Chances are, when you went to buy your shiny new computer, you did some research, looked at some reviews and found one what was in your price range and what had a good price. However, you may not have considered what Operating System (OS) your new computer should be running. Most people have used Windows forever and never really think about if it suits their need. Well now I’m going to look at the three biggest consumer OS’s and assess what they are best used for.
Windows is a very user friendly OS, most people will be familiar with how it works as it is by far the most used OS in the world (90.57% of desktops were running a version of Windows in February 2017). So, what advantages does Windows have other than being familiar? Well Windows is highly compatible, almost all programs run on Windows. Since most of the worlds consumer PC’s are running Windows, this brings with it the advantage of, if you have a problem, chances are someone else has had it, meaning that there is a lot of support online.
On the other hand, the large user base means that Windows users are the biggest target of malware, so you need to be much more careful what you click on when running Windows. Windows is also not cheap, it does come preinstalled on most machines, however if you are running an old version of Windows it costs to upgrade.
So, who is Windows for? Well almost every office, school and business uses Windows machines. This is due to the fact that people are familiar with it and it has great software support. Windows is also the OS that most computer gamers use. This is since it supports all major titles and most games are designed to be ran on Windows.
You may have heard people say that Mac’s can’t get viruses, although this is not strictly true, Mac’s are much more secure than Windows PC’s and if you do get any malware on one then you have been pretty unlucky. Although looks are subjective, it is something that Apple can pride themselves on in both hardware and software, Mac OS is a very clean design and once you get used to it, it is very easy to use. Mac OS has great support for a huge library of free programmes that can be used to create and design at a high standard.
However, buying a Mac is expensive, once you have one all software updates are free, but you will have to fork out a large sum of money for it. Also, there are a lot of more niche programmes that are not available for Macs, which can make them unsuitable for certain users.
Macs are generally used by creative industries and the media. There are a couple of reasons for this, one being the large range of free creative software available on Macs. The other reason being that it has been an industry standard for years and therefore if you do any sort of creative course, it is quite likely that your teacher will be using a Mac to teach you. It is worth mentioning though, if you are a gamer, don’t consider getting a Mac as it supports a much smaller library of games than Windows does.
Linux is not actually an OS, it is an OS kernel, this means that it is the base of an OS. It is the job of developers to create an OS off the top of Linux. It is for this reason that Linux is generally the OS of the computer enthusiast. In 2015, there was 286 different versions of Linux. Linux is used in much more than just consumer PC’s though, it is the OS that supports the New York stock exchange and Nuclear Submarines.
Linux is an OS that you should consider if you ever build your own PC, this is because it is free so will save you a bit of money. It is much harder to say who specifically Linux is for, since there are so many variations that it can suit a large variety of users.
Linux one ups Mac OS on security due to the fact that there is little if not no malware out there for Linux and, like I have already said, Linux is free but it does not come preloaded by many manufacturers.
If you are a computer novice who is used to using Windows it is probably best to steer clear of Linux as it can be slightly complex to learn. Another drawback for Linux is that it lacks support for many mainstream applications, which requires you to find patches and conversions.
This has only been a very brief overview of the three main consumer operating systems, there is a lot more to it than what I have provided here, so be sure to do some more research if you are considering switching. However, be aware that you will likely come across bias opinions so take what you read with a pinch of salt.