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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

PC problems. Are these issues with OSX, too?


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Lastmboy

 
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As I've mentioned in a couple of threads, I'm a long time (25 years) pc user and programmer, but am very interested in switching over to Mac for a variety of reasons. I'm in the processing of sorting out what all would be involved and if I would run into issues in the switch. I often read how Macs never crash, don't get viruses, and generally never have any issues. That, to me, is a vague generalization and is neither specific nor completely true. I've talked to Mac owners who have confirmed that Macs do have some issues and they do crash on occasion. Here is a list of some of the most annoying (to me) issues with Windows (Windows 7 64-bit in my case). Can anyone tell me if the same types of issues exist in the Mac/OSX world, or if it's "immune" to them?
  • When uninstalling a Windows application, the uninstaller is often not perfect and leaves behind a few files and registry entries, to cause a mess. I use Revo Uninstaller on my Windows 7 pc to make sure all related file and registry entries get removed. Does this happen on a Mac? Is there any way to do some type of "cleanup"?
  • I often use some type of sandbox (app or virtual os) to run any questionable or unkown software in. Is there a way to do this on a Mac? e.g. Sandboxie app? Is it necessary.
  • As most are aware, the Windows environment is very high maintenance, particularly with regards to it's registry. I find I'm often having to run registry repair or cleanup utilities, and of course you need to back it up often, so you have it ready to restore when you pc crashes and won't reboot. Since OSX doesn't have a registry as such, is there something else that requires maintenance of some sort with it?
  • Windows is often known to go off on it's own and start thrashing the hard drive for some unknown reason. Who knows whether it is doing indexing or what, but it, of course, always happens when you most need the system to respond. Is this type of thing common in OSX?
  • This one is a HUGE pain in the butt and happens often... you try to a move folder on your pc to a different location, but it often fails and says one of the files in the folder is in use. You check everything, but there is nothing running that would be using the file. You close explorer, stand on your head, and do a few backflips and suddenly it will let you move the file again. My guess is that there is some indexing process behind the scenes that is hanging onto the file. This is really annoying, though. Does OSX have this major flaw?
  • The windows file copy process is really poor. I use a program call Terracopy, which solves a couple of issues. First, it queues up multiple copy/move requests so they don't all try to run concurrently and slow the system to a crawl. Also, it doesn't fail the whole copy request if there is a problem with one of the files. Does OSX (Finder) have the same issues? Is there any way around it?

Thanks.
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PC problems. Are these issues with OSX, too?

In a word, "NO".

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Here are a few thoughts that might help answer your questions.

When it comes to uninstalling programs that is not usually much of an issue. Many programs install via drag and drop. To remove these programs you usually just drag them to the trash and empty the trash. The most that usually gets left behind are a few k worth of preference files that don't cause problems. If a program has an installer it usually has an uninstaller to remove the parts. If so, use that. There are also some uninstaller programs for the Mac.

As far as maintainence goes I don't spend much time on that myself. There are some scripts that run automatically and for the most part I let them take care of that. I do run maintenance utilities once in a while if I experience problems. I often go several months without needing to run anything.

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All computers will get problems such add hard drives, optical drives and memory modules failing. But generally as Gandalph says 'NO". No viruses, only a handful of malware problems that reasonable browser precautions will avoid. You have probably beard about Flash malware. Important to remember user has to knowingly download and install them.

Never install anything you do not know why it downloaded.

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Uninstall - The only thing that sometimes gets left behind are a few very small pref files, as Slydude said. They don't get referenced, they don't slow you down and they take VERY little disk space. Unless you delete thousands of applications, you won't notice them.

The most prevalent maintenance activity is to check permissions. There is a disk utility that comes with OSX that does that. Takes a few minutes to complete. I run that about every 8 weeks or so, just as insurance.

I'm not a developer, so I can't speak to sandboxing, but you can run virtual machines using either Parallels or VMWare. I don't think you can run Lion virtually in Lion, but I think Lion Server can run Lion virtually. Maybe a developer can wade in here.

The only activity I've seen under OSX are the indexing for Spotlight and TimeMachine. Spotlight needs time on a fresh disk to index the files so it can reference them for you, but that's a one time investment. After that, any new file is indexed as it is created, so you don't see the lag after that initial indexing. (BTW, the most prevalent time to notice this is to attach a new external drive with files on it. Spotlight immediately indexes that drive.) Time machine takes a while on the first backup, but subsequent backups are faster, unless you have made a lot of changes. Overall, OSX doesn't have much going on that impacts your experience with it.

I've had the problem of a file in use once or twice, usually when trying to delete a bunch of files. It leaves behind in the trash the one that was in use, but deletes everything else.

I've never had a copy fail in Finder, so I can't say whether or not a big copy could have a problem. I've never seen one.
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Wow, I remember the days of having to deal with all that stuff. You just reminded me how low-maintenence OS X is... I never really think about maintenance.

Apple doesn't say that Macs NEVER crash or have problems but there are significantly fewer of them, and none of them are going to ruin your computer. The Registry is one of the biggest drawbacks of Windows and defragging never seemed to do anything but take a long time to finish.

Deleting apps on a Mac usually just involves dragging it to the trash, though if an app comes with an uninstaller, it's best to use that. Little preferences files do get left here and there, but as mentioned, they are totally inert and don't take up much space. But if you want to really keep things clean, you can download App Cleaner, which deletes apps along with all any little files left behind.

In addition to Disk Utility for verifying and repairing permissions, you can download Onyx, which does these things and more, such as clearing caches. It's free, and you should only need it once every few months, depending on how you use your computer.

