Mac vs Windows stability

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Fillmore, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. Fillmore macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2007
    Hi everybody,

    I’m new to this forum and currently a Windows user seriously considering buying a Mac. I read many threads on this forum and people seem knowledgeable here, so I thought I’d ask for your opinion.

    I can already appreciate that the Mac OS appears more elegant and simpler than Windows, so already that’s an incentive for switching. But what truly appeals to me is the claim that the Mac OS is more stable than Windows. Throughout my years of using various Windows PC computers, they frequently became unresponsive, and I had to wait for the PC to be responsive again or shut it down manually and restart. This is a big waste of time and sanity.

    Is this true the Mac is clearly a more stable, crash-resistant machine than Windows? I am not concerned here with the server edition, but simply the desktop version.

    Your opinion would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
  2. Luis macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    Costa Rica
    I can simply tell you that i've had my computer for over a year and in that time i have never had a kernel panic (blue screen of death equivalent).

    And another bonus, is that when a program hangs (rarely) you can just quit that program, and it will not crash that computer together with it.
  3. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Yes, Mac OS X is more stable than Windows in my experience. I've rarely had any stability issues with it, I did have some a while back, but that was due to malfunctioning USB device and thus not Mac OS X's fault. And you already know how stable Windows is. I've had a kernel panic twice in my Mac experience going back to OS 7 and before.
  4. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    Both are pretty stable. I use both everyday (does not include Vista). Windows has too many issues, often caused by 3rd-party stuff. It also has an annoying habit of rebooting itself because an unattended upgrade happened. BSD does not happen often for me.
  5. iJawn108 macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2006
    I'm kind of BSDing right now, as are the majority of MR users. But to each their own. ;)
  6. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    The last time i've had a Mac lockup on me it was a 1993 Quadra 610 with a 40Mhz processor :rolleyes: My current uptime is 26 days on my MBP, OS X is very stable.
  7. Riverrun macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    Well, I switched a month ago and I find that Mac is far and away more stable, so much so that I don't feel like booting up my PC much anymore. No crashes in the 4 weeks I've been running Mac. One or two appliances did freeze but the system has never gone down. The smallest thing will cause XP to crash and I just got fed up and besides, I didn't want to bother with Vista. Mind you, my MacBook gets really hot, far hotter than a laptop would.

    I run a Linux distro as well on my PC and again it's more stable than Windows. The linux is only for fun and I can't really be bothered learning the ends and outs of it. As for Mac, my only regret is that it took me so long to change. I won't be using windows again after my laptops die and my next computer will be a Mac desktop.
  8. Penryn macrumors member


    Jul 31, 2007
    Hmm, contrary to what everyone else has experienced Ive found OS X to be more unstable ...
    On my XP box I hardly ever had system crashes, unexpected crashing of apps. but on OS X I've had all of those, not being able to boot and lock ups.
    Maybe its just me. It'll probably be different on a newer mac but just thought Id share my experience.
  9. winterdude010 macrumors regular


    Feb 24, 2006
    New York
    My Mac hasn't crashed since day one (which is about 2 years now). And as mentioned previously it is much easier if a program freezes because the rest of the system works just fine with no slow down in speed allowing you to quit the program that froze compared to Windows in the fact that if one thing freezes the entire system freezes.
  10. jackc macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2003
    Like others said, I'll get the occasional app freeze up and I'll have to force quit (and it'll usually be a beta that I'm trying or something), but I've never had the whole system freeze up because of it. Does that still happen on Windows? Haven't used it in a while.
  11. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    These days with both OSX and Windows using protected memory, neither should be vulnerable to very many software-releated system failures. I suppose the real difference is hardware issues and whether the OS exhibits grace under pressure. OSX has fewer of the former due to Apple having tighter control over hardware design. Kernel panics (the Mac equivalent of BSDs) are also almost always caused by hardware failures. For the most part, OSX doesn't have a problem handling buggy software applications. I don't know if you can say the same for Windows, as I don't use it daily.
  12. MacPossum macrumors 6502


    Jul 15, 2007
    I've never had OS X crash on me. My windoze machine (that no longer own) crashed several times each month due to lock-ups.
  13. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    It depends entirely upon what one has installed.

    If one uses haxies or UI "enhancements", one jeapordizes uptime.

    Here's a sampling of a few uptimes I just grabbed from boxes under my care:

    11:37  up 99 days,  1:04, 1 user, load averages: 0.10 0.08 0.08
    11:38  up 97 days, 23:53, 2 users, load averages: 1.01 1.11 1.08
    11:36  up 55 days, 17:37, 2 users, load averages: 0.43 0.31 0.23
    11:36  up 39 days, 32 mins, 1 user, load averages: 0.29 0.22 0.20
  14. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    The only time I had a kernel panic, I was actually surprised! On Windows, I'm surprised if everything works.
  15. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    I have found both Windows XP and Mac OS X to be exceptionally stable operating systems, and have yet to have a blue screen or kernel panic on either OS. I've pushed both OSes to their limits.

