Operating systems

Poll: If you were building a PC for yourself today, what operating system would you install?

The TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog polls members: If you were building a PC for yourself today, what operating system would you install?

As information technology professionals, TechRepublic members spend a significant amount of time testing, installing, and configuring operating systems. But, given the choice, what operating system would these professionals choose for themselves? If we drop all the work-related considerations and just focus on your own personal computer needs and desires, which operating system would win out?

Of course, no matter your answer, we have to dig deeper and discuss why you would chose that operating system. Is it the user interface that sells your choice? Is it the applications you can run? Is it security, or the lack thereof, that drives your decision making? Join the associated discussion and share your thoughts.

Note: Either 32-bit or 64-bit for all the choices.

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

213 comments
mikeoconecs
mikeoconecs

eComStation2.0GA, just released past few days, for peace of mind all the time, ultimate configurability, and does only what I want it to do, not what the manufacturer thinks I should be allowed to do! Mike

Slayer_
Slayer_

A buddy of mine has very similar set up of a computer. 2 Sound cards, so that he can use his microphone and not have it interfere with the sound from a game, so it only comes from his headset. He also has that same card set to his TV speakers. According to him, if he plugs in the second card cables to the speakers, Windows goes into an endless loop switcing between the two cards. They don't work in harmoney anymore... Having two sound cards is important to me, I don't want to watch TV out of my PC speakers, my TV system goes to my surround sound speakers while my PC sounds go to my PC speakers and larger side speakers. I can play games while others watch movies without the video or audio channels crossing, with a theoretical total of 14 channels of audio.

jeslurkin
jeslurkin

I voted Linux, and after some thought, decided to mention HyperOS. It will allow me to run Lin/Win/DOS/whatever, without actual multi-boot. Prices have come down, and I feel that it is more affordable now. 'Nuff said.

taylorstan
taylorstan

Again...we start with the *Nix vs Windows debates. *Nix will never make a leep into American mainstream until it is MARKETED. *Nix people are going to have to dump a few hundred million dollars into advertising. MS does an awsome job of "stealing" features from the compeditor and incorperating them into their software, then marketing it as their own improvements. *Nix people need to buy some Super Bowl air time to get the "Revolution" started.

nolten
nolten

Because of 3rd party software I was forced to vote for Windows 7 but Linux (Ubuntu) would be me real choice

dAVErSF
dAVErSF

XP Pro or XP Home, simply because they both work quite well, and I already have the software boxed copies sitting on a shelf awaiting a new build I've not had time to do.

jonb
jonb

I have yet to meet a single person with IT background that would ever consider willingly installing Vista in any form on a personal system if given a choice. Win-7 is too new & buggy, (yes it does have bugs, like any MS_OS), for a definite selection other than *to play with it & see what breaks*.

Jaytmoon
Jaytmoon

Windows 7 is my main OS with a few VM-ware Machines used as needed, XP, ME(yes), Win Srvr 2003, Win Srvr 2010, OSx 10.5 and Ubuntu I don't use Vista anymore since "7" came out...

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Chorkle. Choices should be: Linux Based Unix Based Microsoft Based Apple Based Other

ango0001
ango0001

Windows Server 2008 (Or Windows Server 2008 R2). The nature of my work requires it.

( LAS )
( LAS )

Please split 7 and VISTA as you cannot compare performance. I WILL definitely vote 7 but refrained from voting as there is no way that I will vote for a modernised Windows ME like VISTA. Between 98 and XP (top performers) we had ME, between XP and 7 (Top Performers) we had VISTA :-)

raid0
raid0

Windows 7 / Ubuntu

Greenknight_z
Greenknight_z

Then I could run Windows in a VM, for apps and games that don't work on Linux. In fact, I think I'd install some minimalist Linux distro and use it only as a host for VMs, do all work and browsing on VMs, whether Win, Lin, or something else...

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Right now? A system for myself? Windows XP. Simply because right now it and the applications I have available for it (which I actually use) do everything I need and want to do. On the desktop I use most often when at home, I've frozen updates to the OS and the apps I use. As they now exist, they meet my wants and needs. i.e. I did load a newer version of Office, but reverted back to Office 2003, with it configured for earlier compatibility mode. Its as simple as that. On a personal system, I typically get everything set up to satisfy my wants and needs. Then don't bother worrying about the "latest and greatest" until there is darn good reason to do so. i.e. Features I actually want and NEED, that're not available in the current version of what ever I'm running.

