What Is the Difference Between Linux and Windows?

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Whether you are looking for a new laptop or planning to switch to a different OS, your confusion between Linux and Windows is quite understandable. These two popular Operating Systems have given rise to a long debate regarding which one of them is better.

And the answer to this question is not a simple one. Both Linux and Windows have unique features that might appeal differently to different people based on their needs and requirements.

While objectively pointing out a better OS between the two is not a possibility, a systematic layout of all the features might help you make an informed decision. Read ahead to know the contrasting features of both the Operating Systems and select the most suitable one for yourself:

Access to the source code

The most noteworthy difference between Linux and Windows is the accessibility to the source code. While Linux Operating System allows you to access the code of the foundational kernel, Windows does not provide such an option.

This feature can be seen from both sides of the coin. If you have access to the source code you can easily modify the code according to your needs and any bugs can be fixed quickly and efficiently. This, on the other hand, may also allow hackers and malware to easily interrupt the smooth functioning of your system and gain entry to your private files.


Another major difference between Linux and Windows is their licence. As mentioned earlier, you are not only free to modify Linux but also to republish it and use it on multiple devices. This is something that you do not get with Windows. Windows come with a Microsoft Licence and each purchase can only be used on a single device.

On the other hand, Linux Operating System can be easily used on multiple devices with a single purchase. Small USB sticks like Xtra PC conveniently launch the Linux OS on your device and can be used on as many gadgets as you want. Read its review here – to know more.


Linux Operating System being open-sourced gives the option to customize, personalize, and have a variety that is not possible with the Windows OS.

For instance, you can only modify your desktop settings on Windows via third-party programs. Otherwise, what Microsoft has pre-programmed as desktop settings, works as the default option.

 Linux, on the other hand, gives you the creative freedom to make changes to the code and adjust the OS according to your needs.


Due to the great marketing of Microsoft, Windows not only comes pre-installed in many devices but is also the most widely used OS. For this reason, spammers and hackers often pick out Windows OS for their malware.

Microsoft launches key features twice every year and other bug-fixing features once every month or so. This results in users waiting for the next update while they get frustrated with the slow speed and malware.

Linux on the other hand, because of its open-source characteristic, is community-led. Any bugs can be fixed by the users by accessing the code from any part of the world. This provides quick updates to the solution and a better security system for the OS.


There is no stating the fact that Windows can get really slow at times, so much so that the screen dies out on multiple occasions. A very careful and planned usage of Windows is the only effective way of maintaining the speed and preventing it from bogging down.

There is no such issue with Linux OS. This OS has proven to work efficiently and carry out multiple processes conveniently. The problem of bogging down is almost non-prevalent and saves you from the frustration of slow processes.

There are various reasons for Linux to be faster than Windows. Foremost is that, it is more organized and does not consume the RAM with multiple programs running in the background. Another reason is that the files are better organized than they are in Windows.

File storage

Another major difference between Windows and Linux Operating systems is file storage. While Windows stores files in data drive like C, D, etc. there are no such drive systems in Linux OS. Linux uses a hierarchy of files in a structure that resembles a tree.

Windows also does not allow you to have the same file name for two different files, while in Linux; the file naming system is case sensitive. Thus, ‘YARD’ and ‘yard’ are two different file names in Linux OS.

The hard drives in Windows; like printers, CD ROMS are considered as devices, while Linux considers them as file types.


Looking for a stable and convenient OS can be a hassle, thus we have covered all the major pros and cons of both the Operating Systems to enable you to make the right choice.

The advantages of both the OS depend on the type of user. Therefore, factors such as- speed, storage, security, license, and customization have been included in this post. You are now equipped with the necessary information to choose between the two. Good luck!