    That said I'm meticulous about the hardware I chose when I built my Windows desktops, and likewise Apple is meticulous about their hardware tolerances. These days, the crashes you're going to see on either platform are mostly related to hardware issues.

    Windows Vista, however, has been an entireley different matter. I didn't think Vista was capable of bluescreening until I had 5 consecutive bluescreens all within 20 minutes, and then the next day the machine ran fine, for no apparent reason. Stability has really taken a nosedive with Vista, and it was one of many reasons I began my transition to Mac and OS X (the other being the fact that lots of my printers, camers aand other devices that worked fine in XP suddenly stopped working in Vista).

    As someone who was happy with XP, works in IT, and saw most major operating systems (OS X, Windows, *nix) as being "all good" but each having different strengths and weaknesses, I cannot fathom what Microsoft was thinking when they dreamed up Vista. Up until its release saw Macs as nice, but not something I needed. Now I can't wait for m desktop machine to die, so I can justify the cost of buying a Mac desktop or at least another MBP to base at home. :)
  16. Zer0 macrumors regular

    May 22, 2007
    i switched very recently. its not all rosy on this side either, but I can say its better. apps do freeze and sometimes close unexpectedly, but the rest of the system does not hangup like in windows. if you dont rely of any windows specific software, then I would definitely recommend a swich.
  17. kikobarbada macrumors regular

    Jun 28, 2007
    It is, but as years pass buy, applications keep getting slower cause of hardware degration (any machine have that, not only Macs or PCs).
  18. steamboat26 macrumors 65816


    May 25, 2006
    Arlington VA
    I'd say that Mac OS X is much more stable than Windows. You computer rarely ever (read never) restarts without warning, which used to happen to me at least once every 1 or 2 months. In terms of apps crashing, it happens a lot more often in windows, although Firefox on my mini seems to crash about once every 4 months.
  19. NoOneButMe macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2006
    Something happening every 1-2 months would indicate a user error, not a software bug - and if it happens every 4 months, again - not a software error :rolleyes:

    Oh, and Mac's do have kernel panic's every so often, so to say they never crash is incorrect.

    Mac's are as stable as Window's boxes are if left alone to sit there. It's what the user does on the machine's that can potentially make it unstable. I could go and crash my PC nearly instantly. Likewise, i can beachball my Mac just as quickly :)

    And OS X server is the same thing as OS X desktop, only with a few additional programs installed (to manage Mysql, etc)

    As for if you should switch or not? I say go for it, worst comes to worst, you can install Windows on it fully and not deal with Apple beyond the symbol on the case :p
  20. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    (B)lue (S)creen of (D)eath - not Berkley Software Development, right?
  21. bluefiberoptics macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2005
    I'm guessing the majority of Windows crashes is faulty software, cheap hardware, or bad drivers.

    I custom built my current PC and I have Windows XP SP2 and have never had blue screens. It is rare that a program will freeze and is completely unresponsive. However, it does happen.

    I think the BSOD in Windows XP is exaggerated a bit.

    Can't wait to replace my desktop with a new Mac, though. :)
  22. dops7107 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 19, 2005
    Perth, Oztrailya
    My Macs get unresponsive with networking issues. I don't know the correct terminology, but if you look for a server that isn't there anymore, it will beachball for ages... even if you press cancel. Individual software apps crash fairly frequently (Firefox and VLC especially) - but OS X is generally very stable.
  23. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    This isn't actually a problem with the Mac or the networking.

    It's a massive problem with the Finder. Which sucks. I hate the Finder.
  24. Fillmore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2007
    I suspect most of my problems with Windows are software-related. My Dell laptop is a typical experience (XP, Pentium 4, 2.8 MHz, 1.25 G RAM).

    The first year or so it ran just fine, suggesting the hardware was of good quality (I never had any acute hardware problem with any of my Dells). Then it progressively became more troublesome (I don’t know how much gradual hardware degradation—as suggested by kikobarbada—may have contributed to this decline).

    Several problems came for a while and went away by themselves. I didn’t have very many BSD overall on that computer, but most of them occurred during a month-long period, and the issue then resolved itself.

    Likewise, for a few weeks a message appeared upon startup informing me that the registry had been recovered from a backup file, and then this never surfaced again.

    These incidents didn’t really coincide with any new software installation, and so it makes me suspect that perhaps in some cases an automatic software update was less than perfect and destabilized the “fragile” Windows, and the problem was fixed by a another update.

    Does that make sense?

    In addition to this sort of problems, a frustrating issue is the puzzling bouts of sluggishness (CPU usage is stock at 100%) and the freezing of my laptop when one application is struggling. This problem seems to be worse when I run my laptop off the battery.

    So from what I can garner from your postings, I feel switching to Mac is a very good idea and would relieve much of the frustration I experience in the Windows world. And Macs seem very cool! I’ll wait for Leopard to come out, taking the time meanwhile to plan my migration.

    Thank you for all your input!
  25. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Are you sure? I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just not so certain. I think it's got at least something to do with with the switch from AppleTalk to Unix-style networking. All of this worked perfectly in OS9, so Apple knows how it should be done. It get the impression this is not a trivial problem -- it's survived through every version of OSX to date.

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