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How Do I Choose the Best Computer Operating System?

Selecting the best computer operating system hinges on your needs. Consider compatibility, ease of use, software requirements, and security features. Windows offers versatility, macOS boasts seamless integration with Apple devices, and Linux champions customization. Each has unique strengths. What priorities will guide your choice? Discover how your preferences align with the capabilities of each OS as we explore further.
G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

To choose the best computer operating system (OS) you should consider your needs from your computer, as well as the types of programs you would like to run. Some operating systems can be quite user friendly and provide you with a fairly high number of tools and customization options, even if you are not the most experienced computer user. Other systems may provide you with far greater tools, but can be fairly daunting if you do not have a good amount of experience in using computers. You should also consider what types of programs or software you wish to run on your computer, as some types of computer operating systems tend to have better support from different applications.

A computer operating system is the program that is initialized during the start-up process of the computer, and then takes over the general functioning of the computer. It allows a computer user to organize, navigate, and utilize the various files and programs installed on the computer. In general, the OS can be one of the most important pieces of software chosen by a computer user. As such, there are numerous options out there and the best OS for a user will typically depend on individual preferences and needs.

Choosing the best operating system depends on an individual's budget and expectations for the system.
Choosing the best operating system depends on an individual's budget and expectations for the system.

Typically, there is no single right answer as to what computer operating system is best. There are preferences and one OS may be better for one user, while another OS will better suit the needs of another user. If you have a decent understanding of computers and can navigate a graphical interface fairly well, then most mainstream operating systems will likely work well for you. Most personal computer (PC) users tend to use a version of Microsoft® Windows®, and computers bought pre-manufactured will typically come with Windows® installed on the computer.

Macintosh computers and software are the products of Apple Inc.
Macintosh computers and software are the products of Apple Inc.

Similarly, most users of Apple® computers use the Mac OS X® that usually comes installed on those computers. If you are using an operating system already installed on your computer and have had no problems with it, then you have probably found the best OS for you. There are also more advanced operating systems that allow far greater customization, such as open source systems like Linux® and other UNIX systems.

These can be quite user friendly, and the unparalleled customization of these systems have made them favorites among programmers and computer enthusiasts. The number of applications and programs that support these systems, however, is typically far fewer than those that support Windows® and even the Mac OS X®. You should be sure that whatever programs you like to run — graphics or video editors, games, and even web browsers — are properly supported by any computer operating system you may be considering using.

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Discussion Comments


Well, I agree with some of the posts, but Windows can be both very stable and secure if you keep it up to date, and do maintenance on it regularly.

Why Linux won't be the main operating system yet, is because it's too technical to use, and if you really don't have deeper knowledge about the Linux system, it's hard to drive.

Then there is the application problem: there are way too few applications for Linux compared to Windows.

The graphics arts or digital video production on Windows machines are getting more and more popular because the software today is the same on both Windows and Macs. So it's not true anymore that a Mac is the computer for graphics arts or digital video production.

The hardware within Mac is just a PC -- nothing special today! The fact that the Mac lately has a lot of heat problems (for the last three years) (MacBook Pro, iMacs) getting overheated and CPU start to throttling and the Mac is not fast or reliable anymore. Apple's focus on slim computers creates heat problems because they lack a good cooling solution for MacBook Pros and iMacs.

Then, the Mac OS can have a virus and it's getting more and more frequent as macOS grows and takes more market shares.

Here in Sweden, the market shares for graphics arts or digital video production are on PC with Windows because of two reasons: Windows is quite stable and the software is the same on Windows and MacOs today, with graphics arts or digital video software.

Second, the price of Macs is getting too high compared to a Windows system.

I switched from a Mac to a custom build PC with Windows as a photographer and video producer, and I dont regret it yet! On the contrary, I got a much more powerful computer for half of the cost of a Mac with much weaker hardware than my PC. Also, if any hardware crashes, I just swap it out and put in a new one, and continue to work. You can't do this on a Mac.


People use Microsoft, because its been downloaded on the computer they buy. Perhaps if you could buy a computer and then an OS things would be different.

Also with Windows, you don't get a choice to accept updates; they are automatically downloaded and very few can be deleted..

Another problem is most programmers are taught Windows /Microsoft as a number 1 choice. Therefore, there is no competition.


The problem with Linux is not at all the OS; it is the buggy and unreliable software that is available to run on it for desktop users. The kernel is awesome, but everything that the user will actually interface with is usually half-baked. It also looks bad. Font rendering and scaling are not good. Due to the unreliability of the desktop software that runs on top of Linux, I would not recommend it to anyone other than a hobbyist who enjoys tinkering with configuration files and who does not mind where Linux lacks because they prioritize the idealism of the concept of open source software.


@Charred - Yes, they have the option, but how realistic is it to expect that most users will choose anything other than Windows if they were even given a complete computer operating systems list of alternatives? Most commercial software is primarily being developed for Windows, with some applications having versions for the Macintosh as well. The number of applications developed for Linux is incredibly small, and so Linux is mainly the choice for administrative type of people who like mucking around in the command line.


@MrMoody - I don’t think Microsoft will rule the world forever. A Linux computer operating system can beat both of those other computers hands down, for one simple reason. It can run on the greatest number of potentially available computers, requiring much less RAM and computer power to operate. You can run it on your old Pentium II and it will work just fine. Linux has proven to be a stable and reliable alternative to Unix, and unlike Macintosh and Windows, Linux is free. It’s hard to beat that. I’ve read that some computer manufacturers have given consumers the option to load either Linux or Windows on their computers. Windows used to be the default but there was some lawsuit or something like that, and a judge ruled that consumers needed to be given the option to choose what they wanted.


@MrMoody - There’s not much disagreement here. However, Macintosh computers have tried to go more mainstream as well—witness the “Mac versus PC” advertisements that we’ve seen in the past few years. Basically Macintosh claims to be a more reliable operating system than Windows. I’ve heard that there are few—if any—viruses that plague the Macintosh computers as compared to the Windows computer operating systems, but I don’t know if that’s really true. The hardware is solid however.


Most computer users use the Windows operating system because it’s the most dominant and widespread. There are thousands of software titles available for Windows. However, if you work in graphics arts or digital video production you will most likely use the Macintosh operating system. Macintosh computers have proven to have better graphics capabilities than Windows systems, and they’ve proven that with a loyal following among graphic arts specialists.

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    • Choosing the best operating system depends on an individual's budget and expectations for the system.
      By: viappy
      Choosing the best operating system depends on an individual's budget and expectations for the system.
    • Macintosh computers and software are the products of Apple Inc.
      By: tommywyy
      Macintosh computers and software are the products of Apple Inc.