A CDE Definition
Windows vs. Mac
The debate never ends as to which major desktop platform is the easiest and best. Both have pluses and minuses.
Windows uses colors to make windows and dialogs stand out, whereas everything is shades of gray on the Mac. As a result, it takes longer to instantly recognize which window or tab is active on a Mac screen. To the Windows user, the Mac is dull and old fashioned.
To Mac users, the Windows file hierarchy is complicated (C: drive, Libraries, Favorites). Mac users have a simple sidebar on every file window, which includes favorites that can be added by dragging over folder names. The Windows file hierarchy is not as straightforward and often appears downright obtuse to the Mac user.
When there is absolutely no other way to change a setting, it can be downright frightening for the average user to manually edit the Windows Registry database. See Registry.
Windows = Inconsistent But Flexible
The Windows interface and file hierarchy change from version to version, and the differences have to be learned each time. On the other hand, the interface is more customizable for the user, especially for seniors, who like larger buttons and text.
Windows = Touchscreens
Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft has featured touchscreens, which support on-screen drawing and imaginative interfaces. There are no Mac touchscreens, although the 2016 Mac laptops introduced a novel touch toolbar (see MacBook).
Mac's Best Feature = Consistency
Although there are changes from time to time, the Mac OS is rather consistent from version to version. Over the years, installations, operation and troubleshooting have been easier than Windows primarily because Apple controls both the hardware and operating system.
Mac's Worst Feature = Consistency
It took Apple 20 years to add the right click mouse button, and it has been more than 30 that menus remain stuck in one corner. In 1984, the Macintosh displayed one application at a time on a screen 7 inches wide. Today, multiple apps are open on monitors 25 to 30 inches wide, yet the menu is upper left no matter where the active app is on screen. Unless savvy users remember keyboard shortcuts, this menu structure results in very excessive mouse movement on large screens.
The Best Interface - WinMac
If the best features of Windows and Mac could be merged into one, we would have a much better computer experience. Each platform has excellent design elements that the other does not. See user interface, Macintosh, Windows and how to select a computer.
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