Is a Mac harder to use than a Windows PC?

yevgeniy July 10, 2010

Which is better, a PC or a Mac?

Mac seems to be kinda hard to use. I have used Windows all my life and for me it’s easy and I could do all this tech stuff which is fun, like misconfiguration and reg edit or re-size partitions. And it’s all easy, I know where everything is, but I do wanna try to do all that on the Mac. Is it as easy as Windows 7? Because I remember Windows 98 … wow how much have they evolve.

  1. Wubarryca
    November 24, 2011 at 12:23 am

    lolol my 4 year old pc still beats many modern macs...since some of them uses core 2 duo whereas I use core 2 quad! I better upgrade my ram now :)

  2. Sdknight2000
    November 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I have W7 and Lion, 
    I'm still learning OS X.  Not an easy task.(2 months) I want to give it some time before I make my final conclusion. Mac has a long way to go before I'm convinced it has any advantages over W7.  I do agree you do get a lot more for the same money with a pc over a macbook pro.
    I spent the same on both, pc came with an I7 and the mac came with an I5, world of difference.  Feels like quite the down grade. Lion feels much slower, but that could be the cpu. After being on Windows since 98, I have never felt so illiterate as I do when using my mac.

  3. Wermfud
    October 14, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Just a note- you get a lot more for your money with a PC. Macs are overpriced, maybe it's all the advertising they have to keep up.

  4. Guest
    April 24, 2011 at 1:44 am

    I hate Vista but compare to Windows 7 Mac is far behind. I was surprised to know that those tiny fonts in Mac can't be changed in system wide, so I had to lower the screen resolution and sacrificed the image quality. When you want to right click in Mac Book you have to use ctrl + Left Click. Isn't it funny? I can list down many such things. If Mac is so good why Apple promote you to install Windows and make it dual boot.

    I'm just using Mac Book only to develop for iPhone.

    I was also on the same band wagon for Linux some years before ( I have developed application and device drivers for Linux then) and said Linux is more stable and flexible than Windows then. Now I hardly use Linux. Those who are saying Windows is unstable are living in the history, they still compare their OS to Windows 95.

  5. doubleplanet
    December 26, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Right on, KK.

    But no one has mentioned one Mac advantage: the wonderful consistency among programs written for Mac operating systems, maintained since Day 1. It made learning new programs a snap. Programs written for Windows, which was designed as a graphical user interface (GUI) system on top of DOS rather than an actual operating system, tended to have corrections and kluges heaped upon kluges in order to achieve similar-looking results, which is why Windows-based systems tended to hang every time you turned around.

    I'm not a computer geek, but I am a codger who's watched this competition since its beginnings. In my work I have used both systems and (like most "average", everyday users who've tried both, I suspect) I prefer a Mac. I have not used the latest Windows version, however, so they're probably more similar now than when I was using both.

    Windows has been imitating and "catching up" with Mac's GUI system since Xerox invented the GUI. If there were better copyright protection for ideas, PCs would probably still be based on keyboard-written commands -- remember DOS? (which, come to think of it, was cheaply lifted from a couple of naive garage-based nerds by Bill Gates). A mid-90s study by my employer that reviewed the pros and cons of each system budgeted an expected *extra 50%* for IT support costs, if our institute standardized on a PC-based system!

    But we live, and choose our software and hardware, in the present, which makes all of this water under the bridge.

    Like their appearances and features, conversion problems between the two systems for the primary software packages (Word, Powerpoint, &c) have dwindled. People who like graphics still choose Macs, and gamers will continue to prefer PCs -- for now, anyway. Anyone forced to use a Mac who prefers PCs, or any Mac user who wants to use PC software, can buy a simulator that claims to run any PC/Windows-based program (haven't used it m'self, but a geekier friend swears by it; he bought his from an Apple Store).

    I respect Mac for getting it right in the first place, and keeping it that way. But since most people care much more about usefulness than history, it's all moot.

