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What Are the Different Types of Desktop Computer Systems?

A desktop computer, keyboard, and mouse with a hidden tower.
A desktop computer system.
Article Details
  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Macintosh®, Microsoft Windows®, and Linux® are some popular desktop computer systems. Designed by Apple®, the Mac OS® is a relatively expensive system known for its user friendliness. Microsoft Windows® has been in development since the early 1980s, and is the most widely used computer operating system. In addition, Linux® is the only widely used open-source operating system that can freely be edited and redistributed by anyone. There are other desktop computer systems, but most are not popular enough to seriously compete with the big three.

As one of the earliest desktop computer systems, Microsoft Windows® comes pre-installed on the vast majority of new computers. In fact, even when customizing a personal computer (PC), some manufacturers only give customers the option to choose from the different kinds of Microsoft Windows® systems. For users with genuine copies of the operating system, Microsoft® offers a free anti-virus program, photo editing software, and much more. The company typically stops supporting a specific operating system less than one decade after its release, which means it no longer codes updates for bugs or drivers or ensures that new programs can be run.

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Apple® computers run an operating system called Mac OS®, which is often advertised as the most user-friendly system. Unlike Microsoft Windows®, Mac OS® is not sold on a lot of retail computers. Instead, a potential user must order directly from Apple®, though this comes with the benefit of being able to purchase an AppleCare® protection plan. Apple® computers and their operating systems have developed a cult following because of their ease of use, such as not having to purchase virus protection. In addition, while Mac OS® is not open source, users can easily learn to create Mac OS® applications to trade with others.

Linux® has been in development since the early 1990s with the help of thousands of people. It can be updated by anyone and has a very dedicated fan base that helps new users become accustomed to the operating system. Linux® is the most popular choice of system when it comes to servers, and it runs the fastest supercomputers in the world.

Choosing among the most popular desktop computer systems can be difficult for someone who has not developed a preference. They all have their advantages and disadvantages; for example, a lesser-used system likely has fewer gaming options. There is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to choosing an operating system, however, only personal preference.

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