Linux vs Windows: A Head-to-Head Comparison

By | December 15, 2021
Linux vs Windows

Linux vs Windows is a hot topic for debate. Which one is better among the two most popular operating systems? Continue reading to find out!

A person who is using Windows for the usual work, such as surfing the internet and/or working with docs and excel files would not prefer to switch to Linux. This is because Windows provides a beautiful and easy-to-use UI.

On the other hand, Linux has some complex file system management and most of the work on Linux is done by using terminal commands, which could be difficult for a typical Windows user to handle.

But when it comes to programming and computer science, Linux becomes the no. 1 choice for professionals and developers.

The Linux operating system is even used by servers and thus, most of the webpages run on the Linux servers. As such, having the knowledge of Linux also becomes very important for a web developer.


However, Windows also comes in a server-specific variant called Windows Server, and it is also one of the popular operating systems for servers.

Here in this article, we have provided a detailed comparison between Linux and Windows (Linux vs. Windows), so you could decide whether you want to stick with your present OS or would like to switch to the other one. But before that, let’s know a brief about the 2 contenders.


What is Windows?

Windows is a series of operating systems owned by Microsoft. The first version of windows was released in 1985.

Interestingly, the first Windows operating system was the extension of MS-DOS (Disk Operating System), and it was one of the first desktop operating systems that provided users with a GUI.

Windows is, however, considered one of the most vulnerable operating systems and by now it has thousands of active viruses.

What is Linux?

Linux is an open-Source, free-to-use operating system based on UNIX. Linux’s first version was introduced in 1991 and like Windows, Linux is also a GUI-based operating system, but most of its important work is done with terminal commands.

Linux is used for cloud computing, embedded devices, mainframe computers, mobile devices, personal computers, servers, and supercomputers. Amazingly, – and unlike Windows – Linux isn’t an OS. In fact, it is a kernel.

Linux vs Windows: A Detailed Head-to-Head Comparison

To make the Linux vs Windows comparison easier to comprehend, we’ve divided it into sections:

Linux Windows


Linux is an open-source operating system, which makes it free to use for any purpose. We do not have to pay anything to install GNU/Linux.

Though many companies provide a paid version of the modified Linux operating system, the root Linux OS is free to download.

Microsoft owns Windows. So, if you want the Windows OS on your desktop or laptop, you need to buy it.

Some vendors and online portals also provide free versions of Windows, but they are all pirated. Microsoft does not support any service, update, and security for such iterations of the Windows operating system.


The latest distributions of Linux, such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint, are more user-friendly and provide a better Graphical User Interface. Yet, for most cases, Linux uses terminal commands that are challenging for a normal user. One of the main features of Windows is that it is very user-friendly, and even a kid can operate and use the OS with ease.

Windows provides an intuitive Graphical User Interface, and a user can easily do his/her work using the drag-and-drop option.

A normal user does not need to care about all the complex terminal or command prompt commands. Even without the knowledge of Windows terminal commands, a user can interact with the OS.


Reliability and security are the 2 assets of the Linux operating system. It comes with a very strong process management system and security, which makes it impossible for someone to breach it.

If you have ever used Windows then you have most certainly faced an issue like sudden application collapse or application not opening whatsoever or application not responding at all. In Linux, you do not face such types of problems.

And by far there are limited numbers of viruses that have affected the Linux operating system.

Though with every update Microsoft is improving Windows, yet, with each update, you face some new bugs and problems with the OS.

There is no doubt that Windows is less reliable as compared to the Linux operating system.

The main reason for Windows vulnerability is its user-friendly interface. Its user-friendliness leaves the OS exposed to external threats.

Source Code Accessibility

As Linux is an open-source package, here, the user has full control over its source code. And if you know how to design a kernel you can customize the Linux operating system according to your needs. Every user cannot access the Windows source code. Only a few people have the authority to do so.

Supported Devices

Linux is used in cloud computing, embedded devices, mainframe computers, mobile devices, personal computers, servers, and supercomputers. Windows is usually used in desktops and personal computers. It had an ephemeral mobile version too by the name Windows Phone.

Software and Applications

There are thousands of applications and software available for Linux.

Generally, all the popular applications, such as Chrome, Firefox, Oracle, and git are also available for Linux.

You can also run Windows applications on Linux via the WINE simulator.

Windows has the largest number of applications. There are thousands of applications that can run on the Windows platform.

If there is an application for Linux so there is a high chance that the same application would also be available for Windows because it is one of the widely-used operating systems.


The source code of Linux is available for everyone yet Linux is more secure than Windows because if there is a problem in the operating system it could be identified and removed easily. With each update, Microsoft improves the security level of Windows, yet we can say that it is not secure.

Windows has the largest user base, which, unfortunately, makes it vulnerable to malicious users and hackers.

These malicious users try to breach Windows security by adding viruses to the system, and the source code of Windows is not available for every user.

So, if your system gets affected by the virus you cannot remove it simply.

File System

Linux is using a hierarchical structure to store files and directories. Here, the main directory is the root and all the folders and files are stored under the root directory. In Windows, files are stored in drives, such as C:, D:, and E:. We can partition any drive and create a new one out of it.

Linux vs Windows: Why You Should Choose Linux over Windows?

  • Linux is open-source and you do not need to pay for it. On the other hand, you need to purchase the specific Windows version.
  • Linux is more secure than Windows. There is no doubt that Windows is one of the most vulnerable operating systems.
  • Each update of Windows also affects the hardware. Moreover, you might require extra hardware for accommodating each update, but with Linux, you can optimize and custom the update according to your system hardware.
  • For a programmer, Linux is the best operating system, because it is faster and more customizable than Windows.
  • You can easily customize your Linux operating system according to your need, but Windows does not provide you with this feature.
  • If you encounter some problem in your Linux system you do not need to go to any expert. Just google the problem and there you will get numerous suggestions to resolve the same. This is because, in Linux, you hardly find any problem that is new.
  • Your data is more secure in Linux. Microsoft, on the other hand, is one of the Fortune 500 companies, and like Google and Facebook, it collects your data.


That sums up this discussion on Linux vs Windows. To conclude, Linux is more secure and reliable than Windows. On the flip side, Windows is more user-friendly and easy to use, which makes it more popular than any other desktop operating system.

Yes, there are some shortcomings of Windows, yet, it has successfully maintained its position in the market by delivering an excellent user experience. For a normal user, Linux may be of no use, but programmers and developers prefer Linux for its security and customization.

Many people who work with computers do not know anything about Linux, because the earlier versions of Linux were very complex to use. Windows, however, is almost known to everyone.

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Author: Vinay

I am a Full Stack Developer with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science, who also loves to write technical articles that can help fellow developers.

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