7 areas where Linux is easier than Windows

Is Linux harder to use than Windows or macOS? No. You might not have access to the same apps, but there’s a reason Linux has become dominant on supercomputers, servers, and even Mars rovers.

Linux is often the best tool for the job, and the same goes for your laptop. There are several areas where Linux is often easier than Windows and macOS.

1. Learning for the first time

Gnome 40 advanced view

In fact, many aspects of Linux-based desktops are simpler than their proprietary, for-profit counterparts. For example, consider the Windows Start menu, which isn’t particularly intuitive. It’s a set of four squares that represent the Windows logo, a trademark not obviously associated with launching apps.

And when you open the Start menu, a wealth of information suddenly appears on the screen. When not overwhelming, some of this information can be confusing. On Windows 11, the app icons you see aren’t necessarily already installed on your computer.

On Linux, an app launcher could intuitively be called “Applications” or, if the launcher handles more than just apps, “Activities” as in the screenshot above. Also, compare the GNOME file manager to Windows Explorer and the contrast will give you an idea of ​​how much simpler Linux can be.

As with anything on Linux, your experience will depend on which flavor you use. Platforms like GNOME and elementary operating systems are relatively easy to learn for computer novices. Some distros, like Linux Mint, manage to deliver a Windows-like experience that’s less cluttered and cumbersome than what Windows offers.


2. Manage and open local files

Most Linux programs manage local files with ease. Whether you want to import photos from your camera, compile playlists from your personal MP3 library, or watch downloaded MP4s, there are plenty of apps to help you.

Problems arise when trying to interact with online services, as they typically do not target Linux as the platform to be supported. For example, consider the number of e-book readers available for Linux, but the lack of support for Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook.

Related: Best Linux Ebook Readers Worth Checking Out

If you have a massive library of Kindle or Nook books, you can read them in a web browser, there just aren’t any native apps. However, if you want to protect your privacy by reducing your online digital footprint, the lack of support from these companies is actually a plus.

This differs from other operating systems, both on desktop and mobile, which are increasingly pushing you towards online services. They often retain the ability to open local files, just not necessarily as the default behavior.

Many people even install cross-platform FOSS apps on Windows and macOS to play local media files simply because they are often the best tools for the job.

3. Stay private

elementaryOS-System Settings-Security-Privacy

If you use Linux, you don’t have to make any special effort to stay private from the company or community that provided your operating system. In most versions of Linux, nothing you do is tracked anywhere but on your device. That means everything you do outside of a web browser is private.

Nobody knows what you are doing on your PC, including installed apps. You don’t need to create an account. You do not need a product key. The vast majority of apps don’t even upload anonymous usage data in the background.

Once you open a browser, all bets are made. Most versions of Linux offer no particular protection against the myriad ways web platforms monitor everything you do (although there are some privacy-oriented distros that do). But when you make the effort to take more of your digital life offline again, Linux doesn’t keep track of what you’re doing.

4. Encrypting a hard drive

Reducing online tracking isn’t the only way to protect your data. If someone gets their hands on your computer, they can easily access the files on your hard drive or flash drive, even when your computer is locked, unless you encrypt that information.

On Windows and Mac, to encrypt a hard drive, you have to look for, and sometimes pay for, specialized software. You may then need to use the same software to access your data.

This function is pre-installed on Linux. You can encrypt a disk using the standard partition manager such as GNOME Disks. Such programs can encrypt flash drives, portable hard drives or secondary drives in your computer.

If you want to encrypt your operating system and all personal files on your computer, this is an option you have when installing most Linux distributions.

5. Install or reinstall your operating system


Most versions of Linux install very quickly. This is kind of a requirement since most people don’t use Linux on devices that already had Linux pre-installed. As a side benefit, Linux is also easy to reinstall if something goes wrong.

This is in contrast to Windows, which most people never install for themselves. The Windows installer is functional, but less sophisticated than many Linux installers and takes much longer to get the job done.

There are also other hurdles to overcome to get a Windows install image, and you’ll likely need a product license as well if you want to legally do more than try stuff.

6. Save money

Windows and macOS software usually cost money. Some require you to pay upfront or make a purchase after going through a free trial. Others may insist on a monthly or yearly subscription.

Those that don’t cost money generally come with ads or other forms of tracking, and contribute to a culture where your ability to stay private correlates with how much you’re willing to spend.

See also: How to save money with Linux

The vast majority of Linux software is free or paid for at will. Do you have to write a term paper for class? Working on an animation project? Are you programming a video game? play video files? Rename thousands of photos at once? Do you engage in some addictive games? You can do all of this on Linux for free and legally, without compromising your privacy or unknowingly installing a virus.

7. Tinker and Customize

global menu in kde

Linux is a hobbyist’s dream come true. You can personalize your computer the way you want. Depending on your desktop environment, you may not need to install any third-party software to do this.

That means you can change the design of your desktop and apps alike. You can tweak the colors, customize the fonts, increase the number of panels, and splash your wallpaper with widgets.

You can also remove software components that you don’t need, giving your computer a speed boost and reducing the risk of security vulnerabilities in parts of your computer that you don’t even use.

Save yourself the headache and just use Linux

In the early days of Linux, most things were a bit difficult to do. You may have had to create your own drivers, compile your own apps, and teach yourself how to do things that weren’t documented. A lot of things just didn’t work.

That is no longer the case. Linux is fully functional and simply the better option for so many tasks. And it gets more powerful and easier to use every year.

Tux wallpaper on a Linux laptop
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