific use. Ubuntu / Mint shares a huge software repository, you have tens of thousands applications that have been tested and verified - and some are tested and ported to MacOS /iOS - this is simple, and to Windows - this is a major rewrite.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      Knut, I don't think I ever said Windows will get better; and while I believe it will, I don't think that's an argument to stay on either. My base argument is: for most users (and that's key here), the trouble of relearning a new OS is not worth the potential benefits. You're an advanced user, and probably use the computer for more hours per day than average Joe. I can completely see why learning a new OS (and in the process, relearning a majority of how to use a computer) makes sense for you. But saying that's what everyone should do is a bit extreme, imo.

  18. Jock
    February 11, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Use all 3, why not have the best of all of it :)

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      Haha that's what I do too! I don't think that's the average joe's choice though ;)

  19. Gilead
    February 11, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Great piece. I've found myself on several occasions attempting a switch, but after a few days am back to Windows. It gets my job done. It really is about the user.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks Gilead :) Always happy to hear from fellow switcher-backers!

  20. Harsh Gajjar
    February 11, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Hey,
    Everyone should try using Linux os now a days.
    Cause our hardwares are upgrading in a very nice manners...windows is not able to utilise it's power at its fullest, as Linux does. Even Mac OSX performs so nicely, after all, that's also based on Unix code .
    Using Linux will also benefit us, as per in other daily basis softwares...other softwares can get better, you can find more alternatives if you use Linux.
    If win 10 will performs faster than its other versions.then I will definitely would love to use windows.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      "Windows isn't able to utilize hardware to its fullest, unlike Linux" -- that's a pretty loaded statement. Can you back it up with proof/examples?

  21. Kevin
    February 11, 2015 at 9:15 am

    Thanks for a balanced article. I was an early adopter to first DOS, then Windows. I now use Mac in a professional environment and love it. Although I still have Windows on my personal laptop, I can now dual boot to Linux Mint which I find that I am using more than Win7. Mint more stable, virus free and does all that I need (MS Office compatible apps as well). Sure, not everyone wants to relearn anything and will usually stay with what they know, no matterhow bad it is. There are still a few apps that are still only available on Windows platform and that really is the only reason I still use it otherwise Mint is my first choice for personal computing.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      I have to say, I increasingly like Mint more than Ubuntu. I'm in full agreement about it being more stable. I do miss MS Office though!

  22. Tom
    February 11, 2015 at 8:46 am

    I Wanna See Mac & Especially Linux Be Able
    To Do Everything Windows Will Do Ex: Convert
    Music & Video Whatever way we Want ~ Copy
    Any Format Movie or Music To Any other Format
    Compress & Decompress any File or Format
    Copy Dvd ' s ~ Exact Clone ~ I'd Love to See
    any Os take My 450 Mb Music File & Make
    it fit on a Cd Without Jumping Through Hoops
    if it fits then convert it to whatever format
    & Just do it or give us Choices ~ Check one & Done ~ I Tried to make a Cd with a 450
    Mb music file & Windows Wouldn't Let me ?
    Wth ?¿?

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      I think most of the features you're asking for are available across all OSes now. I dunno why you couldn't make a CD with a 450MB music file, maybe someone else can shine a light on that one.

  23. TomF
    February 11, 2015 at 8:22 am

    As a developer I got sick and tired of Microsoft constantly changing the programming paradigm and charging for new development environments every eighteen months. As soon as you had one mastered MS was pushing another one. I develop now using Linux technologies that are stable, scaleable and free.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      Fair enough, TomF. That's a legitimate concern for someone in your profession. Have you tried Mac OS X as well?

  24. Arun Kumar
    February 11, 2015 at 6:21 am

    I have used windows, mac and Linux for some time, But I would always go back to windows again and again all because of the software installed on it, they have made my life easier. I have about 180+ must have software on my windows. which I have been gathering since 1990. It's sad to see that companies and programmer now a days are not coming out with any stand alone desktop applications or even upgrade for the existing applications. They are only focusing on web app and mobile apps.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 6:22 am

      Exactly my reasons for returning to Windows time and again, Arun!

  25. Gilbert J
    February 11, 2015 at 3:11 am

    I can't speak for Mac, but I find that clicking at the top right to close a window works just fine for me in Linux. It works because I'm not using Ubuntu, which has the buttons at top left by default. If I did use Ubuntu, and found the top left button location annoying, I'd just move them to the top right.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 5:25 am

      It's pretty easy to switch those buttons to top-right as well. That was just an example of the small changes between OSes :)

