Kev Quirk

Is Windows Unstable? Here Are My Thoughts

20 May 2021 | ~4 minute read

I hear lots of people in the Linux community say that Windows is really unstable, but how unstable is it really? Here's my opinion on the matter...

I asked the community over on Fosstodon what they thought about the stability of Windows. I was expecting a lot of responses, but goodness me, there were LOADS of them! You can read the entire thread here.

Even though there were a tonne of responses, most of them fell into one of the following issues:

  1. Blue screen of death (BSOD)
  2. Updates randomly rebooting the machine
  3. Poor performance
  4. Bad privacy practices
  5. Bundled software

Some of these I agree with, but not all of them. A few of them don't actually relate to the stability of Windows at all. So I wanted to spend a bit of time writing out my thoughts on whether Windows is actually stable or not.

Is Windows actually unstable?

So looking at those 5 buckets again, it's only really BSOD and the updates that pertain to the stability of Windows, in my opinion. Yes, the others are problems, but they don't affect the stability of the OS.

Personally, I think the feedback around updates rebooting the machine automatically and BSOD is quite outdated. Probably as a result of many of the people providing feedback being Linux users for a long time. Or, dare I say it, a certain level of bandwagonsim maybe?

Blue screen of death

This is purely anecdotal, as I can only draw on my own experience, but I don't remember the last time I saw a Windows 10 BSOD. I have a Windows 10 installation on my desktop computer, and my Wife's laptop runs Windows 10 too. I've never seen either of them BSOD. Not a single time.

Further, I also have Windows 10 on my work laptop, and my work virtual desktop. Plus, all of the machines in work run Windows 10 too. There's hundreds of them in my office and I have never seen a BSOD on anyone's machine. I've never even heard someone complain about it.

Surely if the BSOD was as prevalent as the Linux community makes out, we would hear Windows users shouting about it at least some of the time?

Updates causing a reboot

Again, I've simply not experienced this. Now, back in the Windows 2000/XP days, yeah I think we all experienced this. However, for many years now, I've not seen this happen.

The user experience I've had is a notification to say that there are updates pending, then a little orange bubble on the shut down icon to remind me that I need to reboot to install updates.

Again, if this was a common as the Linux community makes out, how would anyone on Windows get any work done?

Poor performance

Let me say this first - poor performance doesn't mean that Windows is unstable. That aside, I don't think Windows 10 actually performs poorly.

I'm in the privileged position to have a relatively powerful desktop, but I have to say I don't notice any performance difference between Linux (I'm currently running Kubuntu 20.04) and Windows 10.

Windows 10 is certainly more RAM hungry than Linux though. For example, I'm currently running at around 8GB RAM used, whereas on Linux, running similar applications is around 6GB RAM.

But using more RAM doesn't equate to poor performance unless you're actually running out of RAM. I have 32GB RAM on my desktop, so I'm good with 8GB RAM being used. Overall, Windows performs just as well as Linux for me.

Bad privacy & bundled software

While I agree with this wholeheartedly, once again it doesn't equate to instability in Windows. There are things you can do to make Windows 10 more private, and I strongly recommend you do them if you're running Windows 10.

Unfortunately, there's no way I've found to get rid of all the rubbish software that Microsoft bundle in, other than perusing the add/remove programs screen after the OS has been installed.

Very annoying.

Linux isn't innocent of this though either. A lot of distributions bundle a number of software applications that I don't use. Luckily for me though, the Ubuntu devs have solved this for me by offering a minimal install option.

If only Microsoft did the same...

I don't think Windows is unstable

Yes, Windows has its problems. But in my experience (and I must stress again - this is all based on just my own experience) Windows 10 is not unstable.

In fact, I would go one further and say that Windows 10 is actually a really good operating system. Once you've sorted the privacy concerns and uninstalled all the junk.

I use Windows 10 on my desktop 90% of the time now, mainly because I can't connect to my corporate network in Linux. Because of this, I've built a pretty solid workflow in Windows 10 and, much like Linux, it just gets out of my way.

My Windows 10 desktop
My Windows 10 desktop

Also, Windows 10 is pretty much a rolling release, so I'm unlikely to need to reinstall any time soon. Bearing all this in mind, I'm seriously thinking about ditching the Kubuntu 20.04 installation from my desktop and just having Windows 10. I will continue to use Linux on my trusty ThinkPad, however.

Have you ditched Linux in favour of Windows? Do you think Windows is unstable? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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