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Currently Recommended Operating System?


What is the currently recommended operating system for PsychoPy? I’m getting new Lenovo ThinkPad P51 machines to run a variety of experiments for my lab that will use keyboard, mouse, eye tracking, and button box responses, as well as presenting images, movies, and sounds. I will likely want to use ioHub for response logging, and I use the Coder view. Clearly I care about very accurate reaction times, but we aren’t doing psychophysics or masking that needs to have crazy super-duper precise stimulus timing. Given all that, is there a recommended OS?

Right now I’m thinking of running Windows 10 (unless that’s a bad idea). I’m also considering a dual boot with Linux, so would that improve performance? If so, any particular version of Linux?

FYI I’m running PsychoPy 1.84.2 right now.


To what extent will this decision be driven by your hardware (e.g. what operating systems does the API to communicate with your eye tracker support, are drivers available/necessary for the button box, etc)?

Some, but that’s a little unclear. We haven’t gotten a button box yet, so that side is flexible. We’re considering either buying a commercial one or 3D printing something to use with a makey makey, but either way my goal is to split responses from my motor timing task into the amplifier (ECoG via BNC, or EEG BioSemi acquisition system) and back to the computer to inform feedback. This is why I’d like to use ioHub to make sure those are as accurate as possible.

For the eye tracker, we currently have an SMI red-M mobile eye tracker with iViewX, and that would require us to use Windows 7. However, we’re not sure if we can get it working on the new computers. We need to find the installation software CD, and it’s also unclear if our current license will work on these new machines. Since SMI is no longer offering support (software, licenses), we might need a new solution anyways, so I’m curious if there are PsychoPy reasons to push us towards or away from Win 7 vs. Win 10 vs. Linux, especially since Microsoft is trying very hard to kill Win 7 by 2020 anyways.

I think that gives a decent overview of our aims, but let me know if I’ve left any relevant factors out. I appreciate your input!


PsychoPy works well on Windows 10 and Linux. I often code experiments in Windows and run them on a Linux machine and they perform adequately in both cases without modification/hacks. This isn’t unexpected since many of the libraries PsychoPy uses are intended to be cross-platform, and care is taken to ensure relatively similar results. So you are free to stick with what platform provides the best compatibility with your hardware.

Ok thanks, that’s good news that both do well. I guess the last factor would be whether anyone has evidence that Windows 7 is any better than the other two options… The OS comparison on the psychopy website seems pretty dated.

We’ve had some issues with Windows 10 where background processes (i.e. telemetry and forced updates) caused experiments to have unstable framerates with no immediate explanation. We need internet access during experiments so we can’t prevent the system from doing these things. You might be able to avoid these issues with Windows 7.

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Aha! That was exactly my concern, as it seems the Windows continuously adds new background processes with every new version. Especially since I’m planning to have multiple processes running (stimulus drawing, eye tracker, response box reading, etc.), I was wondering if anyone had a sense of how bad these problems are, i.e., are they enough to justify a dual boot in Linux?