5 Reasons Why You Still Need Windows

Dan Price 22-08-2016

Rokus, tablets, Sonos, smartphones, gaming consoles, Chromebooks – there is so much choice on the market that it’s now possible to make a coherent argument against even needing to own a laptop 4 Reasons Why You Don't Need a Laptop Anymore The era of laptops may be coming to an end. In fact, there are several reasons why laptops are now sub-optimal purchases. Here's what you need to know! Read More . I’ve made this point myself on this very site. However, in this piece, I’m going to make the opposite argument.


Why do you still need Windows? What makes a 30-year-old operating system so special? Why is it so integral to our daily lives? What would happen if you walked away from Microsoft tomorrow?

Here are my top five reasons why you still need Windows:

1. To Act as a Central Hub

How many of you own a Sonos system Sonos vs. Chromecast Audio: Which Is Best For You? A lot of people seem to think Sonos and Chromecast Audio are the same thing, but they wold be mistaken. While their core purpose might be the same, the differences between them are vast... Read More ? Or have a Roku plugged into your television Which Roku Media Streamer Should You Buy? The current offering is split into five products – the Roku Streaming Stick, and the Roku 1, 2, 3, and 4. This article looks at what each product can offer, and tries to ascertain which... Read More ? Or frequently move data onto/off external hard drives?

And how did you set up those services in the first place? Almost every time, the answer will be “on Windows”.



Yes, it’s possible to get your Sonos working without installing the desktop controller. Yes, your photos and videos could be stored on a network attached storage (NAS) drive 7 Reasons to Use a NAS for Data Storage & Backups External hard drives are great for data storage, but there are many more benefits to using a network-attached drive instead. Here's everything you need to know. Read More and viewed on a tablet. And yes, your Xbox will work as a standalone console without the need for further integration.

But the fact remains that Windows makes setting up almost anything faster and more straightforward, makes long-term management of those services much easier, and normally improves your user experience.

With the steady growth of Cortana 6 Coolest Things You Can Control with Cortana in Windows 10 Cortana can help you go hands-free on Windows 10. You can let her search your files and the web, make calculations, or pull up the weather forecast. Here we cover some of her cooler skills. Read More , this trend is only going to continue. It’s time to stop thinking of Windows as merely being an operating system, and start thinking of it as a centralized hub to your technological life.

2. For App Compatibility

This is linked to my previous point and is also part of a wider argument about why Windows is the most useful operating system out there.


Almost every app, device, or game works on Windows; the same cannot be said for other operating systems. For example, Chromebooks still don’t have an official Skype app (though there are workarounds How to Install Skype on a Chromebook: The Ultimate Guide The lack of Skype is regularly cited as one of Chromebook owners' and would-be buyers' biggest gripes. All that has now changed. Here's what you do. Read More ), Macs cannot write to NTFS-formatted drives Write To Your NTFS Drives Again in OS X El Capitan (For Free) Some of the most common methods of adding NTFS support broke with the recent release of El Capitan, but you can still write to your Windows drives with a bit of tinkering. Read More without some third-party tools and tweaks, and Linux – while popular among certain groups – lags way behind in terms of the amount of popular software available.


The same point can be extended to Android tablets and iPads.

Ultimately, if you’re a jack-of-all-trades computer user who likes to dabble in a bit of everything, owning a Windows machine is a vital part of your armory.


3. Full-Featured Apps

Make no mistake, cloud computing has grown at a tremendous rate during this decade and will continue to grow long into the future. However, at the moment, the online versions of most apps lack many of the features of their desktop counterparts.

Just look at some of the differences between the OneNote web app and the desktop version 5+ OneNote Note-Taking Tips & Tricks for First Time Users OneNote is an amazing note-taking app and it's free. However, it has a steep learning curve.Our tips and tricks will help you settle in faster. Read More : In the web app you cannot mark notes as read, sort notes by number of edits, take screen clippings, insert or edit symbols, link notes to files, search across all sections, use the format painter command, or find tags.


The same story is repeated across products from Adobe and Google, among others. And, of course, lots of the most widely-used programs don’t even have web versions.


Bottom line: If you’re a power user of a certain app (perhaps you need it for work or school), you unquestionably need a traditional PC, rather than a web-only device like a Chromebook Chromebooks Don't Work Offline? Debunking the Myths One of the biggest criticisms aimed at Google's Chromebooks is that they are online-only machines – ergo, no Internet, no point. How true is this statement? Read More .

