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Everywhere I look these days, I see people proclaiming the wonders of Mac and Linux. Well, I’m a die-hard Windows user, and have been one ever since the days of Windows for Workgroups 3.11 .
One kind of blog post I don’t really see often enough is “why Windows is awesome”. I’m going to try to explain why exactly I stick with Windows, even though I can easily switch to Mac or Linux.
Windows is everywhere. In a time where everybody is so focused on the mobile space and on watching the tight competition between iOS and Android, it’s easy to forget that Windows is by far the most popular operating system in the world. Sure, there are some specific environments (colleges maybe, and graphic design houses) where Macs seem to be the order of the day. But most everywhere else, Windows is the prevalent OS.
It Has a Bazillion Apps
As a result of being so commonplace, Windows has far, far more applications than anything else on the market really. If you’re looking for an application to do anything specific, chances are there’s a Windows version of that application.
In case you think “numerous applications” correlates with “low quality”, a quick stroll through our Best of Windows page quickly reveals the wealth of awesome apps out there. True, these are “only” the 117 best ones, but you can easily think back to your own Web browsing and try to recall; you will see that Windows applications are by far the most common applications out there.
It’s Backwards Compatible
With Windows 7, Microsoft went to great lengths to make sure every Windows program out there could run. It went so far as to include a virtual machine running Windows XP (“Windows XP Mode”) so that even ancient applications could run. One of the common complaints against Windows is that it contains oodles of legacy code, and that’s true. But the flip side of this coin is that Windows has excellent backwards compatibility. You don’t have to take your pick only out of applications coded in the last year or two when those coded even ten years ago would still run just fine on any modern Windows PC.
Ah, the venerable BSOD, that much-celebrated sign of Windows system instability. For the past three years, I got to see it maybe once – and this is when logging approximately eighty hours of Windows time per week on two different computers. Today’s Windows is an extremely reliable OS, with uptimes that easily compete with Linux (in a consumer setting at least, which is what this post is all about).
The battle-cry of many Linux and Mac enthusiasts is that “Windows is insecure”. I say a properly patched copy of Windows 7 is as secure as anything, especially if you don’t do anything dumb with it, like download potentially-infected software from dubious websites.
Microsoft Security Essentials is a very highly-regarded security solution, and is only one of many free antivirus tools for Windows. I’ve been using Windows for years, and installing numerous software applications in my role as a software blogger, and have never once caught a virus. Some would say those are famous last words – I say this is the mark of a secure operating system.
It Has Fantastic Developer Tools
With tools like free Visual Basic Express, Microsoft makes it very easy to start developing modern Windows applications. You don’t need to spend any money to enjoy a fantastic IDE and debugging tools. If you’re trying to put a startup together for developing Windows software, Microsoft’s BizSpark plan would happily set you up with full, free licenses to a huge array of Windows tools, including a professional version of Visual Studio, and multiple versions of Windows itself.
The Apple Tax
Outside of the United States and Europe, Apple computers are expensive. As a result of Apple’s commercial policy in Israel, there is just one exclusive distributor, and they set whatever prices they feel like setting.
As a result, an 11″ 64GB MacBook Air costs $1,386 here, compared to $999 in the online US Apple Store. Some would say this is an isolated problem, but I say this reflects Apple’s commercial policy in many small territories (and some which are not so small, too).
Windows Keeps Getting Better
Microsoft is far from complacent these days, and is working hard to make Windows 8 a big success. Unlike Apple’s notoriously secretive development process, Microsoft is going out of its way to be as open as possible about Windows 8, with lots of official videos (such as the one embedded above) showing the OS far ahead of time, to get as much community feedback as possible and make it a hit.
I’ve tried Linux before, and liked it, but not enough to stick with it. I’ve never tried using a Mac before, because I just don’t feel the need – Windows gives me everything I need, is far less expensive, and runs on any hardware I want to run it. I know I can build a Hackintosh on my own, but in Apple’s eyes, that would make me a criminal. So for me, it’s Windows all the way.
Now it’s your turn to say your piece about whether you agree that Windows is awesome; I won’t necessarily reply to every comment, but I can assure you I will be reading them all.