Does Linux use less resources than Windows?

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Linux and Windows have been two of the most widely used operating systems. Ideally, Linux is preferred by the techies, and Windows for somewhat non-techies. However, such as distinction is the wrong perception because Linux is an excellent operating system, even for non-techies. The same for windows. However, these operating systems perform differently, and the type of user distinction may arise.

So, does Linux use less resources than Windows? Linux uses fewer resources such as RAM, CPU, and storage than its counterpart, Windows. Linux uses fewer resources because it has a lightweight kernel, lacks too many background-running processes, and lacks bloatware applications. As windows tend to have a heavy kernel, many background processes, and a couple of bloatware applications, it tends to consume more resources to support these services.

If you aim to use fewer resources on your personal computer or server, Linux would be a better choice because it does not consume too many resources.

If you are focused on running applications seamlessly without any hurdles, Linux provides faster execution of programs because resources are always available for such user programs. Besides, Linux ensures that your served applications have a high uptime guarantee even with fewer server resources.

For these reasons, for users that aim at minimizing the use of computer resources without compromising on service reliability and performance, Linux is the best operating system to choose. This is because Linux uses fewer resources without compromising its performance and efficiency.

Let’s see, in detail, why Linux performs better on fewer resources than Windows.

Reasons Linux performs better on fewer resources compared to Windows.

Linux lightweight kernel requires fewer resources to run

Linux has a very light kernel with fewer megabytes than Windows. Because the kernel with just a few megabytes, it requires fewer storage resources.

Besides, in terms of CPU and RAM utilization, the Linux kernel has less code that tends to execute faster during boot time or while supporting the core operating system’s services.

The lightweight kernel owes its lightweight size to the few background-running services and lack of bloatware applications. Linux is more geared towards customization by the user rather than the developer.

Therefore, Linux or Linux distro maintainers tend to add the core/essential services the operating system needs. These core services and applications usually tend to be few, consuming fewer storage resources. Besides, fewer services/applications require less CPU utilization and RAM usage.

Linux does not require additional applications such as antivirus that are resource hog

Linux operating system is a very secure and stable OS. You are not required to install any antivirus on your Linux system because it is not required, and you wouldn’t find many options for Linux antivirus.

Linux comes with enhanced security countermeasures deployed in its kernel, ensuring you get the best security for your personal files and served applications and files. Therefore, you wouldn’t need to purchase and install new antivirus software.

Generally, adding antivirus software to an operating system would lead to more computer resource usage. Antivirus requires more computer resources such as RAM and CPU to protect your files from malware attacks effectively. As antivirus programs must constantly scan your files and remain active, more computer resources are used to support antivirus functionality and features.

Linux does not require any antivirus. Linux provides high uptime guarantees and enhanced security while using fewer computer resources. You are less likely to have downtime compromises from malware on Linux.

As security compromises are non-existent on Linux, computer resources that would have been consumed by antivirus monitoring are spared. Therefore, Linux will use fewer resources than Windows because antivirus software, which uses extensive resources, is not needed on Linux.

Linux fewer background processes and services tend to use fewer computer resources

As Linux has fewer background processes and services, it tends to use fewer computer resources to support running these services. Besides the services being fewer on Linux, they tend to be light in terms of storage and CPU utilization. For these reasons, background processes, and services run with minimal requirements for computer resources.

Overall, Linux operating system will operate at optimal performance with all core services and processes running in the background.

As these background services won’t overstretch resources, the remaining larger computer resources are left unused for other user-installed and package-specific services, processes, and applications.

Thus, other applications not preinstalled with the operating system tend to perform faster because much of the computer resources are available.

Linux lacks bloatware applications that consume computer/server resources

The other feature that ensures Linux operating system consumes fewer resources is that it does not have unnecessary bloatware applications.

On Windows, which has a couple of bloatware applications such as Cortana, bloatware applications use much of the computer resources leaving fewer resources for user-installed applications.

Bloatware applications, especially which run in the background, use more computer resources such as RAM and CPU utilization.

As more bloatware applications run in the background, computer resources such as CPU and RAM tend to be overstretched. The problem becomes more pronounced when an operating system with more bloatware applications is installed on a computer with fewer resources.

Fortunately, with Linux operating system, you do not need to worry about having fewer resources on your computer or server. You do not need to worry because Linux lacks bloatware applications that require too many computer resources.

Linux uses computer resources to support core services that use fewer resources. Thus, much of the resources are left for use for running essential and user-installed applications.

Here are the reasons why each computer resource tends to be less on Linux than on Windows.

