Are macs more stable than PCs?

that1guyy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 11, 2011
454
20
I've used macs for years, but haven't actually owned one. As far as I could tell, their OS and hardware seemed to be less prone to freezing and crashing relative to their PC + Windows counterparts.

However, a quick glance at forums like macrumors show several people complaining about serious problems with their macs.

So my question is, are problems with macs common? How about compared to HP and Windows machines? Approximately what percentage is prone to failure? I understand this is a forum so the people who are having problems are bound to congregate here, but as an onlooker, it seems that macs are likely to break down on you often. Tell me this isn't true.
 

BreakGuy

macrumors 6502a
Nov 23, 2009
817
0
NZ, South Pacific
I've used macs for years, but haven't actually owned one. As far as I could tell, their OS and hardware seemed to be less prone to freezing and crashing relative to their PC + Windows counterparts.

However, a quick glance at forums like macrumors show several people complaining about serious problems with their macs.

So my question is, are problems with macs common? How about compared to HP and Windows machines? Approximately what percentage is prone to failure? I understand this is a forum so the people who are having problems are bound to congregate here, but as an onlooker, it seems that macs are likely to break down on you often. Tell me this isn't true.
There's no way to but an actual figure on it. But it is definitely a minority that incur serious problems.

Everything in regards to Macs are designed to run flawlessly. The computer is designed by Apple. The OS and much of the software is designed by Apple so it all runs without trouble.

A quick Google search will locate many many more Windows help forums as opposed to Mac help forums.
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,246
1,282
Pennsylvania
So my question is, are problems with macs common? How about compared to HP and Windows machines? Approximately what percentage is prone to failure? I understand this is a forum so the people who are having problems are bound to congregate here, but as an onlooker, it seems that macs are likely to break down on you often. Tell me this isn't true.
It's not true. There I told you :p

Honestly, I find PC's to be more stable. My MBP would give me KP's until a few OS updates came out. Likewise, Windows can run on a toaster so it'd much much more forgiving.

Having said that, PC's tend to slow down much faster than mac's do, so after 5 years your mac will still be on the first OS install, while your PC will probably not be running as well.
 

that1guyy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 11, 2011
454
20
Thanks for the answers. Two very different opinions. By the way, I think there's more pc help forums because pcs have a much larger market share.
 
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thatoneguy82

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
1,895
2
Beach Cities, CA
BTW, nice username, that1guyy.
-- thatoneguy82


I've got nothing to add here, but I've had PCs and had a lot of trouble of with them. I constantly had to upgrade or swap out drives and other stuff. With my Mac, I haven't really done that.
 

SprSynJn

Guest
Sep 15, 2011
362
1
Japan
From my experience, Macs run much more smooth because everything works together. Windows always felt sluggish and non-responsive because every program seemed to clash with each other. It's the same for Android and iOS devices. Apple's systems just work better I feel. Less customization, but far less hassle.
 

ashman70

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2010
950
1
Its generally not the hardware that is the problem with PC's although the plethora of drivers required to support the plethora of peripherals doesn't help, a poorly written driver can cause a world of headache for a PC. I would suggest its more that there are far more choices of software to run on a pc then a Mac and so trying to run lots of different software on a pc with lots of different hardware is a vastly different scenario then running a handful of apps on the same hardware (more or less) on a Mac. I would venture that Mac users run far fewer software programs (ones that don't come with the OS) then Windows users (because Windows comes with next to nothing).

A Dell business pc running windows 7, office and a few other apps will be rock solid stable for years, although an AV program may mess it up a bit, and a Mac will be just as stable.
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,246
1,282
Pennsylvania
A Dell business pc running windows 7, office and a few other apps will be rock solid stable for years, although an AV program may mess it up a bit, and a Mac will be just as stable.
That's the point I'm getting at. At one of the places I do IT work for, there's an old gateway 2000 PC with Windows 98 on it, that still works great (but with older software, obviously). And it's still on the original OS install.
 

mentaluproar

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2010
1,732
134
Ohio, USA
Macs can have trouble like any other system. When OSX first came out, it was a disaster, but the OS has matured into a lovely piece of software since then. That said, it's still a lot of complex code and things are bound to happen under some circumstances. Poorly written software can bork up any operating system. Windows has more sloppy software available to it simply due to the number of windows only programs out there, and maintaining legacy support is killer too.

