12 Reasons Why Linux Is Better Than Windows 10

It might be the right time to switch

Windows 10 has been around for a while now and many of you will have bought computers with the latest offering from Microsoft pre-installed. We have to admit that Windows 10 is a great improvement on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 and as an operating system, it is very good.

The ability to run Linux BASH commands into Windows is a good feature as are the long-awaited virtual workspaces which allow you to run applications on different desktops.

This guide, however, provides an extensive list of reasons why you might choose to use Linux instead of Windows 10 because what is good for one person isn't necessarily good for another.

Illustration of a Linux laptop with several reasons why it's good arranged around it in comic word bubbles
Lifewire / Daniel Fishel

1. Windows 10 Is Slow on Older Hardware

If you are using Windows XP, Vista, or an older Windows 7 PC then the chances are your computer isn't going to be powerful enough to run Windows 8 or Windows 10.

You have two choices really. You can either stump up the money required to buy a computer running Windows 10 or you can opt to run Linux.

Certain Linux distributions probably don't provide much of a performance boost as their desktop environments use a decent amount of memory themselves, but there are versions of Linux available which work brilliantly on older hardware.

For newer hardware try Linux Mint with the Cinnamon Desktop Environment or Ubuntu. For hardware that is 2 to 4 years old also try Linux Mint but use the MATE or XFCE desktop environment which provides a lighter footprint.

For really old hardware go for AntiX, Q4OS, or Ubuntu.

2. You Don't Like the Windows 10 User Interface

Most people become a bit disoriented when they first start using a new operating system especially if the user interface has changed in any way.

The truth is that soon enough you get used to the new way of doing things and all is forgiven and in fact, you soon end up liking the new interface more than the old one.

However if, after a while, you just can't get to grips with the Windows 10 way of doing things you might decide that you prefer things to look a bit more like they did when you were running Windows 7 or indeed you might decide that you want to try something completely different.

Linux Mint provides a modern look and feel but with menus and toolbars working the way they always have and you will find that the learning curve to Linux Mint is no more difficult than upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

3. The Size of the Windows 10 Download Is Huge

If you are on Windows 7 or even Windows 8 and you are thinking about upgrading to Windows 10, then you should realize that the download for Windows 10 is very large.

Do you have a download limit with your Broadband provider? Most Linux distributions can be downloaded in under 2 gigabytes and if you are really tight on bandwidth some can be installed for around 600 megabytes. There are some that are even smaller than that.

You can, of course, buy the Windows 10 USB drive but it will cost a decent sum of money.

4. Linux Is Free

The free upgrade that Microsoft offered a couple of years ago has run out which means you now have to pay for it.

Many manufacturers ship computers with Windows 10 installed, but if you are happy with your current computer, then the only way to get a new operating system is to pay for the latest version of Windows or download and install Linux for free.

Linux has all of the features you can need in an operating system and it is fully hardware compatible. Some people say that you get what you pay for but this is one example where that doesn't ring true.

If Linux is good enough for the top companies in the tech industry then it is definitely good enough to run on a home computer.

5. Linux Has Many More Free Applications

Windows has a few flagship products such as Microsoft Office and Visual Studio which make some people feel locked in.

You can, however, run Microsoft Office within Linux using virtualization software or you can run the online versions.

Most software development nowadays is web-based and there are many good IDEs available for Linux. With the advance of .NET Core you can also create APIs for using with your JavaScript web applications. Python is also a major programming language that can be used cross-platform on Windows, Linux, and Macs. The PyCharm IDE is every bit as good as Visual Studio. The point here is that no longer is Visual Studio the only option.

Linux has a great set of applications which for most people provide all the features you could need. For example, the LibreOffice suite is great for 99.9% of the average person's needs. The Rhythmbox audio player is better than anything Windows offers, VLC is a great video player, the Chrome browser is available, Evolution is a great email client and GIMP is a brilliant image editor.

Of course, there are free applications on popular Windows download sites such as CNET but that you know how to safely download and install software because bad things can happen when you use those sites.

6. Security

While no operating system can claim to be completely risk-free the fact remains that Windows is a big target for developers of viruses and malware.

There is very little that Microsoft can do about this issue, and as such, you are required to install an antivirus application and firewall software which eats into your memory and CPU usage as well as the constant stream of downloads required to keep this software up to date.

Within Linux, you just need to be clever, stick to trusted software repositories, and avoid using risky programs Adobe's Flash.

Linux by its very nature is just more secure than Windows because of the way it's designed and handles user permissions. After all, there's a reason most of the web runs on Linux.

7. Performance

Linux, even with all the effects and shiny features of the modern desktop environments, runs faster than Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Users are becoming less reliant on the desktop and more reliant on the web. Do you need all of your processing power taken up with the operating system, or do you want something with a lighter footprint, letting you get on with your work and play time?

8. Privacy

Windows 10's privacy policy has been well documented in the press. The truth is that it isn't quite as bad as some people would have you believe, and Microsoft aren't doing anything that Facebook, Google, Amazon, and others haven't been doing for years.

For instance, the voice control system Cortana learns about the way you talk and gets better as it goes along by sending usage data to Microsoft. They can then use this data to improve the way Cortana works. Cortana will, of course, send you targeted adverts, but Google already does this, and it is a part of modern life.

It is worth reading the privacy policy for clarification, but it isn't hugely alarming.

Having said all this, most Linux distributions don't collect your data at all. You can remain hidden away from Big Brother(As long as you never use the internet ever).

9. Reliability

Windows is just not as reliable as Linux.

How many times have you, as a Windows user, had a program hang on you and even when you try and close it via task manager (assuming you can get it to open), it remains open and it takes a number of attempts to close the offending program.

Within Linux, each application is self-contained and you can easily kill any application with the XKill command.

Aside from all that, Linux applications tend to lock up less frequently. Because Linux and many of its applications are open source, anyone can look at, review, and improve the underlying code. This ultimately leads to a more stable system with quicker fixes for bugs and security issues.

10. Updates

Don't you just hate it when you need to print out those theater tickets or cinema tickets or indeed just need to print out directions to a venue and so you turn on your computer and see the following message:

"Installing Update 1 of 356"

Even more annoying is the fact that Windows chooses when it wants to install updates and it will suddenly throw up a message saying that your computer is going to be rebooted.

As a user, it should be up to you when you install updates and they should not be forced on you or you should at least get a decent notice period.

Another downside is that Windows often needs to be rebooted to install the updates.

Linux operating systems need to be updated. There is no getting around that because security holes are patched all the time. You get to choose when those updates are applied, and in most cases, the updates can be applied without rebooting the operating system.

11. Variety

Linux distributions are highly customizable. You can completely change the look and feel and adjust nearly every part of it so that it works exactly as you want it to.

Windows has a limited set of tweaks available but Linux lets you alter absolutely everything.

12. Support

Microsoft has a lot of documentation, but when you get stuck, you often find yourself on their forums, and other people will have asked a question which simply has no good answers.

It isn't that Microsoft's support is bad, on the contrary, it is in fact very in-depth and good.

The truth is, however, that they employ people to offer support, and there is only so much money that is budgeted for this support, and the wealth of knowledge is spread very thinly.

Linux support is much easier to find and there are dozens of forums, hundreds of chat rooms and even more websites dedicated to helping people learn and understand Linux.

Unlike Microsoft support, which is likely coming from an overworked employee, Linux support generally comes from enthusiasts. These are people who genuinely enjoy working with their operating system and probably also do so professionally. In some cases, you can even talk directly with the developer that wrote the piece of software that you need assistance with.