Operating System reviews, ratings, and prices at CNET. Mac OS X Yosemite is a must download for Mac users. Try the new OS. But if you're happy with Windows 98, stick with it. $129.00 MSRP. Installing Windows as a real operating system on your Mac is the best idea if you want to play Windows games or use demanding applications that need all the performance they can get. When you install Windows on your Mac, you’ll be able to use Windows and Windows applications with the maximum possible performance.
- Best Computer Operating Systems
- What Is The Best Windows Operating System
- Best Windows Operating System For Desktop
- Windows 8
Do you have an old laptop that is running slow? Are you searching for a lightweight operating system for your netbook? Here is a free list of lightweight OS system that can operate without using much of PC hardware resources. You can bring an old laptop back to life with these lightweight OS. Once you replace Windows or Mac from an old slow laptop with a lightweight Linux distro, you can revive these laptops to a new life, and those can fly. You can enjoy a bunch of open-source Linux games on these revived PCs as a bonus. Since these Linux OSs are community-based open source, sometimes these OS Dev teams will drop support and leave users in the dark.
We updated the list of Best Lightweight OS in 2018 for Netbooks, Laptops, and Desktops based on the new Linux distro in the community.
Editor’s Note: We recommend you to download and set up a bootable USB (check here for OS to run from USB) with the operating system you choose to test with your hardware. That will help you to make sure that all the hardware drivers are available for the operating system before you try this OS on your local hard disk. If you don’t want to spend money and looking for a free OS, please see Top 7 Free Operating Systems for your Laptop/Netbook that can try on your PC. Alternatively, you can try the best Linux Desktop Environment for Amazing UI experience with Linux Distros.
- No Windows, no Linux, no macOS: is there really a desktop operating system that's worth using outside of the big three?We've set out to answer that question, and while there are no absolute.
- The Windows operating system (Windows OS) for desktop PCs are more formally called Microsoft Windows and is actually a family of operating systems for personal computers. Windows dominates the personal computer world, running, by some estimates, more than 90 percent of all personal computers – the remainder running Linux and Mac operating.
- Nessus is supported by a variety of platforms including Windows 7 and 8, Mac OS X, and popular Linux distros like Debian, Ubuntu, Kali Linux etc. Read more here and download Nessus 7.
Those who want a super lightweight OS here is the first one on the list Lubuntu. Lubuntu is a fast, lightweight Operating System, based on Linux and Ubuntu. Those who have low RAM and old generation CPU, this OS for you. Lubuntu core is based on the most popular user-friendly Linux distribution Ubuntu. For best performance, Lubuntu uses minimal desktop LXDE, and the apps are lightweight in nature.
Lubuntu is coming in three different installation package, where desktop package for regular users those have more than 700MB RAM and 64-bit or 32-bit choices. The Minimal installation can use for very low resource system, and you require only 64 MB of RAM to run, however, 128 MB of RAM is considered the minimum requirement.
Key Features: RAM: 512MB (128MB min) CPU: Pentium 4 or Pentium M or AMD K8 32-bit & 64-bit Window Manager: LXDE, Openbox Fork: Ubuntu Download Lubuntu
Related: 7 Best Lightweight Linux Browsers for Ubuntu Users.
2. Linux Lite
Another lightweight distro from the Linux family, Linux Lite. Those who are looking for a lightweight OS that takes low resources to run and the rest of the resource can dedicate to gaming; this Linux Lite is the ideal source for your needs. Linux Lite can run fast with less resource and CPU power which can free up for your heavy load games. Linux Lite also based on Ubuntu LTS releases, which offer longtime support, five years for each release.
The Linux Lite Distro is coming as plug and play and ready to run from the box. The Linux Lite Distro is coming as plug and play and ready to work out from the box. Linux Lite pack is coming with LibreOffice for your Office document needs, firebox to browse internet and Thunderbird email client as built-in install with the package. Linux Lite bundle, one of the best media player, VLC Media Player, has broad support for most of the video codecs.
Related: Top 7 Free Operating Systems For Your Laptop/Netbook
Key Features: RAM: 1024MB (512MB min) CPU: 1.5GHz (700MHz Min) 32-bit & 64-bit Window Manager: XFCE Fork: Ubuntu Download Linux Lite
3. Puppy Linux
As the name suggests this is an ultra-portable Linux distribution that you can carry with a 2GB USD drive or DVD. This ultra lightweight OS can boot from CD or USB and live on your computer RAM. There is no system hard disk required to run this light OS. This Linux is the first aid for your data and laptop. When your system gets corrupted or hard drive lost, you can directly boot the PC from Puppy Linux USB. You can access the PC hard disk and retrieve the data from the hard drive, once you were done, shut off and take back the USB to carry with you.
