In what practical ways is OS X better than Windows?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Lewis Hollow, Sep 14, 2007.

  1. Lewis Hollow macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2007
    Hi, I'm new here and investigating a move to the Apple side of the fence. I've used PC's for many years, and don't particularly dislike Windows, but I am intrigued by the Mac world.

    So, one of the things most often referenced is obviously OS X, but I rarely see anyone explain exactly what practical user advantages this OS gives you over using Windows. I figure once you're inside any particular application (like Word or Photoshop), your experience will be reasonably similar on either system, so that leaves me wondering exactly what I will find more enjoyable about OS X. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and I only request that when you're sharing them that you think of concrete examples, not things like it just 'feels' better. If I'm going to have to relearn things like keyboard shortcuts, I want to know it's worth it in the end.

    Thanks for any feedback!
  2. risc macrumors 68030


    Jul 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    For me it was simple OS X is a UNIX like OS Windows is not. Game Over; OS X wins. I must be honest and admit though I'd use any UNIX like OS over Windows and I have for years.

    I look forward to seeing other peoples responses.
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    The fact that it has better memory management. There's no weird slowdowns for no apparent reason.
  4. MK2007 macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2007
    Applications like Word and Photoshop aren't going to give you any advantage under OS X. An argument could be made why you might prefer the Windows version of applications such as those.

    The OS X command line provides access to a more powerful operating system and utilities than you will get with Windows. As you probably have heard by now, you will have almost no risk of viruses and spyware with OS X. I NEVER get popups when I am on the Mac. But no matter what I use on a PC popups are still a recurring nuisance.

    PCs are great. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy using both platforms. But having just one or the other is limiting one's experience.
  5. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    I find that it's quite a bit better with stability. That's not saying that Mac OS X is very stable (it's okay) but it's more stable than Windows, though WinXP is better than in years past.

    The ability to use multiple languages in one document has always been a big deal to me and once again, Windows has gained ground but it's not quite as smooth.

    As far as Adobe applications on Windows working the same as the same applications on Mac OS X, there is no comparison. My experience is that the Windows variants are flaky and tend to break often, whether on Win2000 or WinXP. I don't expect that they got better running on Vista.

    In fact, most professional applications that are on both platforms seem much better suited to Mac OS X, except for MS Office and it makes sense to keep that flaky on Mac OS X since the company has their own operating system.

    On the other hand, the only practical way Windows has an advantage is in the navigation dialog boxes where you can rename or delete files. Apple had a chance to do this when they redesigned for the (2nd) MacOS 8, but didn't.
  6. powderblue17 macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2007
    Another great thing about Mac OS X is that there's no damn registry. This basically means that you can install an unlimited # of apps in OS X without having to worry about your machine slowing down. So you can install 50 apps and your Mac will run just as well as it did the day you got it. In Windows the more apps you install the worst the system runs. This also means installing and removing apps is super easy. Most apps are just drag and drop although some have installers. Removing apps is just dragging the app to the trash. Another great thing is how clean the folder structure is. All apps are presented as one file which contains everything it needs to run. Nothing like going to Program Files in Windows and seeing a million files for each app. I could go on and on with this but I would be typing all night.
  7. risc macrumors 68030


    Jul 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    That just isn't true at all. Some apps use installers and install crap all over the place on OS X. This is one area where OS X fails imho that lack of real package management. I just love the way that most apps that have installers never had anything to uninstall.
  8. powderblue17 macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2007
    I said all apps are presented to the user as one file. You go into the finder and all your different apps are seen by the user as one file. Anyway most apps are self-contained except for the perference files.
  9. risc macrumors 68030


    Jul 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    Lets take Automator for example. You drag the Automator icon to the trash and you end up missing files from

    /Library/Application Support
    /System/Library/Contextual Menu Items

    and the receipt itself in /Library/Receipts also the stuff in your home directory.

    Like I said OS X needs proper and standardised package management for all apps.
  10. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Ok, how about launching applications. When Windows 95 appeared the 'start' bar was a revelation. It was novel and an intriguing way to organise your system. It's actually a pretty terrible way to run things though. On websites, you'll never see multiple submenus all over the place as web design is very considerate of navigation. An OS is no different and trawling through the start menu (and constantly reorganising it since software companies seem to think we all navigate to programs by publisher) is a pain in the neck.
    Having shortcuts on the desktop is a way to get around this, but you have to select the desktop icon to get to it.
    So for a start, the OS X dock makes things miles easier to launch and switch between programs.
    You can launch programs, switch between them and visually see the application icons. Windows uses the taskbar, which is merely for switching between open apps and is text based. You're also limited to only a few windows before the text gets cut off - the dock can have many more programs on it.