Doogle268
Doogle268

Just curious as to why you chose to group Vista and Windows 7? I would have voted Windows 7 but voted 'Other' simply because I did not want to vote for Vista!

dilipkumar.p
dilipkumar.p

I use windows 7,Because Graphically its good & it is user Friendly .

bookkeeper
bookkeeper

Most of the choices surely depend on personal usage as for me i like to play games and just play around the duel boot as mentioned earlier sounds like fun if i was building one for work related then i would look real deep in to what kind of software will run on which OS. Chocolate and Vanilla to each his or her own Signed Just an opinion

yogi_john
yogi_john

When I built my own computer last year I set it up for multi-boot. I bought an OEM copy of Vista with the hardware and partitioned the hard drive for Vista, a linux distro and a miscellaneous (test) OS. I installed OpenBSD and, when it came out, Ubuntu 9.10. The bootloader installed with Ubuntu did not recognize the BSD drive; I have not bothered yet fixing that, as I've been fairly pleased with Ubuntu. I do have some issues, but I haven't spent much time trying to solve them. Frankly, one of things I need to do is finish making all the connections from the mobo--that might solve some or all of the issues (first mobo was dead, so I set this up without connecting everything as I was testing whether the mobo or the CPU was bad; I have sound problems; also Firefox tends to crash, which seems to be Flash related and that might be sound related). Anyway, the Vista copy is still unopened. I started a Win7 RC install but aborted because I didn't have the other partitions backed up. I didn't trust the install to not use the whole hard drive.

pfbenapfl
pfbenapfl

I would really balk at price. Ubuntu is maturing fast and is mostly a pleasure to use, plus there is so much great open-source software to fill it out. Ubuntu is the one I'd choose.

ScarF
ScarF

on a home-made clone.

ScarF
ScarF

And not Vista

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

The question should of made one caveat. You can't install the Mac OS [officially] on a non-Apple hardware. I have a dual boot Win 7 64-bit and XP.

dave
dave

Lumping WIn 7 and Vista together does not reflect what I see and hear in the marketplace here. I stayed with XP for as long as I reasonably thought I should. I then migrated to Win 7. I waited long enough to make sure that it looked stable for my/our use. It would have been interesting to see other's thoughts on Vista vs Win 7.

MallusLittera
MallusLittera

If you were going to do that you should have just said windows.. they're totaly different..

Dave51
Dave51

I have built this machine and loaded it with Ubuntu 8.04 and ungraded as and when the new release can out, waiting for 10.04 now...

javelin276
javelin276

I would install Windows 7, but not Vista.

arthur_cochrane
arthur_cochrane

Linux with Windows XP and 7 installed in VirtualBox VMs.

l_creech
l_creech

Like many people, it depends on what the computers is for. My last build - 2 weeks ago - is booting to Ubuntu 10.04 with VBox to run various Windows flavors.

1bn0
1bn0

I'm used to windows and used to the applications I use on Windows. I use OSS whenever I can find applications that suit my requirements.

egmccann
egmccann

"Building for myself" can encompass so many different things. As a general purpose system - which, for me, includes gaming - it would be Windows 7 x64. The ease (and related lack-of-hassle) in getting hardware support, drivers, software (including games, yes) plus items like homegroup networking make it my default. If I had some other purpose ("I want to learn X because I'm curious,") I'd either look into a VM, a multiboot system, or creating a dedicated system.

jsaubert
jsaubert

Well it would completely depend on why I was building the PC. If it was for only for video and/or photo editing I'd probably go with the Mac OS. If it was only for "generic use" I'd go with Windows 7. If I could only chose one I'd have to stand by Windows in this case. Of course in a perfect world I'd Tri-Boot with OS X, Win7 and some form of Linux ... why choose if you don't have to? Each OS has their strengths and weaknesses; none of them do everything exactly how I want it. Ideally (read: when I win the PowerBall) I'd actually have three separate OS/programs only PCs and keep all my files collectively on a storage device and just flop back and forth with a KVM. Hey, if you're going to dream, dream big!

mckinnej
mckinnej

Dual boot is a pain. Dual PCs with a KVM are a better solution for concurrent operation. I have two primary PCs now. One with Linux and one with XP. If I were to build a new one today I'd probably stick with that combo.

clint
clint

I would build a Dualboot PC with Windows 7 64Bit Ultimate and the latest Ubuntu. I would spend most of my time in Ubuntu but occasionally you just need Windows for particular apps, Games especially. For the most part with Ubuntu and Virtual Machine you can do nearly everything. With the exception of a few apps that don't like VM resolutions, then just reboot into Windows 7 and off you go.

bajangrrl
bajangrrl

MacOSX all the way. I'm a graphic designer and I am more concerned with stability, security, speed, ease of use. I need to know that my machine won't choke and crash on me when I'm in the middle of editing two magazines and a billboard, that I can easily access the internet, and that I won't forever be invaded by malware, viruses etc. etc. So I'm a Machead all the way. Been using Macs for over 20 years now, and while the actual graphic design software now runs with equal ease on Macs and PC's, the background stuff - as mentioned above - makes it a no brainer for me.