Related: How to Run Windows Programs on Linux?
This portable Linux distro is coming with a size under 100 MB (core OS size) and boots less than a minute on an older system. Puppy Linux is a newbie-friendly UI based OS, that includes a broad range of applications like Office apps web browser, games, etc. that can detect most of the hardware without any additional drivers.
Key Features: RAM: 256MB (64MB min) CPU: 333MHz Min) 32-bit & 64-bit Window Manager: JWM-2.3.2 Download Puppy Linux
4. Damn Small Linux
Damn Small Linux is a very versatile 50MB mini desktop oriented Lightweight Linux distribution. DSL has a nearly complete desktop and a small core of command line tools. All applications have been chosen for the best balance of functionality, size, and speed.
Damn Small can act as an SSH/FTP/HTTPS server right off of a live CD. DSL can boot from a business card CD as a live Linux distribution or a USB pen drive. It can run entire OS in RAM with as little as 128MB and light enough to power a 486DX with 16MB of Ram.
Key Features: RAM: 256MB (64MB min) CPU: i486/AMD Min) 32-bit & 64-bit Window Manager: Fluxbox, JWM Download Damn Small Linux (WiKi)
Related: 10 Popular Windows Apps for Linux Users
Those who want a plug and play operating system for your old laptop that can run with a minimum resource, then try Xubuntu. Xubuntu is built with Xfce desktop environment and on Ubuntu hardware drivers and support that let you run most of your gadgets as plug and play with this lightweight OS. For a basic user with a low-end computer, Xubuntu coming with a pre-built package to run everything that you required. You have a web browser to go online, email client, office application and the media app to handle your videos and photos. For advanced users who want to enjoy more flavor of open source Linux apps, they can visit get the package repositories from Ubuntu Software Center.
Key Features: RAM: 1024MB (512MB min) 32-bit & 64-bit Window Manager: Xfce Fork: Ubuntu Download Xubuntu
6. Debian + PIXEL
The new lightweight OS from Raspberry Pi Foundation that to give new life to your old PC. This lightweight OS can run on x86-based MAC and Windows machines. PIXEL is a clean, modern user interface, packed with a bunch of programming tools and productivity software.
This lightweight OS is pre-installed Chromium web-browser with useful plugins, including Adobe Flash and instant access to thousands of free applications. The new software enables you to install a Raspberry Pi like OS on your computer. It boots from a DVD, USB Thumb drive or inside a virtual environment.
Key Features: RAM: 512MB min CPU: i386 Min) 32-bit & 64-bit Download Debian + PIXEL
7. Bhodi Linux
Bhodi is an another Linux release built on Ubuntu, that updated well and maintained. At the time we update this article, April 10, 2017, Bhodi Linux released 4.1 version on Jan 2017. This Linux distro has three different ISO images to make sure that can install on latest desktop configuration and also your old desktop and laptops that a decade older. Bhodi is coming with a dedicated desktop called Moksha. The concept of this Linux Distro, you have the freedom to choose the apps you need.
No pre-installed apps are coming with this Linux flavor. However, this package is coming with ePad text editor, File Manager, Image Viewer terminal emulator, web browser and system updater. The Legacy-Non-PAE Kernel utilizes the older 3.2 Linux kernel. This 3.2 Linux kernel is optimized for up to 15+ years old hardware, to make sure this distribution can run with very low resources, that can revive your computer even if it is a decade old. Those who have an issue with a latest Linux distribution to work on their old laptop or desktop that does not support the PAE kernel extension, then this Bhodi Legacy ISO is the best bet for your laptop.
Key Features: RAM: 512MB (128MB min) CPU: 1GHz (500MHz Min) 32-bit & 64-bit Window Manager: Moksha Fork: Ubuntu Download Bhodi Linux
Related: 10 Best Linux Server Distributions for your Business & Home
8. Peppermint Linux
Peppermint, like Bhodi Linux, is a lightweight OS coming as a core Linux OS without much junk or pre-packed apps. This lightweight Linux Distro version 7 built on Ubuntu 16.04 and Long-Term Support (LTS) code base. The peppermint desktop environment is Lightweight X Desktop Environment (LXDE). Peppermints have built-in web application management tool called Ice that let you make sure to get the same experience while you deal with the web application. Literally, you feel the web application and menus are just like your local app menus.