    They're zowie computer systems, both of them. They'll continue to incrementally exchange "which one is best" places every time one of them upgrades. I like the Mac's consistency, intuitive ease and reliability; I like the price and ubiquity of PCs.

    But I do think most people would agree that it's easier to go from Windows to OS X, rather than vice-versa. (Recollections of a home Mac user, newly at work with his office PC, hammering his keyboard and snarling "Stop ASKING me that! Just DO IT!")

    • Richard Carpenter
      January 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm

      Your Apple to Microsoft is fairly correct, except that OS X has been completely rewrite several times sense the origianal Lisa. Becuase current Macs are UNIX based, The compatibility issues are non-existant. I use VirtualBox myself to install Windows inside of OSX. What kills me over a Mac is security, I just can not move off of that.

      • Sue
        February 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm

        If you're worried about security, Richard, then you really have to give serious consideration to getting a Mac.

        I've used both extensively, both professionally and personally; in 25 years I've never once seen a virus on a Mac (& I've never bothered with installing anti-virus software on them) and I've never lost any data, but it's a very different story with the PCs...

        • Anonymous
          February 16, 2011 at 8:15 pm

          I promise you that there is Malware for OS X. I have experimented with this on my Macs with scary results. Also, there are ways to changes account passwords with no password at all, among other things with Single-User Mode. If you are running OS X, it is only a matter of time before you get a virus, If you do not already have one.

        • Seriously?
          February 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm

          If there is Malware out there for OS X, I've never seen it. I've read an odd story here and there, but never once come across any legitimate threat. Every press release I've ever read on the elusive Mac virus has been a press release from a company that sells virus protection. I've never even met anyone who uses a Mac who's had a virus, and I've been a Mac user for over twenty years. And how do you experiment with malware on a Mac? I doubt you could even find a virus for OS X, and if you looked, and if you did, why on earth would you install it?

        • Anonymous
          February 28, 2011 at 4:14 pm

          Malware for Macs is there, but not in the number that of PC viruses, yet. The problem is that Mac computer are very easy to get in, mainly because of it's Unix / BSD workings. Unix ix known to be insecure, but it was never used this widely, until now.

          The viruses are viruses that I contain from the Macs that I clean / repair. It is how I learn to combat them more effectively. It is a very common practice in the IT / Computer Security industry, virtualizing viruses and combating them with no worries.

          Also, the point of todays Malware is to be unnoticed. Just because you have not seen it does not mean it is not there.

    • Joshua Issac
      October 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      Apple sued Microsoft for the GUI. But Xerox sued Apple, as well. If we had stronger copyright laws, Macs would not have GUIs, either. They would also have to stick with terminal prompts similar to DOS.

      Secondly, DOS-based Windows OSs are a thing of the last millennium. The last one was Windows 3.1, released in '92 (though it was so popular that it kept selling until 2008). Windows 95 and later PCs do not even have a real DOS mode.

  6. KK
    December 25, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Am a Mac user and a passionate one at that...which is better.. to each his own.......having gone through the threads it is never going to be easy to have an absolute answer....consider this - look at your needs and choose a tool which suits best...all tools will have their flip side - cost could be the reason to choose one but should not be the needle to dump the other...

  7. Austin
    December 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I use both Windows 7 and OSX Snow Leopard (at work).
    I simply don't like the OSX "dock".
    Apple needs a new windows manager.

  8. Anonymous
    October 3, 2010 at 5:43 am

    i would first try a flavor of linux (like ubuntu), because is free, similar to mac in many aspects and simple to get started withonce you get used to it, learning mac should be much easier.

    Well at least is what i did.
    Beware that ubuntu can be addictive if you're into OSs :)

    • Anonymous
      October 13, 2010 at 2:59 pm

      Linux and OS X are more similar than you realize ( OS X is partly based off of Berkeley Unix). The CLI is almost identical and they also both have Root Shell recovery modes.