Resource usage on Linux compared to Windows

RAM usage on Linux compared to Windows

Linux uses less RAM compared to Windows due to the following reasons:

  1. Linux lacks bloatware applications that consume too much RAM when running, as the case on Windows
  2. Linux does not have many background processes and services that are resource hogs. In the case of Windows, many background applications consume a lot of RAM.

CPU usage on Linux compared to Windows

Compared to Windows, Linux tends to execute less with fewer core processes. Thus, Linux operating systems have less CPU utilization leaving the rest for use by user applications.

Besides, Linux has a very lightweight kernel that does not require executing too many processes and bloatware applications.

Disk usage on Linux compared to Windows

Disk usage on Linux tends to be less for fresh installations than for Windows. Because Windows operating system has many bloatware applications, it requires more disk space for a new installation.

On the other hand, Linux requires less disk space for new installations. This is because Linux does not include non-core and unnecessary applications/programs/packages on a new installation. Thus, the disk space requirement for Linux tends to be minimum.

Due to the reasons mentioned above, Linux uses fewer resources, including RAM, CPU, and storage.

Backing the statement above with research, comparison experiments show that Linux used 373 megabytes of RAM, and Windows used 1.3 gigabytes of RAM at minimum. From the research, Windows used 1000 megabytes more computer resources than Linux.

Related Questions

Can Linux run on 2 GB of RAM?

Based on research, Linux distro maintainers/developers’ recommendations, and my experience, Linux operating system effectively runs on 2 GB of RAM. Even with that RAM, Kali Linux, a Linux distro, runs efficiently without compromising its performance and the number of applications/packages it can support.

Here is a table showing the amount of minimum RAM that popular Linux distros use per their requirements specification.

Linux distribution (distro)Minimum RAM required
(Megabytes or Gigabytes)
Minimum disk space required
Kali Linux2 GB
128 MB (With no desktop)
20 GB
2 GB (With no desktop)
Ubuntu1 GB 2.5 GB
Linus Mint2GB20 GB
Arch Linux512 MB2 GB
PeppermintOS1 GB10 GB
Deepin OS2 GB25 GB
Fedora2 GB20 GB
CentOS1.5 GB
758 MB (for local media and NFS network installation)
10 GB
ParrotOS320 MB16 GB
Table showing resource requirements for the most popular Linux distros

Compared to Windows, here is a table showing resource requirements for Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11.

Windows OS versionMinimum RAM required
(Megabytes or Gigabytes)
Minimum disk space required
Windows 114 GB64 GB
Windows 102 GB (64-bit)
1 GB (32-bit)
20 GB (64-bit)
16 GB (32-bit)
Windows 82 GB (64-bit)
1 GB (32-bit)
20 GB (64-bit)
16 GB (32-bit)
Window 72 GB (64-bit)
1 GB (32-bit)
20 GB (64-bit)
16 GB (32-bit)
Table showing minimum resource requirements for most Windows operating systems

The tables above clearly show that Linux uses fewer computer resources than Windows.

Is Linux good for coding/programming?

Linux is a perfect choice for programmers because it provides all the tools needed for programming. Besides, you do not need too many computer resources such as RAM and CPU to use these tools.

Furthermore, Linux leaves too many computer resources for user applications allowing coding tasks such as debugging, testing, code compilation, program execution, e.t.c, to be completed much faster and seamlessly.

If you want to learn more about why Linux is a perfect choice for programmers and web developers, check this information resource I created for you.

Do games run faster on Linux?

As resource consumption on Linux is less, more computer resources such as RAM and CPU are left for user applications and games. Therefore, game applications will have a lot of computer resources left for them.

Games tend to run much faster and seamlessly compared to operating systems that use more resources, leaving fewer computer resources for user applications and games.


Through research and my interaction with the Linux and Windows operating systems, Linux requires fewer resources to run compared to Windows.

The reason behind Linux’s sparing use of computer resources comes from its lightweight kernel that requires less disk space and CPU utilization. As there are fewer utilities and core programs shipped with Linux operating systems, storage and RAM resources, tend to be used less on Linux.

Upon your conclusion, you may probably think that as Linux uses resources sparingly, it is more likely to compromise its performance and efficiency.

However, even with less resource utilization, Linux performs optimally and effectively. Thus, you do not have to worry about efficiency, effectiveness, performance, security, and uptime guarantee when Linux uses fewer resources than Windows.

And that’s it for this article.

See ya!

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Badi here, creator of— A website dedicated to providing helpful information and how-to's of web development and hosting. Inspired by a fascination to write the most efficient code to make a computer laugh, & humans, Steve has a passion for organizing characters to create code and informative content.
What makes me happy?
Well, nothing like the feeling of finally figuring out that one pesky bug that's been driving me crazy.

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