Windows

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

How did your peers answer this question: If you were building a PC for yourself today, what operating system would you install?

On April 23, 2010, I polled TechRepublic members on this question:

Despite the amount of Microsoft and Windows bashing we saw in the Discussion Forum associated with this poll question, over 50% of the more than 4,000 respondents would use Windows 7 for their operating system. More surprisingly, at least if you judge by the grossing in the forums, is that Windows XP is the distant third choice behind Linux.

One anecdotal conclusion we can draw from the discussion forum following this poll is that many of the respondents would likely use a dual-booting system. It would seem that IT professionals don't like to be boxed in to only one operating system.

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.

42 comments
CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It supports the apps I want to run. All of them happen to run under XP too, but I don't see loading an eight-year-old OS on a new box.

stpmt11
stpmt11

I would be interested to see the comparison between their choice, and the OS they primarily use for work. Also I would be curious how many would list gaming as the main reason for choosing their operating system.

abiemann
abiemann

Windows 7 1) for gaming 2) because I got 4 copies for free Ubuntu 10.04 looks intriguing... I will try the boot-from-CD evaluation just out of curiosity, however, I won't use it because I love Visual Studio and the wide variety of games available for Windows.

ssj6akshat
ssj6akshat

and don't forget Quickly for python,some dude at the UDS programmed an email client using Quickly in 10 seconds.

leo8888
leo8888

Since I have to support all Windows flavors in my work I still have seen no compelling reason to move to Windows 7. More un-needed complexity and less control over the file system (documents folders that are actually only links to user folders for example) make me want to avoid 7 for as long as I can. A box running a properly tuned Winxp still runs way faster than 7 from what I have seen so far.

terry.floyd
terry.floyd

If you support "all flavors of Windows" in your work, you must support Windows NT, Win2K, Vista and Windows 7 in addition to XP, correct? If all you support are XP systems "properly tuned" how can you say with any confidence that they run faster than Windows 7? This has not been my experience at all. In supporting our old XP computers, most of what we have to do is control malware and virus outbreaks, which occur very rarely on our Windows Vista and Win7 machines.

leo8888
leo8888

When I was referring to supporting all flavors of windows I meant in my side business. We don't have any Win 7 machines in our office yet because I have no compelling reason to upgrade since our XP machines run so well. We have not had a virus or spyware outbreak on any of our workstations in at least 6 years. Partly due to the fact the we do not run Outlook and only run I.E. when necessary. We use SeaMonkey instead for browsing and email and have had great success with it. And from experiences with my clients in my side business Win7 is no more immune to malware than any version of windows was. It is still a matter of good protection and common sense. I have also done downgrades for clients from both Win7 and Vista to XP and on the same hardware after the downgrades the machines always ran faster.

iamdave
iamdave

If I were building a computer, which I won't do, I would choose a Linux variant due to the cost of Windows software. When I buy a computer I will make sure it had Windows 7 bundled with it.

DJMorais
DJMorais

Just bought a new laptop not long ago and Windows 7 has been great. It's fast, stable and runs everyhting with no problems. Having said that, if I'm building one from scratch I'm going to dual-boot Win7 and Ubuntu for sure. The new 10.0.4 release has been getting great reviews so I will try it at some point.

j.imanuel
j.imanuel

It's stable, fast and has some cool eyecatchers

pjg1993
pjg1993

It depends on what the primary use of the system would be. For gaming I would go with Windows 7. If it were a HTPC or file server it would be a linux box.

aregy
aregy

thanx Egypt Archaeologists

wwgorman
wwgorman

Microsoft hasn't yet improved on Windows XP. Windows Vista is a small improvement on stability but has incompatibility problems with older programs and hardware. Windows 7 extends the incompatibility even further. Microsoft is customer deaf, e.g., Office 2007 and Office 2010 "Ribbon."

psingleton
psingleton

If I've got something that isn't "Windows 7" compatible, I just set it to run in a OS it is compatible. It an easy change in windows 7... I'm running a game that I used to play back in 2000 (Mechwarrior 4) in compatibility mode and it runs great. So what is it that you are having compatibility with?

