While the authors at MakeUseOf carry diverse preferences on computer OSes, we’ve written in defense of Windows, explaining why it’s still a viable option in the world of Mac OS X and Chromebooks. Of course, people continue to hate things they don’t prefer using and so stereotypes about Windows persist.
Today, let’s take a closer look at some Windows myths that have lingered throughout the ages. Not all of them will turn out to be false, but by examining the facts instead of just shouting angrily about “the other people,” maybe we can reach an understanding that Windows isn’t the buggy, virus-laden mess people make it out to be.
Myth: Windows is Not Intuitive
It’s an overused joke by now that Windows 8 made some annoying design choices, and though 8.1 cleaned up a lot of the mess it’s still a good idea to fix common Windows 8.1 frustrations. However, this doesn’t mean that these issues are exclusive to Windows, as we’re also looked at some big OS X annoyances that need resolved.
Though both operating systems have some quirks, it’s not about counting up how many changes you need to make out of the box. Rather, the takeaway point is that intuitiveness is subjective. Mihir advised those who consider switching away from Windows to think about how invested they are in the environment.
If you’ve been using Windows all your life, you’re used to its quirks and how it functions, even down to simple things like how maximizing and closing windows works. On a Mac, that’s totally different – and that doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but it takes some getting used to.
If someone has never used a computer in their life, there could be arguments made for what’s most intuitive at first glance. However, most Windows haters don’t fall into this category and so they don’t consider the subjective nature of this complaint; thus it can’t really be used effectively. There are big perks to being a Windows user that you’ll lose on a Mac; in the end, it all comes down to choosing the best environment for you.
Myth: Windows Gets the Most Viruses
Now we come to a myth that isn’t totally false, but needs closer examination. Contrary to the common cyber security illusion, Windows is not inherently insecure, meaning that it’s not a glued-together pile of rubbish just waiting to collapse. Rather, Windows is simply the most-used desktop OS and thus the biggest target for attack. If you wanted to write a piece of malware and get the biggest return, which OS would you choose to target?
Obviously, from this usage graph we can see how huge of a market share Windows has. It logically follows that the most malware would exist for Windows, then, since it has the biggest user base and therefore the most possible targets and highest profit margin. Of course, that’s not to say Macs don’t get malware. Though it isn’t common unless you’re installing unapproved software, you may still see signs your Mac is infected.
Another qualifier on this myth has to do with the various types of malware. Today, traditional viruses aren’t the concern as much as ransomware, adware, and other sleazy software that inject ads into everything you do. And thanks to some loopholes, installing this junk through checkboxes that you accidentally leave ticked is considered totally legal. Most of this affects your browser and is somewhat OS-independent; our friends at the How-To Geek have chronicled how the biggest download sites all serve up crapware, and how the epidemic is spreading to Mac OS X, too.
So yes, Windows has the most viruses. However, using that as an attack on it is like saying people who work outside get the most sunburn. If every OS had the same market share, this Windows complaint would be more valid. However, while Windows continues to dominate, its virus problem is a sad truth but not one that can be used as significant leverage against it.
There are plenty of myths that we’ve either looked at sometime in the past or aren’t significant enough to warrant their own section. Let’s take a look at some classic Windows myths that are hopefully dying out.
First, cleaning the registry will not help speed up your computer. Regular users should never have reason to look into the registry, and even thousands of “errors” wouldn’t bring the slightest dip in performance. PC cleaning programs such as MyCleanPC (that go so far as to advertise on late-night TV) count every temporary file and cookie on your computer as a “problem” and then scare you into paying them $20-$40 to do nothing of value. Don’t fall for these shysters; learn how to actually clean out old files and avoid the scams.
While defragmenting is not useless like cleaning the registry, it’s becoming less important as time goes on. If you have a solid state drive (SSD), you should never defragment the drive as it could cause damage. Those who still have a traditional hard disk drive (if you’re not sure, you can easily find out what you have) can defragment every so often, but the latest versions of Windows do this automatically and so you shouldn’t have to even think about it.
There are plenty of good free antivirus programs out there (save for Microsoft Security Essentials), so you don’t need to pay for a premium product. However, you don’t want to run multiple antivirus programs at once; they will at best slow down your system and at worst conflict, miss infections, or cause deeper problems. Stick with just one, such as avast! (our avast! review). Matt has written at length why AdBlock is poisonous to the Internet, but if you still insist on using AdBlock, don’t use multiple versions. Just like antivirus utilities, you’ll be wasting system resources and bogging down your browser.
Debunking the Haters
Of course, there are many more myths about Windows that don’t seem to die. If you think Windows isn’t aesthetically pleasing or isn’t customizable, check out the dozens of themes that totally change the look of Windows, or give your cursor a makeover. Windows isn’t perfect, and it is an easy target for some of the criticisms used against it.
However, by looking at the truth instead of perpetuating falsehood, we can get a better idea of what Windows is really all about and why it doesn’t deserve to be bashed constantly. If you’re a Windows hater, when was the last time you actually sat down and used the OS? Misconceptions built on Windows XP are outdated and are in sore need of an update (just like how XP itself is antiquated, in fact!).
Hungry for more myths to bust? Check out the truth about speeding up your machine and security fallacies that can be dangerous if followed.
What Windows myths are you sick of hearing about? Do other operating systems carry as many myths as Windows does? Please share your thoughts below!
Image Credits: Point to laptop screen via Shutterstock, Annoyed Designer via Shutterstock