Key Features: RAM: 1024MB (512MB min) CPU: Intel x86 32-bit & 64-bit Window Manager: LXDE Fork: Ubuntu Download Peppermint Linux
9. Arch Linux
Arch Linux is an independently developed, i686/x86-64 general-purpose GNU/Linux distribution versatile enough to suit any role. Development focuses on simplicity, minimalism, and code elegance.
This lightweight Linux OS is installed as a minimal base system, configured by the user upon which their ideal environment is assembled by installing only what is required or desired for their unique purposes. GUI configuration utilities are not officially provided, and most system configurations are performed from the shell and a text editor. Based on a rolling-release model, Arch strives to stay bleeding edge, and typically offers the latest stable versions of most software.
Key Features: RAM: 128MB min (256 MB RAM) CPU: i686-based or x86-64 32-bit & 64-bit Fork: Linux Download Arch Linux
Slax is a Live operating system based on Linux runs from an external media without any need for permanent installation. The entire Slax operating system resides in a single directory
/Slax/ on your device, making it easier to organize with your other data. Slax is available for 32bit and 64bit processor architectures. The 32bit version is designed to run on old computers (as old as Intel 486; that dates back to 1989). This lightweight operating system will run properly on brand new computers too. However, this OS is limited of RAM it can see 3GB of RAM.
The 64bit Slax version has no such limits, but will not run on computers older than a few years. If you plan to use Slax on a very old computer, or you seek for a system with maximum possible compatibility, then choose 32bit. If you intend to use Slax on a brand new machine, you’ll better go for 64bit.
Key Features: RAM: 256MB (48MB Min) CPU: i486/AMD 32-bit & 64-bit Window Manager: KDE Fork: Slackware Download Slax
NimbleX is a small but versatile lightweight OS which can boot from CD, flash memory (USB pens or Mp3 players) and even from the network. Because it runs entirely from a CD, USB or network, this portable OS doesn’t require installation.
With NimbleX you can browse the web with Firefox, chat with your friends using the Kopete multi-protocol IM application, download torrents with Transmission, use DC++, connect remotely to other computers and much more.
Key Features: RAM: 256MB (128MB Min) CPU: Pentium II 32-bit & 64-bit Download NimbleX
Zorin OS is a multi-functional operating system designed specifically for newcomers to Linux. It’s based on Ubuntu Linux so that you can rely on it for rock-solid performance, dependability, and support. Zorin OS features our unique look changer program that we have created exclusively for Zorin OS.
Zorin allows users to change the user interface at the touch of a button. Other unique programs include Background Plus, Web Browser Manager and more. It allows you to use Zorin OS along with your current operating system and run Microsoft Windows programs in Zorin OS with the help of WINE and PlayOnLinux.
Key Features: RAM: 1.5GB (512MB Min) CPU: 1.5GHz (700MHz Min) 32-bit & 64-bit Fork: Ubuntu Download ZorinOS
GeeXboX is a free lightweight, and Open Source Media-Center purposed Linux distribution for embedded devices and desktop computers. As you know, GeeXboX is not an application; it’s a full-featured OS. Geexbox can boot from a LiveCD, a USB key or from an SD/MMC card or even you can install on a regular HDD. This Media Center based OS provides you a ready-to-be-used, plug-and-play Media Center application that can play any multimedia content.
Geexbox has been designed to be fully controllable through either keyboard, mouse or a remote controller and does not require any particular computer-related skills. This Linux laptop OS features the state of the art technologies to provide you with the best multimedia experience to take the most out of your hardware.
Key Features: RAM: 64MB Min CPU: 400MHz Min 32-bit & 64-bit Window Manager: NA Fork: NA Download GeeXBoX
Related: 10 Best Android Emulators for PC and Mac
For those who want to enjoy Android OS flavor apart from Linux or Windows OS, there are Android-based builds for your laptops. This will be an ideal choice for Android owners, and they want to keep the same experience on their desktops and laptops. There is two main Android-based OS builds the desktop in the open source community, Remix OS, and Phoenix OS.
