Mac user: How Microsoft has cleaned up Windows

If you asked me a year ago what I thought about Windows, I probably would have said something along the lines of "disorganized", "a mess", or "not adequate for my needs".

So I was very surprised when I gave the Windows 7 beta, and then the release candidate, a real test run. I was one of the people who never really liked Windows Vista, and to this day I dread working on computers that have it installed. While I believed it was a step up from XP in many ways, Windows XP had a certain consistency to it that Vista still lacks. But I have been playing around a bit with Windows 7 for a few months now, and as a Mac user, I must say I am very impressed. The amount of polish Microsoft has added to their product, the added consistency, and all the small things are what really make the difference.

As many Mac users are, I'm quite picky on how my operating system "feels". An operating system can do as much as it wants, but if it is not presented in a consistent, good looking way, I won't be able to use it. Vista lacked consistency, simply put. There were different colors on each window, there was a drastic difference between Windows Live and built-in Windows applications, and many Microsoft applications were still using predominantly Windows XP styling. Windows 7, however, has a consistent light blue highlight, similar to the way grays and blues are used in OS X. Having a few different programs open feels right. Other windows in the background don't distract from the window in the foreground. And application switching is seamless with the Superbar.

I have seen the concept behind the Superbar before: it's exactly what I'm used to on OS X (with some additional tweaks like window thumbnails and jump lists). We have compared the two before. Frankly, I think it's impossible to deny that OS X, and the dock, had some influence on the Superbar. The implementations are very similar: developers can implement icon badges and progress bars in each. Application switching is not done based on a window anymore; it's based on the last window opened in each application, rather than having a list of windows you can choose from. But there is still a list available through those handy window thumbnails, and Aero Peek.

Aero Peek is, in my opinion, a far better implementation of window switching than Exposé or Flip3D. Both of the latter only offer a shrunken down view of each window, while Aero Peek makes seeing what is in each window simple, whether in an alt+tab interface or using the Superbar.

Finally, Microsoft finally listened to my biggest complaint for years: vision accessibility. While we've detailed how the magnifier can hinder the more heavily vision impaired, for people like me who don't need a high contrast theme, but only a zoomed in view of the content on the screen, the new Magnifier available when using Aero is superior to the almost dizzying magnifier in OS X. The Mac OS X magnifier works in one of two ways: following the mouse as it moves around the screen, or moving the zoomed in area every time the mouse hits the very last pixel on the screen. The former can be difficult to use, and takes practice to get used to, but it is my method of choice within OS X. The second mode is simply impossible to use: moving the mouse right across the screen just to view the end of a sentence takes a painstakingly long time.

The Windows 7 Magnifier has found the right balance between following the mouse and keeping the screen a little bit still. There is about a 100 pixel padding on each side of the screen: when the mouse hits it, the magnifier moves. If the cursor is moving to the right and a little bit downwards at the same time near the edge of the screen, the magnifier moves to the right and a little bit down (the OS X zoom feature, in the screen edge mode, only moves right, left, down, or up, depending on which screen edge in use). Overall, I'm very impressed with Microsoft's implementation of a feature I have required for a long time.

So Microsoft, thanks for cleaning up your act. You've taken something I hated using, and made me enjoy it. While I will remain a Mac user (I've invested too much in OS X to turn back now), I will no longer groan when I reboot my MacBook Pro into Windows. I'll look forward to it. Had you made Windows Vista what Windows 7 is, I may not be a Mac user right now. I can now say that I'm a Mac user, and I enjoy Windows, something I never thought I'd say when I first invested in a Mac and left Windows behind. Keep up the good work, and you just might win me back one day.

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Wrong! all my DVD drives are region free, I have Windows and OSX and the number of changes are limited on the OS as well as some drives.

Windows users just hate Macs because I think that many of them haven't used OS X much. Windows users are just used to Windows, as for the same, Mac users are used to Macs. However, you see it very often that Windows users switch to Macs for various reasons and they should be the one to judge which is better.

I was a Windows user for a long time but I switched to a Mac (surprise). As an average user (so I'm like 99% of the world) I don't want to deal with all that registry stuff, or viruses. In my times as a Windows user, I remember that just buying an anti-virus wouldn't help. Reinstalling would be painful. What are drivers (I know OS X needs them too but not as "much" as Windows and no BSOD)?! I'm sorry that I can't really mention things about OS X which I don't like, which is quite unfair I think. The reason I switched to Mac is because I bought three (Windows-) laptops, which all had the Blue Screen problem. Gave them all back and decided to buy a Mac.
I just think that Windows user need a lot of time to get used to OS X because they are so different (especially the zoom button, or how it handles windows). But when you get used to something, you will love it, as for Mac & Windows users (sorry that I don't mention Linux but nobody cares about it anyways - jk).