pgit
pgit

...I voted for win7. If I were building a top end system from the ground up I'd be doing so because I expect to use the heck out of it. From the "it just works" department I'd have to lean on win7 to insure as much. Just this morning I discovered that on a recent install of Linux on a server I had neglected to add the printers. No problem, right? For 10 years it's basically turn on the switch and there's your printer. Nope. It was a bit of a chore getting them to go on the server itself, but what's worse is I discovered that my distro has horrifically broken the remote cups configuration that used to work perfectly. Printers have become hit or miss with this distro in it's present state, including that you can forget about printing at all if the printer is shared off a windows machine. ~sigh~ I have used Linux exclusively in my home and office and will continue to do so, but little nagging things like today's printer fiasco leave me with the feeling that if I wanted to do away with such headaches my only option is windows.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

That you are not using Windows 7 on the beast. ;) Just one of the many Undocumented Features of the Bright Shiny New M$ product that they want us to buy at the expense of functionality. After all how many people use 2 or more Sound Cards so we'll just kill off the possibility to do that as it's not important to us. :D Col

Jiggy Gaton
Jiggy Gaton

Is it me, or is Ubuntu 9 just "lacking" :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If you did got the minimal *nix host with all used OS in VMs, you should look at VMware ESX. It's free now like VMware Server but installs as it's own VM hosting OS on the bare metal. For games, you'll need to check hardware support. I think Virtualbox is developing 3D gpu support and VMware Workstation may have it now also. Without the 3D GPU support, you'll be limited for what games run in your Windows VM. Any software that does not need intimate hardware contact should run well though. If your a serious gamer, the game vendors continue to make it a Windows world so you'll be looking to dual-boot. This works out well though because you can tune Windows for the specific games your playing and keep the *nix productivity side for everything else.

yogi_john
yogi_john

Well, this post had me doing work I've deferred for the past many months. Turns out the instability I've been living with is most likely due to bad RAM. memtest86+ pointed out the bad module, confirmed by single module tests in different slots. I should add that I do have a Windows program (Punch! Home Design) that may mean setting up Windows as a boot option. I'll try a virtual machine or Wine first, though.

lhheston
lhheston

Many of us avoided Vista and are accepting windows 7. I chose win 7 pro solely because I could use the virtual machine to also run XP - - how should I vote for that??

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Why would one purchase Vista now instead of jumping over to Win7 with it's refinements and longer support life.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I considered separating them, but Vista and Windows 7 are very close to the same. Windows XP is the old established Windows OS that is most widely used. For the most part, transitioning in the Windows world is from XP to Windows 7. I can see someone wanting XP or Windows 7, but if you are not getting XP I cannot see wanting Vista.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Technically Windows 7 is based on Vista. Vista is 6.0 and Windows 7 is actually 6.1. That said no one would actually choose Vista - would they? :-)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

two out of for ain't bad. :D I kid mostly. The osX box I see beachballs on is an aging powerPC. The two intels in the office have been rock solid. Security is in question though. I'd like to see something designed as more of a comparison of the target instead of a pwn2own. I'd also like to see Apple's openness and response times related to updates greatly improved.

itadmin
itadmin

They bought me a Linux machine for my development work. The rest of the network is Windows. I installed Mepis because I've been curious about it. It comes with Samba. It's very much like the Debian at home. Printing was a problem. Then I found this: http://justin.yackoski.name/winp/ and followed it cookbook style. It works perfectly. I've been on Linux for years. The dual boot XP at home is rarely fired up. After many years on KDE Debian made me give Gnome a go. After about two weeks back on KDE with Mepis I changed it to Gnome. Linux has about 90% of the super computer market - see the Wikipedia entry about super computers and the Top 500 site. In general most people are not that into computers and couldn't care less what they ran.

adolphsn
adolphsn

I found Ubuntu to install and find the printer easier than MS, including the wifi printer via the network.

animoid
animoid

Better than Windows 7 in my opinion and just as feature rich.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Linux just became a lot more appealing, if only Linux properly support duel sound cards.

carlsf
carlsf

Also MS has made changes to WIN7 that we as a group hate (new task bar, libraries, jump, and the interface id NOT liked. ALSO the "CLASSIC" option which which is a standard setting on all systems MS has removed. So as a group we are removing WIN7 and will stay with XP and VISTA

pgit
pgit

Don't use ubuntu and don't test it often but just this Monday I was troubleshooting a Linux printing problem and ran ubuntu 10.04 from a live CD. Absolutely no go with any network resources. It couldn't mount samba, ftp or nfs shares, and certainly was blind to any printers, regardless of how shared. I spent way too much time configuring it to work, with each of the above protocols, nothing doing. I was on the network, had internet access but damned if it was going to allow me to use any local network resources. Windows XP, vista and 7 found and swiftly configured the printers in question. As usual I might add.