14. Remix OS
Update:Remix OS has been discontinued. The perfect solution for those who want to make an Android PC. Whether it is a desktop or laptop, you can run this Android-based OS from USB or direct from PC hard disk. Remix OS is a collaborative version of Android xX86 and launched in 2012, and Android Marshmallow powers the latest version. Instead of installing Remix OS direct on PC, you can boot from USB, and there is an “exe” file available to convert USB that can load Remix OS later.
We are talking about the lightweight OS here, and I can’t say this is a super lightweight OS compared to other Linux Distro we listed here. But Remix OS is to make break the wall between your Android Smartphone and Personal Desktop. Remix OS is not limiting you from doing the PC activities, you can still browse the web, office applications, prepare presentations, Taskbar, File manager, etc. With Remix OS, you can enjoy all the Android Apps and wonderful games on your Desktop or Laptop PC.
Key Features: RAM: 2GB CPU: 2GHz Dual Core 32-bit & 64-bit Window Manager: Android-as-Desktop Fork: Android Download Remix OS
15. Phoenix OS
For Android Lovers, PhoenixOS is another Android Build OS for Desktop Computers. The x86 version can be download for PC and run just like Linux or Windows OS. Just like your Android Phone OS, the PhoenixOS provides the desktop menu where you can get the settings, system information, power settings, etc.
Once you install Phoenix OS on your desktop, your desktop mouse will work as a regular Windows mouse, you can drag and drop files, do file compression, and you have a chromium core based browser to use the internet. PhoenixOS will bring you the Android experience and features on the desktop, like notification center, App messages, etc. Since Phoenix belongs to the Android ecosystem, you can enjoy thousand so f Android games and apps on your PC with this Android Built OS.
Key Features: RAM: NA CPU: Intel x86 32-bit & 64-bit Window Manager: Android-as-Desktop Fork: Android Download Phoenix OS
Update: EasyPeasy was discontinued. The Ubuntu Netbook Edition is great, but a lot of things doesn’t work out of the box. MP3s, for example, can’t be played until you install the codecs. EasyPeasy aims to be simple by offering proprietary applications and codecs out of the box. This lightweight Linux OS is designed for the cloud, configured with WiFi and wireless drivers. These built-in Wireless drives let you easily connect your netbook to the Internet and enjoy web applications straight from the desktop. EasyPeasy OS is optimized for low power consumption and was from the early start developed with better battery performance and mobility in mind.
Key Features: Window Manager: Ubuntu Fork: Linux Download EasyPeasy
Update: Jolicloud has been discontinued from April 1, 2016. Jolicloud is a Linux-based lightweight operating system became the best replacement OS for old PC sitting in homes, schools, and universities. Designed around the Jolidrive HTML5 interface which designed for the cloud, but works great offline. Jolicloud automatically updates your software, relies heavily on Chromium-based packages for running web-based applications with a curated list of 1,500 free apps.
Best Computer Operating Systems
If you want to get the list of a free operating system that you want to try for your laptop, please try Top 7 Free Operating Systems For Your Laptop / Netbook.
Once you have a list of Operating Systems, then you can add extra protection for your computer and please select the best one from the list of free Light Weight Antivirus that can Save Computer Memory and CPU Power. There are many reasons to leave your buggy Windows and Join the lightweight OS community. As far as you know, the most Lightweight Operating Systems are Linux distros. The benefit of this Linux distro, those are open-source, community supported, and OSs are super lightweight.
All these operating systems mentioned here are capable of running under 1GB RAM and low CPU speed. Instead of installing on a hard disk, most of these Operating System can be loaded to a USB stick and run from it as a standalone OS. These lightweight oS are the best in from the available Linux distribution, and those are light, fast and stable, that can give life back to your old, low resource laptops.
What Is The Best Windows Operating System
Best Windows Operating System For Desktop
- May 30, 2019 4:16PM EST
- May 30, 2019
I dread the disgruntled comments, emails, and tweets I’ll get because of this comparison, but hear me out. There are folks on both sides of the OS war who probably just aren’t aware of what the other side has to offer.
In the spirit of full disclosure, like more than 80 percent of the desktop and laptop world, I am primarily a Windows user. I am, however, an iPhone devotee, and as a software reviewer, I have lots of experience on Macs. I’m not a Mac or Apple hater by a long shot.