    Another method for switching between programs is Expose. Assign two of the four buttons on the mouse to showing all windows in that application and all windows. The Flip3D feature in Vista is vaguely similar, and whilst it looks nice in 3D, it's very inefficient. You scroll through the windows like a merry-go-round, which is a pain if the window you want is at the back. Nice for screenshots in adverts showing how '3D' Vista is (which it isn't) , but I never used it more than once when I had Vista.

    OS X also keeps programs limited to one icon, with all the files hidden inside. So no more scrolling through dll files trying to find the exe file to actually launch the program.

    Basically, people use Windows because it's like a comfy pair of slippers. The whole Windows OS is basically the same as it's always been, way back to Windows 95. The world's moved on and people think Windows is the only way to use a computer. It's a relic and Microsoft are too terrified to start from scratch because they don't want to alienate people. Mac OS 9 was very long in the tooth, so Apple scrapped it and started from scratch with OS X, which is something I doubt MS will ever do.

    Continue with Windows and you'll be stuck with the same ancient OS with a fancy new visual update every 4 or 5 years. I quite liked Vista when I first used it in January. Over the course of a few weeks I realised that it was just XP with a few jazzy effects. And sure enough, the same old Windows annoyances started to rear their head.

    No more anti-virus, bubbles telling you all sorts of crap you don't want to know, naff visuals with no coherence or style or nannying security questions.

    People are so used to Windows and it's way of doing things that they don't realise there are many more better ways to do virtually everything.
  11. kainjow Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    In addition to memory management, Mac OS X has a much better priority system with the CPU. On Windows, the front process usually is the highest priority for the CPU. Which sucks if you're installing something and trying to do other tasks. (I hope this has changed in Vista.)

    Well since M$ is slow on releasing a universal binary of Office, this is true. But not really true for Adobe products.

    Please don't confuse popups with spyware/viruses. They are completely different. Yes, some spyware does generate popups, but that is different. Popups in general are controlled through the browser, not the operating system.
  12. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
  13. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    practically way is
    safer, relatively

    nothing else.

    memory management, lol, is that why apps run under windows faster?

    M$ didn't start from scrath because they don't need to, apple did so was because OS classic already hit rock bottom. and There was nothing to lose. By the way, copy 80% of code from a unix system isn't exactly "from scratch"

    since 3rd party apps are always the best part of windows, as usual, you can get "expose" for vista here
  14. WannaGoMac macrumors 68020


    Feb 11, 2007
    actually, Windows NT (the basis of Windows 2000 and Windows XP) was a complete redo of Windows. Windows 95->Me is a completely different code set.
  15. johny5 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 31, 2007
    I switched from pc's a few months ago and now own 4 Macs!
    I still have to use XP as I need office2004 but a great benefit I found the other day in OSX is the fact that when playing around with files, things "just work"

    ie, if you was unzipping a large file in win XP and realised you was unzipping to a wrong directory, you would have to stop it and start again in the correct directory.
    Well not with OSX, start see the file growing and pick it up, drop it somewhere else, still whilst it is unzipping!
    Its as if OSX thinks, "oh hes moving that file, not to worry, I will update the index in a sec"
  16. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    The biggest reason to use it is Expose I think. Its very fast and smooth and assigned to an extra mouse button instead of those braindead F-Keys it becomes very essential to your computing habits, it pretty much makes the taskbar obsolete. I prefer OS X for this very reason, without expose I probably wouldnt use it.

    The programs are pretty much exactly the same across platforms. I actually prefer some programs in Windows (like Photoshop) because they have an "application background" which lets you focus on your work in that application. Theres also no accidentally clicking on the desktop and having the whole program disapear (I do this constantly and it drives me insane). But sometimes not having the application background can be beneficial.

    I dont know why people think Windows has some kind of memory management problem, Ive never had trouble with that stuff. 2gbs of ram seems to be enough to do whatever you want with no slow down.

    I agree 100%. I reinstall OS X much more than I reinstall Windows for this very reason, I simply start running out of space because I cant fully uninstall applications. Its ridiculous that theres no uninstall utility, its probably due to Apple's stubborness in refusing to acknowledge theres a problem with being "too simple" like they did with the one button mouse. A majority of the small programs are entirely self contained which dont need uninstall scripts but all of the big programs scatter files ALL OVER THE SYSTEM and there are so few that come with a way to uninstall them (apart from a few freeware apps, Adobe programs are the only ones Ive seen with uninstall scripts). With OS X you need a massive HDD or partition if you dont want to reinstall all the time, applications gobble up space like crazy and deleting only the app files litters the HDD fast and you end up with gigabytes of crap you cant even find to delete. iLife is a major culprit, it litters massive sample files in the darkest depths of OS X and theres no uninstall script, Ive tried completely deleting everything from iLife and Ive always failed since Im never able to get my "space used" gigabytes back down to what it was before installing iLife.