wwgorman
wwgorman

I know I'm late in responding but here are my problems. First my Micro Solutions "Backpack" External CD-ROM Drive will only run in Windows XP and with the compatibility set to Win 98. It posts an error message even at that that the driver has not been loaded. It has and works. It doesn't work at all in Vista or Win 7. The Oxford English Dictionary does not run in Win 7 and I was told by OED Support it won't until a new program is written. This program costs $300 and I use it almost daily as I write lots of emails and snail mail letters. I felt I'd rather waste $49 on the Win 7 purchase than the $300 on the OED. There are several other hardware issues like my Sony Post Card Printer that will run in Vista by reinstalling the driver for each session of use. It won't work in Win 7. This is (was) a $250 item and has been abandoned by Sony (A typical practice of Sony). There are two older programs that do not run in Vista or Win 7 MoreFonts for one and Icon Designer for another. Both run in Vista. I have replaced Icon Designer with IconEdit as Icon Designer is a Win 3 program but I'm used to it and for me it is easier to use. Meta Mouse runs in Vista and not Win 7 so I can have custom colored arrows and a spinning arrow in lieu of the hour glass.

rustyfoxau@yahoo.com.au
rustyfoxau@yahoo.com.au

I loaded Windows 7 and thought it was fantastic until I tried Ubuntu. Ubuntu boots faster shuts down faster and the added benefit of no malware issues to worry about. I am only a newbie with Linux system but I have converted and only use Win7 rarely

lonewwolf66647025
lonewwolf66647025

I'm a "newbie" to Ubuntu myself..but..after using Microsoft since the begining..I've switched over to Ubuntu..and NEVER going back to "Windoze"!! EVER!!!

teruble
teruble

Ubuntu 10.4 would be my choice.

CodeCurmudgeon
CodeCurmudgeon

Ubuntu. No question about it. I've been 100% Ubuntu Linux at home since 2006. Why would I make chairman Bill any richer? "Microsoft delenda est!"

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If Ubuntu came from Microsoft, would you still object to making Bill richer? Is it the general concept of him making money off software that you object to, or the specific software he's making money off?

mr_m_sween
mr_m_sween

and very well phrased. Bravo.

Amnezia
Amnezia

or, after watching 6 years of the TV series LOST, there's no satisfying answer? LOL

Amnezia
Amnezia

After having almost all Windows versions from ver 2 work out of the box - except ME and Vista, and enjoying the experience, I'd go with Win 7. But having recently begun playing with my first ever Linux distro I'd almost be tempted to install Mint 8.0. However I still can't find all the linux apps I use, so that's holding me back from going exclusively to open source. I played with Win 7 from RC1 and liked it - the ultimate vesion ran fast on my old 2.8 P4 with 2g Ram, and I almost bought the upgrade version when it came out. But I was satisfied with XP, and had all my apps working great. So now I'm sticking with XP, but if there's some pressing reason for "having to update" before final support for XP disappears, I might just use my other hard disk with Mint as my OS of choice. But that's some way in the future I hope ...

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

It might depend on: Would it still be opensource? Oops, that one gave a divide by zero overflow.

iKnowKungFoo
iKnowKungFoo

I just built a new i7-920 based system and 64-bit Windows 7 was the obvious choice. My main desktop has been Ubuntu for the last few years, but with Win7 being so stable and so much faster than Vista, I can just run Linux in VirtualBox when I need it.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

According to the poll, when they are making decisions for their own personal uses, Windows 7 is the operating system of choice for the majority of IT professionals responding to the poll. Does that answer surprise you?

