Let's fight: Popular Mechanics says Macs beat PCs in style and speed

Why does Windows take minutes to start up and shut down?

By Farhad Manjoo

Published April 16, 2008 6:48PM (EDT)

Hey, I'm just the messenger here: After testing Mac and PC laptops and desktops, Popular Mechanics magazine says Apple wins hands down in both user ratings and, more importantly, performance benchmarks.

In our speed trials ... Leopard OS trounced Vista in all-important tasks such as boot-up, shutdown and program-launch times. We even tested Vista on the Macs using Apple's platform-switching Boot Camp software -- and found that both Apple computers ran Vista faster than our PCs did.

No doubt partisans can argue about this till Kingdom Come; people will debate the specifics of the magazine's performance measurements.

I found the tests backed up something I've long hated about Windows: It takes forever -- forever -- to start up and shut down.

Popular Mechanics clocked a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo Gateway desktop computer at 1 minute, 13 seconds to start up, and 44.3 seconds to shut down. A comparable iMac started up in 28.7 seconds and shut down in only 4 seconds. There was a similar gulf between Windows and Mac laptops.

Software engineers out there, can you answer this one? Why is Windows so slow to start-up and shut down?

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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