That being said, other than a memory leak in the HP ink level widget (HPs fault) and the Bluetooth audio bug in Lion (Apple's fault, and will probably never be fixed) I have never had an issue. These systems are engineered in a very clever way.
 

SuperCachetes

macrumors 6502a
Nov 28, 2010
938
375
Away from you
By the way, I think there's more pc help forums because pcs have a much larger market share.
Fair point.

I have both computers in the house now, and they are running about the same - that is to say, flawlessly.

My MBP primarily surfs the internet and acts as an iTunes repository and occasional word processor or CAD workstation. For what it is, I don't ask too much of it.

My 5-year-old Dell desktop has Windows 7 on it, but over time the sound card and video card have all failed, and I am using the motherboard's provisions for both. In this situation, you could blame the Windows-ness of the machine for the failures, but I don't. Third-party video cards in Mac Pros fail, too...

In any event, I think the simplicity of the on-board audio/video have helped my Dell be rock-solid. So in my case, the Mac and Windows worlds are running neck-and neck. I just happen to like the Mac a lot better. ;)
 

0000757

macrumors 68040
Dec 16, 2011
3,894
849
Being a constant user of both Windows and Mac, both are just as stable as each other. I'm constantly switching around from Mac OS X and Windows not just in school, but also at home. Both are advanced OSes. Mac OS X does have a little fore fluidness, but that's PURELY in the eye-candy. Windows is much more of a powerhouse OS. You can get more technical things done. Since I'm a creative artist, I prefer Mac OS X since you have more robust creativity apps like Pixelmator, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, etc. Windows works much better for education and business. When it comes to viruses, if you know what you're doing, you can get no viruses ever on a Windows PC. I've used Windows for ages and not ONCE have I gotten a virus that has taken over my system, and when I have gotten viruses, Windows Security Essentials (one of the best Free virus software programs) instantly eliminated them. Windows is also prone to crash just as much as Macs are. Again, you need to know what you are doing. Windows has a much less complex file system (Mac OS X may look like a basic file system, but turn off hidden files and you're in a whole different world with com.files.plists and the hell, where as Windows it's simpler.).

Overall, they both have their pros and cons, but they're both equal to each other.
 

malman89

macrumors 68000
May 29, 2011
1,651
6
Michigan
Are Macs - as in the machines - more stable? Not necessarily. There's the Consumer Reports brand reliability ratings, as well as Square Trade's (PDF) that puts Apple in the ballpark, but not quite the industry leader. Those stats are cited pretty widely, though I'm sure someone will contest or dig up their own numbers.

Is OSX - the OS - more stable than Windows? Better argument to be made, but basically a toss up with Win7. Honestly XP in my opinion gives OSX a run for its money too. I've never had a serious issue with XP, OSX, or Win 7.

There's no need for the thread to deteriorate into a homer/fanboy argument. Everyone has their own preference for computers, cell phone providers, OSes, whatever. And every company, even Apple, pumps out the occasional lemon (I mean read the forum you're in or an HP forum and look at the title posts). It's unavoidable.
 
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floobie

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2010
75
0
Canada
All I can give is anecdotal evidence... my personal experience. Going from about 22 years of Windows desktops, most of which I built myself, to a Macbook, I can say without hesitating that my three year old Macbook is still the most reliable, stable, low-maintenance, and efficient computer I've ever owned by a very large margin.

But, really, personal preference is king here. I know plenty of people who swear that Windows 7 is extremely reliable and efficient. My experiences disagree with that, but whatever. Use what works best for you.
 
