Abhimanyu Krishnan | 13 Dec, 2022

Linux vs Windows: Which Operating System Should You Choose?

There’s a lot of fanboyism when it comes to picking an operating system, with vocal supporters on all sides. The Linux vs Windows discussion is an age-old battle that has been fought over for years now. 

It is important to stress that the ‘best’ operating system cannot have a single answer, as the best really depends upon the requirements of the user. 

Here we discuss the pros and cons of both systems, as we hope to deliver a fair review based on specific criteria. Perhaps this will help you decide between Windows or Linux.

The ideal way to start this discussion is by talking about the differences between Linux and Windows. We dive into this after talking briefly about each OS.

Linux vs Windows: Head-to-Head Comparison




Developed By

Linus Torvalds

Microsoft Corporation







Kernel Type

Monolithic kernel

Micro kernel


More efficient

Less efficient

Separating Directories

Forward slash

Back slash


More secure

Less secure than Linux

Hacking Efficiency 



Types of User Accounts

  1. Regular
  2. Root
  3. Service account
  1. Administrator
  2. Standard
  3. Child
  4. Guest

Super User

Root user

Administrator user


More reliable

Less reliable than Linux


Less suitable


System Updates

Easy and users have control

Difficult for novice users

What is Windows Operating System?

The Windows Operating System was first released in 1985 by Microsoft. It now dominates the OS market, with the largest user base around the globe. Through updates, every OS version gets a unique graphical user interface. Windows actually has two modes: the user mode and kernel. The latter runs critical system processes, while the former runs typical applications. 

Most of the commercial systems that we see today work on the Windows Operating System, which is designed to work on the x86 hardware, including Intel and AMD.

Here’s a list of pros and cons of the Windows OS:



Intuitive and beginner-friendly

Can slow down over time

High-quality UI

Can have bugs and reliability issues

Lots of apps available

Must be purchased

Good support for legacy apps

Subject to vulnerabilities

Has plenty of hardware and driver support.

Does have data collection, though it can be turned off

What is Linux Operating System?

The Linux Operating System is an open-source OS created in the early 1990s by Linus Torvalds. Based on UNIX, Linux allows users to modify the existing code and produce different versions or distributions of it, which they can re-use and even sell. 

Linux has emerged as the top choice for setting up servers, which is why most web pages on the internet are served via systems backed by one of its distributions. The OS is also popularly used in desktops, mobile, consoles, eBook readers, and much more.

Here’s a list of pros and cons of the Linux OS:




Unintuitive and not suitable for beginners

Much faster than Windows

Does not have as many apps as Windows


Does not have extensive hardware or driver support

Very reliable and secure

High levels of privacy

Differences between Linux and Windows

Here we'll go over the difference between Windows and Linux based on select criteria.

1. Price and Licensing

The Linux OS and most of its utilities and libraries are entirely free and open-source for use and modification. While paid distributions of the Linux OS with additional support are available in the market, they are very moderately priced. Linux, under GNU General Public License, allows users to modify, re-use in any number of systems, and even sell their own modified versions.

Microsoft Windows OS comes with the Microsoft License, which does not give users access to the source code. Thus, no modification can be performed at the standard user level. The Microsoft License ranges from $70 to $200 for its standard versions, and can only be installed on a certain number of computers as specified in your purchase.

2. Ease of Use

This might be a tough comparison to make, as it may vary from person to person. However, Linux has revamped its usability standing over the years through constant modernization. With the release of distributions such as Linux Mint, the installation, and setup process has been made simpler. Through continuous updates, people with little or no technical knowledge can also install software and perform normal activities such as email, play music and videos, and browse the internet.

Due to the market dominance Windows has, it comes pre-installed on many devices. If you are purchasing a new device, there is a high chance that it will come with a Windows OS version installed. With the supremacy it has on the market, a vast majority of users are already accustomed to its interface. 

Moreover, the easy-to-use toolbar and easy installation of programs make it an excellent choice for both new and old users alike.

3. Support

As Linux has a huge user base around the globe, there is massive online support available for Linux. The Linux OS community provides support to users through forums, question boards, and support websites.

Windows OS has easily accessible support through integrated and online help systems, dedicated websites, and forums. In addition, numerous videos and books about Windows are available online.

4. Variety

Linux is celebrated for being open-source with several modifications in existence. There are a lot of distributions available which are highly customizable, based on the needs of the user. If you have knowledge of code, you can even alter the code yourself and modify the OS. Some of the most popular customized Ubuntu environments are Gnome, Cinnamon, Deepin, and LXQT.

In the Windows OS, customization is not as easy and a comparatively fewer number of customizations are available. Users mostly have what they get right out of the box, which may not be to everyone’s liking.

