5 Reasons Why OS X Still Beats Windows

by Hadley Stern Aug 31, 2009

I've had an opportunity to use both OS X and Windows 7 extensively. (I had access to earlier builds of Snow Leopard). The bad news, for those nervous about Microsoft actually releasing a decent operating system is that the company finally has. But the good news is that if Vista were a Yugo, Windows 7 is a Kia, but OS X is a highly evolved BMW.

Here then, are 5 reasons why OS X still out runs, out performs, and generally leaves Windows 7 in the dust:

1. Attention to Detail There are some people for whom design doesn't matter. But I digress, take for example, the humble start-up screen. Windows is still, after all these years, horribly pixilated upon startup, until it gets to the startup window. The Mac displays a gorgeous anti-aliased logo. Trivial? No because it is an indication of an overall approach to UI design and the overall technical architecture of the operating system. Windows 7 welcomes you with a blank desktop. Want to get to your hard drive? You have to click on a folder icon in the Window's dock or go to the Start menu and select a folder.  There are countless other examples of Apple's attention to detail in UI design and Microsoft inattention.

2. Integration, integration, integration When I first installed Windows 7 on a Dell Laptop the screen resolution was incorrect. Why? Because Windows doesn't ship with all the gazillion drivers it needs. When I ran Windows update it caught it and installed the video driver and on restart everything worked. But this is the price you pay running Windows. Integration doesn't work out of the box and sometimes doesn't work at all. Not so with OS X. Not only will everything work but it will make sense! If you have a MacBook certain preferences will automagically show up. If you don't, they won't. Simple.

3. Speed OS X runs faster. This is no surprise. Snow Leopard is a tuning of an already mature operating system, Windows 7 is a desperate (and probably successful attempt) to rescue Microsoft from the diaster that is Microsoft. Let's put this another way. Imagine that the Mac world was still using OS 9 even though OS X had been out for years? That is the situation Microsoft is in with Vista. Microsoft needs Windows 7 to succeed. But back to speed. Install time is faster. Boot up time is faster. Thanks to OpenCL using the core finder is faster and once developers write applications that take advantage of Grand Dispatch and OpenCL they will be faster too.

4. TCO Out of the box after you buy Windows you need to buy an anti-virus application. Not so with the Mac, despite the attempt of some vendors to create a Mac anti-virus market. Out of the box on your Mac you'll be able to surf the web, check your email (including on Microsoft Exchange servers), manage your digital photography, movies, and more. With Windows 7 you get a lame rip-off with Live applications (better to stick with Thunderbird for email and Picassa for photo-management, not sure about video on the PC). Your Mac comes with iLife. Your Windows 7 comes with....nothing really. This means that you have to buy even more software, update it over the years that you own it, all at a cost. The Mac has proven time and time again to be the more affordable operating system over the long term. How many Yugo's do you still see on the road?

5. Stability After using both platforms extensively, I've had zero issues with Snow Leopard and a number with Windows 7 (RTM). The most common ailment on the Window's side: applications not responding (often Microsoft applications). I've also had issues with the Windows Finder (what is the Finder called in Windows, anyone?) just not responding. Not so with Snow Leopard. I have seen the dreaded spinning Beachball of death on occasion, but only for a split second vs. the seconds one was used to with Leopard. Snow Leopard is rock solid; Windows 7 maybe after a service pack for three.

*They were the folks who had a Creative mp3 player (or later, a Zune) when the iPod first came out. They are the folks who won't buy an iPhone but will buy whatever me-too-touch-phone is out there. Don't try to figure these people out they just are who are they. And they are still in the majority.



  • Well … the »Finder« in Windows is called »Explorer« … since Windows 95.

    alphaeus had this to say on Aug 31, 2009 Posts: 1
  • Windows 7 is the best OS Microsoft has released in a long time, but then it is a “do-over.” I’ve used the Windows 7 RTM candidate a good bit and while I haven’t found any deal breaking faults in it, I don’t believe it meets the standards of OS X Leopard much less Snow Leopard. I applaud Apple for enhancing Leopard rather then adding a bunch of junk for show only.

    EMoore had this to say on Aug 31, 2009 Posts: 1
  • All valid points, but here’s my 5 reasons why Win is better than OSX, which could have been corrected ages ago, but still annoy me:
    - win recycle bin is better implemented than osx’s trash. still no permanent delete for mac. creation of annoying and invisible trash folders on removable disks, with no possibility to empty them separately.
    - finder prob. 1: no cut - paste for files
    - finder prob. 2: creating many hidden files on removable disks, with no possibility to eliminate them except with the aid of third-party plugins
    - spotlight is limited, and cannot be configured to search deeper; need to set up a specialised search within finder.
    - win runs on macs, osx does not run on pcs

    (disclaimer: my computer of choice is a mac, doesn’t mean i think it’s perfect)

    ediediedi had this to say on Aug 31, 2009 Posts: 6
  • “Want to get to your hard drive? You have to click on a folder icon in the Window’s dock or go to the Start menu and select a folder.”

