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back to article 37,000-machine study finds most reliable Windows PC is a Mac

A MacBook Pro is the most reliable PC on which to run Windows, according to research from PC-monitoring-as-a-service outfit Soluto. Soluto users install an agent on their PCs. That piece of software keeps an eye on the PC and sends information to Soluto, which then alerts sysadmins about potential problems so they can act before …

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More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

"I suppose the fact that people who have sufficient IT skills to install Windows on a Mac wasn't taken into account when assessing how well owners could maintain a healthy computer.

I suppose that because there's no control to try to reach even a baseline for that variable.

Still.... I'm sure that it will get loads of mileage in developer office warfare regardless of it's intellectual merit."

...at least that's what I imagine Einstein Von Brainstorm would say.

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Meh

Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

There is always someone who wants to knock the facts when Apple turns up trumps.

It's not difficult to install Windows on a Mac with bootcamp and also run Parallels in parallel. The instructions are simple and advice is all over the Internet.

Question why people do this, well you get the best of both worlds, with a Win7 install you don't have to lose all your existing software if you buy an Apple computer.

The difference is also probably due to the fact that Windows computers are made by so many manufacturers, if you look at the reviews comparing them, some are good and some not so good, some are high end and some are low end, some have quality components some have generic parts.

So it is not a surprise.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

Now I have a Mac I toyed with the idea of giving my nearly three year old Dell XPS 1645 away to my nephew...

But that would have been cruel and heartless.

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Anonymous Coward

Re:But that would have been cruel and heartless.

Dells don't have feelings. They're just machines. Well built ones, by the look of it, but not capable of emotion.

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Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

>There is always someone who wants to knock the facts when Apple turns up trumps.

You're right Lars, there usually are such people. However, the survey wasn't perfect, as the people who conducted it pointed out themselves. Something else that may have skewed the results, amongst other things, is that the test measured crashes over a calender period of time, rather than crashes per hour of use.,. this is important because at least some MacBook Pro owners will be using OSX some of the time.

That said, in the favour of the MacBook Pro is that the test took into account Windows start-up time, and this model of Macbook Pro (2012) didn't have an SSD fitted as standard.

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Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

As an Apple user, I think that's an entirely fair point. However the discrepancy between the results for the MacBook Pro and the Retina model, suggests that there is more going on here, than simple user selection bias.

Also, I always thought that the Thinkpads tended to be the box of choice for the tech-savvy, so I'm surprised to see it down there.

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Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

Well Windows doesn't work well with Retina mac books. Which has been reported all over the internet.

So no surprise there, what is surprising is that one Acer and one Dell where so close to the Mac book. Just above 1 in score for all of them. I would say the norm for a PC would be a sore above 2. Just where the macbook with retina issues while running windows is.

This just confirms what I always experienced. Mac's are great computer, even when running Windows they outperform PC in reliability. I have had this experience even from the time of the old PPC macs. The Powermac 7100/7200 and 8100. The 7200 was not so reliable when it came to run MacOS, why I switched from that to a 8100.

The 7100 and 8100 had NuBus while the 7200 had PCI, and the system of the day did not like to cope with PCI. Still running Windows on them in a virtual PC was way more reliable than the experience I got from Wintel machines then. It wasn't fast but reliable.

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Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

> However the discrepancy between the results for the MacBook Pro and the Retina model, suggests that there is more going on here, than simple user selection bias.

Just a guess at the discrepancy - the 15" MacBook Retina has a discrete graphic card, which may have encouraged some users to try to play modern games on it, and these games may have crashed out (http://blog.laptopmag.com/windows-7-tested-on-retina-display-macbook-pro-how-good-is-it suggests this can happen).

Owners of the of the 13" Macbook Pro with Intel HD4000 graphics may not have been as tempted to try playing games, and so its Solutu score won't show as many application crashes.

Just a hypothesis.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

Windows on a Mac is simple. I suspect it's because the hardware is less of a moving target so they can develop decent drivers and not have to worry about every possible variant of chipsets etc. My Macbook is the best Windows laptop I have ever had - fast, reliable and when I don't need Windows I can use OSX.

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Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

But this is only true for single model of Apple PC, with Dell filling several of the other top spots. So your anecdote of a Power Mac 8100 is likely to be completely unrelated to these issues - the difference between that machine and modern Apple PCs is far greater than the difference between the Mac on the top spot, and the models lower down the list.

I think we also have to ask, why could the machine make a difference? This is application crashes, not OS crashes, and most application crashes are problems in the code, but this would be the same on all PCs, including Apple ones!

So for those kinds of crashes, either the difference is pure luck, or there is some user-selection bias (e.g., the gaping flaw in the study that it measures crashes per calendar time, not use time, and most people with Apple PCs would likely only being running Windows occasionally; or perhaps they run a far smaller selection of software, which tends to not include random unreliable crap).

