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by Dick Sandlin

Sid asked for a screen-by-screen comparison of operating systems for macOS-vs.-Windows PCs. Dick freely admitted his total ignorance about macOS and iOS and sought help from the web and especially from PC Club members who are Macophiles. Since there are armed camps who prefer one approach at the expense of others, please remember that "PC" includes all Personal Computers (e.g, as opposed to mainframes), even smartphones, and certainly Apple's products as well as Microsoft's. This page is about all PCs, except the open-source world which is diverse enough to deserve its own category.

The discussion is divided into these groups: Desktop screens, File Managers, Web Browsers, & Control Consoles because they are common elements of all operating systems. By comparing these elements you can see something of the styles and priorities of each approach.

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Mac Destop over Windows 10 Desktop
A macOS desktop screen is shown here, There's a menu above the background that includes: Finder, File, Edit, View, Go, Window, & Help selections. Across the bottom of the screen is the Dock, w/ icons for commonly used apps, (e.g, Finder, Launchpad, Safari, Facetime, iTunes, App Store, System Preferences, & Trash). The Dock keeps apps on its left side and on its right side are folders, docs, & minimized windows. You can move icons around, but Finder is always on the left and Trash is on the right. Use the Launchpad to add apps to the dock and Finder to add files or folders. To remove an item from the Dock, drag it off of the Dock and it will poof. Windows that you minimize (by clicking their round yellow buttons in the upper-left) will appear in the Dock. Folders can be displayed in the dock as an icon or a stack of icons. Any docs you send to the trash can will stay there until you empty the trash. Discs sent to the trash can be dismounted. You can hide the Dock if you like. Point to the side or bottom of your screen to bring it back.
Windows 10 Desktop The picture on the left shows the desktop for Dick's Windows 10 computer. He has customized it a bit, using Win 10 options to add a local-time clock near the upper-left corner and two extra sections of icons to the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. In addition, Windows adds menu, Cortana, & Task View buttons in the lower-left corner and its own icons next to them. The icons in that area are underlined if they belong to a program that's currently running. Task View allows you to gather all the windows in each task on its own desktop. Flying is one of Dick's favorite pastimes and he uses another Windows-10 option to make the background picture change from one plane to another every few minutes. This one is the cockpit of Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis.
File Managers:
This is the Finder icon Finder app that manages files for the Mac. And it's the 1st thing that you see when your Mac finishes starting up. It opens automatically and stays open as you use other apps. It includes the Finder menu bar at the top of the screen and the desktop below that. It uses windows and icons to show you the contents of your Mac, iCloud Drive, and other storage devices. You can also get to the Finder by clicking the Finder icon (pictured above in the left end of the Dock). Switching to the Finder also reveals any Finder windows that might be hidden behind the windows of other apps. If you'd rather view your files as an alphabetical list (instead of as icons) choose 'View > as List' from the Finder menu bar, or use the View buttons at the top of the window. You can also view files in columns or using Cover Flow. It's called the Finder because it helps you to find and organize your files.
The File Explorer icon File Explorer (formerly called 'Windows Explorer') app manages files for Windows 10. Here's a description of what's changed recently in the File Explorer app. Win 10 users may notice that OneDrive is now included in Explorer & now there's a default Quick access folder that remembers frequently used folders and files. Explorer will open up showing that folder by default, but you can change that to 'This PC' if you prefer to start at the top of the file hierarchy every time. Actually, there are 10 different ways now to open File Explorer in Windows 10. They involve every thing from clicking on an icon, to search, to keyboard shortcuts, to using speech. You can use the 'View' tab to modify the appearance of the display: e.g., how much detail, icon size or text, and grouping. There are many 3rd-party programs named "File Explorer", but they aren't the same as the Microsoft File Explorer.
Web Browsers:
A couple of years ago there was a detailed comparison between 3 browsers: Edge, Chrome, & Firefox. The comparison used 8 objective tests. Edge won 4 of those and Chrome & Firefox each one 2; so Edge was declared the winner.
Apple says the Safari browser is faster and more energy efficient than other browsers, so sites are more responsive and your notebook battery lasts longer between charges. Built-in privacy features help keep your browsing your business. Handy tools help you save, find, and share your favorites. And Safari works with iCloud to let you browse seamlessly across all your devices. [Follow the 'Safari browser' link above and scroll to the bottom of the page to see sources sited.]

