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Windows, Macintosh or Linux - which system should I choose?
Buying a computer can be very confusing. In addition to all the brands and models, you also have different operating systems to choose from. Which one is right for you?

Most people choose Windows. It's often what they use at work and most friends and family members have Windows systems. By far, more software and hardware devices are available for Windows than for any other OS.

Being the largest share of the marketplace doesn't always mean something is best, though. Of all the operating systems, Windows is the least secure and most prone to operation problems. In addition, many hackers and virus writers tend to target this OS purely because it is used by so many people.

Mac OS is usually a pleasure to use. In fact those that do often defend their choice vocally. Mac users love their computers. There are fewer system vulnerabilities and more often than not, the system simply works. Of course, Macs do get viruses and occasionally crash; they just don't as often. More people than ever before are making the switch to Macintosh. Add in elegant look of the hardware, and you almost wonder why Apple doesn't own more of the market. Graphic artists and other creative types tend to prefer them, though almost anything available to Mac users is available to Windows users, as well. Newer Intel-based hardware Macs can also run Windows in either a dual boot or emulation mode, making them a good choice for those that need to work in both worlds.

Price is a big factor in why Macs don't dominate the personal computer market. While less expensive hardware is slowly inching into the marketplace, you do pay a premium for all that pretty hardware. In addition, some people are more or less stuck using Windows, so getting a Mac is a waste to simply run Windows.

Linux offers two things that the above choices don't: Nearly flawless security and an OS that is often free. Because Linux protects the system from user mistakes and hackers, it very seldom suffers vulnerabilities like the other systems. Many Linux distributions are available at no charge to the user.

While all the good points of Linux make it sound just about perfect, there are some down sides. The first is that Linux still isn't very easy to set up and install software or devices. While Linux has gotten much easier, it still requires too much tinkering at the command line level. Another negative is the lack of mainstream hardware and software support. Some, or even all, of your favorite programs may not be available for Linux. In addition, some hardware may be tricky for finding drivers. However, there are many open source programs available that are compatable with their Windows or Macintosh counterparts. The bonus is those programs are often free.

When choosing what operating system to use, you need to weigh the above considerations carefully. Often your choices run between price, best compatability, ease of use and best security. No one system offers all three.

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