Mac OS X forum: Mac OS-X or Windows XP - Which one is most user friendly?

by: dj_white_rice-20434017950275137719849051425208 May 25, 2005 5:42 PM PDT

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Mac OS-X or Windows XP - Which one is most user friendly?

I regularly use Windows XP and also Mac OS-X. I find that the Windows XP in more customizable and user friendly in that it does a lot of the work for me.

Here are my feelings on both operating systems.... what has been your experience?

Windows XP - Desktop Navigation: Excellent - You click on anything and it opens or at least tries to open. Folders open with a click and you can go as deep into the folder as needed, folders can be made to open in their own window, folders can be customized.

Mac OS-X - Desktop Navigation: Average - Your stuck with limited folder viewing options. Folders branch out with a funky menu when you open them, it takes more work to find what your looking for because you can't just pop open folder after folder. (What happened?? Used to be easier with the pre-OS-X versions)

Windows XP - Desk Top Customization: Excellent - Customizing the desk top is easy. Move things where you want them, have a trash can on your desk top, use most any graphic for your desk top picture, change your icons without needing an additional piece of software, change the desktop colors easily. Move the main menu to any side of the screen.

Mac OS-X - Desk Top Customization: Average - (Was better with OS-9 and OS-8) - Requires additional software to customize most desk top and menu features. Your pretty much stuck with the one Apple gives you without the software other then being able to change the photo on your desk top. No trash can (pre-Tiger) on the desk top, Top menu is stuck at the top (Can't relocate it)

Windows XP - Program Navigation: Above Average - Stick a shortcut of any program on your desktop, go to the main menu start button and a menu pops up that is easy to browse from the get go. Move the menu to any four sides of the screen as you like.

Mac OS-X - Program Navigation: Average - Unlike Windows XP's menu the Mac OS-X menu is firmly stuck to the top of the screen. Unlike previous versions of the Mac Operating system in which all of your control panels, menu items, printers were available from a drop down menu, the OSX version may have that option available but if it does I sure in the heck can't figure it out. I feel sorry for those upgrading from a previous Mac OS who are used to having the drop down menu. The main navigation with OS-X is something we saw under previous versions of the Mac OS..... a desktop launcher. It's a cute launcher, but personally I, like so many others, disabled the launcher in previous versions of the Mac OS. Unfortunately, our pretty much stuck needing it in order to launch your program applications unless you want to dig around in your hard drive folder (If you can find it). While the launcher bar can be moved to any side of the window, it often gets in the way even if you have it set to hide automatically when not in use. Basically, you have to use additional software to add back in many of the features lost between OS-9 and OS-X.

Windows XP - Loading files: Above Average - Open or download a file that windows does not recognize and it will attempt to locate something that will open it via the Internet. Of course you will need additional software to open some of the different types of compress files like Stuff-it, ZIP, Rar, etc. Most are available for free. Installing a new program is pretty much straight forward as well and many programs offer the ability to customize the software as you install it.

Mac OS-X - Loading files: Above Average - Most OS-X programs come installed in a disk image that opens up like a folder or a virtual disk on your desk top. You then either click it to being installation or move it to a folder on our hard drive. Installation this way makes it pretty simple though for the most part likes the customization features that installing a windows program offers. Since the current version of OS-X also comes with a emulator of OS-9, you can still open and load those programs too unless they are programs that interfere with OS-X and therefore disabled in advance to prevent installation.

Windows XP - Disk Clean Up: Above Average - Windows XP like the previous versions of windows software creates tons of little files all over the hard drive in different folders, so you need a intelligent way of digging them back out when you no longer need the program. Fortunately, Windows has a control panel that lets you both add and remove installed programs. (It doesn't always work) You can buy additional software that keeps tracks of all the files for easy removal but I have never felt the need to buy it. I bought a software uninstaller once and it was worse that what windows has built it. One excellent feature of windows is it's Scan Disk and Defragmenting software. Works great.

Mac OS-X - Disk Clean Up: Less than average - Almost every Mac operating system I have ever used has required the use of additional software in order to scan and defragment the drive, fortunately I always had a friend who had a copy to give away. Mac OS-X seemingly optomizes the disk after the automatic installation of each OS-X based program. I'm not sure what exactly it is doing when it does that, but it sure slows down your progress. Like previous versions of the OS you will want to invest in one of those stinking costly programs that can defragment and scan your disk for problems. (That's a bummer) As far as removing a file or program, you'll have to do that by hand as well. (Another bummer) Unlike Windows XP which has built-in software for removing programs, OS-X doesn't. Now to be fair, most of the OS-X programs are self contained and located in your applications folder (assuming your able to locate it), but there are some additional preference files and other files that get left in your mac even after you remove the software (That sucks) and unless you are an advanced OS-X user, well it's gonna be there for a long time. That is a bummer if you like to keep your system clean of the places you have been and the things you have done...

