10 reasons why people are leaving Linux for Windows and why they are wrong

Switched to Linux and found that things weren’t working the way you expected? Thinking of reinstalling Windows?

Stop!

Getting to grips with a new operating system isn’t always easy, but there are plenty of reasons to stick with Linux. Perhaps more importantly, most of the reasons people give when leaving Linux are either wrong, thoughtless, or outdated.

Before you download that Windows installer and copy it to a USB drive, here’s why you should stick with Linux.

1. A wide selection of distros is a good thing

Many complaints about Linux are about too much choice. Linux distros (short for “distribution”) cover all possible uses, from servers to desktops, single board computers, the Internet of Things, and more.

You can ignore most of them and focus on desktop Linux distros.

Probably the best place to start is Ubuntu, as it’s well supported. However, you might prefer a functional distro like Linux Mint or the sleek Elementary OS.

Of course, you might spend some time finding the right distro, and you might have to switch around until you find the right one. But when you do, you won’t look back.

Related: The best Linux distros for laptops

2. You didn’t try Linux first


Ubuntu WSL Terminal Directory List

You know Windows. He is everywhere: at work, at school, in the library. You know how to use a computer running Windows.

Many people who switch to Linux for the first time have no idea how to use a Linux operating system. The reason is simple: they have never used it before. Switching to a new operating system without trying it first is not a good idea.

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Fortunately, there are several ways to try out Linux without switching to it completely. You can use virtualization software to run Linux. Or you can just install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on your Windows computer and try it out.

You can even buy a small Linux computer (eg a Raspberry Pi) and familiarize yourself with the operating system that way.

Depending on what works for you, spend some time with Linux before switching. And once you’ve changed, give yourself a chance to get used to it.

3. Linux would not install? Try another distro

Perhaps the key problem for anyone installing Linux is when the chosen distro fails to install.

This is sure to put anyone off, isn’t it?

The solution here is simple. Write down your computer model and do a web search, with “+Linux” or “install linux” appended to the search term. This will return all the information you need about the version of the Linux operating system that will run on your hardware.

From there, you just need to download, write to DVD or USB, and install.

4. Linux desktop not user friendly? Choose a new

Many complaints from Windows users who have failed to stick with Linux are that the desktop just isn’t for them.

The thing is, unlike Windows, you can have almost any desktop environment on your chosen Linux distribution. For example, Ubuntu comes with GNOME as the default desktop, but other “flavors” are available. These offer a choice of alternative desktops, such as KDE Plasma, Xfce, LXQt, Budgie and MATE.

If you prefer one of them over GNOME, just download the corresponding Ubuntu version. Have you already installed your Linux distribution? Don’t worry, you can just install a new desktop.

Read more: The best Linux desktop environments

5. In fact, it’s not too different from Windows


A screenshot of Linux Mint MATE Distro
Image credit: Clément Lefebvre/Wikimedia Commons

People who left Linux and returned to Windows often claim that Linux is just too different from Windows.

In a sense, it’s true. The whole point of Linux is that it’s different; it is designed according to a different philosophy. Basically, at the code level, Linux is very different from Windows.

But all Linux desktops are built to the same usability standards as Windows and macOS. They are all mouse-driven, use menus to organize applications, right-clicks for context and additional commands, and have file managers.

The names may differ, the visual design may seem unfamiliar, but the same principles are at play.

6. No, your software will work

Ever switched to Linux and tried to run Windows software? One of the main accusations against Linux by Windows users is that important software cannot be run on the open source operating system.

Although Windows software cannot be installed or run natively, it can be run on Linux with tools such as Wine. This software adds the necessary compatibility so that Windows software can run on Linux. It is usually used with a front end, PlayOnLinux, for ease of use. Almost any Windows software can be run on Linux thanks to Wine and PlayOnLinux.

Related: How to Install Microsoft Excel on Linux

7. Linux Updates Are Important, Don’t Complain

Incredibly, Linux updates were cited by online users who ditched the open-source operating system and went back to Windows.

Windows updates are responsible for some of the most irritating, distracting, and disruptive computer experiences. In comparison, Linux updates are barely noticeable.

If you used Linux and updates caused you to switch to Windows, we can only assume that you were using an illegal, unlicensed version of Windows that was unable to receive updates.

System updates are vital for the security and stability of the operating system. Regardless of the operating system you are using, be sure to run updates.

8. Hardware not working? You do it wrong

Most hardware will work with Linux with little or no effort. If you’ve selected a distro that you know will work with your computer or laptop, as shown above, you’ve saved yourself a lot of trouble.

Printers, monitors, mouse and keyboard, even game controllers and audio accessories generally work without any issues. It’s not uncommon for USB devices to fail in Linux, but it’s highly unusual for all but the newest devices.

It is not uncommon to encounter problems with graphics cards when installing Linux. However, if they are not selected during OS installation, you can add the appropriate graphics card drivers later.

Read more: How to Install Nvidia Drivers on Ubuntu

9. Windows Has So Many Text Commands

Does Linux require too much command line interaction? No.

As with Windows, you can rely on the command line as much or as little as you want. Anyone who claims that Linux relies on written commands either forgot to install a desktop environment or failed to properly install the operating system.


10. “Games Won’t Play on Linux” – They Really Will


Game runners at Lutris

Perhaps the killer for many Windows users retiring from Linux is the supposed lack of game compatibility. After all, Windows is known as a gaming platform, while Linux is not.

However, Linux actually has a great gaming pedigree.

  • Linux powers almost every retro gaming platform you can think of.
  • A Steam version is available for the most popular Linux distros you can think of.
  • There’s even a SteamOS, available for download, and the operating system for the upcoming Steam Deck console.
  • Software like Lutris adds extra compatibility and a helpful user interface.

Perhaps most importantly, various technologies and application layers (such as Proton) have been developed by Valve and other digital distribution services to ensure that Windows games run on Linux.

Red Dead Redemption II, Minecraft, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and many other popular titles will run either natively or with third-party support on Linux.

Gaming on Linux is better than macOS and catching up with Windows on a monthly basis.

Leaving Linux for Windows? It’s time to come back

Almost everyone who switches to Linux spends time questioning their decision.

Personally, I tried several times before repeated use of successive Raspberry Pi computers convinced me that I was comfortable with a Linux operating system. Now I use Linux for writing and editing, making videos and podcasts, and when I have time, gaming.

You could too. You can switch back to Linux today without any pain if you do it right.


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Steven L. Nielsen