Windows and OS X Comparison | Free Essay Example

Windows and OS X Comparison

Words: 1655
Topic: Tech & Engineering

Microsoft and Apple Corporations have always been leaders in the market of modern technologies. In fact, these two corporations have divided all people into two broad groups: those who prefer Microsoft products and those who like Apple more. Windows and OS X are the most popular operational systems nowadays. Numerous discussions have occurred aimed at identifying the best OS. Although both Windows 8 and OS X have advantages and disadvantages, OS X is the best as far as several peculiar features make it unique.

Windows 8 and OS X — overview

An Operating System (OS) is essential for the successful usage of the computers. OS includes instructions that allow computers to interact with users, and other peripheral devices. In other words, the OS can be understood as “the personality” of the computer (Stauffer and McElhearn 3). The operating systems organize, reproduce, and save files. Besides, the OS is designed to conduct a variety of tasks the most trivial of which include the display of video or the usage of the Internet.

Windows 8 is the operating system for personal computers (PCs). It is a part of the Windows NT family. The OS became available for users in 2012. This version of Microsoft OSs differs drastically from previous ones. Microsoft changed their user interface to adapt the system to the tablet and make it more comfortable. In general, the new OS was improved significantly in terms of security and performance. Nevertheless, users became dissatisfied with the new interface claiming that it was hard to adapt to and use.

OS X is a development of Apple, Inc. It is a Unix-based operating system that is created to be used on Macintosh computers. It was initially released in 2001. Since that time, ten more OSs were produced. The “X” refers to the Roman numeral exemplifying the fact that it is the tenth version of Apple’s OSs. This operating system is popular among users due to its unique design and high productivity.

Historical development

Before analyzing the current version, it is useful to have an insight into the historical evolution of these operating systems. The founders of Microsoft were Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Microsoft Corporation designed the first version of Windows in 1985. It was Windows 1.0. However, OS did not receive popularity. Microsoft made a significant step forward with the release of Windows 95. Until the introduction of Windows 8, the company produced Windows 98, Windows ME (Millennium Edition), Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

The development of OS for personal computers and laptops was not the only sphere of activity of Microsoft. Since 2003, the company commenced the design of operating systems for mobile devices and services. Windows Home Server, Windows CE, and Windows Mobile were ancestors of the modern Windows Phone that was introduced in 2010. Nowadays, it competes with Android and iOS.

Apple Computer, Inc. presented their personal computer Macintosh in 1984. Steve Jobs was the founder of the corporation. Macintosh’s initial OS was “System Software”. It was renamed as Mac OS later. The first version varied dramatically from other OSs because it employed the graphic user interface instead of the standard command line.

The first significant OS was the System 7 in 1991. In 1997, the company presented Mac OS 8. The next version was Mac OS 9 in 1999. The first release of Mac OS X was Server 1.0, and it was introduced in 1999 as well. Since that time, the development of various versions continued. All OSs had interesting code names such as “Puma”, “Panther”, “Leopard”, “Lion”, and “Yosemite”.

The comparison of Windows 8 and OS X

It is necessary to compare the characteristics of Windows 8 and OS X in several aspects to make a profound decision about the best operating system.


Windows 8 made drastic changes to the interface. The primary aim of the developers was to design such an operating system that would be easy to use on tablets and other touchpad devices. Microsoft achieved its goal. Nevertheless, the interface of Windows 8 on personal computers and laptops turned out to be not as convenient as it was expected. The well-known Start button disappeared and Start screen with the flat design was introduced (Branscombe and Grabham par. 1).

The so-called Metro design language was used to create Windows 8’s user interface. All previous versions had Aero Glass. There are no transparent borders of windows or bars in Windows 8. Some people considered that the transparency was useful for understanding what one was working on, but it could be rather distracting as well. Start screen represents a starting screen with numerous tiles that launch different applications.

A user can access everything from the Start screen, but he needs to study the way the system works first. There is also the charm bar where one can find search, settings, and other functions. Microsoft aimed at producing “modern” design for OS. However, the users did not support the OS claiming that it was too difficult to use.