  9. Anonymous
    July 24, 2010 at 5:39 am

    I think both windows 7 and mac have accomplished a high level of user friendliness so they are more or less "equal" in terms of user friendliness. However having Windows does have many advantages. First, there is support. More than 70% of computers in the world are running windows so whatever problem you may encounter you can bet that you can find support for that on the internet for free. Then there comes the applications. Even if the number of Mac applications increases ten times, it cant reach a third of the number of applications that are available for Windows.That number generates competition which means better and better applications are developed for Windows. There are far many applications on Windows that aren't on Mac and I've never heard of any Mac application that doesn't have a better windows alternative. The there comes support for hardware. Take any piece of computer hardware and you can bet that it will work on windows. Not the case with Mac. My d-link wifi card doesnt work with Mac nor does my bluetooth usb, yet they work fine on Windows. Then, there is gaming. I bet no one can argue with me on the fact that Windows "owns" the computer gaming market.
    And personally I think Windows 7 is more visually appealing than any Mac OS

  10. M.S. Smith
    July 16, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I use both Windows 7 and OS X. In my opinion, OS X is easier to use. It isn't a significant difference, but adjusting settings in OS X is more intuitive.

    With that said, you're always going to have to deal with the simple fact that you've been used to a certain operating system and anything new is going to feel strange for awhile. It took me about two weeks to become accustomed to OS X and stop trying to use Windows shortcuts in it.

  11. Ryan Dube
    July 15, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    yevgeniy - During my early years as a computer cluster consultant, we had to assist students with their computer issues. About half the cluster was filled with Windows PC's and half were Mac. I personally found that with a fairly equal user base, by far I had many more tech questions from the PC user side. This is exactly because of what you stated - if you don't quite know what you're doing with a PC, it's very easy to dig into the wrong area in the control panel and really mess things up.

    What I noticed on the Mac side was that screens are more intuitive, apps worked alongside each other very easily and crashes were pretty much non-existent unless we lost the apps server. So, while I can't speak in terms of processing power, capability or software availability/options - if you're asking about "usability" then I'd have to say, yes, Macs are easier to use (and this is coming from an avid Windows user).

    Hope that helps.

    • Cole13
      October 21, 2011 at 11:21 pm

      Are we talking about the same MAC? I am a pc idiot but I never has trouble with windows. 

  12. Richard Carpenter
    July 14, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    At its core Mac computers are UNIX based. To do any real work / troubleshooting to the machine you must use the Terminal (Command Line). To Mac being easier than Windows... NO. Windows 7 is easier than OSX will be for some time, not to mention Windows 8 will be release in 2011. Mac machines are also about a year or so behind a PC in High Performance Computers, which means they are slower as well.

    • Yousef
      July 17, 2010 at 10:29 am

      About the terminal comment that isn't exactly true. You can find a wide variety of apps that will do tasks for you that you could do in the terminal and they're much easier to do and no code editing to learn.
      Windows 7 is easier than OSX? That's really a very subjective topic. Each have their own flaws and strengths and wheny ou put them all into cnsideration they're pretty much equally matched.
      And no, mac computers are not slower and no they're not a year or so behind PCs in high performance. Ever heard of the Mac Pro? You can get them in 8 core or quad core and has hype threading which can simulate 16 core computers. Read up about it my friend:

      And about the "slower." I'm surprised you don't know about this since you clearly knew mac was unix based but the way unix accesses files and does computer tasks is completely different from the windows way and allows for a much smoother and faster user experience. They can achieve thins in mac on duo core 2.0ghz that a pc would need 2.5ghz for. Need proof? Install a flavor of linux on your windows pc and notice how it's almost 4x faster than Windows.

