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What Are the Differences Between Linux and Windows Operating System

Posted in Linux Tutorial

Linux and Windows are two of the most widely used operating systems (OS), each with its own set of features, benefits, and drawbacks.

What Are the Differences Between Linux and Windows Operating System
What Are the Differences Between Linux and Windows Operating System

Here’s a detailed comparison of the two:

1. Source Model

  • Linux: Open-source. The source code is freely available for anyone to view, modify, and distribute.
  • Windows: Proprietary. The source code is owned by Microsoft and is not available to the public.

2. Cost

  • Linux: Generally free. Many distributions are available at no cost, though there are commercial versions with additional support and features.
  • Windows: Commercial. Requires the purchase of a license for each copy installed.

3. User Interface

  • Linux: Varies widely between distributions. Common desktop environments include GNOME, KDE, XFCE, etc. Highly customizable.
  • Windows: Consistent graphical user interface (GUI) across versions. The user experience is generally the same with some updates and improvements in newer versions.

4. Command Line Interface (CLI)

  • Linux: Powerful and an integral part of the system. The CLI (Bash, Zsh, etc.) is heavily used for administrative tasks, scripting, and development.
  • Windows: Command Prompt and PowerShell are available, but not as central to the system as Linux’s CLI. Many administrative tasks can be performed through the GUI.

5. File System Support

  • Linux: Supports multiple file systems like ext4, Btrfs, XFS, and more. Case-sensitive file names.
  • Windows: Primarily uses NTFS. FAT32 and exFAT are also supported. Case-insensitive file names.

6. Security

  • Linux: Generally considered to be more secure due to its permissions system and the open-source nature which allows for rapid identification and fixing of vulnerabilities. Less targeted by malware.
  • Windows: Historically more susceptible to viruses and malware, but Microsoft has made significant improvements with features like Windows Defender and regular security updates.
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7. Software Availability

  • Linux: A wide range of open-source software is available, but commercial software, especially games and certain professional applications, may be limited or require compatibility layers like Wine.
  • Windows: Extensive software support, including a vast library of games and professional applications. Most commercial software is developed with Windows as a primary platform.

8. Hardware Compatibility

  • Linux: Support for a broad range of hardware, though sometimes newer hardware may have limited support initially. Community-driven drivers and support.
  • Windows: Excellent hardware compatibility, with extensive driver support directly from hardware manufacturers.

9. Performance

  • Linux: Can be more efficient and faster on older hardware or with customized lightweight distributions. Better performance for servers and high-performance computing.
  • Windows: Generally requires more resources, but provides a smooth experience on modern hardware. Optimized for a broad range of consumer and enterprise applications.

10. Customization and Control

  • Linux: Highly customizable. Users have control over nearly every aspect of the OS.
  • Windows: Limited customization compared to Linux. Users can change themes and some settings, but core system functionality is more restricted.

11. Community and Support

  • Linux: Strong community support via forums, mailing lists, and online resources. Commercial support available for enterprise distributions like Red Hat and Ubuntu.
  • Windows: Professional support from Microsoft. Extensive documentation, forums, and online resources.

12. Usage

  • Linux: Popular in servers, embedded systems, and among developers and power users. Growing presence in desktop usage.
  • Windows: Dominant in the desktop market, popular in corporate environments, gaming, and among general users.


  • Linux is ideal for those seeking a free, open-source, highly customizable, and secure operating system with strong community support.
  • Windows is suitable for users needing a user-friendly, widely supported OS with extensive software and hardware compatibility, especially in a commercial or enterprise context.
Related:   The Linux Command Line for Beginners


The difference between Linux and Windows OS include the following.

Linux Operating System Windows Operating System
An open-source OS, you can view and edit the code to fit your own purposes Not an open-source OS, you can not edit system fils
The file name is case sensitive The file name is case insensitive
It is free It is commercial
Your own system, and you can delete any files You can not delete system files
In this OS, a monolithic kernel is used In this OS, a microkernel is used
Uses less resources Uses More resources
Faster Slower
More efficient, A lot of things can be done faster in the terminal, such as downloading an app or moving/copying files Less efficient, need to open a browser to download things that could have malware on them
To separate the directories, a forward slash is used To separate the directories, the backslash is used
It is more secured Easy to be Kackered
More customizable, how the GUI looks, what boot loader you use, uninstall programs Less customizable
A helping community, tons of different Linux communities Microsoft support
Linux is extensively used to hack the systems Windows do not offer much effectiveness in hacking.
Hierarchical file system. Several data drives namely C: D: E for the purpose of storing the files as well as folders.
Linux respects your privacy. You aren’t forced to send any information to anyone without your consent. Microsoft is in control of your PC and potentially your data.
The considered files in Linux are CD-ROMs, hard drives,  & printers The considered devices in windows are Hard drives, printers, CD-ROMs.
Doesn’t force you to update and restart the PC. You can choose to update every week, or never. Force you to update and restart the PC
The user account types in Linux are 3 types like  Regular, Root & Service Account The user account types in Windows are four types like Administrator, Standard, Child, & Guest
The superuser like Root user of Linux includes all administrative human rights. The administrator user of Windows includes all administrative human rights of computers.
Better error reporting, tell you what can be causing errors Throws a generic error message.
For each user, his home directory is created like home or username. In windows OS, the default home directory is My Documents
You Can not use MS Office You can use MS office
Related:   Understanding Case Sensitivity in Linux

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