Apple’s OS X El Capitan vs. Microsoft’s Windows 10: A tale of two upgrades

“Both Microsoft and Apple claim their new operating systems are sleeker and faster than ever before. But OS upgrades are often fraught with trouble,” David Gewirtz reports for ZDNet. “We decided to pit these two champion OSs against each other to see which would perform an in-place upgrade faster.”

“The big challenge with this sort of test is making sure the testing platforms are close enough. There’s always a bit of a spec war when pitting a Mac against a PC. This is because while both use common components, there’s inevitably something different,” Gewirtz reports. “Not this time. This time we took a 2012 Mac mini with two SSD drives, and we upgraded an in-place version of OS X on one drive, and an in-place Boot Camp version of Windows on the other drive. This means that our network configurations, data channels, and disk performance were absolutely identical.”

“The starting point from an OS perspective was not identical, however. We started on the Windows side with Windows 8.1, which had received all available Windows updates just a few days earlier. It was about as current for 8.1 as it gets,” Gewirtz reports. “On the OS X side, we started with OS X 10.8.4, better known as Mountain Lion… That puts it three releases behind the current El Capitan release of OS X.”

“By a 4.1-to-1 margin, the OS X upgrade was faster,” Gewirtz reports. “It was also smoother, requiring no power cycles or forced reboots, and it had no crashes.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Windows was slow, rocky, and crashed while Mac was fast, smooth, and just worked. Shocker.


  1. Really not a fair fight. Win 8.1 was the last shipping is before win 10. A more fair comparison would be to put Yosemite on the Mac. Not surprised at the outcome. Upgrading a UNIX is a little more straightforward than upgrading Windows. You go Apple!

  2. There are some woefully underpowered Intel Atom Wintels being sold at the bottom end of the market. This is purely Microsoft’s fault as these devices fall within the spec requirements for Windows 10.

    I bought one of these to just mess around with, a Nextbook 11. OMG.

  3. I’m running Mt Lion and have everything backed up to an external drive. After reading this I’m wondering if I should upgrade to Mavericks, or El Capitan. The Mavericks upgrade software is on the external drive too.

    1. About a week ago I upgraded my MacMini i7 2.30 from Yosemite to El Capitan and and it was quite painless. I had put the upgrade off for a long time because Yosemite was working just fine. I don’t have a lot of data on that 1GB hard drive and use it mainly as a Kodi/Media Center device. It took about a half hour to upgrade and El Capitan uses about the same amount of resources as Yosemite meaning at idle the machine uses only about 1% of its power. It’s a great Kodi device. In my opinion, as long as you’ve got your data backed up, you might as well upgrade. The upgrade went very smoothly. I started it, walked away and later came back to a screen asking if I wanted to send data to Apple. It was fully installed and ready to go. No problems at all. I had about 500 GB of free space when I did the install.

      Just make sure you have plenty of space on your hard drive. I tried doing the El Capitan upgrade on another Mac and it ran out of space and got aborted. I had around 200 GB of free space and it apparently wasn’t enough. There was an error saying I didn’t have enough space to compete the upgrade after attempting to do the install. Why didn’t it tell me before I started?

    2. Probably should do both meaning do Mavericks as a step to el cap. I would be surprised if an upgrade from men lion to el cap went through without any issues.

    3. I was finally able (allowed) to upgrade to El Capitan on the iMac (2007) at work. It couldn’t have been simpler and only took I believe less than 30 minutes.

  4. Point:
    The Windows 10 upgrade phenomenon (if not catastrophe) inspired a surprising number of Windows users, especially technology pundits, to tell Microsoft to go fsck themselves. The flood of hate toward Microsoft caused by this upgrade is at least equal to the hate I experienced during the Vista upgrade. IOW: Phenomenal hate.

    I’ve experience Windows Vista. It was a nightmare from hell IMHO. I’ve experienced Window 8. It was a nightmare from hell IMHO. I’ve experienced Windows 10. It’s confusing and sloppy, but it’s nowhere near as bad as Vista or 8. So what’s going on?

    It’s the fact that Microsoft MARKETING MORONS took over the Windows 10 upgrade and ABUSED Microsoft customers to the point of rebellion. The FORCED ‘Upgrade Now’ incessant on screen message, including infamously during professional presentations (!!!) killed any interest in bothering to upgrade. It’s that same old RETRIBUTION response we humans inevitably enact when businesses screw us over.

    Maybe the Windows 10 HATE will simmer down once July hits and the ‘UPGRADE NOW DAMMIT!!!’ messages stop forever, if Microsoft keeps its promise.

    MARKETING MORONS: How business destroys itself.

    MARKETING MAVENS: If you’ve got them, treat them as angels. Customers love them and they love their customers.

    Just remember to never let any marketing folks take over management. You’ll thank me. Watch Sony at this very moment to watch how Marketing-As-Management wrecks a company.

  5. I use both, and while I’m not enamored with either systems, El Capitan is by far the best. It took me several months for me to be able to upgrade to El Capitan because of unsigned apps, but MS10 is a whole party disaster, I hate it and have so many issues with apps that are not MS10 certified that I am forced to drop them and find others. That sucks because I have significant amount of money wrapped up in those apps. They are primarily technical apps and some open sourced. Since I heard the MS10 is sending information back to MS, I rarely let it go on line and use my Apple for all my mail and surfing.

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