8 Key differences between Windows and Linux

Windows and Linux have long been considered two of the best operating systems in the world, but they serve very different markets. While Windows is preferred by basic users and is sold at a fairly high price, Linux is geared towards slightly more advanced users with a huge application store, a worldwide support community, and especially it’s 100% free. This is a never-ending battle for these two famous operating systems in “enticing” users. So what’s the main differences between Windows and Linux? Let’s find out together in this article.

The main differences between Windows and Linux

#1 About Development history

Linux was started as a personal project by a Finnish student named Linus Torvalds, the original purpose of which was to create a completely free operating system kernel.

Linux has been free and open source since its inception – 1991. Linux started as a “just for fun” project, but it quickly became one of the largest open source projects since up to now. Initially, Linux was under its own license with restrictions on commercial activity. Then the project adopted GPLv2. 

As for Windows, Microsoft’s version of Windows 1.0 was released in 1985 and unlike Linux, it is a completely closed source product sold by Microsoft under a licensing program.

#2. About handling, interfering with the source code

Perhaps, the biggest difference between these two source codes is the ability to access and edit the source code. You can edit and change features for Linux, but not for Windows.

Linux is licensed under the GNU Public License, so it allows users to access the source code to the core of the operating system.

As for Windows operating system, certainly not, unless you are an engineer on the Windows operating system development team, otherwise you do not have access to this source code. 

The openness of Linux has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand it allows users to edit and upgrade software and operating systems faster. On the other hand, it also allows developers to access the source code, many bad guys will find and take advantage of vulnerabilities to spread malicious software to users.

On Windows, this is not possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s 100% secure. Again, the average user usually doesn’t care if they can see the source code that makes up the operating system they’re using. But the most important thing for them is still the experience after completing the installation of everything, all the programs, software … that support their work. 

#3 About Copyright 

As mentioned above, Linux is extremely accessible from a developer perspective, while Windows is not. However, you must be licensed to have access to Linux source code. Licensing means that the software will have the right to be distributed.

With the Linux GPL license, you are free to modify that OS, republish it, and you can even commercialize it, as long as you provide its source code, keeping it private. With the GPL license, you can also download a copy of Linux and install it on as many machines as you want. 

Microsoft’s license is very different from that of Linux, which means you can’t modify the source code because Microsoft never publishes the source code of this operating system. Second, when you purchase a Windows license (for individuals), you only use that license for a single computer. The licenses for business machines are different, you can use one key to activate multiple computers. But of course this kind of license will be much more expensive.

#4. About the application – software

With the most distributions of the Linux operating system, you have a hub for installing applications. This makes it easy to add new apps and delete them when you no longer need them.

Linux’s package management feature is extremely useful because you can search and install applications directly without having to search the net, and it’s all 100% free.

Previously, Windows didn’t have its own app store. With Windows, you have to access Google and search for 3rd party software to install.

Then comes the process of downloading the machine and then running the *.exe executable file to proceed with the installation. After the application has been installed, you also have no idea how many system files it has changed.

Because not all software is safe, for many inexperienced users, it is easy for them to install junk software, malware … However, since the version of Windows 8.x, Microsoft has had its own app store – it is called the Windows Store, although it is limited compared to Linux, it also offers quite a lot of software (both free and paid), to meet the basic needs of users.

#5 About the user

Who are the users of these operating systems?

Linux is intended primarily for proficient computer users who know what they are doing. Linux users are so loyal to their platform that they tend to become loyal fans of the platform. This is mainly because you have full control over your system and once you get used to Linux you will want to switch to Windows as well.

For the average users, who just want to browse the web, watch videos and write emails, etc. All of which can be done on Windows without the need for deep knowledge of operating system handling.

Honestly, if a normal user switched from Windows operating system to Linux, there is a high chance that they will get lost, overwhelmed and want to go back to Windows immediately.

That is the big difference between a casual computer user and a professional computer user… But say anything, Microsoft was too clever to entice users. Partly because the graphical interface is very accessible, every operation, every action is visible to the eye.

Another part is that they seem to intentionally let individual users use the Windows temple. But I think if they want to strictly manage the copyright issue, they can afford to do it more strongly.

The purpose of this, you probably already know, is to help create a large community of Windows users. And once you have a strong community, it’s easy to do anything. Microsoft mainly collects money from businesses, agencies.. 

#6. About hardware compatibility

From 2005 onwards, Linux really has nothing to compare with Windows. The clearest evidence is that manufacturers only consider Linux as an additional option, which means that it is very difficult for you to install drivers to support hardware on Linux.

But now the situation is different. The LinuxOS community has been very strong and has been able to compete fairly with Windows and developers have also placed Linux on par with Windows.

#7. About Security

A fully closed architecture and developed by a leading software company in the world – Windows is indeed a very secure operating system. If you combine it with some other 3rd party copyright security software like Kaspersky, ESET, BIT… it’s really great.

However, because Windows is so popular, it will be a prime target for hackers. And another thing is that due to the level of users, many users are very subjective in using computers, often using pirated software, so Windows is often vulnerable to hacker attacks.

What about Linux?

Although it is an open source operating system, the security of Linux is indisputable. Linux is currently being used by enterprise organizations as servers and operating systems for security purposes at technology corporations such as Google, Facebook, Twitter… Windows is mainly used by companies, personal users, businesses, or gamers…

#8. About the ability to support

Although people may think that Linux does not have its own support line, since it has a large user community you can easily find solutions to all your problems through forums, search Search on Google and many Linux-specific websites. And if you’re a business that relies heavily on Linux, you can also get contracts from companies like Red Hat or Novell.

But no matter what, support is still a fatal weakness of Linux. Because personal users are not a problem, but for businesses it is a different story. They need it immediately, they don’t have enough time to wait.

While Windows is a purely commercial product, so surely the support will be better, they provide you with dedicated support.


Overall, if you are just a normal user who doesn’t care about the inner workings of the operating system, then Windows is the most suitable choice for you. In contrast, if you are an engineer or a true professional computer user, even a command line enthusiast, who wants full control over the system, then Linux is a great choice for you.

We showed the key differences between Windows and Linux in each specific criteria. What about you, what do you see as the biggest difference between Windows and Linux? Do you prefer Windows or Linux?

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