4. Ports and Peripherals

Apple created a storm last year when it announced the new MacBook would have just one single port Should the New MacBook's Single Port Scare You Away? Apple recently revealed the new MacBook, and it's a jaw-dropper — but it also has only a single port. Was this a blunder, or a sign of the future? Read More . It’s not even a commonly-used port, with the company opting for the new reversible USB-C option.

I’m not here to argue about the pros and cons of Apple’s decision, but the consequence is clear: If you want/need to use multiple peripherals (wired printers, a USB mouse, SD cards, USB flash drives, high-end webcams, external hard-drives, HDMI-out cables, etc.) you’ll either need to spend a lot of money on adapters How To Add Missing Ports To Your New MacBook Sometimes you just need more ports, particularly if your laptop only has one connector. Here's how to add them to your new MacBook. Read More , spend a fortune on a more expensive Apple product, or turn to Windows.


As with my point about app compatibility, the point extends to tablets. The iPad only has a charging port and a headphone jack and Android options will typically include a single USB port at most. The only exceptions are Microsoft’s range of Surface Pro tablets, which come with a USB port, SD card slot, and a mini-display port.

5. File Type Support

A key part of using a Windows machine (or a Mac), is that it will support practically every file type imaginable. If it’s not done natively, you can almost always download a codec All You Need to Know about Video Codecs, Containers, and Compression Explaining the difference between codecs and containers is relatively simple, but hard part is attempting to understand each format. Read More , app, or plugin that’ll solve the problem.

If you only use other devices for your services and media, this won’t always be the case.


For example, Google Docs will frequently scramble complex Word formatting, Sonos will not support 48 Hz AAC audio files streamed from an iOS device, DRM-protected content is not supported on Roku and nor are AVI files, and tablets might not able to download the necessary apps to open a particular file type.

If you always want to be able to open any document, presentation, music file, or image that comes your way – stick with Windows.

Why Do You Still Need Windows?

Everyone is different; no two people will use their computers in the same way or rely on it for the same things. Nonetheless, I’m confident enough to say the vast majority of people still need Windows 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 will probably do so for a long time to come.

We’re curious about what makes you so reliant on Microsoft’s flagship system? Could you ever see yourself giving up Windows? What would need to happen for you to turn your back on it?

Tell us all about your unique situation in the comments section below.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anonymous
    August 26, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    I have been moving between Windows and Ubuntu for years now. Continue finding myself using Windows more often though, because of convenience. Nevertheless I enjoy Ubuntu alot more than Windows. My love for gaming is keeping me away from Ubuntu. I have tried vine and other related software but it just doesn't get the job done. Now I own two laptops so I have installed Windows on one and Ubuntu on the other.

  2. Robyn
    August 24, 2016 at 11:34 am

    My primary OS is Linux. I only use Windows in a VM to run specific Windows programs, like Office 2003 - the *last* good Office by MS - and now, more recently, have started playing with MacBooks.
    I really only "need" Windows for Poser Pro 11 and VBA. That's it. I rarely go to Poser to pose 3D figures anymore - Blender's getting much better in that regard - and VBA? wish LibreOffice would pull the finger out and create a decent VBA alternative: that's the last real reason to stay with MS Office.

  3. Anonymous
    August 23, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    I walked away from Windows 10 years ago. Haven't missed it at all.

  4. Rich
    August 23, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    It's been 8-10 years since I've run anything but Linux on my home PC's, haven't found a reason to downgrade to windows.

  5. Vladimir
    August 23, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I got fed up with Windows 10. It's just not working well on my laptop - takes ages to stabilize itself when it boots (Disk is always maxed out for the first 15 minutes), and don't even get me started on browsing the web and how annoying and CPU-maxing-out experience it is.

    BUT, I need it and I won't give up on it. It's where my essential software is. I need it for Office (though not really much). Even more so when it comes to my biggest hobby - music production (and DJing with software). Linux alternative is Ardour, which doesn't even come close to the ones that are available on Windows - and don't get me started on virtual instruments (and their plugins). The only way I'd leave Windows is for a Mac (and its Logic Pro) - but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

    I'm also studying programming, and while most IDEs are available for Linux as well, I just installed Solus OS and I don't even know how to install it, being .rpm packages aren't supported (I think) - only eopkg.

    Also, gaming.

