Advantages and Disadvantages of Windows

Advantages and Disadvantages of Windows

Microsoft Windows is one of the most popular operating systems in the world in terms of brand recognition and market share. It was first introduced in 1985 and it remains the most used desktop operating system with about 70 percent market share. Note that macOS from Apple has a market share of around 14 percent. Linux distributions are installed in 3 percent of desktop computers while ChromeOS from Google has about 2 percent market share.

This operating system owes its overwhelming dominant position to the business strategy of Microsoft. It comes pre-installed in most desktop and laptop computers from various notable manufacturers through licensing agreements. These include Acer, ASUSTeK Computer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard Company, Lenovo Group Limited, and Toshiba Corporation.

It also demonstrates a first-mover advantage. Businesses have long adopted and grown accustomed to Windows. Software developers and hardware component manufacturers have aligned their product strategies with this operating system due to its greater market share. It is more feasible for PC manufacturers to choose Windows over free and open-source operating systems because it is more compatible across a wide range of hardware and software products.

Pros: Advantages of Windows as a Desktop Operating System

1. Huge Selection of Software Programs or Apps

One of the advantages of Windows over other desktop operating systems is that it is unparalleled when it comes to the selection of software programs or applications. Even macOS from Apple struggles to compete against its wide selection of applications. Most Linux distributions are free but the shortage of applications makes them unappealing to most end users.

There is an expansive variety of software programs for different users and use cases. Examples include the Microsoft Office suite of productivity applications. There are also apps for photo editing, graphics design, video editing, and music production. Windows also has a huge video game library that remains unrivaled in the entire video game market.

Most software developers prioritize developing for this operating system to gain access to a large customer base of existing users. Furthermore, although Windows is a proprietary operating system, Microsoft has less rigid terms and conditions. It is also more cost-effective to develop applications for this operating system due to market and hardware factors.

2. Consistent Support Through Updates

Windows is one of the flagship products of Microsoft. It receives consistent support through updates and version iterations. These are important to address security vulnerabilities, add new features and remove outdated ones, and improve software stability. Additional warranties and technical or customer support further provide users with assurance.

It is important to highlight the importance of security updates. Hackers regularly find software vulnerabilities to exploit. These updates also improve the resilience of the operating system from different classes of malware. Technical support and software updates help maintain system integrity and keep cybercriminals from taking advantage of security flaws.

Free and open-source desktop operating systems might lack regular upgrades during critical scenarios because developers are not paid and obligated to do so. Users who do not have the technical know-how to troubleshoot their systems would need to depend on the open-source community for assistance or pay for external support services.

3. Standard Operating System for High-End Gaming

Another advantage of Windows over macOS and other operating systems is that it remains the standard system not only for casual PC gaming but also for serious and competitive gaming. There are three reasons for this. The first is its extensive library of PC game titles. Remember that developers prefer developing for this OS because of its market dominance.

Microsoft also made conscious efforts to make Windows a first-class gaming platform. The introduction of Microsoft DirectX, which include Direct3D, in 1995 has provided software developers with low-level access to hardware components such as memory, video cards, and sound cards to fine-tune and optimize the performance of resource-intensive applications such as games.

The third reason is hardware availability and customization options. There is a huge selection of Windows desktop and laptop computers built for gaming. Furthermore, unlike Mac computers, enthusiast-level users are free to customize and adapt their PC builds using different hardware components and based on their budget and usage requirements.

4. Available at Different Configurations and Price Points

Remember that manufacturers of personal and workstation computers prefer Windows because of its existing user base, the ecosystem of software developers and hardware manufacturers, and the fact that the market for this operating system remains promising. Windows computers come in different configurations and at various price points for different segments.

There are devices built and marketed for budget-conscious and entry-level users. These include netbooks and small desktops. Devices such as ultrabooks are positioned for business users. There are desktops and laptops designed and categorized for high-performance gaming and content creation. Some devices are positioned for the workstation market.

Manufacturers of hardware components provide users with a higher freedom to customer their existing computers or build their own ones according to their requirements. These users can even extend the lifespan of older computers through hardware upgrades. There are hundreds of hardware combinations users can pick to fit their needs and preferences.

5. Other Advantages of Windows Operating System

Windows have other strengths. It has native support for touch-based and stylus-based inputs to allow the development of computers built for photo editing and graphics design. This operating system also has native support for virtual reality and augmented reality. It has also introduced and defined the standard user interface and user experience for multitasking.