mcswan454
mcswan454

Believe it or not, I would install whichever OS will provide me with the functionality I need for that particular system, and will help to determine what apps will be run. It will be designed for a purpose, and that's pretty much it. I was asked this question - by a prospective customer - recently: "Where is your greatest IT strength, and your greatest IT weakness?" There was only one honest answer: I'm a Generalist. I've studied, certified, and have hands-on enough about enough to make a very good living recommending for my clients what solutions are available. I can guarantee, if you've read some of my other posts, you might believe this untrue (YES, I do come off sideways from time-to-time). But remember: I get paid by the solution, NOT my personal preferences. Also, I get paid to help implement those solutions to improve my customers' abilities to serve THEIR customers, of whom I MIGHT be one. And I'm proud to say, if I do not know the answer - since I cannot afford to be a fanboy - I know where to look. But THAT comes with Generalism. Don't take it personally, expand your knowledge. The first impulse mayn't be the best answer. But I digressed.... What I would use as the base OS, will depend on what I want that system to do. To do otherwise would shortchange my clients by NOT providing for their needs, or MINE for that matter. M.

lastchip
lastchip

is Windows7/Vista only managed 53% of the vote. As the Windows system is endemic in business, it's surprising to me, just how far it's slipped. Yes, I know we're talking about private use, but many professionals (not surprisingly) prefer to keep to what they know. What is a further surprise, is my contemporaries would rather install Linux than XP; 18% v 22%. That is something that was probably unthinkable even just 5 years ago. Linux, while remaining the underdog, is still the preferred system by over 1 in 5 professionals and completely trounces MAC. To me, that shows a significant shift in acceptance.

Amnezia
Amnezia

Most IT professionals may well have some Linux work too, so it might depend on what OS the box was going to be used for. For a purely personal pc it might just depend on what OS was on the previous box - Win or Linux. But what's with this waving a slightly tainted fish in the prevailing wind? Looking for bites?

dougogd
dougogd

7 has too many things in it that cause me problems unless i can turn them all off. Not to mention vista is more compatible with my software.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

No. Logically Win7 is the OS of choice because OS X is not available and Linux (#2) is still not user-friendly enough to be an everyday OS for the majority of people. I have read enough people comment that they would use OS X if it were available for any machine, and maybe they're right, just maybe it would be decent competition to Windows in the same environment, but we all know that Apple is not likely to do that since it would sap their hardware sales which is where their money is coming from. So no, the response is no surprise to me.

SundayBiker
SundayBiker

yes, 18% would still install XP instead of 7?

psingleton
psingleton

I like Windows 7. There is just something counter-intuitive for me about OS X and I've never wanted to spend the time learning Linux. Windows 7 takes all of the things I liked from XP and combines it with the few things I like from OS X and then packages it in a visually appealing package. There are people out there that look down their noses at me for putting appearance on my scale for choosing, but if I have to look at something for long periods of time, I want to be looking at something aesthetically appealing. The backwards compatibility is nice, and I do like that knowing XP makes Windows 7 easy to use. Just my 2 cents.

jfuller05
jfuller05

I still use XP at work, in fact over half of the users do, due to compatibility with programs sill being used here. A user wanted me to install Windows 7 for him on his work laptop and after using it for a day, he wanted me to reinstall XP for him. He said that he liked the functionality of 7, that it was really pleasing to the eyes, but the programs he uses to create ID badges, and other HAM Radio software he uses wouldn't work with 7. So, I believe the only reasons people don't use 7 over xp are: 1. Compatibility issues with older software 2. They don't want to learn how to use a new OS. Of course, I've been known to be wrong.:)

gavin142
gavin142

Have had a few problem-child applications like that, but XP mode solved all of them. Am now in the process of trying to get the budget to migrate all users over.

melekali
melekali

...if you taught your user how to use XP Compatibility mode, he'd probably still have 7.

jfuller05
jfuller05

Windows 7, in compatibility mode, has worked for other users, but the software he uses wouldn't even work in comp. mode.

thissheepisdeadly
thissheepisdeadly

Did the end-user try the compatibility mode? I had issues with some of my users' software but the compatibility mode fixed that quickly, even some funky Win95-specific apps are working fine. :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I also suspect the available apps are what drove the V/W7 supporters.

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