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Choosing between operating systems isn’t a new problem — it’s been around for a few decades. But the latest incarnations of both software and hardware offer some new options to consumers at all price and experience levels. Windows and Mac have been in active development for decades, and if you’re looking for a computer for work, odds are that you’re going to go for one or the other.
Chrome OS, a Linux-based system developed by Google, is more of an anomaly. It’s based on Google’s Chrome browser, with much of the same interface and a web-focused design. It isn’t for the typical user, but Google has been improving it steadily for the last few years, and it’s worth consideration for a broader base of users. Windows 10 Pros • Best selection of software and widest variety of hardware • Can work on desktops, notebooks, and tablets • Easily the best choice for gamers • Works with almost all accessories • Biannual updates introduce new features Cons • Faster update schedule can become confusing • Compatibility issues with some hardware • Different versions create confusion • Microsoft struggles to get modern apps written Microsoft’s Windows 10 holds approximately 90 percent of the desktop and laptop market worldwide. The reasons why are complicated, but we can break it down into two factors — hardware and software variety.
Because Microsoft sells Windows licenses to more or less any PC manufacturer to load on desktops, laptops, tablets, and everything in between, you can get a Windows machine in almost any size, shape, or price range. Microsoft even sells Windows on its own, so consumers and businesses can manually load it onto their hardware. That wide-open approach has let it conquer all competitors over the last few decades. Because of its worldwide availability and longevity, Windows also boasts the biggest software library on the planet.
Windows users don’t get every new application that comes on the market, but even those they don’t receive initially tend to come to Windows eventually. Consumer, media, enterprise, gaming, it doesn’t matter — if you want the most comprehensive array of capabilities, Windows is the way to go. At least, that’s true regarding traditional desktop applications written for Microsoft’s venerable Win32 platform, such as its own Office 2016 suite. Today, the company has made a massive bet on its Windows 10 app platform, called the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), that’s meant to be Microsoft’s answer to the battery-efficient, secure, and easy to manage mobile apps on iOS and Android.
UWP hasn’t taken off, though, and that leaves Microsoft somewhat precariously straddling the old and the new. Works with everything Windows also boasts compatibility with the most extensive array of hardware. That’s a significant consideration if you want to play graphically intense video games or work with high-powered software for media, video editing, or computer-aided design.
There aren’t any Chrome OS systems that offer high-end desktop hardware, and MacOS has recently received ultra-power, up-to-date hardware in the iMac Pro. Also, the Windows PC ecosystem has exploded in terms of the different kinds of form factors available to buyers. There are the usual desktop and traditional clamshell notebooks, which are more powerful and higher in quality than ever and range in price from just a few hundred dollars for entry-level options all the way up to many thousands for premium machines.
The 2-in-1 market is probably the most intriguing development, giving users access to a host of fascinating devices that can morph from notebooks to touch- and pen-enabled tablets by swiveling the display, tearing it off, or removing a detachable keyboard. Though most accessories are universal since the introduction of the USB standard, Windows still technically boasts the most compatibility with third-party add-ons, too. Just about any mouse, keyboard, webcam, storage drive, graphics tablet, printer, scanner, microphone, monitor, or other doodad you care to add to your computer will work with Windows, which is something that can’t always be said for Mac and is true to an even lesser extent for Chrome OS. Windows also gets universal and updated drivers, some provided by Microsoft and some developed by the hardware manufacturers themselves, at a much more frequent rate than alternatives.
The bottom line is that if you want to use it, then Windows 10 is your best best. Rapid and meaningful updates If you haven’t used Windows in a few years, then you may associate it with slow, tepid progress. That’s no longer true. With Windows 10, Microsoft committed to more timely updates. And it has executed.