Guide on Windows vs. Linux Operating System

Windows and Linux are two different operating systems for personal computers. They both have the same function of letting you access programs and play games. However, there are some differences in why one would pick one or the other.

What is Windows?

Windows is a graphical operating system originally invented by Microsoft. It first debuted on the 10th November in 1983. At first, it was named MS-Dos after the single task command line. Later, it was renamed to Windows because it allows multiple windows to be opened to run different tasks and programs. The official name is Microsoft Windows since you can't trademark a single word name, Windows. The first version of Microsoft Windows version 1.0 was released in 1985.
Windows makes it possible for people to store files, play games, watch videos and surf the web on their PC. Microsoft has published many different versions of Windows including Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows XP, and Windows Millenium. The two most popular Windows editions designed for home use are Windows Home and Windows Professional. Currently, the latest version of Windows is Windows 10 which features a mobile screen design on the desktop.

What is Linux?

Linux is an open-source OS that is based on the UNIX kernel. Linus Torvalds was a computer science student who came up with the idea of Linux because he wants to make an OS that can be modified by the users. Like Windows, it has a GUI interface in which people can access the programs that they use daily.
The most popular mobile platform, Android, is based on Linux OS. Many SMS software that is open source is also based on Linux. Linux is under an open-source license so you can reuse the program as many times as you want. You are free to study programs that run on Linux with no restrictions. You can do your part to redistribute the original copies of Linux or the modified versions to help others.

Key Differences between Linux and Windows

Accessibility to Source Code

Linux allows the users to access and modify the source code of the kernel for various needs. You can use the Linux kernel to design your OS. There are lots of popular operating systems that are based on Linux. Some of these popular operating systems are Debian and Ubuntu. Usually, Linux kernel is used with GNU so these distributions are distributions of Linux/GNU. Because the Linux source code is open, bugs are quickly fixed by volunteers. Users are allowed to sell the modified version and keep the profits.
Windows is commercial software so it does not give users access to the source code. Only the developers of Microsoft can access the source code of Windows. It is illegal to gain access to view the source code of Windows.

Command Line

Linux has a powerful command line for use in administrations. However, end-users who are not skilled in programming may not find the command line useful to them. Windows has a command-line but it is different from Linux. You need to enter cmd to open the command line.

Ease of Installation Process

Linux has a complicated installation procedure but you can use it to carry out complex tasks easily. Windows has a user-friendly installation - most of the installation procedures only require you to click next to complete the installation. Windows may take longer to install compared to Linux.


Linux is fairly popular and has its forum. Users can post all their questions and get answers from the volunteers on this forum. There are several forums for Windows where the users can post questions. Windows also provide paid support for its customers where customers get a faster response from the staff.


In Linux, the updates are in a package which you must download. You can download the package at any time to install on your computer. After that, you need to reboot the computer to make the updates work. For Windows, the updates can install automatically when you are starting or shutting down your computer. While installing the updates, Windows will also be scanning the installed programs and files and your activities on the computer. There is an option to install the updates manually on Windows but they would install them automatically regardless of the option you set.


Linux is more secure because people are accessing the source code regularly to fix the flaws. Because of this, it is harder for hackers to spread viruses into computers that install Linux OS. Windows is always the target of all kinds of viruses. For this reason, you must install antivirus software on your Windows before using it.

User Accounts

Linux has three types of user accounts including regular, root, and service accounts. Windows has 4 types of user accounts including Administrator, Standard, Child and Guest.

File System

Linux has no drive and uses a tree hierarchical file system. On the other hand, Windows has different drives like C, D, and E for storing programs and files. Linux has a case sensitive file naming system so sample and SAMPLE are allowed in the same folder. However, in Windows, it is not possible to give 2 files similar names in the same folder.
The forward slash is used to separate the directories in Linux while backslash is used for separating the directories in Windows. The home directory for Linux is user/home/username directory while My Documents is the home directory in Windows. The system and program files in Linux are in different directories but the files for the system and program files for Windows are always saved in the C: drive.


The best part of Linux is that it is free to use. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to use Linux. It has a user-friendly interface like Windows and is easy for beginners to learn how to use. Now, you can download millions of applications for Linux OS. The majority of these applications are free to use. There is no need to install any antivirus software as you will frequently get updates that strengthen its security. The high reliability makes Linux being voted as the OS of choice for the Server environment. You can run Linux nonstop without rebooting your computer. This works best for laptops when you are not using the battery but plugging into an outlet to keep the computer running.
On the other hand, Windows is a commercial OS software. Windows need to be purchased to use legally on your computer. The license of Windows costs around one hundred dollars to a few hundred dollars depending on the edition you choose. You can only install one Windows copy on one computer unless it is stated on the packaging of the edition.