Everything is much easier about Apple’s interface. The user just pins apps he or she needs to the dock that is situated at the bottom. It is possible to work with several displays, use iCloud, and share files instantaneously on OS X (Suleman par. 2). The design for OS X is called Aqua. This model has been developing since 2000. The world saw the modern, unique version of Aqua in 2010 when presenting Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

This version had few features of the iOS including full-screen applications, the better gesture support, and Launchpad. Yosemite is current and the most popular version of OS X. It has several distinctive characteristics like the translucency of windows and streamlined toolbars. Besides, the OS was created to produce an incredible view on Retina displays. OS X is an operating system that combines the convenience, elegance and simplicity.

Technical requirements and hardware

The hardware of Macintosh computers is superior in comparison with Microsoft. Besides, it is of great significance that OS X (and other Mac OSs) are specially designed to work on Apple’s hardware. The functionality and productivity of OS X enhance because it is designed for the particular device.

One can install OS X on PC, but the results will never be the same. Windows 8 can be installed on any computer. It can be Samsung, Lenovo, or anything else. It will never demonstrate such productivity as Macintosh with OS X will. Apple leaves Microsoft behind in terms of technological advances. What concerns screens, in particular, no other company can be ever compared with Apple’s Retina Displays.


Microsoft increased the security systems significantly in Windows 8. Before that version, speaking about security of Windows was more like a joke, especially in comparison with OS X. Still, Windows 8 has several security innovations that should be taken into consideration. Secure Boot detects whether the files or applications have all necessary digital certificates. Windows Defender is another product that is available by default. It conducts the functions of antivirus.

SmartScreen also protects Windows 8. When the user wants to download some file, SmartScreen checks whether somebody else has already downloaded it. If the program identifies that customers do not like it, it will send a message (Rashid par. 11). Still, users install many additional programs on Windows. Even if these programs are not viruses, they can impede the productivity of OS.

Although Windows 8 has improved the security, OS X has better quality performance in security. Gatekeeper protects every application the user downloads. It also checks all downloads. All users can be sure that their data are protected. FileVault 2 encrypts all data existing on Mac OS X. It can also delete all files from the Macintosh in such a way that no other user will ever find access to one’s personal info. iCloud Keychain synchronizes all passwords for all other Apple devices one uses.

Thus, once one has entered the password, he or she will have access to iPhone, iPad, or Mac (“Safety. Built Right In” par. 6). These are not the only existing ways of protecting OS X. One more great thing about OS X is that no anti-virus in needed. While users of Windows have to pay for additional security, OS X has everything at default. Such security gives positive outcomes. Statistics shows that Windows is more often the object of hackers’ attacks than OS X. In this respect, Apple products are much better that Microsoft’s products.


Microsoft is the most widespread throughout the world due to its price policy. The user can buy Windows 8 on it at the competitive price. Apple products, on the contrary, are much more costly. Not everyone can afford to have Mac OS. Besides, one cannot just install OS X on any hardware.

It is necessary to have Apple devices for this too. Once the laptop or computer is bought, the operating systems is already installed. Still, the price for OS X and Apple devices is justified. Statistics shows that Apple products serve much longer and remain their productivity for the extended period. The same cannot be said about Microsoft products.


Both Microsoft and Apple Corporations started their activity in the 1980s. Since that time, they have become the most well-known producers of the software and hardware. Windows 8 and OS X are modern operating systems that represent the new age of technological development. Windows 8 is much more different from its predecessors. It has been created in the new design and with improved security.

The new version of Windows became easier to use on tablets and smartphones though users faced difficulty with understanding the interface on computers. Nevertheless, OS X is more comfortable. OS X has superiority in terms of security and technical requirements as well. The only vivid advantage of Windows 8 is its price in comparison with OS X. Thus, there is no doubt that the winner is OS X.

Works Cited

Branscombe, Mary and Dan Grabham. Windows 8 Review. 2014.

Rashid, Fahmida. Windows 8 Security What’s New? 2012.

Safety. Built Right In. (n.d.)

Stauffer, Todd and Kirk McElhearn. Mastering Mac OS X, Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2006. Print.

Suleman, Khidr. OS X vs Windows 8: Reasons to Switch to Mac. 2014.