      • Anonymous
        July 19, 2010 at 12:50 pm

        The terminal is the best and sure fire way to fix any OSX problem without repeating the process serveral times. I will give you the the Windows 7 comment, Very true. But even the Mac Pro is behind when it comes to hardware, The year comment was based off there Server line of hardware, not to mention the graphics cards.And By the Way, I am a UNIX guy. Linux is not 4x faster than anything, Much less Windows. For proof of this, Look at the source of a Linux kernel. Not to mention Malware, Ever heard of a certain sudo rm that will delete the entire file system while running. Try that in Windows

      • William Brand
        July 24, 2010 at 5:15 am

        "And no, mac computers are not slower and no they're not a year or so behind PCs in high performance."Two things here. First, Macs are definitely not slower if you look exclusively at their super-expensive Pro line. If you're only spending $1700 (which is an extremely expensive computer) you're still using a Core 2 Duo instead of even an i5 much less an i7. That's evidence that as soon as you step out of the "filthy rich" category they are, indeed, behind in performance. The second thing is you're talking about processing power, while they are definitely much slower in regards to gaming. A $1200 iMac is still running the 9400M which was released in 2008, and even then it's the M series which means it performs even slower. A computer built in 2006 or 2007 would easily outperform it. Even if you step it up to the $2,000 iMac 27" you're using a last-generation card.

        Lastly, not sure where the "Linux is 4x faster than Windows" stuff comes from. Whether or not it's more efficient at something simple like file browsing is kind of moot since we're at a plateau in that regard. The main bottleneck is the speed of the drive, and accessing files is not where a computer's performance gets to shine. Loading webpages, applying Photoshop filters, rendering HD video, and playing video games are all where it counts.

        • Yousef
          July 24, 2010 at 11:51 am

          The i5 speed in other brand computers and the core 2 duo speed found in the macbook pro line are within 0.1ghz in terms of real speed. I suggest you read up on processor speeds and look up processor speed tests found all over the net. And you're exactly right about the photoshop and rendering hd video. That's why Pixar studios have been using macs for more than 10 years and every major design firm in the United States uses macs, and most major recording studios use macs. Video gaming is fine on the mac. They just released steam and I tried portal out on my june 07 intergrated graphics macbook and it was running smooth and fine on low settings. If you want the full gaming experience there's no denying that PCs currently excel at that.

          And still, macs are not behind in specs. The mac pro is still a mac and the specs on it are quite up to date.

        • William Brand
          July 24, 2010 at 12:50 pm

          EDIT: Sorry, double post.

        • William Brand
          July 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm

          "The i5 speed in other brand computers and the core 2 duo speed found in the macbook pro line are within 0.1ghz in terms of real speed."

          Ghz are not what entirely matter in processor speed. For example, compare a 3ghz Pentium 4 with a 3ghz i5 and you'll see they're in different leagues. This is a case where the newer chips simply perform faster.

          "I suggest you read up on processor speeds and look up processor speed tests found all over the net."

          Thanks for the condescending language, but I have. Check out this link and notice certain numbers like video transcoding speed. They're both 2.66 ghz but it takes the Core 2 Duo 190 seconds to convert an MPEG to AVI while the i5 blazes through in 135 seconds. That's about a 40% difference! The gap would be even wider if you started looking at i7, which should definitely be in a computer that costs $2,000.

          "That's why ... studios use macs."

          Studios use Mac simply because of certain software exclusivity. Final Cut Pro, for example, is produced only by Apple. In the past there used to be more exclusive software and that's turned Macs into the default choice. Unless you plan on using Final Cut Pro your experiences on Mac or PC should be pretty similar.

          "Video gaming is fine on the mac. They just released steam and I tried portal out on my june 07 intergrated graphics macbook and it was running smooth and fine on low settings."

          Portal is a game designed to run on low end systems, so the fact you play even that on low is telling of your laptop's power. The 07 date has nothing to do with it since Portal is also from 2007.

          "The mac pro is still a mac and the specs on it are quite up to date."

          This is wrong for two reasons.

          First, no, the Mac Pro is not up to date. Spend $3,000 on a Mac Pro and you'll have a GT 120 as your video card which is simply a renamed Geforce 9500. The 9500 is a card from 2008 but even then it was considered lowend. Besides that it's only running 1066 speed RAM, and I'd expect at least 1333 in a powerful computer like that if not 1600.

          Second, the Mac Pro is irrelevant because it's marketed towards major developers and as a server. Most users will be looking at laptops and iMacs which are woefully behind the curve.