Since I have my Mac I just became a real fanboy. I don't know how that happened but it's a real phenomenon. But there must be a reason an I think it's because my Mac worked better than my PC. Maybe it's not Windows fault, maybe because of the wrong drivers and the infinite number of manufacturers. What I can say though is that Windows 7 is really really nice, and that's another reason why I love my Mac - the fact that I can run both on the same machine.

I hope that I am not unfair, but I just think that average users would have less troubles with OS X. And just a word to Linux: I haven't used it much, but I think that it is really nice and that it is like a Mac, pretty much virus free, if not, even more than that (yeah Macs have viruses too but you know you cannot compare it to viruses available for Windows). You get a lot in Linux just for free. Some people prefer to pay though to get high quality apps. I'm not saying that Linux doesn't have quality apps. What I mean is that you might want to motivate and pay someone in order to get out more of it. Installing apps could be a pain though. Not what the world wants (you know, that think called Shell or Terminal or whatever).

What's really unfair though, is that some people compare i.e. the UI's. Aero ind Windows or that gray in Mac OS X. Some people like that and some don't. What nobody likes is trouble, like the driver problems I mentioned above, or viruses.

So if you are to criticize me, then please make sure you see my point of view - as an average user, and don't just talk crap (I hope I didn't).
Maybe some positive things to say about Windows so some readers can settle down a bit. I love it that there are so many games available for Windows. There is also a lot of software which can be seen as good and bad. I see both sides of it.

I'm sorry again for not mentioning any bad things about OS X. I hope you don't think I'm unfair (you probably do) but I just got so used to it that I can't think of anything right out of my head. Oh wait. Macs are quite pricey (I'm not saying too expensive) and I think - I'm pretty sure - that you could get "better" hardware for that money for a PC. However, I am willing to pay more because of the OS, and because it just works so great with its hardware. You might get more powerful hardware with less money, but you will never get the same as with Macs. Some people care about that and some don't. And I am probably paying for that awesome feeling too.

Malakina said,
Windows users just hate Macs because I think that many of them haven't used OS X much. Windows users are just used to Windows, as for the same, Mac users are used to Macs. However, you see it very often that Windows users switch to Macs for various reasons and they should be the one to judge which is better.

Over the last three and a half years, I've spent a considerable time on Macs. I presided over upgrading my school's labs to Leopard as soon as we got ahold of it. I did lab maintenance, and software deployment, as well as user support, so I was (and still am) damn well familiar with the applications as well as terminal commands. At times, I was using "my" Leopard machine at work more often than my own Vista laptop, and I even transferred some of my music to it, so it was like a second personal machine, though I didn't technically own it. I'll even admit that I'm more familiar with the guts of Leopard than I am with Vista. Still, I consider Windows my primary "home" OS, because I like it more.

I was a Windows user for a long time but I switched to a Mac (surprise). As an average user (so I'm like 99% of the world) I don't want to deal with all that registry stuff, or viruses. In my times as a Windows user, I remember that just buying an anti-virus wouldn't help. Reinstalling would be painful. What are drivers (I know OS X needs them too but not as "much" as Windows and no BSOD)?! I'm sorry that I can't really mention things about OS X which I don't like, which is quite unfair I think. The reason I switched to Mac is because I bought three (Windows-) laptops, which all had the Blue Screen problem. Gave them all back and decided to buy a Mac.
I just think that Windows user need a lot of time to get used to OS X because they are so different (especially the zoom button, or how it handles windows). But when you get used to something, you will love it, as for Mac & Windows users (sorry that I don't mention Linux but nobody cares about it anyways - jk).

My experience setting up various distributions of Linux helped make me far more comfortable using Terminal to interact with OS X, and in many ways, the command line in Linux is far more powerful and simple to use. To address your earlier issues, I don't touch the registry, and I don't scrub it with random programs that I download from the internet. My Windows machines (XP and Vista/Ubuntu/7) take care of themselves. I also don't get viruses, because I stay up to date, and try my best to be vigilant against them. The last thing I got was a trojan injected into Neowin's main page. AV automatically shredded the file, and that was it. Drivers haven't been a huge deal thanks to Windows/Microsoft Update, which can scan your computer and offer up appropriate drivers to download and install. This is a consequence of choice - OS X supports a relatively small number of well-defined hardware configurations, while people demand that Windows support everything (and it does a surprisingly good job at it too). I've seen BSODs and Kernel panics on everything. It happens. Nothing is perfect.

