This week, we’re going to take a look at operating systems for laptop and desktop computers. Windows is the most popular choice, but there are other options.

Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook are each perfectly good operating systems, but they aren’t right for everyone. I’m going to highlight some pros and cons of each choice.

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Windows pros:

It feels familiar. If you’ve been using PCs for thirty years, the operation is still pretty intuitive.

The price is right. You can start out with a new Windows 10 device for less than $300. If you want a powerhouse for gaming or video editing, you can pay a lot more.

You’ve got a variety of devices to choose from. There are plenty of manufacturers making Windows devices and you could have one custom built to your specifications.

Plenty of software options available from the Windows Store and other sources.

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If you have Windows 10, you probably won’t ever have to pay for another operating system. Microsoft seems to be switching over to doing things Mac-style by offering the OS with the device and continuing to provide free OS updates on a regular basis as long as your hardware will support it.

Customer support is available from Microsoft for supported systems and there are plenty of books, videos, and other materials available to help you better understand the OS.

Cons

Windows is the most popular target for malware and scammers. It’s not that Windows 10 is less secure than other operating systems, there are just more crooks trying to break into it.

Windows 10 PCs sometimes come loaded with unwanted bloatware and trial programs that manufacturers add to cut costs. They can often slow down your PC.

Multiple versions of the OS. Microsoft usually ends up with several versions of each operating system. Home, Pro, S, Enterprise, etc… So any advice or support you find might not apply to your machine. Also, you’ll find variations in the way the OS behaves due to hardware configuration and manufacturer. Some Windows machines are elegant and well-built and others are low-end pieces of junk.

I’m choosing not to list among the cons, the fact that Microsoft security support for an OS lasts for 10 years. While many people were disappointed to see support for XP and Vista end, and many more will be sorry when Windows 10 support stops, no developer supports an OS forever. Mac does not and even Linux requires you to upgrade to the latest version of your particular “flavor” of Linux to stay secure.

Pro or Con (depending on your point of view)

When you use Windows, you’re completely integrated into Microsoft’s systems. You need a Microsoft ID and password. Their cloud storage service OneDrive is integrated with your user experience and you’ll be encouraged to use the Edge browser, Office, Windows Store, Cortana, and other Microsoft services.

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This allows Microsoft to know a great deal about you. It’s also incredibly convenient for accessing documents from other devices and having access to redownload your programs if something happens to your PC. This is also a concern with Mac or Chromebook computers. Some people aren’t willing to sacrifice their privacy for convenience. There are ways around using these services.