        • Yousef
          July 25, 2010 at 10:15 am

          Well since you've absolutely convinced yourself I doubt anything further I say will add anything new or interesting to the discussion. The facts are out there.

          Good day.

        • William Brand
          July 25, 2010 at 11:40 am

          I didn't convince myself, I was convinced by graphs and numbers.

          Look, if the facts are out there I'm entirely willing to listen to them: just drop me a link and I'll read it. Show me examples or something. I'm willing to be open minded, but I'm not willing to take an idea like Macs have the fastest hardware on hearsay.

        • Anonymous
          July 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm

          Pixar has used Mac for ten years because Steve Jobs, until recently, owned Pixar. I will not argue with some one who THINKS they now what they are talking about. We have not even brought up security. Yousef, Your Macs are junk.

        • Yousef
          July 26, 2010 at 1:01 pm

          Whatever gets you through the day man.

        • Cole13
          October 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm

          I am assuming those people were all pc literate. What about us who just want simple and quality. I mean should it take lessons to figure out short cuts to spell check, complicated memory cards, or just your day to day stuff???

        • Anonymous
          October 3, 2010 at 5:46 am

          not having to use antivirus/antispyware in linux is enough to make it feel 4x faster

          but the peace of mind that you wont get infected by malware is priceless :)

        • Anonymous
          October 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm

          Linux / Unix can get infected. The Linux idea of Security by Obscurity is no longer correct. Linux is gaining more and more ground... Good and Bad. Link:

        • kelly
          April 26, 2012 at 2:19 pm

          Actually Pixar does NOT use mac's. They use Linux based PC's.

  13. Anonymous
    July 14, 2010 at 5:48 am

    I've personally never had hands-on experience with a Mac, but I can tell you this... I've friends who are regular Mac users swear by its usability and user-friendliness. They say there's nothing as easy to use as a Mac. From various screenshots on the Internet, I can also tell that the design of the Mac OS is really, really very intuitive. If you've worked with GUI Windows all your life, the transition to a Mac shouldn't be too difficult.

  14. Oron Joffe
    July 11, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Let me offer the oposite opinion than Jake's. The Mac IS very well designed, and relatively easy to use, but both have their advantages and disadvantages and you can't say that one is definitely easier to use than the other in every respect. If you are used to Windows then you will find it difficult to get used to the Mac, at least initially.

    • Burke102
      July 17, 2010 at 11:46 am

      I agree with 0ron. I switched 3 years ago. At first, I had a tough time. It's like learning a new language. After a while, I got used to it and liked it. My biggest adjustment was the fewer keyboard shortcuts with menu options.

      • Aibek
        July 20, 2010 at 7:12 am

        I agree with 0ron and Burke102, Mac is great and has lots of nice features that will take your productivity to the next level BUT it requires some getting used to. As Burke102 mentioned Mac has less shortcuts as well as new keyboard keys that requires some time to get used to.

        For new Mac switchers from Windows I highly recommend MakeUseOf's Beginner's Guide to Mac. It's a small guide that highlights everything you need to know to get started.

  15. Milad Ghattavi
    July 11, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    i was a windows user for 12 years. and now that i'm a mac user i know what a person deserves to be working with. a mac is beautiful, fast, easy to use and fun to work with! i will NEVER and i mean NEVER be a windows user in my life.
    since u know microsoft copies all nice features of mac os. (u can search youtube 4 that). i never regreted a second of using a mac. search for mac introduction videos. they're available on youtube and some other tips are available in apple's website.

    • helena
      May 10, 2011 at 2:06 am

      I wish I could agree. I'm finding Mac to be extraordinarily clumsy, unintuitive. An anathema to creative work. In short, awful.

  16. Jake Wyatt
    July 11, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    If you've worked with Windows for most of your life, then Mac will be a great relief for you. It's easy to understand, and if you don't get something, Apple has a lot of help videos on their site on the things that the OS does. It's completely easy and comfortable to use. =D

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