Operating system performs - Essay Example

This extended essay is under the section of Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS), which is a certified topic under the International Baccalaureate (IB). Even though this topic is not a subject in my school, I have a keen interest in this area, especially the two most popular operating systems. Primarily, my interest emerged in this topic once debate on ‘being the best operating system’ developed further. My initial research on the internet suggested that there is no possible way to determine the best, but it can always be determined which one is best for which users.

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My further research proposed that there are certain aspects in the two operating systems that are commonly used by the users around the world. Combining the two, I decided to compare and analyze the commonly used features to determine which aspect is best for which kind of users. The two operating systems were readily available at my school, hence they became a choice for my investigation. The two operating systems are used by millions of users all over the world today. These top two operating systems have held themselves in the market for years and are predicted to do the same for more.

One can find a number of websites on the Internet today that spend their time arguing whether Mac OS X or Windows XP is superior. But like all humans are better at something or the other, operating systems can’t be left behind. The main aim of this essay is on the differences between the two operating systems and how the common features are favorable for different kinds of users. This essay isn’t meant to settle the age-old question of which operating system is the “best. ” It is recognizable that different users have different needs, and thus the question of being the best can never truly be answered.

Chapter 1: General and background information 1. 1 General Background Apple and Microsoft, two big names in the market; two big corporations that have been competing for decades with each other. Mac OS X version 10. 4 “Tiger” is the fifth major release of Mac OS X, Apple’s desktop and server operating system for Macintosh computers. Tiger was released to the public on 29 April 2005 as the successor to Mac OS X v10. 3 “Panther”. 1 Windows XP is a line of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, notebook computers, and media centers.

2 Windows XP, released on 24 August 2001, is the successor to Windows 2000 Professional. Net Applications has released their August 2009 figures, which show that Windows XP still holds 71% market share. Even after eight years, Windows XP still remains the operating system for many users. 3 The most frequently used editions of Windows XP are ‘Home edition’, targeted at home users, and ‘Professional’, which has few additional features for business and enterprise users. On the other hand, the Tiger has only one version for all users (v10. 4), even though this is Apple’s first Intel-based operating system.

2 Investigation introduction In this essay, the two operating systems will be tested in the areas of: startup and shutdown speed, CD burning speed, Internet Browsers (Safari vs. Internet Explorer) and printing speed. The computer systems used in this investigation were connected to the same network under the same conditions. Figure 1 shows the systems that are used in this investigation and their specifications. As it can be seen in the table, the Front Side Bus (FSB), which is the bus that connects the CPU to other hardwares 4, is double in XP. Plus, the RAM is double and the Intel chip in XP is the successor to that in the Mac.

Having a higher figure in the FSB and RAM means that the data can be transmitted faster to the components. Chapter 2: Startup and shutdown speeds 2. 1: General information 2. 1. 1: Startup/Boot-up The startup option in a computer system is the process where the system is turned on and numerous processes take place before the system is ready for the user to use. In a computer system, the processes that take place during startup or boot-up are essential for a healthy computer. In Windows XP, the first steps of boot up are initialized by the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System).

The BIOS enables and controls the communication between the hardware and the operating system. 5 After the BIOS, OSLoader phase takes place where ‘Winlogon. exe’ (loading screen) is loaded which further creates instructions to load ‘Explorer. exe’ (desktop). 6 On the Mac Tiger, there are not many differences in the processes. As soon as the power button on the Mac is pushed, a process called the BootROM firmware is activated. BootROM has two key responsibilities, firstly it initializes system hardware and then it selects an operating system to run, in this case the Tiger.

After BootROM, ‘boot. efi’ is loaded which loads the operating system. This can be seen as the ‘booting’ screen. 7 The number of overall processes during startup in the Mac are much less compared to Windows XP. Hence, it can be predicted that this would have an effect on the speed of the respective operating systems accordingly. 2. 1. 2: Shutdown The shutdown process in a computer system is commonly defined for all, regardless of the operating system. This process initiates commands to close down background applications and then disconnect from power source after saving the settings.

After the user initiates the shutdown, the processes in Windows XP make sure that all applications and services running in the background have stopped. After the settings that were made by the user are saved, the devices and drivers are disconnected and finally, the power source is disconnected. 8 In the Mac, similar processes take place, but in much simpler manner. After the user hits the ‘Shutdown’ button, a ‘quit application’ command is sent to all running applications, which further save settings and finally disconnect power source.

Like the startup processes, the number of overall processes during shutdown in the Mac are much less compared to Windows XP. Hence, it can be predicted that this would have an effect on the speed of the respective operating systems accordingly. 2. 2: The startup and shutdown tests 2. 2. 1: Startup test To start off, both the computers were put into test for the startup speed. To record the time, a stopwatch was started as soon as the power button was switched on and stopped when the login window was spotted. To eliminate errors and/or flaws, the test was taken three times each and then an average was calculated.