Another possibility is that things like incorrect memory access are more likely to result in a crash on some machines, but I would argue that's a *good* thing. Whilst annoying for the user, stopping the application can be better than running off with ill-defined behaviour, which is what the Macs may be doing.

Sometimes crashes can happen due to drivers, which could differ, but that's all I can think of, and that wouldn't be most of application crashes in my experience.

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Linux

Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

> There is always someone who wants to knock the facts when Apple turns up trumps.

...and Acer comes in 2nd and Dell comes in 3rd.

Both of these brands are whipping boys for Apple Fanboys that like to confuse being overpriced with product quality. Those brands are not liked very much among WinDOS users either.

There's just way too much Dell on that chart for me to take it at face value. Never mind the Apple.

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Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

Running Windows in a virtual machine is the most reliable way....barely any drivers to load so the system just hums along. Even Vista in a virutal machine will run for years without needing a reboot...

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Pint

Re: Re:But that would have been cruel and heartless.

'cruel and heartless' to the nephew, not the Dell, surely...

Pic of what I need after being annoyed by a Dell.

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Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

Seconded!

Before I became a Mac user I was running some database information for our store using Alpha 4 and printing out the occasional sign and flyer using Geoworks on an old 286 hand-me-down and a for matrix printer.

I then noticed that really obsolete Apple Postscript LaserWriters could be had for $200 from a computer recycling place and a $100 more for a 100 MHz PPC Mac combined with a used copy of Virtual PC allowed me to run all my old software faster than on the old PC. (Of course going from 4.5 Intel to 100 MHz PPC may have had something to do with it.)

Aside from the amazing improvement in all printed documents, the benefit of using a virtualized PC environment is having your entire hard disk (yes all three partitions, I was a power DOS user) sitting on your Mac as a single file.

..Just duplicate to make a snapshot at any time and the whole hard drive fitted onto a single ZIP disk to save off-site.

Currently I'm running Win7 along with Ubuntu and a lot of other stuff in Parallels on a Power Mac and I wouldn't have it any other way. Snapshots are available in the virtual machine itself at the block level and if the system misbehaves, [such as in Microsoft's recent blunder three weeks ago which resulted in unbootable systems if you had Kaspery antivirus installed- didn't happen to me but I did have to fix a friends system.. Replaced the mess with Ubuntu; she was ecstatic..] ..just roll back to previous checkpoint.

Much more stress free than running on real hardware.

Only way to endure Microsoft's uum, product in my opinion.

In fact when Vista came out a major PC magazine ran a speed benchmark between a Mac and a equivalently configured Dell.

The Mac was actually faster despite the fact that the Apple had a slightly slower CPU.

Things that make you go Hmmmmm..

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Anonymous Coward

Another Balmer ballsup!

The only machine that CAN run windows CANNOT.

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WTF?

Re: Another Balmer ballsup!

Umm.. they CAN and DO... otherwise they wouldn't be in the results...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Another Balmer ballsup!

Yes they can, natively and virtualised - I run Windows 8 as a companion workstation VM on my MBP as well as various other linuxy and Windowsey VMs.

That said, my work laptop is a Lenovo Thinkpad W530 and I'd say that's probably more reliable than the mac, it's of a similar spec and runs a whole bunch of VMs as well. I'm not sure why the only thinkpad on the list is so far down.

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Re: Another Balmer ballsup!

>I'm not sure why the only thinkpad on the list is so far down.

Solutu said that they didn't include all machines in the test, only those that they had enough data for to include in the test... it is very possible that there is a more reliable ThinkPad model out there, but that it wasn't included because it didn't sell as much as the X1 Carbon.

Certainly other surveys, based on other data such as numbers returned to base etc, suggest that Apple and Lenovo have been among the more reliable machines.

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FAIL

In news just in

Crap study, using crap methodology produces crap results.

Who'd have thought that a group of people who are computer-competent enough to install windows on a mac would have less computer related problems than the general, windows using populace?

Betcha if you limited the same study to apple machines, you'd find that those competent enough to install windows on a mac would have less problems than the general, mac using populace. OMG! *Proof* that Windows is more stable than IOS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In news just in

It would be interesting to see number of crashes on Macs vs. PCs regardless of operating system.

My HTPC runs Windows. I use very little software on it and only for a couple hours per day. Basically just IE, Media Center, and VLC. Yet I would say that something goes wrong with it at least once or twice per week. Usually Explorer barfs--displays all the windows at the wrong sizes and positions with the wrong theme when I wake up the machine, sits there for a while, reboots itself, and reports that it crashed. IE will also hang occasionally when I'm trying to watch video from e.g. Hulu. Interesting and disappointing because supposedly IE runs pages in their own processes now. (I don't use Chrome because unfortunately it seems to be unable to hide the task bar when in full-screen mode with high-DPI turned on in the OS.) Now that I think about it, I also saw a bluescreen with this machine a week ago, which I hadn't seen for a while.

