Most Popular PC World Stories of 2009

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2009 was a pretty decent year in tech history--we saw the introduction of a few new operating systems, a bunch of would-be iPhone killers, and Blu-ray disc players for less than $100. These news items struck us as fairly significant announcements, but how popular were they with our readers? We spent some time identifying and analyzing the ten most widely read articles published in 2009--and found that readership was higher for pieces on violent video games and strange Google Street Views than on Google's new OS. Without further ado, here's the list (counting down from number 10):

10. Snow Leopard Versus Windows 7

Any article that compares an Apple product to a Microsoft product is sure to yield tons of hits, "hates," and controversy in the comments section (often degenerating into a Mac-fanboy/Windows-fanboy/Linux-fanboy flame war), so it's hardly surprising that the tenth-most-popular story of 2009 was about those two companies' new operating systems. "Snow Leopard Versus Windows 7," which received half-a-million page views, compares the two OSs side-by-side, highlighting their new features (such as "ridiculously big icons," which appears in both; the "Windows 7 preview pane"; and Apple's "improved window management"). A quick look through the slideshow reveals what we already sort of knew--Apple and Microsoft have been "borrowing ideas" from each other for years, and their newest operating systems uphold that tradition.

9. The Ten Greatest PC Games Ever

Tech nostalgia conquers us all--"I remember when my cell phone used to be bigger than my real phone." "Mom, what's a real phone?"--and at PCWorld we offer as exhibit A, "The Ten Greatest PC Games Ever," which drew more than 500,000 hits. This nostalgic slideshow lists the ten best games that owe most of their prominence to a PC platform (which is why Tetris didn't make the cut). The list of immortals begins with text-based Trade Wars 2002, and continues through the confusing-yet-serene world of Myst, the real-time strategy of StarCraft, the empire-building mindset of SimCity...all the way to the time-sucking, life-encapsulating MMORPG that is World of Warcraft.

8. 40 Fantastic Time-Wasting Web Sites

PCWorld readers are known for their diligence, hard work, and endless hours spent surfing the Net--and our eighth-most-popular story of 2009 was a list of the best Websites to waste time on. "40 Fantastic Time-Wasting Web Sites," which got over 600,000 page views, is a fantastic list for those in need of, erm, motivation to not work. It includes click-through venues like FailBlog, Texts From Last Night, and There I Fixed It; game and video sites, such as Homestar Runner and Virtual NES; and even some useful sites, such as Lifehacker (be more efficient!), Slashdot (news for nerds!), and FreeRice (improve your vocabulary and give to charity!). These and 32 other digital time sinks await your perusal, so get clickin'!

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