    Sure the registry system can be a bitch at times, and it can completely destroy windows if it gets messed up, but it has caused me far less trouble than not being able to uninstall programs since I keep OS X on a 20gb partition instead of the whole hdd.
  17. remmy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2007
    to be honest not really that true. Normally they are self contained in a package. Preference files are kept else were but are very small and will not cause a problem after. Deleting a application is moving it to trash and then emptying it.

    Adobe applications i agree but most other applications this is not true.

    Windows was not full proof on this, you may have had a could not unistall please manually delete after reboot or something like that.
  18. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    No registry! Yay!

    I like the security. All the user accounts on my PowerMac are standard users, there is one guest account with heavy restrictions (can only use a few apps) and there is an admin account. Standard users are always prompted to authenticate for software installs. The root user password is different from the admin password and I always have it disabled unless I need to do something from the command line.

    X11 runs nicely.

    I used to administer and use HP-UX so the Mac OS X dock looks very familiar to me but works better than the dock of the HP-Visual User Environment (VUE) which became a UNIX standard in the form of the Common Desktop Environment (CDE). When Mac OS 10.5 comes out the dock will have even more functionality. By the way when I was forced to jump from HP-UX to Windows I was never forced to use any of the 16-bit versions of Windows, only NT 3.51, NT 4.0, NT 5.0 (2000 Pro) and NT 5.1 (XP Pro).

    There is NO registry. There was no need in UNIX and no need in Mac OS. Apps are mostly standalone with usually just a preference file being separate. Apps can safely be dragged to the trash to uninstall them. If the prefs file is not deleted this is not a huge deal because nothing will access from there on out. I use an app uninstaller, called AppZapper, which simplifies the uninstall process by simply dragging the app to it. A dialog then displays the app along with all related files and then you toast em'. By the way, apps are usually folders that contain many files but to the user they appear to be just an application.

    I use ClamXav for antivirus and it seems to work fairly well. I haven't seen any comparisons between the Mac AV apps out there. That would be nice.

    There are a lot of great system maintenance apps out there.

    You can buy a server unlimited user license for a grand. Try that with M$!

    The hardware and OS is "certified" by Apple. The true concept may be foreign to PC and casual Apple users but "big iron" users know what I'm talking about. Eveything works because of that.

    I did a graphics card upgrade once. I shutdown the computer, swapped cards and fired it up. Done. There was no "new hardware found..." message, no nothing. Apparently the latest drivers were already there. Everything seemed to be fine but I actually called Apple support to confirm it worked. I felt kind of stupid but now I know how painless things like that are.

    When I am at my desk I bask in the aura that is PowerMac. ;o)
  19. kbrain2929 macrumors regular


    Jun 14, 2007
    The Ville', KY
    Personally... there is no comparison! Yes, I DO use Windows daily @ the office, but I have a MacBook Pro opened up right beside me at all times. As an amateur photographer and videographer + film maker... my Mac is the BEST. You can't get Final Cut Pro on Windows. My office PC crashed yesterday... buy my Mac was their to the rescue. I love it! Couldn't live without my Mac. (and my iPhone... and iPod touch... and my Mac Pro... :D) :apple:
  20. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Simple. It doesn't tend to get in the way of what you want to do.
  21. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    From the link you posted:

    This really sums up the whole Windows experience for me. Flaky, buggy, slow, non-integrated, difficult. To paraphrase a colleague of mine: OSX is like a breath of fresh air.
  22. wickedsteve macrumors member

    Jan 26, 2006
    Not only will you have to relearn keyboard shortcuts. You will also have to purchase Mac versions of your software. For some people switching in either direction can be rather expensive.

    And when it comes down to it, platform preference is simply opinion. Macs are better for some people and PCs are better for some people.

    Granted there are pros and cons for each. There are not many games for Macs. But there are not many exploits (virus, spyware, adware) either.

    Sometimes people ask me why their PC is running slow or acting wierd and suddenly the word 'botnet' pops into my head. I usually just tell them to clean it with a few utilities or reformat and start from square one. Most people don't even realize when they have a zombie for a computer.

    But you can be sure you do not if you are running OS X.

    The way I see it, Macs can do anything PCs can do better except one thing, games.
  23. sbb155 macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2005
    1. if it is for office, keep what you have.
    2. The issue of "crashing" is total mac fanboy propaganda. Look how many people get the "spinning beachball". Sure the mac doesn't just hangs forever.
    3. Mac is good for creative pursuits, home issues. But office? Keep what you have.

    I use both platforms
  24. nsbio macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    In what practical way BMW is better than non-BMW? Both will get you from A to B. Same thing here: there are very few things that you can't do in Windows that you can do on a Mac. There are probably more things that you can do on Windows that you can not do on a Mac. And yet...:apple:
  25. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    Here is a recent InfoWorld article "cleverly" titled Does Mac OS X suck?

    From the Talkback comments:

    PS The conclusion to Does Mac OS X suck? is "Hell, no".

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