Another feature and advantage of Windows is that its desktop environment is customizable and manageable. Users can reorient how the desktop looks or how a window fits. There are themes and skins to change the overall aesthetics of the graphical user interface. It is considered more open when it comes to personalizing the entire desktop user experience.

The operating system also runs in several virtual environments. It can run on a Mac computer using free-to-use virtualization software such as VirtualBox or paid apps such as VMWare and Parallels without the need to configure a dual-boot setup. It also can run virtualized or emulated versions of other operating systems such as Linux distributions and Unix.

Cons: Disadvantages of Windows as a Desktop Operating System

1. Greater Susceptibility to Security Issues

All operating systems are susceptible to malware and other security exploits. Even macOS has a sizeable number of security issues and incidents in the past. Windows is more susceptible and vulnerable to security issues and exploits because it is a popular target among hackers and other cybercriminals. This comes from the fact that it has a larger user base.

Users need to ensure that their operating system is up-to-date to ensure their computers are free from security vulnerabilities. They also need to install antimalware applications and firewall programming for added protection against malware and unauthorized access. These measures and workarounds consume additional processor and memory resources.

The massive selection of software applications and the preferential treatment from software developers have a downside as well. Unsuspecting users can readily or unknowingly download and install useless and dubious software that can either bloat their computers or exploit security vulnerabilities. This is an issue similar with the Android operating system.

2. Consumes a Good Amount of System Resources

Another disadvantage of Windows is that it consumes a considerable amount of system resources compared to other operating systems. Windows 10 is not optimized to run on computers built 6 years ago because of its modern hardware requirements. The newer Windows 11 has higher hardware requirements and works best with more modern hardware components.

The overall Windows 11 operating system requires at least 64GB of internal storage space and a minimum of 4GB of RAM. Most Linux distributions are lighter and less demanding on system resources. Ubuntu requires 25GB of storage space and works well with 4GB of RAM. ChromeOS is also lightweight because it is based on a thin client setup.

It is worth mentioning that the latest version of macOS takes at least 20GB of storage space and requires at least 4GB of RAM. It is also resource-intensive and runs on an optimized hardware design. However, despite its resource demand, it is considered more efficient. The programming of macOS takes advantage of RISC and ARM instruction set architectures.

3. Both the System and Apps are Relatively Expensive

Most desktop and laptop computers sold in the market come pre-installed with this operating system but purchasing a new license for a new computer can be expensive. The Home edition costs around USD 139.00 while the Pro edition is priced at around USD 199.99. The Pro for Workstation Workstations edition is priced at USD 309.00.

Other essential Microsoft applications and services are also relatively expensive. A subscription to the Microsoft 365 suite of collaboration and cloud-based productivity software will cost a user between USD 69.99 to USD 99.99 per year. The Office and Student edition has a one-time cost of USD 149.99 and it includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Mac computers are expensive than the average Windows computers but macOS comes with several free and useful applications. These include iMovie for video editing, GarageBand for music production, and office productivity apps such as Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. ChromeOS takes advantage of the cloud-based applications of Google.

4. Other Disadvantages and Criticisms of Windows

Some users complain about the poor overall support. There is no consistent dedicated technical support for specific troubleshooting issues. The support is also not as extensive as one might expect. Updates are almost automatic in Windows 10 and Windows 11. Users have minimal control over allowing an update to transpire and the system to reboot.

There is also an issue with the longevity of several Windows devices. Some desktop and laptop computers have a maximum optimal lifespan of two to three years. Most devices also lack to intimate software-hardware compatibility of Mac computers. This is true for budget-level and several mid-range computers from manufacturers with low standards.

Other criticisms include minimal control over privacy settings, complicated program installation and uninstallation process, and the closed-source nature. Some users prefer the straightforward user experience of macOS and ChromeOS. Others favor the high degree of freedom that comes from using open-source systems based on Linux and Unix.

Takeaway: Advantages and Disadvantages of Windows Operating System

The advantages listed and discussed above translate to the specific benefits of using Windows and specific Windows computers. It is ideal for a range of users. This operating system remains popular for personal and general-purpose computing. The fact that it is the standard for PC gaming gives it an unparalleled competitive advantage. Even professional and organizational users benefit from the various advantages of Windows over other operating systems. However, considering the further expanding popularity of Mac computers, certain consumers can also benefit from using a macOS. Those who have budget restrictions or want a no-nonsense user experience can also choose from a range of Linux distributions.