Ubuntu vs Windows 7: What are the Differences?

ubuntuvswindows7Although Windows 8 is always making headlines, a surprisingly large number of PC users continue to use the Windows 7 operating system. Created rather quickly by Microsoft after its predecessor (Windows Vista) failed miserably, Windows 7 has proven to be a stable, reliable operating system relied on by consumers and businesses around the world.

That said, how does it stack up to the latest version of Ubuntu Linux? In this article, you will learn about some of the key differences between these two popular operating systems so you can decide which OS is right for you. For a quick recap of some important new Windows 7 features, check out the Windows 7 New Features course.


No discussion about Linux vs Windows is complete without mentioning price. In case you are unfamiliar with Ubuntu, it is completely free for residential use. Compared to the price tag of Windows 7 (which can easily be over $300 per computer), Ubuntu quickly becomes a very desirable alternative to the standard Windows or OS X offerings.

But the savings don’t stop there. When you purchase a new computer with Windows 7, you get quite a few programs on a trial basis. After 30, 60 or 90 days, you need to purchase these programs to continue using them. These software purchases can quickly reach the price of the computer, yet it isn’t something considered by most consumers when they make a software purchasing decision.

Ubuntu has many useful software programs installed by default including LibreOffice, a full office productivity suite that is almost 100% compatible with Microsoft Office products. Although all basic features should work without incident, some of the more advanced features of LibreOffice may not translate correctly into Office. You can learn more about these features in the Ubuntu vs Windows article.

Of course, LibreOffice is completely free to use and represents another significant cost savings over Windows 7.

Downloading New Content

Think about your typical Windows experience for a moment. If you can’t do something with the software you have, you usually have to research a software product and ultimately download and install it to add this functionality. Ubuntu solved this a few years ago with the introduction of the Software Center. This tool allows users to search for software and download/install these programs without any complicated processes.

You can learn more about using the Software Center in Introduction to Linux.

Not only is this solution a step above anything offered in Windows 7, it also makes Ubuntu much more accessible to novice users that may be uncomfortable using the command line in Linux when downloading and installing new content.

Windows does offer an Application Store in Windows 8. You can learn more about this feature in the Ubuntu vs Windows 8 article and in the Ubuntu vs Windows article respectively.

These are just a couple of differences between Windows 7 and Ubuntu. Although the free price and higher level of customization make Ubuntu an appealing choice, Windows 7 is still a staple of the corporate work environment and takes precedence in many professional situations.

Ubuntu has come a long way and is a suitable replacement for Windows in many circumstances; however, there are still software compatibility issues that are not easily overcome by the corporate work environment that has relied on Windows for nearly two decades.