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thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,835
2,465
Any computer will have stability issues when you encounter hardware problems. Macs can be more stable at times. OSX was vastly superior to Vista in a number of ways. With Windows 7 vs. Lion, it's much less of a difference, but I'm still on a mac. I do like the default key mappings better. I'm sort of used to it too. If I was buying a PC, it wouldn't be one of the trash computers that are used as reference for why Macs are better :) Both have quirks. Windows has a ton of things that irritate me. Macs have a slightly unstable file system (they tried to fix it a few years ago). Macs are "usually" pretty easy to troubleshoot when you have a problem, and malware is much less of a potential issue.
 

Demosthenes X

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2008
1,954
5
Anecdotal evidence is, naturally, of little use. But I use a MBP at home and a Windows 7 box at work (a Dell, if it matters).

Generally speaking, Windows 7 is very stable. I very seldom have to restart my work computer. I'd guesstimate I restart about as often as I do my Mac - that is, not very often.

Where Windows 7 does lag OSX is little stuff. Windows 7 hangs or doesn't work properly in weird, quirky ways. For example, I have a Word template I use regularly. But I can't double click it and create a new document from it, I have to right-click and select "Open" to get it to work. Excel demonstrates similar behaviour.

Little things like that are annoyances, albeit minor, that I don't have on OSX. OSX just works. Truth be told, the biggest problems I have on my Mac are with 3rd party software. Yesterday, Outlook refused to work until I reinstalled it, for no discernable reason.
 

Rampant.A.I.

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2009
579
9
Thanks for the answers. Two very different opinions. By the way, I think there's more pc help forums because pcs have a much larger market share.
Could also have something to do with PCs being far more prone to spyware and viruses. :D

In the two decades I've been using Apple laptops, I've never had any issue with spyware or viruses. Not once.

This week, however, I've had to remove trojans disguised as anti-spyware programs from two PCs owned by family, and have had to do full system restores on both PCs for my roommates in the past year.
 

floobie

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2010
75
0
Canada
Any computer will have stability issues when you encounter hardware problems. Macs can be more stable at times. OSX was vastly superior to Vista in a number of ways. With Windows 7 vs. Lion, it's much less of a difference, but I'm still on a mac. I do like the default key mappings better. I'm sort of used to it too. If I was buying a PC, it wouldn't be one of the trash computers that are used as reference for why Macs are better :) Both have quirks. Windows has a ton of things that irritate me. Macs have a slightly unstable file system (they tried to fix it a few years ago). Macs are "usually" pretty easy to troubleshoot when you have a problem, and malware is much less of a potential issue.
You make a very good point here. Mac hardware and its hardware-software optimization is really good. Comparing a 15" Macbook Pro to a bargain basement 15", 400 dollar HP just isn't fair. There are some very well put together, very well optimized Windows machines out there as well. It's just that most people don't seem to buy them, because they do tend to cost a bit more. To your average Windows consumer, specs and price seem to rule, while quality tends to take a back seat. That doesn't mean quality Windows machines don't exist, though.
 

malman89

macrumors 68000
May 29, 2011
1,651
6
Michigan
Could also have something to do with PCs being far more prone to spyware and viruses. :D

In the two decades I've been using Apple laptops, I've never had any issue with spyware or viruses. Not once.

This week, however, I've had to remove trojans disguised as anti-spyware programs from two PCs owned by family, and have had to do full system restores on both PCs for my roommates in the past year.
That's because your family and roommates are stupid, at least when it comes to using a computer. Sorry, but it's the truth.

Just like the droves of OSX users who saw the Mac Defender popup, believed it, and got cheated out of money, forcing Apple to issue a response. It's more than not the users fault.
 

jeremyshaw

macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2011
340
0
That's because your family and roommates are stupid, at least when it comes to using a computer. Sorry, but it's the truth.

Just like the droves of OSX users who saw the Mac Defender popup, believed it, and got cheated out of money, forcing Apple to issue a response. It's more than not the users fault.
Yup. Outright loopholes are not common (afaik, of course, lol), leaving virus/worms to rely on the user to execute them with admin rights :p
 

vistadude

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2010
1,423
1
They're both pretty stable now. Most all Windows 7 drivers are signed and approved by microsoft, unlike the windows XP days. Drivers are quite good actually, and are compatible with vista, windows 7, and windows 8, so finding drivers is not difficult anymore.

