The operating system is the heart of your laptop. It manages all software and hardware, including files, memory and connected devices. Most importantly, it lets you interact with your laptop and your programs in a visual way.

 

• OS X

Installed exclusively on Mac computers, OS X boasts an clean, easy-to-use interface to complement Macs’ sleek aesthetics and impressive battery life. Macs have historically had fewer issues with viruses and malware. However, MacBooks start at a higher price point than other laptops, and no Mac model to date includes touch-screen functionality.

• Windows

Windows is designed specifically around an intuitive touch-screen interface (though it can be used with a traditional mouse and keyboard), expanding your navigation options. It also features a new task manager, streamlined file management and a suite of built-in apps.

• Chrome OS

Featured exclusively in the Chromebook line of mobile computers, this OS runs custom apps and cloud-based programs rather than traditional software. It’s great for surfing the Web, keeping up with your e-mail and social networks, and sharing your photos with friends and family, rather than more data-intensive tasks like video editing and hardcore gaming.

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