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Windows vs. Mac, new Win10 nag screen

Tech Talk

Whether you're treating yourself to a new computer (yay for you!) or your old computer is old and slow (are you getting calls from the Smithsonian about donating to the museum?), you have a decision to make. Windows or Mac Operating System (OS). For most people, it's not a tough choice; stick with what you have and know. But maybe, just maybe, you're looking over the fence at that green grass on "the other side" of the Windows vs. Mac debate and wondering...should I?

Most of the stuff we do every day happens in a browser window or an office-type app, so maybe it doesn't matter, Windows vs. Mac?

Here are a few things to consider before choosing:

How they look

Today, the desktop experience is much the same on Windows and Mac computers. It's just icons, windows, docks and taskbars. Apple and Microsoft have been borrowing features from each other for so long that basic operations are the same on either one. Yes, there are differences (like the process of closing applications or windows, or installing and finding your programs,) but they aren't insurmountable.

You'll be happiest with whichever OS you're using now, but it's not impossible to switch.


Macs come with more free, useful, already-installed software than Windows computers. Many people run their Macs for years without installing any programs other than what came with the machine. There are Windows programs equivalent to the bundled Mac programs, but you will have to hunt them down individually and install them.

If you want to install Microsoft Office or any of the Adobe products, there are versions for both OSes.

Security and privacy

Windows 10 includes Windows Defender security for your computer, which is an excellent thing because most malware and viruses target Windows computers - not because Microsoft's OS is less secure than Apple's OS, but because most computers in the world run Windows. I've heard Apple's security reputation described as "security by obscurity." Criminals need to have a good return on their investment too, so it makes economic sense for them to attack the larger group of computers.

That's not to say Apple's MacOS is insecure; it's not. It's just a smaller number of computers compared to Windows computers.

Both Windows and MacOS have privacy controls built in to the OS. The camera, microphone, location and other permissions are easy to access and control how much you want to share.


If you're a gamer or want to be a gamer, you'll be getting (or replacing) a Windows computer. The most significant limiting factor to gaming on a Mac is that Mac computers don't come with separate graphics cards, so you won't be able to play the latest and greatest games.

Phones and the rest

You can use your iPhone with Windows and your Android phone with a Mac. Sure, things sync up seamlessly when you use your iPhone with your Mac or your Android phone with your Windows computer, but you can use devices across the platforms.

Form factor

If, for some reason, you need a laptop that can fold the screen all the way around to make a tent, called a 2-in-1, you'll need to get a Windows computer. Apple only makes traditional laptops, desktops and all-in-one computers.

Windows computers come in more styles and sizes than Apple computers, and they cost less, too. But, for some people, paying an extra 15 percent to get a computer with that iconic Apple logo is worth it.

Cooking with your computer

I tried cooking Mac and cheese last week. Now the guys at the Apple Store are refusing to fix my laptop.

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at [email protected].