I can say my mac and windows machines are both very stable and can run for weeks without a crash. It's only when I install OS hacks that things start to slow down, and 95% people don't do that.
 

jeremyshaw

macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2011
340
0
They're both pretty stable now. Most all Windows 7 drivers are signed and approved by microsoft, unlike the windows XP days. Drivers are quite good actually, and are compatible with vista, windows 7, and windows 8, so finding drivers is not difficult anymore.

I can say my mac and windows machines are both very stable and can run for weeks without a crash. It's only when I install OS hacks that things start to slow down, and 95% people don't do that.
The biggest reason for improvement was moving drivers from the kernal space to the user space. It caused some driver mess in the early days of Vista, but had the bright side of preventing quite a few full blown crashes (instead, all we'd see is a little error message indicating the video driver failed, and had to be restarted). Unfortuneatly, this meant a lot of little driver features possible in XP were simply not possible in Vista/7.
 

dusk007

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2009
3,389
63
Being a constant user of both Windows and Mac, both are just as stable as each other. I'm constantly switching around from Mac OS X and Windows not just in school, but also at home. Both are advanced OSes. Mac OS X does have a little fore fluidness, but that's PURELY in the eye-candy. Windows is much more of a powerhouse OS. You can get more technical things done. Since I'm a creative artist, I prefer Mac OS X since you have more robust creativity apps like Pixelmator, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, etc. Windows works much better for education and business. When it comes to viruses, if you know what you're doing, you can get no viruses ever on a Windows PC. I've used Windows for ages and not ONCE have I gotten a virus that has taken over my system, and when I have gotten viruses, Windows Security Essentials (one of the best Free virus software programs) instantly eliminated them. Windows is also prone to crash just as much as Macs are. Again, you need to know what you are doing. Windows has a much less complex file system (Mac OS X may look like a basic file system, but turn off hidden files and you're in a whole different world with com.files.plists and the hell, where as Windows it's simpler.).

Overall, they both have their pros and cons, but they're both equal to each other.
I have to agree to all of this. I am now almost 2 years on my 1st MBP 15" and I do like working in OSX because of the whole GUI.
Still speed wise Windows 7 wins. It is more of a powerhouse and many apps save in creative design (which I do not care for) are faster in the Windows version sometimes by big margins.
Stabilitywise OSX is somewhere between XP and Win7. I never really touched Vista until SP2 or 3 at which point it was practically 7. Win7 can suffer quite big errors but keeps on running. OSX has frozen on me almost XP like much. It is a bit more stable in general use and the scheduler than XP but if you run an app that is too buggy cou cann kill it quite easily too. Win7 is much better in that respect save for incompatible graphics drivers it never has big problems and even in that case it recovers almost always.

It is like the Opera browser. Opera is probably one of the slowest on OSX but I still use it because with the GUI I can work better and the speed loss compared to the rest is not worth mentioning. Still I would not be some foolish fanboy who keeps on insisting it beats Chrome or Safari (on OSX) in speed. But the GUI is a lot all by itself, I cannot stand Safari for that reason even with all the addons there are. Safari + Addons is just like running Windows 7 with some really crappy little apps to emulate the OSX GUI. In the end it is slower.

You make a very good point here. Mac hardware and its hardware-software optimization is really good. Comparing a 15" Macbook Pro to a bargain basement 15", 400 dollar HP just isn't fair. There are some very well put together, very well optimized Windows machines out there as well. It's just that most people don't seem to buy them, because they do tend to cost a bit more. To your average Windows consumer, specs and price seem to rule, while quality tends to take a back seat. That doesn't mean quality Windows machines don't exist, though.
Exactly but I think that is one reason Apple notebooks are so popular. Most people would never buy a Dell Latitude but instead a Dell Inspiron cheapo PC. For many newcomers to MBP it is just the first quality notebook they ever bought. No wonder it is not such cheap crap as an Inspiron (and there is much worse than inspiron).
People coming from a Latitude to MBP are rare but if they do they are much more likely to complain than be amazed about stability and quality.
Few people are willing to pay for quality when they can avoid it.
 
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