MAC v.s. PC – What you need to know before you buy

By: Ayse Stenabaugh

We get customers that have been long time Windows users who are told by family or friends to just “get a Mac” whenever their computer has issues. There are benefits to both a Mac and a PC but choosing which one is right for you requires a little background information and knowledge. Read on to find out what you should consider whether you are purchasing a computer for the first time or consider making the switch.

Hardware differences between Mac and PC’s

When it comes to hardware you’re paying for the Apple name. You can typically purchase a PC computer with the same or better specifications for less cost than that of a Mac. What you won’t get with a PC is proprietary hardware that is designed to work specifically with the Mac machines. This means that there are generally less hardware issues and better support resolutions among the Mac machines. The bottom line for hardware is that you will pay more for a Mac and get less value than with a PC but in general you will have less hardware issues with the Mac. Before you switch from a PC to a Mac ensure that any devices you use with your current computer are compatible or make sure you allow your budget to replace those devices.

Software differences between Mac and PC’s

Software for Mac’s are generally more reliable. This goes back to the fact that there is limited hardware being used for Mac machines and most of the Mac software that you purchase directly through the Apple App Store is high quality although it is still a good idea to read reviews for your current operating system to ensure compatibility. Mac’s are also much less likely to obtain any viruses although that doesn’t mean your 100% immune and you can still receive fake virus alerts from infected websites via the Safari web browser. Most popular software is available for both Mac’s and PC’s although you should always verify that any software you rely on is available on the Mac. I recently discovered that although you can install Microsoft Office on a Mac machine you won’t be able to install Publisher or Access since they are not available for the Mac OS.  Since much of the software on a mac is proprietary along with the proprietary hardware, you are much less likely to see crashes compared to a PC.

On a PC you may find that you have more available to you which can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes not so much. You have a lot more software available to you and while some of the free software options can be desirable you should be warry of any free software, many times they come bundled with what we call “potentially unwanted programs” that can slow down your machine and cause pop-ups. With any Windows PC virus software is a must and should always be used to keep your machine protected especially if you do any kind of online banking or purchasing over the web. When it comes to external hardware such as printers, webcams etc. you will find that there is more available now for Mac’s but there is still a lot more compatible devices for PC’s over Mac’s.

Using a Mac for the first time

New users will have the easiest time navigating a Mac. One difference users will notice between a newer Mac and a PC is the requirement to create a password on the Mac. Without setting up or using an existing apple id account you will find yourself limited when using the Mac devices. If you were previously a PC user you will quickly find that some of the normal PC functions are different on a Mac for example scrolling down on the mouse will move your screen up rather than down like on a PC.

Using finder on a Mac can make finding your documents easier for new Mac users. Previous PC users may have some difficulty learning how the Mac File explorer works since some things are hidden by default. In my opinion, the Mac was very difficult to get use to as a long time PC user. If you are considering making the switch to a Mac I highly recommend that you try out a friends Mac computer or visit your nearest Apple store to try out the computers they have on display before you make the jump.

If you need additional support or advice and are considering switching from a Mac to a pc or a PC to a mac, or for more assistance resolving computer related issues please contact Jester’s Computers located at 5135 Fairfield Road in Fairfield PA. You can reach by calling (717) 642-6611 or by visiting us on the web at We are a small family owned and operated business that has been open since 1998 and we offer reliable, affordable and fast computer repair services and training.