What is a laptop without an Operating System (OS)?

This blog was updated on August 2022.

These days, laptops are a must-have. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, having a decent laptop is a great way to keep connected while you’re travelling to the office, catching up in a coffee shop, or working from home.

Often the biggest consideration when you’re in the market for a new laptop is the operating system it’s running – Windows, macOS, ChromeOS or one of the flavours of Linux – as it determines the user interface and the programs you’re able to run.

Many of us will default to either Windows or Chrome, depending on which we are most familiar with. But there is another option. You could choose a laptop which doesn’t come pre-loaded with an operating system.

Many people don’t know that this is even an option – surely you’ve got to buy a laptop with an operating system?

However, depending on the user, buying a laptop without an operating system can have several advantages. Let’s go over them and find out if a laptop without an operating system could be a good fit for you.

What exactly is an OS?

An operating system (OS) comes pre-loaded on most off-the-shelf desktop PCs and laptops. After all, it’s the software that manages your computer’s hardware and software, and provides common services for your programs.

Most people stick to the OS that comes with their computer. However, it’s possible to upgrade to a newer iteration of an OS or even change the Operating System entirely.

For personal computers, the most popular operating systems are Microsoft Windows (Windows 10 and Windows 11) and Apple macOS.

ChromeOS, designed for low-powered but budget-friendly Chromebooks, is also gaining popularity.

By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with Chromebooks you should read this article: What’s the difference between a laptop, a tablet and a Chromebook.

What is a laptop without an OS?

Without an OS, a laptop is useless as a PC. It’s just a bunch of hardware otherwise. You need an OS to run and execute programs. Which is the main reason you’d buy a laptop in the first place. You need an Operating System for your computer to function as intended; it’s an essential piece of software.

If that’s the case, why would you buy a laptop without an OS?

Well, buying a laptop without an Operating System means you can install the operating system yourself, and of course you can install the OS of your choice rather than having to use the one the manufacturer installs.

Installing your own OS can often work out cheaper than buying a laptop with an Operating System pre-installed.

This is because a laptop manufacturer has to pay for a license to use an OS on their machines, which is then reflected in the final price of the laptop. Without an OS, the manufacturer saves on license fees, with the savings passed onto the consumer.

Why choose a laptop without OS?

There are several advantages to buying a laptop without an operating system. First off, say you’ve already got a license for a Windows operating system from a previous PC build. Why pay extra for a laptop with Windows pre-loaded, when you could re-use your license and install Windows yourself?

Even if you’re a tech novice, Windows is incredibly easy to install. It could save you a bit of money, but if you’re not comfortable with technology, then this could be hassle you want to avoid.

What’s more, installing your own operating system gives you complete control over your computer. When you buy an off-the-shelf computer with an operating system, it might come pre-loaded with a bunch of programs you don’t need or want on your laptop, also known as ‘bloat’.

Think a trial version of an anti-virus with annoying pop-ups prompting you to upgrade, or manufacturer-specific software you’ll never use. These unnecessary programs can hog your computer’s resources, slowing it down.

For a performance-focused device like a gaming laptop, this can be troublesome. Sometimes, bloat can be so excessive that it’s easier to wipe the operating system and start anew with your own OS.

Buy a laptop without an OS and you’ll have the freedom to choose which OS you want. Maybe you’ve got a specific version of Windows you like to install. Or, if you’re on a budget, you could buy a cheap laptop without an OS and install a version of Linux that’s free.

Is buying a laptop without an OS worth it?

How much you’re looking to spend on a new laptop largely determines whether you’ll go for a laptop with or without an operating system.

However, while a laptop with an OS will cost more than one without, it won’t be that much more expensive.

When it comes to choice, there’s a much larger range of laptops with an OS, from Windows 11 to macOS machines. You can get some great deals on them too. If you want a laptop that will work right out of the box, without hassle, then you should pick up a laptop with an Operating System already installed.

But, if you’re looking for a laptop that’s devoid of bloat and optimised for performance, buying one without an OS and installing your own could be a good option. If you’re comfortable doing so, say you’re a gamer who doesn’t want any bloat dragging the FPS down, it’s worth considering. At Ebuyer, we have a huge selection of all types of laptops with or without an Operating System.

View them here.

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