Rather than just framing this as an argument for one side or another, I’ll simply work my way through the standard operating system features, comparing Microsoft and Apple’s offerings along the way. Yes, each category will have a winner, and we’ll tally the points up in the end, but your choice of OS involves much more than just features, hardware and software support, and capabilities. It involves what the people around you use, your ecosystem (including your smartphone and tablet), your business needs, and your personality.
Feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section at the end of this article, whether you're a Windows or a macOS fan. Let us know why you're in your particular camp.
Both OSes offer clear and polished setup processes. You can use both without signing in to an account with Apple or Microsoft, but both offer a richer experience if you do. You’ll miss out on syncing machines, voice assistants, app roaming, messages, and a whole lot of other goodies by not signing in.
Microsoft lets you install the OS with your voice using Cortana. Apple installs updates through the System Preferences instead of in the Mac App Store. Both automatically recognize and install drivers for standard hardware peripherals such as mice, keyboards, and storage.
Logging In and Getting Started
Both systems offer login options that go beyond the traditional act of simply signing in on your desktop. If you have a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, you can easily sign into your Mac using your finger. Or you can log in with your iPhone or Apple Watch if they are close enough to the computer.
But Windows 10 offers Hello with several biometric login options. Face login is probably the coolest, and is available on most higher-end PCs, including all Surface devices. Windows Hello also supports fingerprint readers, available on laptops such as the HP Spectre 13. If you don’t have hardware that's compatible with either of those features, Windows will also accept a PIN.
Once you’ve booted the OS, Windows has the Start button and menu to access your most-used apps, settings, and documents. There's nothing similar in macOS, but you can pin frequently used apps to your Dock, head to the Applications folder, or set up your desktop with icons for your most-used programs and files. You can also use Launchpad icon to page through and start apps.
Apple offers some great computer hardware options, but the selection is dwarfed by the massive availability of a diverse array of Windows PCs. And that's not to mention nontraditional options like the HoloLens, VR headsets, and the Raspberry Pi, which can all also run Windows 10. There's also a more diverse array of Windows-friendly peripherals available.
As for internal components—things like the CPU, graphics card, and storage—there’s no contest. Windows gives you a lot more leeway in configuring a system with the components you want, and more flexibility to upgrade later.
Winner: Windows 10
Both operating systems offer a wealth of built-in utilities and apps. You get decent mail clients, calendars, calculators, photo and video viewers and editors, screenshot tools, voice recorders, and web browsers, and apps for maps, cameras, news, weather, and contacts.
Microsoft throws in nifty Sticky Notes, Skype, Translator, and Xbox gaming apps. But macOS includes a superior video editor, a preview utility, and a streaming music service. It also throws in the awesome GarageBand music composition app and a full productivity suite.
Third-Party Software Compatibility
Both platforms have had time to develop rich ecosystems of software and services. Custom business applications are more likely to be supported on Windows, and macOS is prevalent in creative fields. That said, you can find plenty of good general business software for Macs, and Windows actually boasts more options in some creative areas, such as video editing and photo software.
Both operating systems offer app stores that manage installation and updating, but sadly the app developers haven’t given the attention to these desktop stores the way they have to their mobile counterparts. On a related note, I still find it odd that some macOS apps makes you drag a disk image to the Applications folder, and that's just one of at least three different ways to install apps on a Mac. Windows app installation is more straightforward.
Both operating systems offer decent leeway for customization, but we are past the days of drastic interface overhauls. That said, both OSes offer choices in desktop backgrounds, screen item sizes, and screen savers. Dark modes are the new rage, and both Mac and Windows offer them. Mac’s version is a bit more systemwide, with some older Windows dialogs still not darkened. The Windows 10 May 2019 Update adds a Custom option, which lets you decide whether you want dark or light mode for system elements, apps, or both.Both OSes come with excellent, plug-and-play multiple monitor support, though Windows offers a bit more control. With Windows, you can span program windows across the multiple screens, whereas in macOS, each program window can only live on a single display. If you’re truly gung-ho on interface customization, I recommend Linux, which offers a selection of completely different user interface shells.
The search box in Windows 10 displays at all times, and typing in it pops up a panel with file, app, and web results. My Mac-loving colleagues swear by Apple’s Spotlight feature, but I’ve never found it satisfactory. Both search features will do math; show you the weather, stock prices, and sports results; or find nearby Thai restaurants without breaking a sweat.