Windows XP: Security - Below Average/ But Improving - Let's face it, Windows operating systems have more holes than swiss cheese. If there is a hole in it, there is also a bug on the Internet or on a friends floppy, CD, Flash Reader, looking for that hole to climb into. Not only that, use Windows XP as is and your gonna have 5,000 or more spyware files and other pieces of creatively written software living on your computer sending hidden messages to it's masters around the globe. However, I have to give Windows XP makers a big thumbs up when it comes to their recent determination to plug up holes, offer perhaps the most advanced spyware blocking software and plans for the release of a anti-virus software... that gets them big Kudos in my book. It simply took them forever and ever to figure out that this was their responsibilty. After all, they made the software with lots of holes, whey should we the consumers who already have to pay mega-bucks to keep up with their newest operating system releases have to also buy additional software to fix the holes they left open? Additionally, Windows XP release SP-2 adds basic firewall protection for no additional cost. Cleaning out internet browser cache on windows versions of browsers is similar on all the browsers and requires minimum computer user skills.

Mac OS-X: Security - Above Average - Mac OS-X has one of the best reputations for having the least amount of bugs and most secure system. It would be hands down the best computer to use online the Mac versions of browsers were capable of all the things a Windows browser is capable of. Spyware? What's that! Most spyware is targeted at Windows computer users as is most of the current virus. I've only found one or two virus softwares available for the Mac. Virex by Network Associates is the cheapest if you can actually find somewhere that sells it. Network Associates has tons of virus updates and software options for windows users and so do tons of other vendors, but on the Mac OS-X these simply not enough business for them. Mac OS-X has a built-in fire wall as well as a pretty tight security set-up to keep wanna-be hackers out of your computer. It's kind of funny cause you can take a new Windows computer out of the box and plug it into the Internet for a few hours and end up with tons of virus and spyware files in your system. But with the Mac OS-X I'm not even convienced the antivirus software has done anything yet, not to mention the lack of need for extra software to block and capture spyware bugs. So in this area Mac OS-X wins hands down, at least until the operating system gets popular to become the future target of all those little boys with way to much time on their hands who look for the holes and ways to send their bugs into them. Sadly, if anyone makes any spyware bugs that dig deep into the OS-X system... most people will be out of luck since there is nothing I know of available for OS-X that easily removes files. Unlike Windows XP which the daring could dig in the files and yank out the bugs, Mac OS-X just isn't that easy to dig through.

Windows XP: Overall - Above Average - Depends on what your going to use your computer for. If your going to want to surf the web safely then you might want to get a Mac OS-X based system. If your looking for gaming, Internet compatibility, or a fast computer then your going to want to go with a computer offering Windows XP.

Mac OS-X: Overall - Average - Yes, it's got the security issue beaten unlike the hole infested Windows XP, but at this point Macs for the most part are still G4 processors with a max speed limit slightly above 1.25 ghz. The new Mac G5 processors come with a maximum 800 Front Side Bus speed and are breaking the 2 ghz barrier with a 64bit processor, but they cost up to $2,000 more. If you can swing the cost then go Mac. I think OS-X is still just an infant. Should Apple continue borrowing ideas from Windows XP and maintain it's security features, they will eventually out shine Microsoft. (But, honestly... I've been watching Apple since the 1980's and their management teams assigned to coming up with the corporate visions and directions for the Mac processors and operating systems have a terrible reputation for doing the obviously stupid. Sadly, while I own a brand new Mac Mini that sits on top of a newly custom built Pentium 4 3.2 ghz processor running Windows XP pro. Apple still has not re-earned my trust from tons of stupid things it's done in the past that cost me and many others some of our cash. It may be a few years before Apple computers is able to fully redeem itself. I switched to Windows and left the Mac operating systems in the 1990's, its only now I am trying them out again (Something I had sworn I would never do). They make a great computer and great operating system and since OS-X is now based on a unix platform, tons of people are flocking to it over Windows XP. However, Windows XP is a more consumer friendly and consumer industry accepted platform than the Mac OS-X.

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