Why is OSX so much slower to launch apps than Windows?

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by ls1dreams, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. ls1dreams macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2009
    I've been using OSX now for around 2.5 years, and while I like the OS, I find that it's never been as responsive as Windows when it comes to launching apps.

    I've tried a variety of machines, including the latest haswell macbooks running SSD's.

    However, in every instance, I've noticed that apps just take longer to launch than their windows equivalent.

    Open notepad on windows? Instantaneous. Notes on OSX? About 2-3 "bounces".

    Open Microsoft Excel? On Windows, < 1 second. On OSX? Around 5 seconds or more.

    VLC? Way slower on OSX.

    As stated, it's not just my machine, but every mac I've tried from friends or in the Apple store.

    Any idea why OSX is so slow to open things?
  2. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    From what I understand, Windows learns how you use your PC and remembers information from recently used programs intelligently. Mac OS doesn't do this aggressively or at all.

    You can try launching a big program that you haven't used for awhile, such as an old game. It will take long the first time, but as long as you use it once a week, it will launch faster.

    Windows 7 is also a lot newer than OS X, which has been recoded over and over since the 90s.

    Also, some mac notebooks don't run at full speed unless the battery is fully charged and plugged into the AC outlet because it requires more power than the AC adapter alone can provide.
  3. hakuryuu, Oct 31, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013

    hakuryuu macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2007
    Lomita, CA
    Unless you are counting NeXT as OSX then it hasn't been recoded over and over since the 90s any more than any OS has. Windows 7 is also based on the NT kernel which isn't exactly brand new http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_NT. Both 7/8 and OSX are iterations of their respective kernels which are both vastly improved versus their original incarnations.

    And for what its worth I don't feel that there is a significant difference between the application launch times of OSX and Windows7/8. Though I would actually say that Windows 8/8.1 feels faster than 7 as does 10.9 feel faster than 10.8.
  4. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Wow! Talk about uninformed misinformation. Almost everything posted here is nonsense. I will address one spectacularly uninformed point:

    The MacBook Pro uses about 12 W while completing standard computer tasks. Apple's MagSafe adapters supply 72-85 W, depending on the model. This means that each MagSafe adaptor has the capacity to supply enough power for at least six MacBook Pros.
  5. ls1dreams thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2009
    To clarify though, I've also tried comparing system on a completely fresh reboot of both machines. I've also disabled the "office helper" startup apps in windows which load the apps into RAM ahead of time.

    No matter what I've tried, Windows will always launch apps quicker, even without any precaching at all. It's ridiculous. Windows XP SP3 on an old P4 machine will open Excel faster than a Haswell i5 OSX.

    Now, once cached in RAM, I find that they are a lot closer in launch time, but OSX is still usually around a 1 sec delay time vs. instantaneous in Windows.
  6. ls1dreams thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2009
    If you don't think there's a launch difference, I'd be happy to make a youtube video comparing the different launch times of a few simple apps on current machines. It blew my mind when I went home and used my parent's desktop running a sempron 3400 (around 1/10th the speed of current cpu's) on windows XP. It launched office apps faster than macbook pros running haswell with SSD's.

    Maybe I'm exaggerating slightly, but has no one else noticed this difference? It's ridiculous.
  7. Lone Deranger macrumors 68000

    Lone Deranger

    Apr 23, 2006
    Tokyo, Japan
    I don't have Excel, but I did try TextEdit and VLC and both where about 1 bounce. Notes was about 1.5 bounces.

    Late 2013 13"rMBP/2.6/16GB/1TB.

    So yes, you are probably exaggerating a bit. :)
  8. kappaknight macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2009
    Sorry, calling BS on this entire thread.

    I have an early 2011 MBP running an SSD, which is probably slower than the SSD's used in Haswell's. Excel and VLC both came in at one bounce. They certainly did not take 5+ seconds.

    Yes, do your scientific tests and record them on video. Your gut is wrong.
  9. 835153 Guest

    Aug 5, 2013
    I have a 27" iMac 3.4Ghz i7 with SSD and 12GB RAM and 2GB VRAM. Most apps open pretty much instantly save for things like Photoshop and Indesign which take a bounce or two (3 or 4 seconds tops).

    Before I used to wait for the computer, now it waits for me. I get a lot less sips of coffee nowadays.

    EDIT: just tried opening a few things on my work iMac standard 21" with no SSD. Most apps open and ready to use before the first bounce even finishes.
  10. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    Do you have any data to support your assertion? Maybe a video showing comparisons of the difference you're seeing? Plus, you do realize that every Mac app doesn't have a Windows equivalent, and vice versa.


    Actually, the range is 45 w to 85 w, depending on the model and screen size.

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/45w-mag...60&skuId=5856526&st=magsafe adapter&cp=1&lp=5

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/magsafe...90&skuId=9954445&st=magsafe adapter&cp=1&lp=1
  11. Benjamin99 macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2012
    The Woodlands, TX
    Granted the MS Office apps open slower on the OSX than on Windows, but thats not anything interesting…it is a MS application running on a competitor's OS…MS is not going to put more into it than they have to. All the other apps you mentioned I just opened on my iMac and they all opened on 1 bounce, thats nothing to complain about. And thats while this iMac hasn't been shut down in weeks and is currently running handbrake encoding.. I'd also like to see some data and youtube videos to see your comparisons.
  12. jahall05 macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2013
    I used Windows for many moons before switching to a Mac. While you are correct that some applications open a second or two faster on Windows than on Mac...it is 1 second, WHO CARES.