  26. Doc
    February 11, 2015 at 2:07 am

    I've had to learn Mavericks, and now Yosemite, in order to publish ePub books with iTunes Producer. The OS is horrible; I have to look up to find the menus, where they're attached to the window I'm working in in Windows and most Linux distros (I played around with Ubuntu in 2006-2007 on a dual-boot PC). Also, the Command/Option keys make cutting and pasting a pain, as they're "switched." No love for CTRL?
    Most Linux filesystems are cASe-sENSitiVe, which makes no sense at all; I've had to learn the terminal to manage our web server; after years with DOS, though, the command line doesn't scare me at all.
    If I ever use *buntu again, the first thing I'm ripping out is Unity or (more likely) going with Linux Mint and either Mate or Cinnamon. Unity's desktop looks like nightmare straight from a Freddie Krueger movie, and the color scheme...ecch.
    What most of these "are you going to switch?" articles forget is that we can take back Windows from Microsoft with a few tweaks: I installed Windows 8.1, added a Start Menu replacement, and used UXTheme Patcher to get rid of the ugly, flat "Metro" theme in just a few minutes. Windows 10 will make the job even easier: Desktop-style Start Menu I can customize, and a nice coat of paint and I'm good to go! Just waiting for it to hit RTM, and I'll give it a try.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 5:24 am

      I think Win 10 actually does most of the things you do when you're customizing your Windows, so there's good news coming up for you!

      But my larger point isn't about which is a superior OS, it's about which is better for YOU--every individual is different, so let's not make a hard and fast rule here.

  27. Anonymous
    February 10, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Linux is fun to play around with when I am bored. To do real work I will always use Windows. Mac? I will never buy Apple!!!

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 5:22 am

      I wouldn't say Linux is bad for real work. I've used it for a long time now and often don't boot out of it for work. It's more that I'm comfortable with certain Windows software that makes me go back to Windows. If I was a proficient GIMP user, for instance, I'd stick with Linux for longer hours.

  28. Hildy J
    February 10, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    I have to agree that, for most people, switching doesn't make sense. No OS offers the average user a big enough benefit to justify learning it and its ecosystem of applications (not to mention the potential cost of new applications).

    However, I would add one caveat. Going with what your organization uses, be it a school or business, has benefits. For the most part this will apply to college Mac users entering the corporate Windows world. Telecommuting is becoming prevalent and lugging around a corporate laptop (purchased based on price rather than weight) is not always fun.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 5:21 am

      Totally agree, Hildy. If you conform to your natural uses and those of your surroundings, that's the best OS to use.

    • mark
      February 11, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      windows gets virus mac os x gets virus but with Linux you are still virus free. Linux is still the best and it is free.

  29. dragonmouth
    February 10, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    In my years of working with computers, I learned at least 8 different O/Ss. Some I had to learn for work, others I learned because I wanted to. None were particularly easy to learn but no one was any harder to learn than any of the others. They all had a steep learning curves. Or should I say an "un-learning" curves, because the difficulty was in un-learning the habits (good and bad) acquired previously. Window Fans will rise up and flame me because, according to them, Windows is "very easy." Of course, they conveniently forget that they were not born knowing Windows. They had to learn it step by step, just as I had to learn MVS, OS1100 or Linux.

    I was a Windows user for 15 years. When I started learning Linux, I kept on trying to do things the "Windows way." It was not easy to change. For the past 8 years I have used Linux exclusively. Now when I'm occassonally forced to use Windows, it is Windows that is hard to use.

    The bottom line is, the best/easiest O/S is the one you are comfortable using.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 5:19 am

      Amen.

  30. Jeff
    February 10, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    A good windows alternative is Pinguy OS. A Ubuntu based distribution. I have very good performance with it and it detected all my hardware, even my wireless with no issues

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 5:19 am

      I've used Pinguy, I honestly didn't find anything different about it when compared to Ubuntu, apart from the lack of Unity. What's so special about it?

    • Jeff
      February 12, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Since is based off of Ubuntu, there really no difference other than the lack of Unity (not a big fan of Unity) and it detected my wireless adapter right away where the Ubuntu distribution did not.

  31. AVAOX.com
    February 10, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Way too much software that I like is Windows only and doesn't have good Linux alternative (I don't like WINE), but my second pc (notebook for mostly watching movies in bed) has Mint.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 5:18 am

      Same here, AVAOX. It's all about the software, that's one of the main things that keeps making me go back to Windows.

  32. Ziaur Rahman
    February 10, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    I love to use Linux.

    • Raf
      February 10, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      It is a liberating experience indeed.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 5:17 am

      Which distro are you running?

    • Ziaur Rahman
      February 11, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Now i"m using Zorin OS. By the way which one will be the best Linux distor for beginner?

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      I usually recommend Ubuntu because it's so similar to Windows. But if you're looking for a change, try Linux Mint.

    • Gilbert J
      February 11, 2015 at 11:58 pm

      Mihir, did you mean to say that Mint is similar to Windows?

    • Lee
      February 12, 2015 at 1:13 am

      I currently use Linux most of the time (Windows only when I need an application that isn't available for Linux), but I might switch to a Mac. Linux on my laptop just has tons of issues (mainly the video card, but lots of random other quirks too). It's still usable on a day-to-day basis, but occassionally something wont work and it's really frustrating. Seeing as I almost can't live without a bash shell now, a Mac seems to be a good option. Plus, I can have all three major OS's on one machine and use them as I need to for a given situation.

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