My Mac, which I use for work and personal use and use for 8+ hours a day running a wide variety of software, crashes very rarely. The last time anything went wrong with the hardware, OS, or any of the software that I can remember was a few weeks ago when it failed to wake from sleep correctly and just hung while I was typing in my password.

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Pint

Lies, damn lies, and linkbait

Agreed. Or, if you want to consider that I hardly ever boot my MacBook into Windows (I have it mostly for games) but do a lot of heavy lifting on the MacOS side. Even if you divide crashes by time used, the Windows comes out on top because I tend to avoid stressing it as much on the windows side of things and rarely leave it running unattended enough to sleep (And thus have never had it crash), and I have had some failures to wake from sleep on the Mac side.

There's so many other variables that well, in conclusion, it's time for a beer.

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Thumb Up

Re: In news just in

Totally agree, and to add to your point, a Windows system installed onto a Mac is only operational for a fraction of the time compared to a Windows only machine coz the owner of the mac will be using OS X too.

A system that only runs for a fraction of the time will only get a fraction of the problems.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In news just in

"*Proof* that Windows is more stable than IOS."

You're comparing a desktop OS to a mobile device OS?

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The Starbucks factor

I've encountered the odd project manager who permanently boots to Windows on their work MacBook, and probably has no idea of how to boot back to OS X, if they new what it was. Their world / skill-set is limited to MS-Project, MS-Powerpoint, MS-Dynamics, MS-Outlook, Skype and possibly HP Quality Center, so OS X would be unworkable for them even if they did dual boot.

The primary reason for them having talked their companies into forking out the extra for a MacBook, with a separate Windows licence, and several hours of technician time for a custom build, was to not look out of place in Starbucks. The number of these style junkies is probably insignificant, but best not to assume all MacBooks run OS X the majority of the time, or that all Boot-camped Mac Books are down to skill-set of the present keeper.

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Re: In news just in

Are Mac users unlucky or just incompetent? Many say they have problems running Windows and give it as the reason for multiplying their it spend by a factor of 3 or more. I have an ancient Dell laptop for work, running XP with all sorts of weird software installed on it. In 18 months' daily usage it's never crashed, but occasionally it takes a long time to shut down.

My home laptop is a small and light Acer Aspire. 2nd on the list and I got it for 20% of the cost of a Macbook Air 6 months ago. It's never crashed (but I've mostly use Ubuntu for the last month).

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Re: In news just in

Let me tell you a little something about Windows, if it crashes - chances are it's your fault. You might not know what you did, but you did something. The reason Macs "never" crash is because they have locked off all the cool features and settings that you might accidentally mess with and crash your comp. You're blissfully stuck in the matrix equivalent of operating systems and you don't even know it.

By the way, my pc NEVER crashes unless it's in a game, and even that's rare.

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Re: In news just in

>Let me tell you a little something about Windows, if it crashes - chances are it's your fault.

Well, Windows PCs shipped with less than perfect drivers aren't uncommon; Macs simply have fewer hardware combinations to test.

Oh, in what way is OSX locked down?

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Re: In news just in

Lock off all the cool features and settings...

Boy you have no clue do you. OSX is far from locked, you can do what ever you want to do. Fortunately enough the GUI will not allow novice users to mess up totally yes. But when it comes to customize your mac functionality it's all up to your own skills and knowledge of how the system works.

If you have experience from FreeBSD you're pretty good to go an do what you want. And to add to the pleasure you got tools as AppleScript and Automator to add to it.

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Re: In news just in

I thought IOS was the OS installed on Cisco routers. I'd hope that was bloody reliable.

iOS, however, is the OS for Apple toys.

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Meh

Re: In news just in

> The reason Macs "never" crash is because they have locked off all the cool features and settings that

> you might accidentally mess with and crash your comp.

Just to be clear, you're contending that such stellar features as RegEdit and indeed the idea of The Registry in general is cool?

Can I borrow your kipper tie?

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Re: Lies, damn lies, and linkbait

"well, in conclusion, it's time for a beer."

Seconded!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In news just in

Jesus - comparing Windows to iOS - good job it's Friday. Perhaps you meant OSX.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In news just in

This is the level of things. Someone dares say anything good about Apple and people (who clearly know little about Apple and their products) wades in an get's it wrong. Before you just 'hate' a product perhaps try it or learn a bit about it - you may like it or hate it more... don't be a bigot.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In news just in

Yes, the registry is a good idea - Putting all of your settings in a journaled ACLd database which is stored in multiple locations on your system disk is a good thing. You can allow users to be able to turn on and off individual settings, rather than with conf files where it's all or nothing. People who bitch about the registry, in my experience, don't understand it or how it works and just want a text file with a random name and extension in a not entirely fixed location.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In news just in

Yeah it does not agree with your prejudiced view so it's a crap study. You sir are the 'fail' here in a discussion about desktop OS comparing Windows with IOS (although you probably means iOS) - look up OSX perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In news just in

My Samsung Chronos 7 is getting on for 7 months old now, all I've done is fitted a Samsung 830 SSD and it flies along. It gets used a lot and It hasn't blue-screened / crashed once. Cost about £800 all in with cash back.