    Or, you know, Windows+E, which launches a new Explorer window.  In OSX, it’s CMD+N.  I’d call that a draw.

    “Because Windows doesn’t ship with all the gazillion drivers it needs.”

    I can only imagine the howls of protest (actually I don’t have to imagine) if you were comparing a release candidate of OS X to a released version of Windows and complaining about driver issues.

    Also, this fails to mention the vast array of choices in hardware with Windows vs OS X.  Depending on who you ask, that could be considered a huge plus.  Which is kind of the problem with an article like this.  It’s inherently cherry-picking.

    “Out of the box after you buy Windows you need to buy an anti-virus application.”

    No you don’t.

    “After using both platforms extensively, I’ve had zero issues with Snow Leopard and a number with Windows 7 (RTM).”

    I have numerous problems like this on both platforms.  I use both systems every day and they are about the same in terms of stability.  Again, I’d call it a draw.

    From someone who legitimately uses both systems every single day, they are both very good, very reliable, mature systems.  Each has strength and weaknesses but both get the job done as far as I’m concerned.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Aug 31, 2009 Posts: 2220
  • Windows 7 still looks just like a bad copy of Leopard. Even the demos of Windows 7, which I watched on MS website, could have come straight from Cupertino. A friendly engineer takes you through the demos. Look, it has a find function similar to Spotlight, a drab looking dock, a photo program that works something like iPhoto. And, you can even put your own photo slide show on your desktop. It’s all been done before by Apple and it was done with class and panache. Where is the innovation?

    Considering all the money that MS has made from Windows sales over the years, one would think they could come up with something new and or innovative.

    Flyboybob had this to say on Aug 31, 2009 Posts: 33
  • Things that I like better in Windows:
    1.  When I click on a different Window, I don’t have to wait for the focus to follow me.  I *hate* that feature of OSX.
    2.  I can right click and then drag - and it will ask me whether I want to copy or move.
    3.  I like having the top menu for each application.  Sure it uses up more space, but multi-tasking is every application the same.

    Howard Brazee had this to say on Sep 01, 2009 Posts: 54
  • 1) Windows 7 sports a high res, high color boot animation that really looks quite nice (at least on most monitors).  Although you’ll only see it on a screen with 768+ vertical resolution… so I’m guessing you used a cheap netbook at 1024x600 or something.  Of course an even more detailed animation could be used, but doing so would mean loading a larger animation file at startup and slow down boot performance.  Perhaps that’s why Windows starts up faster… attention to detail and all.

    Oh, and someone should inform you that Snow Leopard no longer places an icon on the desktop for your hard drive on a clean install.  You have to do that yourself, or as you said just use the Finder / Explorer icon in the dock / taskbar.  Does that make it cooler since Apple’s doing it?

    2) First of all, are you suggesting that it’s common for users to do clean installs of Windows?  Second, are you really saying you’d rather have the disc include an outdated display driver than just have it automatically get the newest one from WU as soon as you boot for the first time?

    3) Again, what kind of bizarro world are you living in?  Windows *undeniably* runs faster than OS X, and every benchmark in existance will support this.  Just dual boot OS X and Windows 7 on a Macbook as I used to, there’s no difference for simpler tasks but a noticeable one for anything intensive.  And things like Search are much faster in Windows.  Also, the Finder doesn’t use OpenCL - in fact I’m pretty sure nothing included in SL does.  And GCD isn’t an advantage over Windows since it’s had a system thread pool API since Windows 2000 and has ConcRT / TLP, etc.  The main difference is that Apple calls their lambda functions “blocks” instead of “tasks.”  That’s innovation for ya!

    4) Snow Leopard does NOT come with iLife, unless you buy the $160 “boxed set.”  You have to pay Apple to upgrade iLife every year, whereas the Windows Live Essentials are updated for FREE.  Movie Maker kicks iMovie’s butt, Live Mail is a great mail app, and the whole suite is getting better all the time.

    5) This is just nonsense.  Both platforms are pretty reliable these days, but if you follow twitter, forums, or blogs you’ll clearly see people having more issues with Snow Leopard than Windows 7 (despite more people actually running Windows 7 even though it isn’t even officially released yet).

    threedaysdwn had this to say on Sep 06, 2009 Posts: 1
  • I still prefer using Windows.
    I have grown up using Windows and to me it is still practical. But I have to practice using OS X to have a better understanding of their difference. - Guy Riordan

    Guy Riordan had this to say on Aug 31, 2011 Posts: 11
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