Apple Mac OS X Leopard’s ‘Time Machine’ vs. Microsoft’s ‘System Restore’

“Steve Jobs today used his keynote speech at the Apple WWDC 2006 conference to take a dig at Microsoft and its Vista operating system as well as outline a number of features in the company’s new operating system [Leopard],” Stuart Miles reports for Pocket-lint.

“Aside from announcing a plethora of new hardware, Jobs used the speech to accuse Microsoft of copying its operating system Tiger. ‘Instead of having the menu on the top right, they have it on the bottom left. Another major technology is RSS. We have a browser that’s simple and elegant and added Safari RSS. Guess what? IE7 RSS.’ One blog reported Jobs saying in his speech to a packed theatre,” Miles reports.

Miles reports, “When about to show off new features of the company’s latest operating system; Leopard, Jobs is reported to have said ‘Redmond – start your photocopiers.’ However, that didn’t stop the CEO announcing a piece of software called Time Machine that sounds all too familiar to Microsoft’s System Restore.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s Time Machine that sounds all too familiar to Microsoft’s System Restore? If you’re deaf, maybe, or have little or no idea about which you’re writing. Apple’s “Time Machine” is to Microsoft’s “System Restore” as the word processor is to the typewriter. How does Microsoft show the user how far back in time to go restore? With a calendar. A calendar! That’s really helpful, if you’re a computer. But – note to Microsoft – you’re not a computer, you’re a human being. So, understanding the obvious, Apple has designed “Time Machine” for actual living, breathing people (this is the whole difference between Mac vs. Windows in a nutshell, by the way). Time machine shows you exactly what you need to see visually, so you quickly know exactly how far back to go and you’re done. Typically primitive Microsoft lets you stare at a nondescript, not-very-useful plain old calendar and guess at what you want, as usual.

And remember, Microsoft’s all-or-nothing, ham-handed “solution” exists because their OS is so flaky, bug-ridden, and inept at basic security, they need it; Apple’s is for helping the user if they happen to make a mistake and dump a file or folder they might need in the future.

Ironically, given Microsoft’s continuous and unending delays with Windows Vista and Office, a time machine is exactly what they need most.

How Apple Mac OS X Leopard’s “Time Machine” works:

How Microsoft’s System Restore forces the user to try to do all the work:


  1. “Apple…for actual living, breathing people.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I just got my sister-in-law to switch to a MacBook from a Dell PC. Her family is planning on replacing another PC with a Mac, and they all own iPods (4).

    Cupertino… start your engines!

  2. MDN, get a grip!

    Apple’s ‘copy’ of MS’s System Restore has a hugely fancier interface and more imaginative name and you are trying to claim it isn’t, essentially, a copy? D00D!

    You got so irate at that you missed the When about to show off new features of the company’s latest operating system; Leopard, Jobs is reported to have said ‘Redmond – start your photocopiers.’ – didn’t he say that last year? Did he repeat it this year?

    Face it Apple copies ideas from others all the time. They generally pretty it up a bunch in the process, it’s still a copy!
    MW: let … Let It BE!

  3. Doesn’t System Restore just deal with system files, not your own personal stuff?

    I was under the impression that it was designed to aid in system repair and nothing more.

    Time Machine is, obviously, miles away from that.


  4. Yup Windows System Restore is a “point in time” roll back of your system. It is not a system/directory or individual file recovery system. Those changes are also stored on your primary HD, not a separate hard drive nor a file server. So sure you can select I want to roll back my computer to last thursday, but you can’t tell Windows I want just this one file, from last Thursday restored.

    Magic Word: “Doing” its worth doing something right, or just not doing it at all…

  5. DL Meyer,
    Backups have been around as long as computers have. That doesn’t make the latest backup system a copy of the one before it. The key difference is as it is with most software: how easily and accurately can you get the job done? Are you claiming that MS’s System Restore can help you find and restore a single file as quickly and easily as Time Machine? If it can’t then Time Machine can’t be a copy.

  6. For all you PC pinheads that are so hung up on the fact that Time Machine is indeed similar to MS System Restore there are two glaring differences.

    1. PC’s routinely have to RESTORE their SYSTEM back to a working state when one of a 1000 things has gone wrong from installing a printer driver or software patch/update to clearing out the remnants of adware/virus’. This would be of minimal use to a Mac user plus we’ve been able to uninstall system patches and updates for what like two years now and on all my Mac’s I’ve never needed this functionality nor have I read online where others have either. Additionally system restore does nothing, nothing with your personal files and data.

    2. Time machine deals with USER DATA, perhaps reading it slower will help it sink in… U S E R D A T A, not the frigging system. NOTHING MS has comes close to this amount of usefulness.

    Jesus, do we have to start the whole friggin widgets,gadgets thing over too?

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