Linux vs Windows [What’s the difference?]

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Linux and Windows are two different operating systems that have some unique and different features. While choosing an operating system it’s good to know about their strengths and weaknesses. However, the choice mainly varies depending on the usage and preferences of users. In this article, I’ll discuss Linux vs Windows in-depth.

What is Linux?

Linux is a Unix-like operating system that is free to use. It is an open-source operating system in which the source code is modifiable which makes it popular. The default user interface is a Unix shell. It connects the hardware with the user and executes the programs.

What is Windows?

Windows is a proprietary operating system that is sold and developed by Microsoft. It is the most popular operating system that is used worldwide, especially on PCs and laptops. Some key features like GUI support, Compatibility, and continuous new editions are the reasons behind its popularity.

Difference Between Linux and Windows

Let’s take a look at some of the differences between these two operating systems:

Parameter Linux Windows
Open-source It is an open-source operating system in which source code is open for all. The source code is not open for public use.
Cost It is free software. Windows is not free.
Kernel type Monolithic kernel. Hybrid kernel.
User Privileges The root user has all the administration privileges. The administrator has all administration privileges.
Case Sensitivity Can have two same names of files with different cases because it is not case sensitive. Can not have the two same-name files because it is case sensitive.
Security Secure than Windows because of the process of package management, repositories, and some features. Comparatively more sensitive to malware and viruses.
Language Multilingual. Around 138 languages are available.
Reliability Need no rebooting process while installing and uninstalling any software. May need to reboot the system when installing and uninstall any software.
Types of User Accounts Three types of User accounts are Root, Regular, and Service accounts. Four types of User accounts are Administrator, Child, Standard, and Guest.
Number of drives Linux hardware is not divided into drives. Windows has drives like C, D, and E.
Directories Convention The default home directory is /home/username/, and the directories are separated using the forwardslash (/). The default home directory is Documents and the directories are separated using a backslash (\).
File system All files, and peripheral devices are considered as files and have a hierarchical file system. The hard drives are considered devices and the files are stored in the drives.
Stability More stable than Windows. Slows down while working for a long time.
Programming language Linux is written in C and Assembly language. Windows is written in C and C++.
Variety of Distribution Has a huge number of distributions in which Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, and Redhat are included. No distribution is available. Some licensed versions are available such as Windows 10, and Windows 11.
Customization Because of its open-source nature, it is highly customizable. Not as customizable as Linux.
Software Updates Effective and faster update shows the description of each little update. The user does not have much control over updates. It showed up at any time and sometimes in critical issue arises that one has to update the system immediately.
Community Support Has a strong community support. Each forum has a huge number of active members who mainly answer with a solution if one has any problem. Does not have as much as members compared to the Linux forum.

Linux vs Windows Architecture

These two operating systems can be divided into hardware, kernel mode, and user mode. The number of subsystems in the kernel space and user space are different in both operating systems.

The architectural difference between these two operating systems:

  • Kernel Mode: Linux and Windows have two different kernel type. In Linux, the subsystems are the Memory Manager, IPC, VFS, Process scheduler, and Network Interface. But in Windows, there are some additional subsystems which are Power Manager, Object Manager, and PnP Manager.
  • User Mode: Windows includes two subsystems named integral subsystem, and environment subsystem. The environment subsystem acts as the link between the Windows kernel and User mode. The Linux user mode includes the applications and system libraries.

Linux VS Windows File System

In Windows, most of the time the main storage is the C drive. However, the user can partition the C drive into more partitions and increase the file system space. These partitions are used for different kinds of files one partition can be used for games and another for software. This is present in most of the Windows operating systems.

Describing the file system of Linux vs windows operating systemBesides, Linux has no partitioning system, it has a hierarchical file system where the files are organized into a tree structure. Like trees, from the root directories, the files are branched into many sub-branched. For device files /dev directory and for software files /bin directory has been used.

To shift from the Windows file system to the tree-like system in Linux will be a little confusing for the users but once one adheres to this system then this will be pretty good.

Linux vs Windows: Which One is the Best?

Users consider Windows as an easy operation system as Linux is the most secure operating system than Windows because it is not as sensitive as Windows. But in recent years Linux has become popular. Once one understands the file system then it will be easy to use it. Linux has gained popularity because of its stability and user-friendly environment of various distributions. Between these two operating systems, which one should pick completely depends on his preference.

The best operating system for Linux depends on the user’s needs and preferences. Linux is suitable for developers and servers, as well as security and customization-oriented users. On the other hand, windows is a good choice for general users, gamers, businesses, and those who rely on specific Windows-only software. Users can enjoy the two operating systems if they opt for a dual-boot installation of Linux. In the end, the best OS depends on the needs and preferences of users.


In the never-ending discussion between Linux vs Windows, each operating system has some strength and key features that make the user utilize that specific one. Strong stability, security, open source nature, and customization mainly make Linux popular for the techie. On the other hand, comprehensive software support, compatibility, and easy-to-use nature make Windows a popular choice for a wide range of people.

People Also Ask

What is the difference between Linux and Windows?

One of the main differences between Linux and Windows is that Linux is an open-source operating system, while Windows is a proprietary system. Another difference is that Linux is more customizable than Windows. Additionally, Linux has more advanced features than Windows, such as floating-point support and hash data structures. Moreover, Windows is the default operating system for most personal computers, while Linux is more commonly used in servers and other enterprise environments.

What Linux does that Windows Can’t?

Linux has many powerful distros which is not found in Windows. There are some other things that one can do with Linux:

  • Not need frequent restart but that is needed in Windows.
  • Can test a distro in a live boot.
  • Do not need any anti-virus.

Can Linux run Windows programs and vice-versa?

Yes, Linux can run a few Windows programs using third-party software. On the other hand, one can use Linux programs on Windows by installing VMware or a Virtual machine box. On VMware, you can Linux as a guest operating system along with Windows. One can also use Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to run Linux OS and enjoy two operating systems.

Is Linux faster than Windows?

On a powerful system, Linux performs faster than Windows. Again when one works for a long period, windows slows down on the other hand, linux shows better performance.

Why Linux is less popular than Windows?

Because many of you mainly use desktop PCs instead of supercomputers. Linux is very popular in supercomputers, web servers, and mobile devices. In the conventional PC, users use Windows all over the world, otherwise, it is Linux that is used in most devices.

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Afia Zahin Oishi

Assalamualaikum, I am Afia Zahin, completed my graduation in Biomedical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, currently working as a Linux Content Developer Executive at SOFTEKO. A high achieving professional with a strong work ethic and able to work in a team in order to consistently achieve my goal and build my skillset. Able to handle difficult problems with patience and swift decision-making. Read Full Bio

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