Both OSes also now let you search with your voice, with Cortana on Windows and Siri on macOS (see the AI Helper section below). With the May 2019 Update, Windows follows Apple's strategy of separating the voice search from typed searches, separating out the Cortana icon from the search bar.
Alternate Input: Touch, Pen, and Dictation
Apple finally introduced some touch capability in macOS, but it’s only available on certain Macbook Pros through the Touch Bar. Windows 10 has always had full touch screen support, and it offers a Tablet mode that lets you switch between using the screen and keyboard for inputs (provided, of course, that your laptop is equipped with a touch panel). There’s a good selection of convertible laptop/tablets on the market to take advantage of this. I use my Surface Go exclusively as a tablet.
Pen input is another win for Windows. The support for styli on touch screens is robust, with incredibly good handwriting-to-text conversion. You can use a pen anywhere you enter text.
You can use your voice for text input in any app in both OSes. To do this in macOS, you have to specifically enable it. Once voice dictation is turned on, you can access it by double-tapping the Fn key. In Windows 10, just hit Windows Key-H (for hear) and you're off and dictating. Both work in any text field.
Voice AI Helpers: Cortana vs. Siri
Cortana arrived on Windows 10 a good year before Siri made it to the Mac, and is still more capable in a few important ways. Both can open apps and web pages, tell you the weather, change system settings, do math, control smart home devices, set reminders, send emails, and search the web. Both can be invoked by voice. But Siri can’t log out of or shut down the computer, something I find very useful at the end of the day when I’m walking away from my PC. Cortana can now even send requests to Amazon's Alexa.
Winner: Windows 10
Mobile Device Integration
Windows has been making great strides in integrating the OS with mobile devices. Apps for iOS and Android let you pick up on one device where you left off on another, even letting you send a web page from your phone to your PC’s browser. Android devices in particular are well served by Windows with the Launcher and Your Phone apps, which let you share documents and web pages and conduct SMS messaging across devices.
Despite these promising initiatives, Apple’s integration between macOS computers and iOS-running mobile devices beats what Windows offers. The macOS Notifications panel lets you send text messages by syncing up to a nearby iPhone, all your photos can be shared across devices in Apple Photos, you can transfer almost anything with AirDrop, and you can even engage in video calling with FaceTime between devices. Apple Watch is yet another piece of the integrated ecosystem that Windows can’t match. For example, you can unlock your Mac when your watch is in proximity, and the same notifications flow to both.
Taskbar vs. Dock
One of the most frustrating things for me about macOS occurs when I click on a running app’s Dock icon, and its window doesn’t appear on the screen. That's because macOS is more document-based, while Windows is program-based. So when you click on an app's icon in the Dock, you may just see its menu at the top, but no program window. In Windows, tapping a taskbar icon always brings up the associated program.
The macOS Dock has made strides over the past few years, with its nifty mouse-over magnification and Mojave's new feature that displays the icons of recently used apps. But the Windows taskbar is more functional. Hover the mouse over a taskbar button and you’ll see a thumbnail miniature of its program window. Taskbar Jump Lists let you see recent files opened in the app or jump to frequently needed actions in that program.
Desktop and Window Management
This take could just be due to my greater experience with Windows, but whenever I work on a Mac, I’m frustrated by how program windows are managed and arranged. As mentioned in the Taskbar vs. Dock section, clicking on a Dock icon doesn’t always open the program’s windows.
Microsoft's OS makes it easier to arrange windows on the screen. Want an app to take up exactly half the screen? Snap it to the left or right edge. How about have it display on a quarter of the screen? Snap it to any of the screen corners. If you run apps side-by-side, the border between them can be resized. If you want to show or switch to the desktop behind any running apps, click to the very far right of the taskbar. The conveniences go on.
Both operating systems let you create multiple virtual desktops. Windows now combines the desktop switcher with the Timeline feature (as shown in the screenshot above). This does clutter the Task View screen, but it can be damned useful if you're trying to get back to a webpage or document for which you've forgotten the location.
And finally, my favorite Windows window-management trick: Hold and shake the mouse key on a window title bar to minimize everything else.
Winner: Windows 10
File Explorer vs. Finder
In recent Windows updates, the File Explorer has improved, with Quick Access being a favorite new feature. This makes it easy to find the last file you saved, no matter what it was or where you saved it. The Finder’s Recents folder does the same thing. Window’s File Explorer contains standard libraries for common file types such as Documents, Pictures, and Music. These are sort of metafolders to which you can add any other relevant folder. macOS doesn’t offer a similar capability.