My old Samsung R610 has blue-screened once and that was due to my trying to do something fancy with some USB-Serial cable drivers. It crashed (hung) once, and that was caused by Samsung Kies, which I was using to update my father-in-laws Bada phone. Cost about £600.

My wife's cheapo Acer, apart from coming out of the factory with not enough RAM (which I've upgraded), chugs along quite well, it doesn't blue-screen either. Cost about £350.

Maybe I'm just lucky.

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Re: In news just in

Anecdotes vary. I don't think I've *ever* had a crash since using Windows 7 (or 8), which even survives graphics card crashes without rebooting. Windows 7 once reported a problem when booting on one machine, but after a few minutes, it claimed it was repaired (and indeed, I never had trouble after that). Ubuntu has never crashed for me, though I have had a black screen fail-to-boot after upgrading. Meanwhile I've seen brand new recent OS X machines fail to resume when woken up from sleep (and you can't even take the battery out...)

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Linux

Re: In news just in

> Boy you have no clue do you. OSX is far from locked,

It's not exactly locked down but it is a much more "curated" mindset. Windows users expect to do things with their tools that Mac users would try to look down on you for.

Just the gaming aspect of Windows is bound to lead to more crashes because there's a wider variety of them and they are prone to use the system harder.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In news just in

I love how loud mouthed morons like jedidiah like to mouth off about thinks they know nothing of! Mac users have access to a fully certified version of UNIX with an excellent range development tools. There is a healthy amount of automation and customisation tools available for the platform - certainly better quality than available on the windows platform. Macs are massively popular amongst developers and designers, both being decidedly under-represented here because they have better thing to do with heir time than prattle on like the hopeless prigs you are.

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Pint

Re: In news just in

"My home laptop is a small and light Acer Aspire. 2nd on the list and I got it for 20% of the cost of a Macbook Air 6 months ago. It's never crashed (but I've mostly use Ubuntu for the last month)."

Similar story here with a 5 year old lenovo Ideapad Y550 with W8, it is always either on or sleeping, the only reboot it gets is following updates or to boot into the other OS (Ubuntu). I honestly can't remember the last time it crashed.

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WTF?

Re: In news just in

@AC

Developers use windows on a massive scale. I've only seen 2 use Mac users in my many years in the industry. One was a poser and the other was a contractor who had it on his desk whilst he used a client-provided pc, because he thought it worked better for IR35. He was also a poser. Startups that get media coverage seem to use Macs quite a bit; maybe it helps them get media coverage.

And 1 guy used linux.

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Re: In news just in

"Let me tell you a little something about Windows, if it crashes - chances are it's your fault. You might not know what you did, but you did something."

***

Ah yes. Blame the user for the designers errors!

You should probably know that even the pure OSX Macintoshes were far more customizable than a Windows machine ever could be. May I suggest you Google ResEdit?

Customize the OS and applications from top to bottom, just by editing information within an executable by using a simple GUI environment.

Yes. Mac users have always been helpless creatures stifled by their simplified graphical environment.

Oh wait!! That argument was from the eighties.. Sorry.

BTW. What about explaining why users are finding Windows 8 so hard to use?

Is that the users fault too?

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Linux

Let's see....

Do I want the $1199 Mac, or the $429 Acer that was in a statistical tie with the Mac?

Nah - screw it - I'll stick with my $250 Chromebook - which has never crashed once in 6 months of use.

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Windows

Re: Let's see....

And, as the article correctly points out, without knowing how many Macbooks were in the sample, the statistical comparisons will be dubious at best.

I, too, will be staying with my current setup - I certainly haven't seen a BSOD, either on my work PC or personal laptop, in so long that I have almost forgotten what it looks like.

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FAIL

Re: Let's see....

Thats great, lets us know when you can install any useful programs or popular games.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's see....@Andy Prough

Yes but where I live your chrome book would be just a useless lump of plastic and circuitry.............

And you'd most likely bee hitting it with a hammer snarling, 'useless, useless..'

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JDX
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Re: Let's see....@Andy Prough

The laptop I don't turn on never crashes, and is about as useful as a Chromebook.

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Coat

Re: Let's see....

It's blue

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's see....

Chrome book? Try it without network availability. May as well crash.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's see....

6 months of use as a doorstop.

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