Since I have my Mac I just became a real fanboy. I don't know how that happened but it's a real phenomenon. But there must be a reason an I think it's because my Mac worked better than my PC. Maybe it's not Windows fault, maybe because of the wrong drivers and the infinite number of manufacturers. What I can say though is that Windows 7 is really really nice, and that's another reason why I love my Mac - the fact that I can run both on the same machine.

It is a shame that you've become a fanboy. It is too bad that the predominant attitude among Mac fanboys is "think like us" rather than "think for yourself".

I hope that I am not unfair, but I just think that average users would have less troubles with OS X. And just a word to Linux: I haven't used it much, but I think that it is really nice and that it is like a Mac, pretty much virus free, if not, even more than that (yeah Macs have viruses too but you know you cannot compare it to viruses available for Windows). You get a lot in Linux just for free. Some people prefer to pay though to get high quality apps. I'm not saying that Linux doesn't have quality apps. What I mean is that you might want to motivate and pay someone in order to get out more of it. Installing apps could be a pain though. Not what the world wants (you know, that think called Shell or Terminal or whatever).

No. My last job was dealing with average users. You underestimate the capabilities of a truly determined idiot. Neither Windows, nor Linux, nor OS X provide a silver bullet that protects the computer from the user.

What's really unfair though, is that some people compare i.e. the UI's. Aero ind Windows or that gray in Mac OS X. Some people like that and some don't. What nobody likes is trouble, like the driver problems I mentioned above, or viruses.

Drivers and viruses are not typically a problem, but some people like to pretend that they are somehow always there. The real deal is that most computers aren't perpetually being bombarded by viruses - most infections are brought on by the user.

Malakina said,
Windows users just hate Macs because I think that many of them haven't used OS X much.


What a condescending assumption... I can't see your point of view even though I have used Macs. Odd isn't it?

But I am happy because I know other Mac users who still can think rationally.

Relativity_17 said,
Over the last three and a half years, I've spent a considerable time on Macs. I presided over upgrading my school's labs to Leopard as soon as we got ahold of it. I did lab maintenance, and software deployment, as well as user support, so I was (and still am) damn well familiar with the applications as well as terminal commands. At times, I was using "my" Leopard machine at work more often than my own Vista laptop, and I even transferred some of my music to it, so it was like a second personal machine, though I didn't technically own it. I'll even admit that I'm more familiar with the guts of Leopard than I am with Vista. Still, I consider Windows my primary "home" OS, because I like it more.

I said that MANY Windows users have not used OS X much. I did not say that everyone is like that. Of course there are people who have used both but like Windows more. I'm not saying that it is impossible.

My experience setting up various distributions of Linux helped make me far more comfortable using Terminal to interact with OS X, and in many ways, the command line in Linux is far more powerful and simple to use. To address your earlier issues, I don't touch the registry, and I don't scrub it with random programs that I download from the internet. My Windows machines (XP and Vista/Ubuntu/7) take care of themselves. I also don't get viruses, because I stay up to date, and try my best to be vigilant against them. The last thing I got was a trojan injected into Neowin's main page. AV automatically shredded the file, and that was it. Drivers haven't been a huge deal thanks to Windows/Microsoft Update, which can scan your computer and offer up appropriate drivers to download and install. This is a consequence of choice - OS X supports a relatively small number of well-defined hardware configurations, while people demand that Windows support everything (and it does a surprisingly good job at it too). I've seen BSODs and Kernel panics on everything. It happens. Nothing is perfect.

No. My last job was dealing with average users. You underestimate the capabilities of a truly determined idiot. Neither Windows, nor Linux, nor OS X provide a silver bullet that protects the computer from the user.

I know my Mac isn't perfect either. I had a problem once after an update where I could not get to the login screen. Took a while to fix that. Some people are aware of what they are doing, some don't. You do. My dad has no clue what Ubuntu is or what it is doing on our desktop PC. My mom has no idea what that update is. I mean those people who really don't know much about computers. And I just think that that is the average person. No, my parents are not new to computers. They use it everyday. I know that my parents don't represent the rest of the world. But they are surely part of it. And I think I'm too. Friends in my age ask once in a while to reinstall Windows, or how the f*** they can get the sound working and stuff like that. I know, not everyone has those problems. They don't ask those kinds of things everyday but they ask like one or twice a year. They screw up form time to time and it's they fault, not Window's. But I think it's easier to screw up in Windows than you do on OS X.
I had, as I mentioned before, BSODs on three of new purchased laptops before. I just got one last weekend in Windows 7. I still love Windows 7 though, don't get me wrong.

It is a shame that you've become a fanboy. It is too bad that the predominant attitude among Mac fanboys is "think like us" rather than "think for yourself".