Others had good tips about sandboxing but everything else on your list, I've never experienced anything like that on a Mac ever!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalph View Post
PC problems. Are these issues with OSX, too?

In a word, "NO".
OS X certainly shares some of the same issues listed in the post. Scattered files, sandboxing and indexing all occur in OS X at various times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lastmboy View Post
When uninstalling a Windows application, the uninstaller is often not perfect and leaves behind a few files and registry entries, to cause a mess. I use Revo Uninstaller on my Windows 7 pc to make sure all related file and registry entries get removed. Does this happen on a Mac? Is there any way to do some type of "cleanup"?
There are various applications that do this. Take a look at AppCleaner - it's free and does a decent job.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lastmboy View Post
I often use some type of sandbox (app or virtual os) to run any questionable or unkown software in. Is there a way to do this on a Mac? e.g. Sandboxie app? Is it necessary.
It does have sandboxing built in but requires the user to write scripts. Regardless, the best practice is to avoid this kind of software in the first place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lastmboy View Post
As most are aware, the Windows environment is very high maintenance, particularly with regards to it's registry. I find I'm often having to run registry repair or cleanup utilities, and of course you need to back it up often, so you have it ready to restore when you pc crashes and won't reboot. Since OSX doesn't have a registry as such, is there something else that requires maintenance of some sort with it?
OS X runs daily, weekly and monthly maintenace but it wouldn't hurt to run OnyX once in a while as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lastmboy View Post
Windows is often known to go off on it's own and start thrashing the hard drive for some unknown reason. Who knows whether it is doing indexing or what, but it, of course, always happens when you most need the system to respond. Is this type of thing common in OSX?
The only time I've seen this happening is when the Spotlight database needs to be created. This happens after a clean install and/or after OnyX deletes the database (if you choose to do that). It may also index external drives as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lastmboy View Post
This one is a HUGE pain in the butt and happens often... you try to a move folder on your pc to a different location, but it often fails and says one of the files in the folder is in use. You check everything, but there is nothing running that would be using the file. You close explorer, stand on your head, and do a few backflips and suddenly it will let you move the file again. My guess is that there is some indexing process behind the scenes that is hanging onto the file. This is really annoying, though. Does OSX have this major flaw?
Yes, this does happen. It happens across operating systems however.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lastmboy View Post
The windows file copy process is really poor. I use a program call Terracopy, which solves a couple of issues. First, it queues up multiple copy/move requests so they don't all try to run concurrently and slow the system to a crawl. Also, it doesn't fail the whole copy request if there is a problem with one of the files. Does OSX (Finder) have the same issues? Is there any way around it?
Yes, OS X copies files concurrently. There may be a way around this but I don't know of one.

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RE: Crashes, I have had around 9-10 totally random kernel panicks with LION in about 4 months, when i was on Snow Leopard I never had one, have run ONYX and done a hardware test and it says everything's ok, but still get crashes.
Got to say really disappointed with Lion. Have had kernel panick with just ical mail and chrome open, running just one tab(BBC). Was thinking of doing a format and reinstall, but will probably wait to see if Mountain Lion cures the issues
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@bazanders, you might seriously consider reinstalling. I've had Lion since it first came out, use it heavily on two MBP, an iMac and a MacMini with zero kernel panics. Sounds to me like you have something wrong with your installation somewhere.
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I have to agree with MacInWin. My entire career depends on uptime ... if I'm down, I make nothing. Snow Leopard and Lion have been rock-solid for me, and I use my computer easily 10-12 hours a day. Every day.
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Thanks for all the great info. I'm hoping it's fairly stable as that would likely be my top reason for switching. My Windows buddies give me a hard time about how much more it costs, but honestly, if it saves me a few hours a week in not having to re-boot or fight with unexpected problems, it will pay for itself in no time... and I'll be less stressed

As for the problem with copying, I may have found a solution. Obviously I can't try it, as I don't yet have my iMac, but the program "Ultracopier" looks somewhat promising.
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Macs aren't really that much more expensive than some Windows boxes; similarly spec'd Windows PC's are in the same price range. Plus, your Mac will almost certainly last longer than a typical "cheaper" PC. I've had my Macbook Pro for four years now and it's as fast and stable as the day I got it. I know for a fact that my old XP desktop was VERY slow after that long. So you're getting a computer that holds its value longer, you don't have to buy a new one every couple of years, you don't have to pay for AV software,you're getting a stabler OS and a very well-built machine made by a company that not only makes the OS but the hardware. It all pretty much adds up in favor of a Mac.

So tell THAT to your Windows buddies.
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Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
Yes, this does happen. It happens across operating systems however.
At least with Unix OS's (and Unix-like OS's) you can use lsof to EASILY find the culprit, and kill the application... even as a one-liner

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At least with Unix OS's (and Unix-like OS's) you can use lsof to EASILY find the culprit, and kill the application... even as a one-liner
Ah, the joys of *nix. It would seem that doing the same thing in Windows requires not only additional (not included) tools but more than one as well.

I can't tell you the number of times I've been trying to manage files in Finder, run into an error and drop to the CLI to "make things right." This is why I love OS X - everyday ease of use combined with that Unix power I love.

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As for the problem with copying, I may have found a solution. Obviously I can't try it, as I don't yet have my iMac, but the program "Ultracopier" looks somewhat promising.
Please disregard my comment about Ultracopier. I installed the Windows version to try it out, and it's a piece of junk. It doesn't queue anything, and it takes roughly 1,000 times longer than a standard Windows copy, so it got uninstalled very quickly. It hung my computer twice, in the two hour period I was testing it. Unless the Mac version is a lot better, this is one to stay clear of.
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