One macOS feature that Windows lacks is the ability to have multiple tabs in a Finder window. Finder also lets you quickly preview files in the Preview utility. Both display previews of documents on the right side of the Explorer/Finder windows, let you choose which app to open a file with, and let you easily share files with a right click.
3D and VR Support
Windows includes at least two apps that let you enter the world of 3D and VR. The 3D Viewer app lets you, well, view 3D models in a pair of goggles or on screen, and Windows’ Mixed Reality Viewer app works with VR headsets exclusively, giving you a virtual portal to VR apps. Two of the most popular VR headsets—HTC Vive and Oculus Rift—only work with Windows. And we can't forget the device that runs Windows 10 called the HoloLens, which is all about augmented reality.
Apple has made some progress toward VR support. You can edit 360-degree video content in Final Cut Pro X with external enclosures for graphics cards that are VR-capable. Apple’s ARKit augmented reality only works in iOS for now.
Winner: Windows 10
Hardcore gamers don’t even need to look at this section. While there are plenty of excellent games available for macOS, and there’s even a version of Steam for the platform, Macs typically don't allow the level of internal component customization that's possible with PC Gaming.
When it comes to game selection, there are many more top-level titles on Steam that are compatible with Windows than macOS. Even PlayStation games are available on Windows through Sony’s PlayStation Now service, and you can stream games to your PC through the Xbox app. With Play Anywhere, games you buy on the Microsoft Store can be loaded on either your PC or your Xbox console, including exclusives like Cuphead, both Forza series, the Halo series, Gears of War, and Sea of Thieves.
The Windows 10 Game Bar, summoned with Windows Key-G, lets you record or stream your gaming activities to Microsoft’s Mixer community. Even Ubuntu is getting stronger support for Steam games than Macs, with Steam Proton offering support for more than 2,600 Windows games.
Winner: Windows 10
Security and Stability
This one is another no-brainer. Windows PCs have fallen prey to far more malware than Macs in the recent past, including ransomware, spyware, botnets, and good old-fashioned viruses. But Microsoft is constantly beefing up its security, pushing Windows Defender updates, and even introducing anti-ransomware measures.
Macs have a much cleaner record, but they’re by no means immune to vulnerabilities. Just look at the recent Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, which affect both operating systems. Our security guru, Neil Rubenking, strongly recommends using antivirus software on Macs.
Both operating systems offer built-in VPN support, and all of PCMag's top VPN service choices are available on both platforms, so that category is a wash.
And then there’s the issue of stability. Macs win on this count, too, mostly because Apple controls the hardware ecosystem (third-party drivers are a major cause of instability on Windows PCs). We’ve even seen blue screens on Microsoft’s own Surface computers. Those looking for the ultimate in stability, though, should check out Linux.
AccessibilityBoth operating systems include a good deal of support for users with disabilities, but Microsoft has consistently made more of a priority of this. Both have screen magnification, text narration, Braille support, sticky and slow key entry, and voice input, but with Windows, a blind person can set up the system by voice. Microsoft has even added the ability to control the computer with your eyes, as shown in the photo above.
Microsoft has American Sign Language support by videophone and a free BeMyEyes app that 'connects blind and low vision people with volunteers for visual assistance through a live video call.' At a Microsoft Build conference, one of the company's developers, who is blind, demonstrated an AR app running on the HoloLens that described people's emotions to him in real time based on their expressions, using the company's Seeing AI technology. The company has even published a Seeing AI app for Apple's iOS.
The May 2019 Update of Windows 10 goes even further, adding accessibility improvements like a new dashboard and more languages for Narrator, and drawing using only the keyboard in Paint.
Winner: Windows 10
Apple macOS or Windows 10?
We’ve tried to be fair and objective, and as you can see from the sections above, in many cases the two operating systems are at parity. And you'll have your own priority weights based on your OS needs. If gaming is everything to you, for example, then Windows is a no-brainer. If you're a creative type, then you’re likely better off with a Mac. So, without further fanfare, here's the final score tally:
Apple macOS 3 Microsoft Windows 10 9 Tie 5
Do you agree? Are there other categories that should have been included in our evaluation? Let us know in the comments.