Let's start this comparison of Windows and Mac by stating what should be obvious: comparing Windows and Mac to each other is kinda silly. From the operating systems OS's to the hardware to the software, these two computer ecosystems are apples and oranges, pun intended. Every action is like a dinner party with close friends that's been planned for months in advance. The Apple OS plays host, making sure everything runs smoothly. The BIOS the software that allows the OS to talk to the hardware is generally proprietary to the motherboard manufacturer. The individual hardware components like a video card or CPU , peripherals mouse and keyboard , and applications like word processing software or games can all come from different companies — Microsoft has no say in which parts are chosen for a given system.
The Windows OS merely coordinates the communication between those individual parts. These design differences have repercussions on both sides. Apple's tight control of its ecosystem means all the components of a Mac system are optimized to work together. That allows every process to run more smoothly, throughout the lifetime of the system.
This optimization comes at a premium though; component manufacturers aren't letting Apple dictate the production process for certain parts out of the goodness of their hearts. This is one reason why Macs cost more. On the other hand, Microsoft's success and long-time dominance of the personal computing arena makes Windows the universal OS by default. Every hardware or software manufacturer that isn't working on mobile components makes parts that are compatible with Windows, but Microsoft doesn't really have a say in how those parts are made.
A Windows machine is a collection of discrete parts, which makes processing inherently more difficult. Of course, it also makes PCs cheaper. Over the life of a PC, all the components and applications can receive hundreds, even thousands, of minor and major updates from their manufacturers' support teams. Every change is noted in the Windows registry, which is essentially a very long list of commands that the OS has to read every time it boots up. As that list gets longer, the PC slows down.
This slowing down can make your PC feel ancient. The average PC user understands that these computers require upkeep. But what you may not know is that as Windows evolved, the list of tips and tricks for tuning up Windows has also evolved. Note that these tips are current to Windows 7; if you're running something else, Google is your friend.
Should those fixes not work, it's a great idea to make sure your drivers are up to date. Drivers are the operating instructions a manufacturer gives to Windows to tell it how to run a given piece of hardware. AMD has a similar program. Should all else fail, you can always just reinstall Windows.
A clean reinstall is by far the most time-consuming option, but it'll wipe out all but the most pernicious of PC problems. It's just that the Apple and Microsoft ecosystems are vastly different, and that results in a different end user experience. Tighter controls over how Macs are built means your laptop is less likely to get bogged down by missing or conflicting updates, but you pay a hefty price for that luxury. Even the best Windows laptops require constant vigilance, but my souped-up gaming rig with its Frankenstein parts can run circles around your Mac — so there.
Readers, what do you think?
Mac vs PC: Which should I buy?
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