Head to Head: Mac OS X 10.7 Lion vs Windows 7

The eternal question: which is better, Windows or Mac OS? With the release of a new Mac OS, 10.7 Lion, David Ludlow takes another look at this age-old debate.

User Interface

Both Windows 7 and OS X Lion are advanced operating systems with largely equivalent features, despite what either camp may have you believe. The differences between them will only matter depending on the tasks that you want to use your computer for.

Launchpad is Apple's attempt to make applications easier to find and open, but it's a bit too simplistic.

Launchpad is Apple's attempt to make applications easier to find and open, but it's a bit too simplistic.

Both operating systems have fast searching built in. With Windows this is directly in the Start Menu - just click it and start searching to find files and applications. With OS X Lion, it uses Spotlight, which you can access by pressing Command+Space or clicking the Spotlight icon in the menu bar. Both search tools will also search through email messages and contacts.

The Start Menu has long been a strength of Windows, giving you quick access to all installed applications. With Windows 7, it's gone one step further, and supported applications, such as Office, now have sub-menus from their shortcut icons that give you access to recently accessed files.

OS X has always been comparatively poor in this regard, with applications sitting in the Applications folder although programs can also be launched using Spotlight. Apple has attempted to fix this with Launchpad in Lion, which brings an iOS-style apps home screen to OS X. We find it rather simplistic to use and it doesn't have any of the advanced features of the Windows 7 Start Menu, such as the recently accessed documents list. Recent files and folders can be viewed in the Finder and Go menus respectively, but this is system wide and not specific to an application.

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