    Overall, Windows has more and better programs, in my opinion. If more people used Linux, I guess we'd see more software development for it as well. Linux works faster and better, but Windows IS necessary, at least in my case. I just need a better machine - but I need it for music production as well - the CPU is a big problem.

    So, a few days ago I've decided I'll just use Windows for college and hobbies, and Solus OS for browsing the web. However, switching between those is a pain in the ass. So my next purchase won't be a laptop. It will be a powerful desktop with Windows, with one (or more) of Linux distros only running on my laptop. I know a powerful desktop defeats the purpose of having a laptop with Linux as well, but I'll use laptop only for its portability, essential tools and browsing the web.

    Damn, what a clutter of a comment...

  6. Terry
    August 23, 2016 at 2:23 am

    I haven't used Windows for years, although I still continue to provide IT support services for Windows. I was curious as to what compelling reason there might be for me to have a Windows install of my own. The Macs and Linux boxes at our house need very little administration, After reading the article I still see no compelling reason to add the hassles that come with Windows back into to our lives.

  7. Anonymous
    August 22, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Seriously? How much did M$ pay you? Windows is just an old, cluttered operating system, that really needs to leave.

  8. Anonymous
    August 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    The idea that I might not be able to play a particular type of video file (or access some other file format) unless I use Windows is peculiar to me. I use OS X Sierra on my daily driver boxes and Linux for certain other issues. When I've had codec difficulties in the past, it's always been on my Windows boxes.

    Mr. Price, you are aware that codecs are largely platform-independent, yes? And that VLC, which includes almost every imaginable codec out of the box is available for Windows, Mac, and dozens of Linux distros, yes?

    As for media hubs, have you even seen Kodi or even Ryan Dube's excellent article on setting up a Linux streaming server? (Hint: IT'S ON THIS VERY SITE from November!)

  9. Brent Crossland
    August 22, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    I run Win10 in a VM on my Linux system for access to four applications: the Sonos desktop controller, the Evernote desktop client, Sketchup, and Quicken. I'll probably migrate to a Linux accounting program at the end of the calendar year.

    Do I "need" Windows? No, I keep it available for convenience. The VM gives me the convenience of the Sonos controller, a local backup of my Evernote, and the freedom to choose when I migrate my bookkeeping data. And I already owned the license so it doesn't really cost me anything except disk space.

    • Anonymous
      August 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Same thing here!

      I use a VM with Windows 7 to run 2 applications: Sketchup and Band-in-a-Box. I was using Sibelius until last year, now I migrated to Musescore.
      We just need Sketchup for Linux now. Then I'm all set.

      • -rob-
        January 8, 2018 at 4:04 pm

        Some years ago I got an (old) iMac 24" (half 2007) which I still use as main desktop in the living. Later I got an Macbook Air and a iPhone.
        There is only 1 program for which I need M$ WIndows: Outsystems (a low-code development environment). This development environment is now in beta as a web so that probably will eliminate all needs for WIndows.
        I already use LibreOffice (and previously OpenOffice) for many years exclusively for all Office related work.

  10. CMD
    August 22, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    So how much did Microsoft pay you for this article?

    1. I setup a Roku without using Windows. A Linux server works as a better central hub for storage.

    2. Skype has an official Linux port. Chromebooks can now run the Android version of Skype. Plus Hangouts is far better anyway. You pick on OSX for not having NTFS support, but do you realise that Windows has awful file system support? Linux supports almost every file system ever! The only reason I end up using Windows occasionally is GTA V. EVerything else can be done on a form of Linux.

    3. This one is aimed at Chromebooks, but that doesn't mean i need Windows when full featured Linux desktops can do the job

    4. "spend a fortune on a more expensive Apple product, or turn to Windows." or you know, use Linux on that Windows laptop, or buy a System 76 Linux laptop.

    5. Linux has great file type support, out the box!

    • Anonymous
      August 22, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Totally agree. This article must be sponsored by Microsoft. I was led here by the title, but all the reasons for using windows are not reasons at all. Linux all the way.

    • Anonymous
      August 23, 2016 at 1:26 am

      I don't think this article is sponsored by Microsoft. If it's right, its title should be changed to "Windows is No. 1 OS".

      • James Van Damme
        August 23, 2016 at 6:40 pm

        "Windows is No. 1 OS" .... on desktops that you had to buy with it on. Everything else is dominated by Linux.