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, and many people bought computers with the latest offering from Microsoft pre-installed. Windows 10 is a great improvement on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, and, as an operating system, it is good. The ability to run Linux BASH commands in Windows is a useful feature, as are the virtual workspaces which allow you to run applications on different desktops.

This guide provides an extensive list of reasons why you might choose to use Linux instead of Windows 10 because what is suitable 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

Windows 10 Is Slow on Older Hardware

If you use Windows XP, Vista, or an older Windows 7 PC, chances are your computer isn't powerful enough to run Windows 8 or Windows 10. You have two choices. You can either buy a computer running Windows 10 or run Linux.

Certain Linux distributions don't provide much of a performance boost as their desktop environments use a decent amount of memory. However, some versions of Linux work brilliantly on older hardware.

For newer hardware, try Linux Mint with the Cinnamon Desktop Environment or Ubuntu. For hardware that is two to four years old, try Linux Mint but use the MATE or XFCE desktop environment, which provides a lighter footprint. For older hardware, go for AntiX, Q4OS, Xubuntu, or Lubuntu..

You Don't Like the Windows 10 User Interface

Most people become disoriented when they first use a new operating system, especially if the user interface has changed in any way. However, when they get used to a new way of doing things, they end up liking the new interface more than the old one.

If you can't get to grips with the way Windows 10 does things, you might prefer things to look like Windows 7, or you might decide to try something different.

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

The Size of the Windows 10 Download Is Huge

If you use Windows 7 or Windows 8 and are thinking about upgrading to Windows 10, 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. If you are tight on bandwidth, some can be installed for around 600 megabytes. Some are smaller than that.

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

Linux Is Free

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

Many manufacturers ship computers with Windows 10 installed. If you are happy with your current computer, 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 the features you need in an operating system and 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's good enough to run on a home computer.

Linux Has 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 on Linux using virtualization software or running the online versions.

Most software development is web-based, and there are many good IDEs available for Linux. With the advance of .NET Core, you can create APIs to use 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 as good as Visual Studio. The point here is that Visual Studio isn't the only option.

Linux has a great set of applications that, for most people, provide all the features they 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.

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

Security

While no operating system is completely risk-free, Windows is a big target for developers of viruses and malware. There is little that Microsoft can do about this issue. As such, you must install an antivirus application and firewall software which eats into your memory and CPU usage as the constant stream of downloads required to keep this software up to date.

With Linux, you only need to be clever, stick to trusted software repositories, and avoid using risky programs such as Adobe Flash.

Linux is more secure than Windows because of the way it's designed and handles user permissions. This is one reason why most of the web runs on Linux.

Performance

Linux, even with all the effects and shiny features of 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 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?

Privacy

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

For instance, the voice control system Cortana learns the way you talk and gets better as it goes along by sending usage data to Microsoft. Microsoft uses this data to improve the way Cortana works. Cortana sends targeted advertisements, 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.

Most Linux distributions don't collect your data. You can remain hidden away from Big Brother (as long as you never use the internet).

Reliability

Windows is not as reliable as Linux. How many times have you, as a Windows user, had a program hang, and when you try to close it from the Task Manager (assuming you can get it to open), it remains open, and it takes several attempts to close the offending program?

With Linux, each application is self-contained, and you can 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 leads to a stable system with quick fixes for bugs and security issues.

Updates

It can be frustrating when you want to print theater tickets, cinema tickets, or directions to a venue and you turn on your computer to see the following message:

"Installing Update 1 of 356"

Even more annoying is that Windows chooses when to install updates, and it displays a message saying that your computer is going to be rebooted. As a user, it should be up to you when to install updates, and updates shouldn't be forced on you or you should, at least, get a notice.

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

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 the way you want.

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

Support

Microsoft has a lot of documentation, but when you get stuck, you may need to search their forums, and other people may have asked a question that has no good answers.

It isn't that Microsoft's support is bad; on the contrary, it is 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 thinly.

Linux support is 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 employee, Linux support generally comes from enthusiasts. These people genuinely enjoy working with their operating system and probably do so professionally. In some cases, you can talk with the developer that wrote the piece of software that you need assistance with.