And, if you must, you can even run Safari on a Windows box (even Win 10), but it's an older version of Safari.
The Google Chrome Browser runs on many platforms. You can download it here. Chrome runs on Windows (back to XP), Mac, or Unix and it has a special version for Windows 10. (Sometimes it's too smart and it won't let you download a version for anything other than the computer you are using to make the request.) It has 32- and 64-bit versions. The browser is free to download and to use. And here are 29 hidden Chrome features that you might not have known about.
Microsoft's Edge browser is designed to run w/ Windows 10. It's optimized to prolong battery life when streaming HD video: it lasts up to 77% longer than Firefox and 35% longer than Chrome. You can use the address bar to search and the Hub for quick and easy access to all of your favorite sites, reading list, what’s in your history, recent downloads and more. As mentioned above, the Edge beat out the other Windows browsers 2-to 1. It helps that with Edge, MS abandoned its ActiveX framework, opting instead for open web standards. This performance boost is borne out in various JavaScript benchmarks, where Edge leads the competition by a wide margin. It helps you mark up web-pages with a highlighter or drawing tool & share them as an image file in email or social apps. Edge won’t suffer the security breaches of Internet Explorer and it is more user-friendly. As it sports its own rendering engine, Edge is unlikely to ever appear on iOS or Android devices.
Mozilla's Firefox browser is billed as an ethical browser. It doesn’t sell access to your personal information. It offers privacy tools and tracking protection. Firefox has also supercharged it's performance to start up faster, tab hop quicker, and scroll more smoothly. They store your profile separately so it can remember to run Firefox the way you’ve asked them to run it. And you can view your profile whenever you like.
Control Consoles:
For Macs, the OS X System Preferences application is the app that allows you to modify the appearance and function of your computer. It's found in the Applications folder and it's also available at any time from the Apple menu at the top-left of the screen [click the Apple logo]. And it may also be in your Dock at the bottom of the screen. The icon for System Preferences is a set of interlinked cogs, as shown on the right. With it you can change your Desktop & Screen Saver, modify the Dock, use Mission Control, change Languages and Regions, revise Security and Privacy options, configure Spotlight, & change Notifications settings. And that's just page 1 of 3! Page 2 covers Displays, Energy Saver, keyboard, mouse, trackpad, printers and sound. And Page 3: iCloud, Internet Accounts, Extensions, Bluetooth and sharing, Network Settings, Touch ID, Users and Groups, Parental Controls, Dictation and Speech, Date and Time, Disk Utility, Time Machine, & Accessibility settings. Whew!
On your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch the Control Center is the tool for selecting options in iOS. The new Control Center is simultaneously simpler and more powerful. And best of all, you can customize it to do what you want—and hide most of what you don’t care about. In iOS 10, it was a three-page set of controls that you could summon with the flip of a finger from the bottom of the screen. In iOS 11, it’s been condensed back into a single view. On the iPhone X, to summon Control Center you’ll need to pull down from the top right corner of the screen. For iPad users, Control Center now lives alongside the multitasking switcher and has repurposed the basic flick-up-from-bottom gesture for displaying the Dock, so you’ll need to swipe all the way from the bottom of the screen to the top to make Control Center emerge. For more details about iOS11, you can check out its prerelease announcement.
The Windows Control Panel selects nearly everything about how Windows looks and works, and you can use it to set up Windows so that it's just right for you. You can also execute specific CP commands from the command line. Windows 10 has begun a process to isolate the control panel from nontechnical users. The 1st step in this direction is the addition of a Settings app that omits the most dangerous options. Also, Windows 10 has added a "Win-X" menu for users [To see it, press the Windows and X keys together.] that provides a "Settings" link, but not a link to Control Panel.

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