The Most Popular Desktop Operating Systems Used in Ireland

31st May '24

In Ireland, like many other parts of the world, the landscape of desktop operating systems is dominated by a few key players. The choice of operating system (OS) significantly influences the user experience, productivity, and security of desktop computers. In this article, we will delve into the most popular desktop operating systems used in Ireland, examining their features, user base, and reasons behind their popularity.

desktop operating systems
desktop operating systems

1. Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows continues to be the most widely used desktop operating system in Ireland. Its popularity is deeply rooted in its long history, extensive software compatibility, and widespread use in both home and business environments. Windows has evolved through various iterations, with Windows 10 and the more recent Microsoft Windows 11 being the latest versions that have captured the majority of the market share.

Windows 10: A Game Changer

Windows 10, released in July 2015, marked a significant improvement over its predecessor, Windows 8. It brought back the Start Menu, which was absent in Windows 8, much to the relief of many users. Windows 10 also introduced a more unified experience across devices, from desktops to tablets, with features like Cortana, the Microsoft Edge browser, and enhanced security measures. The operating system's user-friendly interface, robust performance, and compatibility with a vast array of software applications have made it a favourite among Irish users.

The Rise of Windows 11

Launched in October 2021, Windows 11 has started to gain traction among Irish users. It offers a refreshed design with a centred Start Menu, improved performance, and new features aimed at enhancing productivity and gaming experiences. The integration with Microsoft Teams, support for Android apps through the Microsoft Store, and advancements in virtual desktops are some of the highlights that appeal to both home users and professionals. Windows 11's modern aesthetics and functional improvements are driving its adoption, although Windows 10 remains prevalent due to its established presence and familiarity.

mac operating systems

2. Apple's macOS

While Microsoft Windows leads the market, Apple's macOS holds a significant share, particularly among creative professionals and the younger demographic. macOS, known for its sleek design, stability, and seamless integration with other Apple products, is a strong contender in Ireland's desktop OS landscape.

MacOS Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey

macOS has undergone several updates, with versions like Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey contributing to its ongoing popularity. Catalina introduced enhanced security features and the ability to run iPad apps on Mac, while Big Sur brought a major redesign with a more streamlined interface and improved performance. Monterey, the latest version, focuses on connectivity and collaboration features, such as Universal Control, which allows users to control multiple Apple devices with a single keyboard and mouse.

The Appeal to Creatives

macOS is particularly favoured by professionals in fields like graphic design, video editing, and music production. The OS's stability, combined with powerful built-in applications like Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, and Adobe Creative Cloud's optimised performance on Mac, make it an ideal choice for creative work. The ecosystem's seamless integration with iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices also enhances productivity and user satisfaction, making macOS a popular choice in Ireland's creative industry.

mac operating systems

3. Linux

Linux, although not as mainstream as Windows or macOS, has a dedicated and growing user base in Ireland. Its open-source nature, customisation options, and security features attract tech enthusiasts, developers, and organisations looking for a cost-effective and flexible operating system.

Ubuntu and Other Distributions

Among the various Linux distributions, Ubuntu stands out as one of the most user-friendly and widely used in Ireland. Ubuntu's regular updates, strong community support, and ease of installation make it accessible to new users. Other distributions like Fedora, Debian, and Mint also have their share of followers, each offering unique features tailored to different user needs.

Linux in Business and Education

Linux is increasingly being adopted in educational institutions and businesses in Ireland. Its low cost, stability, and security make it an attractive option for schools and universities, where budget constraints and the need for reliable performance are critical. In the business sector, Linux's flexibility and robustness are leveraged for server management, software development, and cloud computing applications. Companies that prioritise security and customisation often choose Linux for their IT infrastructure.

Factors Influencing Desktop Operating System Choice in Ireland

Several factors influence the choice of desktop operating systems among Irish users. These include cost, software compatibility, user preference, and the specific needs of individuals and organisations.

Cost Considerations

Cost is a significant factor for many users when choosing an operating system. Windows and macOS come with licensing fees, which can be substantial for organisations needing multiple licences. In contrast, Linux is free and open-source, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious users and institutions.

Software Compatibility and Availability

The availability and compatibility of software applications are crucial determinants in OS choice. Windows has the broadest compatibility with third-party software, from productivity tools to games, which explains its widespread use. macOS also offers a wide range of professional-grade software, particularly in creative fields. Linux, while having fewer native applications, supports a variety of open-source software and can run many Windows applications through compatibility layers like Wine.

User Preference and Familiarity

User preference and familiarity play a significant role in the adoption of desktop operating systems. Many users stick with the OS they are accustomed to, especially if it meets their needs efficiently. Windows' dominance in the business sector and IT sector in Ireland ensures that many users are familiar with it from their workplace, influencing their choice for personal use as well. Apple's brand loyalty and the seamless experience across its ecosystem ensure a steady user base for macOS.


In Ireland, the desktop operating system market is primarily dominated by Microsoft Windows, followed by Apple's macOS and various Linux distributions. Each OS has its unique strengths and appeals to different segments of users based on various factors such as cost, software compatibility, and user preference. As technology evolves, so will the landscape of desktop operating systems that are driven by emerging technologies and active user communities. Understanding these dynamics helps users and organisations make informed decisions about their desktop operating environment, ensuring they choose the best OS to meet their needs and enhance their digital experience.

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