    If it is HONESTLY that big of a deal to you, then bootcamp Windows or go to a PC. Good luck with installing 45 updates upon shutdown and the inconsistent performance across the board.
  13. nikmatt macrumors newbie


    Apr 14, 2013
    Orlando, FL
    This is the dumbest thing I've read on here in quite some time.
  14. TrashCanBin macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2013
  15. hamis92 macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2007
    Running an Early 2008 MacBook Pro with an SSD and Mavericks. This thing is ancient and should be slow as a snail compared to the newest generation of Apple notebooks. The SSD can only reach a fraction of the speed it is capable of because the SATA1 bus isn't fast enough. Yet the computer is flying like a starship at warp.

    Almost everything I tried launched within one bounce (including Excel and Word), with the exception of Photoshop which took two bounces. I was surprised myself – those applications had not been opened since I restarted the computer last night, so they weren't readily stored in RAM.
  16. Michael Goff macrumors G5

    Michael Goff

    Jul 5, 2012
    I usually get about 2 bounces, depending on what I'm using.
  17. triplelucky macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2012
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    I think I do remember that back when I used windows machines…..

    They seemed to open hours long anti virus programs quickly, whenever they didn’t have a problem and were unable to start.
  18. elgrecomac macrumors 65816


    Jan 15, 2008
    San Diego
    Hold on there partner, not quite....

    I run Win 7 in a bootcamp partition on a 5 year old MBP and am running 10.9 on the same machine. Here are my observations:

    1. All Microsoft apps load in about half the time it takes similar apps on 10.9. It's not even close. I am running the latest versions of the entire MS suite on both systems. The hysterical thing is that I believe the fastest windows laptop machines available are Apple Macs running windows in a bootcamp partition. I've seen this on new MBP's at work. There is definitely some irony there...
    And one other thing they have in common is a 'Screen of Death'...Windows of course has the Blue Screen of Death, or BSOD and now OSX 10.9 system lockups are the equivalent. Way to go, Apple....

    2. With all that said, Win 7 is remarkably stable, I run Autocad plus several Windows-only apps like Visio, MS Project and it just flat out works well. It took MS 20 years to get there but they did it...and then they phoqued it up with Win 8, which is very stable and faster than 7 but the UI is all FU'd. 2 steps forward and 2 steps back.... (the Win 8 references are based on a winTel PC I use at work).

    3. Boot up time on my MBP, windows 7, hands down faster to boot and by more than a few seconds.

    4. Shutdown time is not as fast on Win 7. I tweaked the setting on 10.9 per some thread on this board so it shuts down VERY fast now.

    So performance wise, Win 7 is a hands down performance winner all things being relatively equal on my MBP BUT from a UI perspective, well, I'm still a OSX kinda guy.
  19. petsounds macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    Well, to be fair OS X *is* in fact basically a modified version of NeXTSTEP. But Apple has been steadily modernizing it over the years.

    One bit of OS X which is far older than NeXTSTEP is the damn filesystem OS X uses, HFS+, which is not much different than the original HFS we used on Macs in the 80s. I know Windows still uses NTFS, but I thought I remembered reading something about advancements around the Win 7 timeframe to speed up disk access of commonly-used apps. Perhaps I'm misremembering.
  20. ls1dreams, Nov 1, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013

    ls1dreams thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2009
    Thank you for proving I'm not insane. Microsoft apps launch faster even running in a fricking Virtualbox on my laptop in Windows XP than they do in native OSX.

    It's not just MS apps though. Lots of smaller apps would instantaneously snap open in Windows, while in OSX they require at least one bounce. While one bounce isn't really that slow, it's a noticeable delay that makes the entire OS feel laggy compared to Windows for me.

    A good example is Cyberduck (FTP client). On my 2011 sandy bridge w/ the stock 5400rpm hard drive, it takes nearly 10 bounces to load. Any ftp client in Windows would open immediately.
  21. josh.b macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2013
    strange. I find it the other way around with mac os x launching applications much faster than the same ones on Windows.
  22. torana355 Suspended

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Notes takes half a bounce to open on my 2011 MBA....
  23. Prabas macrumors 6502a


    Sep 14, 2010
    Every single app opens in about one second, software like Photoshop in about 2-3 seconds. Times are same as windows'
  24. stooovie macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2010
    Just a little. I agree with you. It's always been like this for me. Even with SSD, launching apps is WAY slower in OSX. When booted to Bootcamp (Win 8) on spinning HDD, Photoshop cs6 takes less than 4 seconds to launch. In 10.8.5 on the same machine WITH SSD, it takes longer.

    OSX just manages processes and memory differently. Windows has tendency to clog up and bog down, whereas OSX chugs along smoothly, albeit more slowly.
  25. haravikk macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    OS X does do this, I believe that's what the warmd process is for which you can usually see in Activity Monitor.

    I have to say though, like others I generally find OS X applications open faster, and that's running them from a Fusion Drive while my Bootcamp partition is SSD only. Granted applications I don't use in OS X very often are slower to open, but that's because they've moved off the SSD.

    Photoshop definitely is slower, but that's going to be Adobe's fault rather than OS X's.

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