Ethereum Mining Frequently Asked Questions
If I missed anything, send me a comment at the bottom of the page :D
Note that these are often my personal opinions
What actually is mining?
Mining on any blockchain means validating blocks for the network, thus making the network secure. I will not go too deep into it here, however your miner is essentially making the Ethereum network more secure. Blocks are what make up a blockchain, and the Ethereum transactions are placed in these blocks.
What OS should I use?
Usually you want to ditch Windows (for a variety of reasons) and use Linux. Linux is free and often light/fast. It can have a bit of a learning curve, but I think it is best.
There are two Ethereum mining Linux distributions that I have seen: EthOS and Ethereum Nvidia Miner. I use the latter, I haven't tried EthOS. I mine on my windows computer too.
What are the advantages of trading over mining, and vice versa?
First off is profit. By mining profit depends on block difficulty, coin price, your electricity cost, efficiency, and more... But with Mining you will always be earning Ethereum. In trading crypto it is generally best to sit and hold, which grows your investment proportionally to coin price.
Another way to look at it is this: Mining gives you more and more cryptocurrency, which is essentially a valuable gift that keeps on giving by increasing in value over time. Trading makes you money linearly; Mining makes you money exponentially.
Additionally mining is more fun and doesn't require government involvment via taxes, id verification, etc.