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How Do I Choose the Best Computer Operating System?

Macintosh computers and software are the products of Apple Inc.
Choosing the best operating system depends on an individual's budget and expectations for the system.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
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  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2014
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To choose the best computer operating system (OS) you should consider your needs from your computer, as well as the types of programs you would like to run. Some operating systems can be quite user friendly and provide you with a fairly high number of tools and customization options, even if you are not the most experienced computer user. Other systems may provide you with far greater tools, but can be fairly daunting if you do not have a good amount of experience in using computers. You should also consider what types of programs or software you wish to run on your computer, as some types of computer operating systems tend to have better support from different applications.

A computer operating system is the program that is initialized during the start-up process of the computer, and then takes over the general functioning of the computer. It allows a computer user to organize, navigate, and utilize the various files and programs installed on the computer. In general, the computer operating system can be one of the most important pieces of software chosen by a computer user. As such, there are numerous options out there and the best OS for a user will typically depend on individual preferences and needs.

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Typically, there is no single right answer as to what computer operating system is best. There are preferences and one OS may be better for one user, while another OS will better suit the needs of another user. If you have a decent understanding of computers and can navigate a graphical interface fairly well, then most mainstream operating systems will likely work well for you. Most personal computer (PC) users tend to use a version of Microsoft® Windows®, and computers bought pre-manufactured will typically come with Windows® installed on the computer.

Similarly, most users of Apple® computers use the Mac OS X® that usually comes installed on those computers. If you are using a computer operating system already installed on your computer and have had no problems with it, then you have probably found the best OS for you. There are also more advanced operating systems that allow far greater customization, such as open source systems like Linux® and other UNIX systems.

These can be quite user friendly, and the unparalleled customization of these systems have made them favorites among programmers and computer enthusiasts. The number of applications and programs that support these systems, however, is typically far fewer than those that support Windows® and even the Mac OS X®. You should be sure that whatever programs you like to run — graphics or video editors, games, and even web browsers — are properly supported by any computer operating system you may be considering using.

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Discuss this Article

SkyWhisperer
Post 4

@Charred - Yes, they have the option, but how realistic is it to expect that most users will choose anything other than Windows if they were even given a complete computer operating systems list of alternatives? Most commercial software is primarily being developed for Windows, with some applications having versions for the Macintosh as well. The number of applications developed for Linux is incredibly small, and so Linux is mainly the choice for administrative type of people who like mucking around in the command line.

Charred
Post 3

@MrMoody - I don’t think Microsoft will rule the world forever. A Linux computer operating system can beat both of those other computers hands down, for one simple reason. It can run on the greatest number of potentially available computers, requiring much less RAM and computer power to operate. You can run it on your old Pentium II and it will work just fine. Linux has proven to be a stable and reliable alternative to Unix, and unlike Macintosh and Windows, Linux is free. It’s hard to beat that. I’ve read that some computer manufacturers have given consumers the option to load either Linux or Windows on their computers. Windows used to be the default but there was some lawsuit or something like that, and a judge ruled that consumers needed to be given the option to choose what they wanted.

NathanG
Post 2

@MrMoody - There’s not much disagreement here. However, Macintosh computers have tried to go more mainstream as well—witness the “Mac versus PC” advertisements that we’ve seen in the past few years. Basically Macintosh claims to be a more reliable operating system than Windows. I’ve heard that there are few—if any—viruses that plague the Macintosh computers as compared to the Windows computer operating systems, but I don’t know if that’s really true. The hardware is solid however.

MrMoody
Post 1

Most computer users use the Windows operating system because it’s the most dominant and widespread. There are thousands of software titles available for Windows. However, if you work in graphics arts or digital video production you will most likely use the Macintosh operating system. Macintosh computers have proven to have better graphics capabilities than Windows systems, and they’ve proven that with a loyal following among graphic arts specialists.

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