Maybe this is happening as you’re buying a new computer: One devil urges you to buy a Mac or at least get a Chromebook, while the other insists you try Linux. And here’s me explaining why you should stick with good old Windows.
Windows remains the dominating desktop operating system. Windows 7 is found on more than half of all PCs and Windows XP still runs on almost a quarter of home computers. Overall, more than 8 out of 10 desktop computers is a Windows machine and notebook sales are recovering; guess why.
You Already Know How Windows Works
If you don’t like change or learning new things, you can close this article after reading this first point and be happy.
You’ve been using Windows for years, you have a selection of favorite software, and your external hardware, like your printer or scanner, is working just fine under Windows. Basically, you invested many hours to adapt to the Windows environment. If you can’t be bothered to re-learn basic tasks or find alternatives and workarounds under a new operating system, why would you?
Even if you needed to upgrade your current computer, it’s probably easier to adjust to a new version of Windows, than to learn a completely different operating system from scratch. Despite what everyone is saying, Windows 8.1 isn’t all that bad. In fact, the desktop interface is almost the same as Windows 7. With the 8.1 upgrade and Update 1, Windows will boot your PC to the desktop by default and the missing Start Menu is easily replaced. Heck, you could even play it safe and stick with Windows 7.
Check-In: Are you with me on this one? Then you’re almost done. Just leave a thank you comment and you’re good to go.
Windows Is A Full-Fledged Operating System
If you use your computer for more than accessing a browser, you need a proper operating system.
Whether you’re getting a Windows 8 tablet or a Windows desktop computer, you’ll be working with a powerful operating system. Even though it was designed for tablets, since the introduction of Windows 8.1 and its first Update, the latest version of Windows is incredibly desktop-friendly.
By design, Chromebooks depend on Internet access. While you can connect external storage devices and use offline modes of web-based tools, local storage is about as generous as what you’ll find on an average smartphone and you can’t install Windows software. Period.
Check-In: The Chromebook is eliminated based on its many limitations, but Linux and Mac remain in the race.
Windows Comes Pre-Installed On Affordable Hardware
A ready-to-use Windows laptop or desktop computer can be had for under $300.
This price is comparable to a Chromebook or Android tablet and if all you do is use your browser and the Internet, by all means, get a mobile device. If you’re expecting to multi-task or install software, however, you already know better.
You can buy a cheap laptop that comes pre-installed with Linux, but the choice is limited and it would require that you adapt to a new operating system. You can also install Linux for free on any Windows hardware you already own or dual boot Windows and Linux, but it’s something you have to spend time and energy on to set up. Windows comes pre-installed on most hardware and works right out of the box.
Linux is a free option that, with some work, can be optimized to replace Windows. Investing in the Macverse, however, is a whole different ballpark. Moreover, despite the inflated price and walled nature of its environment, Apple supports its operating system with updates for a much shorter time than Microsoft.
Check-In: If you’re looking for the best value, Macs are out.
Many Developers Support Windows Only
Because Windows remains the dominating operating system by far, developers often don’t bother with supporting other platforms.
You may find alternatives, but if you depend on specific software or want to play a particular game, you’ll have to use workarounds like running it in WINE on Linux, which can be difficult to set up and buggy. On the bright side, Steam made a commitment to support more Linux games, which led to a great influx of new games, but big publishers are still ignoring the platform. Likewise, hardware developers refuse to support a fraction of the PC market. That’s unless it comes at a premium, which is why you see a lot of Mac-specific software and hardware.
Even our resident Linux writer Danny recommends you to check for hardware compatibility, software needs, and gaming preferences before you decide to switch to Linux.
Check-In: If you’re happy to compromise on software and games, you’re a Linux person. Otherwise you’re not and you know what that means.
Nobody can give you a one size fits all recommendation. I’ll try anyway: If you have to listen to one of the silly imps, then try Linux. It’s free, open source, and you can easily dual boot it, while still running Windows. You won’t lose anything and you might find that you like it.
In the end, only you know what you really need and which features you most appreciate. All things considered, leaving Windows behind and switching to a different operating system might be best for you. Or maybe you’re considering a return to Windows after all. I hope this article helped you figure it out once and for all.
Where do you stand? Which is your favorite operating system, why do you stick with it, and which other ones have you tried?