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Operating Systems

Find out what are the most popular operating systems for desktop PC and smartphones. We will also take a closer look at Microsoft’s ubiquitous Windows OS, which you can purchase separately and in several different editions. Read on and we will help you find the right operating system for you.

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What is an operating system?

The operating system is a basic computer software suite that allows the user to control the device and communicate with it. It’s used for work with programs and files and serves primarily as a programming and graphical interface to operate the device. In addition to computers, it can be found on mobile phones, tablets, and smart TVs.

Desktop operating systems on the market - Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, and Linux

Operating systems can be divided into commercial (paid) and free–Linux. Only Windows OS can be purchased separately. MacOS and ChromeOS come preinstalled on your device and you can’t buy them otherwise.

  • You can get Windows OS either with your computer or laptop, or purchase it separately.
  • The Apple operating system called macOS comes exclusively with Macs and MacBooks.
  • Chrome OS, commonly known as Chrome, is based on a browser of the same name. It can only be found on Chromebooks.
  • The free Linux operating system is the last of the Holy Quartet of modern operating system. You can freely download it from the Internet and is available in several variants–the best known include Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, and OpenSUSE.

Windows operating systems - the only OS you can purchase separately or without a device

Windows operating systems have been on the market since 1985 and over a dozen versions have been released so far. The current OS from Microsoft is Windows 10. You can find it in Home and Pro versions.

A year earlier, in 1984, the first Macintosh "System 1" was born–it was the first version of the desktop OS for Macintosh computers. The popular macOS is its modern successor.

Windows 10 Home and Pro - Microsoft's latest operating system

Windows 10 is the latest operating system from Microsoft. The OS perfectly combines previous versions 7 and 8.1 into one package and its tablet mode means it supports not only classic desktop computers, but also touch screen devices. In addition, it gets new features every year through free updates.

Windows 10 Home - operating system for ordinary users

The Windows 10 Home edition is aimed at the general population and its functionality and features make it ideal for home use without restricting your options. Windows 10 Home offers:

  • New features every year courtesy to free updates.
  • Multiple login options (password, PIN, Windows Hello).
  • DirectX 12 for better graphics performance in games.
  • Option to manage your Android smartphone (text messages, photos, calls coming soon).
  • Microsoft Store with modern apps.
  • Touch control optimisation and notification centre.
  • Multiple desktop support and other useful features.

Windows 10 Pro - practical corporate operating system

Windows 10 Pro is designed for the corporate environment, offering better encryption and improved device management. Compared to Windows Home, it has the following advantages:

  • BitLocker protects the data on the drive even in case of theft.
  • Better management of user accounts across devices.
  • Remote control gives you access to shared desktop and data management.
  • Virtualisation support.

Windows 8/8.1 - operating system with touchy ambitions 

The Windows 8 (8.1) operating system was Microsoft’s attempt to enter the tablet market. In a nutshell, it brought in the tiles known from Windows Mobile, introduced the Microsoft Store, and integrated the new cloud service SkyDrive (now OneDrive) into the system. Due to the initial absence of the iconic Start menu, Windows 8 received a rather chilly welcome.

Windows 7 - extraordinarily popular operating system

Until early 2020, Windows 7 was the oldest supported OS from Microsoft. The system is still popular with many users. You won't find it on new computers today, but it was an iconic successor to the user-friendly Windows XP, which it surpassed in many ways.

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Microsoft’s support for Windows 7 ended on 14. 1. 2020, while Windows 8.1 support is planned to continue until 10. 1. 2023. As far as the Windows 10 operating system is concerned, it is a good idea to have the latest version installed, because older ones may lack critical security patches.

Windows Vista and older operating systems

If you own Windows Vista or an even older operating system from Microsoft, be aware that they are no longer supported and therefore do not receive any updates and security patches. This means there is a high chance that the data on your computer will not be safe from hacker or virus attacks.

Windows Server - operating system designed for servers

The Windows Server operating system finds plenty of use in the corporate world and as its name suggests, it runs on servers, which are much easier to manage. It promises not only secure access and data protection, but also smooth operation. You will also appreciate this OS if you want to work with files across remotely connected devices.

  • A powerful tool for managing servers with Azure technology.
  • Allows you to work with container services and compress saved data by up to one third.
  • Multi-layered data security and connection to the Windows operating system.

32/64 bit operating systems are not just a Windows issue

  • The 32-bit operating system is quite outdated nowadays, as it only supports 4GB of RAM and the latest applications and games may not be compatible. Today these systems are more an exception that a rule.
  • The 64-bit operating system is the modern standard and requires at least 2GB of RAM and a 64-bit processor. In addition, it is backward compatible with 32-bit applications.

Most popular mobile operating systems - overview

Aside from the commercial Windows OS and macOS and the free Linux operating system, there are also mobile operating systems. What are the most popular mobile operating systems today? Let’s take a closer look.

Android OS - global mobile market leader

If you encounter a smartphone or tablet, it’s very likely that it will have the Android operating system developed by Google.

Android smartphones offer many different versions. Google offers a lightweight “pure” version on its smartphones, while other manufacturers supply their own overlays. For example, Samsung has its Experience overlay, while Xiaomi equips its smartphones with MIUI.

iOS operating system - standard for every iPhone

Every Apple iPhone runs on the iOS operating system, which is also developed by Apple. You get top-of-the-line hardware with perfectly fine-tuned software. In addition to the iPhone, iOS also runs on the latest iPod Touch.

iPadOS - even better iPads

In 2019, Apple released iPadOS for its iPads. It aims to bring the latest tablets closer to laptops and is heavily inspired by the MacOS operating system used in Macs.

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Tizen operating system - tailored for TVs and smartwatches

The Tizen operating system is most commonly found on Samsung's smartwatches and TVs. However, it can also be used in tablets, cameras, and other devices.

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