5. Speed

When it comes to speed, Linux trumps Windows by a great margin. Unlike Windows, Linux tends to minimize the ‘bogging’ when it comes to the use of multiple processes. The file system Ext4 in Linux does a commendable job at keeping the device efficient. Defragmentation is now dead and buried in Linux. 

Windows OS can slow down to sometimes intolerable levels, which is somewhat inevitable over time. Memory and disk hogging is common when multiple processes are being used.

6. Privacy

Over the past few years, Windows has become increasingly advertisement driven. Users can opt out, but those concerned about privacy can find the experience grating. Many people are fond of the tools that Microsoft Windows offers, but they are intrusive regardless.

Linux users, on the other hand, have an OS that makes the privacy of its users a priority. Linux devices are also equipped with strong encryption, which means that users can be sure of better security and less intrusion from third-party applications.

7. Security

Linux is also considerably more secure than Windows. Attack vectors are still being discovered in Linux, due to its open-source technology. However, anyone can review the vulnerabilities, which makes the identification and resolving process faster and easier. 

Meanwhile, Windows has taken long strides in improving its security system over the years with a 5% decrease between 2020 and 2021, but it is still the primary target for malicious hackers. Due to its large user base, Microsoft is always vulnerable to new threats and when they do appear, they affect many users.

8. Run Level

A run level is the state of init (the first process started during booting) and the whole system which defines what system services are in operation. The run levels are identified using numbers. You can change run levels and the services that can run inside them, which offers more control over the system.

While Linux can stop at different run levels, Windows will reboot at run level 3 for an administrator to fix the encountered problem.

9. Command Line Usage

In the Linux OS, the command line is a very handy and powerful tool used for administration and daily tasks. 

In Windows, the ‘cmd’ command can be used to open a command line and perform a basic set of operations, while PowerShell offers more flexibility.

Recommended Linux Command Line Course:

10. Reliability

The Linux OS has a strong focus on system security, process management, and uptime. Linux has compromised on this, and is the most secure and reliable OS available.

On the contrary, even though Microsoft has made improvements in reliability over the years, it is nowhere near Linux. It has let go of many features for the sake of user-friendliness and ease of access, which may lead to system instability and security vulnerabilities.

11. System Updates

In the Linux OS, the user has full control over when and what to install updates. Windows is infamous for its somewhat random updates which can pop up at inconvenient times. For the lay user, it may not matter, but those with more computer experience would prefer Linux for the flexibility.

12. Compatibility

Windows wins this category hands down, as there are many more apps that work on Windows than Linux. Most developers want to develop on Windows because of its large userbase, and legacy apps also have a lot of support. 

Linux is not so lucky when it comes to compatibility.

13. Gaming

Windows wins the gaming race by a large margin. Steam, Epic, and many other clients are available to Windows users which provide them with the opportunity to play with both AAA titles and small indie games. Graphics card manufacturers focus their support on Windows due to the larger user base.

While Linux is slowly climbing its way into the gaming market, with the introduction of beta support for many games, it is hard to imagine that it will catch up with Windows. If you purchase a Linux OS, you will be missing out on a large number of games.

Linux Mastery: Master the Linux Command Line in 11.5 Hours

Windows vs Linux: Which is Better?

With the debate of Windows vs Linux operating systems explained briefly, you should be in a better position to choose between the two. It’s not that one is better than the other, it’s just that they both have different audiences in mind. Many people may ask is Linux better than Windows, or vice versa, but pick for yourself based on the information above.

Do you feel we left out any useful points in the article? Let us know in the comment section below. You can also check out some Linux System Administration Tutorials and Courses, which might help you get started with Linux.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Linux or Windows Better?

There is no straight answer to this question, as both serve a different audience. If you want something that is easy to use and runs a lot of apps straight out of the box, choose Windows. If security, customizability, and reliability are important to you, choose Linux.

2. What is the Main Difference Between Linux and Windows?

The main differences between Linux and Windows are that Linux is more secure, private, and reliable. Windows is more intuitive and has support for more apps and hardware.

3. What Can Linux Do that Windows Can’t?

There are lots of such things. One major feature is that Linux does not need to restart the machine in order to install an update if the changes are minor.

4. Can Linux Run Windows Programs?

Yes, you can run Windows programs on Linux through third-party software. Bear in mind you cannot run all Windows programs, only a select few.

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By Abhimanyu Krishnan

With a bachelor's degree in Information Technology, Abhi has experience with several programming languages, including Python, JavaScript and C++. He is also an expert on blockchain technology and its development, having worked in the industry for several years.

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