I have used for a long time Windows Operating System, on many occasions Windows has been switched off inappropriately for instance by pulling the plug while still running. It happened many times in sequence and Windows still boot up. Since I used different distributions of Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, Open Suse, Linux Mint) I noticed it did not take many inappropriate shut downs, sometimes only two, and Linux would not boot any longer - just showing the (initramfs) prompt.

  • What is the difference between both Operating Systems in this regard ?
  • What is the obstacle in developing a Linux that boots as stable as Windows ?

closed as primarily opinion-based by goldilocks, jasonwryan, Anthon, jimmij, John WH Smith Feb 13 '15 at 22:24

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I can't say that my own 19 year experience of running Linux supports your assertion that windows boots more stably, but here are some things that will effect what you are seeing:

  • Filesystem caching

    Linux uses caching on all filesystems unless told otherwise. This improves speed and response times for disk reads and writes by userspace programs, as they see writes happening quickly while the kernel sticks it in cache to be written in bulk later. This is also better from the disk drives perspective as large reads and writes are more efficient than many small ones. The downside is that if you power off the system inappropriately, anything in cache and not committed to disk is lost. This can also leave your filesystem in a questionable state.

  • Choice of filesystem

    Different filesystems will handle abuse better or worse than others. In general a journaled filesystem may be more resilient than a non-journaled one. In any case, improperly powering off your system is not a designed use case of a personal compute.

When you are dropped into an emergency shell during boot, this is often accompanied by messages from fsck letting you know there are errors in the filesystem and some actions you need to take. This is in the same vein as DOS and windows 95 would act when the normal filesystem checks would fail during boot (e.g. having to manually run chkdsk).

The best way for you to boot stably is to stop improperly powering off your machine. If the problem is with power from the wall, installing a UPS will give you enough time to properly shut down your machine in the event of grid power loss. If the problem is just with pulling the power plug out while the machine is turned on, stop doing that.

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