The vast majority of the world runs Windows on the desktop. And believe it or not, there are some pretty darn good reasons for it.
1 – Gaming on Windows is just better
Not only are there tons of current games for the Windows PC platform like literally thousands of them, but accessing them and keeping them up to date is much simpler than it used to be. Thanks to online marketplaces like Steam, Origin, Uplay, and yes, even the epic Game Store and Windows gaming has far more going for it than just the current library.
Recent progress towards integration with Microsoft’s Xbox ecosystem has brought cross-platform play to some titles and even cross-platform purchases on the subject of compatibility. Well, there’s the back catalog of games, which numbers in the tens of thousands with a shocking number of old games still being playable on modern hardware.
I fired up 1602 80, a game from almost 1602 80 on my Windows 10 PC with a Titan RT X on it, with minimal tinkering required that’s crazy. On the subject of tinkering Windows games, particularly the older ones, allow for a ton of it with large communities that have built everything from their own servers from multi-player, to mods that alter visuals or gameplay elements and even mods that change the genre of the original title. Fun fact for you young kids out there Dota 2 used to be a custom map in Warcraft 3.
Finally, there’s the advantage that comes naturally with being the incumbent gaming platform support want to try out the hottest new peripherals. Like the brand new graphics cards, VR headsets, haptic feedback vests. Odds are excellent that the Windows software will be much more polished than what’s available for other platforms. That is if anything exists for them at all: RTX, real-time ray tracing on Mac? Please.
2 – It just works
Microsoft has made its OS that mostly works as intended. Out-Of-The-Box, no real extra effort is needed. Thanks to auto magical third-party driver installs through Windows Update when you get into the needs with obscure devices. Hardware, compatibility on the platform has its issues, but for the average user it is much better than it used to be, and so is the general intuitiveness of using it.
I mean, I still remember when they introduced the documents and pictures folder. I was like what is this crap? It’s like for losers, who don’t understand file directory structure, but now I don’t know how I lived without my handy little shortcut to the Downloads folder.
So, for better or for worse generations of people now have grown up. Doing things the windows way and many people use a computer just to get something done rather than for the joy of using it. So if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
3 – Customization
Most people probably don’t realize this, but beyond just changing your wallpaper and accent color, you can do a lot to Windows. Both functionally and aesthetically. Want to make it look like a Mac? Sure, why not. Want to change colors, fonts, cursors, etc? You can do that too. Want to replace core system functionality with third-party tools? Okay. And the rabbit hole goes on pretty much forever.
Windows expose’s the registry editor tool to the user. Which enables everything from small tweaks, like speeding up system animations, to big ones like bringing back the Windows 7 Start Menu or getting rid of that shake to minimize gesture.
4 – The Toolbox
The registry editor, if used responsibly, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to optimizing the windows experience. Task manager got some big upgrades with Windows 8 and now makes it so simple to monitor CPU, RAM, Network and even GPU usage. So anyone can do it. But if you want to go even further, this rabbit hole too has pretty much no bottom. Resource monitor gives you a much more granular look the information from cast manager. Making it easy to identify processes that are sending large amounts of network data out or causing your disk to churn and slow down the rest of your system.
Task scheduler is a crazy powerful utility that lets you have Windows automate tasks for you. It can open and close programs for you when you log in and out. It can send emails when tasks complete and you can even post to Twitter and Facebook using the windows scheduler. Power toys are back. So these are actually Microsoft provided tools that enthusiasts can use to add or enhance features. I was a huge fan of sync TOI back in the day and this new window management one for Windows 10 looks sick.
5 – The support base
Want to learn how to do some stuff we’ve talked about? Well, with 78% of the worldwide desktop OS market share. If it exists, someone has probably done it. So, like you want to become the new macros King? Well, there are tutorials on how to do that. Need to troubleshoot a weird error? Between the official support from Microsoft, for both current and legacy windows and the thousands of enthusiasts on forums around the world, the odds of finding someone to help you are pretty good.
6 – Productivity
Even Apple had to acknowledge windows’s strength when it comes to buckling down and just getting some work done. Whether you’re trading stocks, writing reports, tracking financials, making super cool PowerPoint slides, windows probably supports the software and the hardware that you need to get it done.
Microsoft’s Office suite is incredibly powerful and works best on Windows. If you want to do 3d or CAD work. Most of the industry-standard software is on Windows and let’s not forget the plethora of one-off and highly specialized programs needed for scientific study, engineering and many other industries.
Now I wasn’t sure where to put this, so we will chuck it in productivity. Shortcut keys. So many shortcut keys. Classic control-alt-delete for when things go wrong. Windows and one, two three and four to launch the Corresponding app on your taskbar. And if you liked that one, you can grab the other new Power Toys that lets you hold the Windows key to see all the shortcut keys for your active programs.
7 – OS Unity
With some notable exceptions, Windows hasn’t changed too drastically over the years. If you went straight from Windows XP to Windows 10, you’d probably find your way around it sooner rather than later. And if you’re a technician, this can be really nice because it’s not uncommon to find yourself working on a different version from one hour to the next.
It’s a totally different experience compared to Linux, which has, I don’t know I stopped counting after 30, let’s just say a lot of different distros or versions that are designed for a multitude of different tasks Or specialized use cases. There are mainstream optimized distros out there, but if you don’t consult the internet beforehand as a newcomer, it can get really confusing.
8 – Taskbar
The modern taskbar is a great tool for maintaining a clean and organized desktop. Giving you quick access to frequently used programs and offering a quick preview of all of your active windows.
As for File Explorer, well, it’s got its issues. The search is pretty slow, the up folder navigation is dumb sometimes. But it’s got wide support for thumbnail previews, lots of useful information readily available, and it requires no keyboard shortcut to cut and paste.
Sometimes you don’t have to be great, just better than your competitor.
9 – Reliability
With good Hardware, the days of daily blue screens are long gone. Crashes do still exist, but for years now I’ve experienced long periods of smooth and stable performance.
Microsoft has some work cut out for them to make their automatic updates smother in this regard, but they at least seem to be aware of the problem.
10 – Compatibility
Got an old program from the Windows XP days? Well, there’s a decent chance that with some trial and error, you will be able to get it to run even in the latest builds of Windows 10. There are just so many specific use programs that have been written over the last couple of decades and losing access to them because of an OS update could be devastating for some people.
Compatibility mode actually works more often than you’d think. And when it doesn’t, some quick googling will often bring up a solution. The cool thing is that goes both ways. Got a computer that mom bought 10 years ago, but still wants to use? Well, there’s a solid chance that Windows and most programs that run on it will still work on that, even if not very well.