Yeah I admit that I want to make everyone else think that OS X is better. It is because I just think that they are better left off with a Mac rather than a PC. People care for each other, you know. I don't want to keep that little secret for myself, I want to share what I've found. Everyone knows Windows. But only a little number of people know what OS X is (outside of the US and maybe the UK). I don't want to act like as nothing happened and just pull out my Mac right next to their laptop. They will ask why I own that thing. And I tell them why.

Drivers and viruses are not typically a problem, but some people like to pretend that they are somehow always there. The real deal is that most computers aren't perpetually being bombarded by viruses - most infections are brought on by the user.

Drivers might not always be a problem. When I get the right drivers than everything works fine most of the time. I just had those stupid BSODs quite often and cannot seem to forget them.
Viruses are one the main reasons why I don't use Windows much. It IS the users fault, but they always seem to get them.

And yeah. I was talking about an average user. You seem to be one who knows a little bit more. But thanks for taking your time (: You do mention some real reasons and not things like "you can't play games on a mac".

resol612 said,
What a condescending assumption... I can't see your point of view even though I have used Macs. Odd isn't it?

But I am happy because I know other Mac users who still can think rationally.

Again, I said MANY. I did not say that no Windows user has ever used Macs.



Now for all the fuzz its interesting to see how many applications the user at the second bullet point is using:
iTunes, Safari and something i ve never seen before.
I use Windows 7, but if it didnt exist i ll go for Linux, it makes more sense. Changed my mind i ll go for unix

When it comes to windows BSOD stopped appearing because of crashes after XP SP2. The only ones I see now are due to hardware failure that happens rarely. But otherwise there are none. With windows the user needs to be careful with what they do. Split the hard drive in to two partitions, one for data and the other for OS. Perform a clean install, followed by installation of all updates and necessary software and image the system partition and you are all set. Virus or malware strikes ? no problem simply restore the image which takes 5-15 mins and you are back up and running. When it comes to windows you just have to workout a system that is suitable and "it just works". Windows 7 is even smoother than vista and I have enjoyed using it and will upgrade when it comes out.

To take it one step further there is windows steady state that is available from Microsoft for free. This software is simply amazing. It gives the option of saving changes to the system temporarily/permanently or loose them upon reboot making your machine very sturdy towards viruses and malware if you really want to go crazy. So windows has come a long way.

Macs are like the nintendo wii; No hardcore gamer bought it, just your grandma and anyone else who has no clue about gaming.

roadwarrior said,
Yeah, because gaming is the only thing computers are used for, right?


Let me see I run the following:
Outlook
Word
Excel
PowerPoint
Visio
Visual Studio 2008
SQL 2008
IIS 7.5
SharePoint
MagicDisc
MagicIso
Got my (WM 6.5) phone hooked up
In an Active Directory at home with file shares
Running Sun VirtualBox for Virtualisation
Photoshop CS 4

and when i get the time I also enjoy
HAWX
WoW
NFS Undercover and others
tell us what your mac run; iTunes, Safari

Riva said,
Let me see I run the following:
Outlook
Word
Excel
PowerPoint
Visio
Visual Studio 2008
SQL 2008
IIS 7.5
SharePoint
MagicDisc
MagicIso
Got my (WM 6.5) phone hooked up
In an Active Directory at home with file shares
Running Sun VirtualBox for Virtualisation
Photoshop CS 4

and when i get the time I also enjoy
HAWX
WoW
NFS Undercover and others
tell us what your mac run; iTunes, Safari


erm, the mac runs 3/4 or more of those programs/games or equivalents.... If you're going to pick a list of programs the mac doesn't have try more niche windows software next time. ;)

Oh, and at least the Mac can run them ALL within a virtual environment, try doing that (legally) with mac software on your store bought PC.

Riva said,
Let me see I run the following:
Outlook - Mail (Why would i want outlook anyways)
Word (Yep Can Run Word)
Excel (Yep Can Run Excel)
PowerPoint (No but has it's own version 'keynote', and they are compatible with MS Office)
Visio (Ok You got me on that one)
Visual Studio 2008 (Well why would u even want to run a windows programming enviroment on a mac?)
SQL 2008 (We talking MS SQL here or MYSQL)
IIS 7.5 (Again this is a specific Windows service)
SharePoint (Load this onto your network server)
MagicDisc (What does this do anyways)
MagicIso (Disk utility works a treat for this)
Got my (WM 6.5) phone hooked up (Again this is a WINDOWS MEDIA phone, no doubt their is a third party app that will allow this to work)
In an Active Directory at home with file shares (This is highly possible and i have it done)
Running Sun VirtualBox for Virtualisation (Yip this works on mac to)
Photoshop CS 4 (Oh look at that, this works too)

and when i get the time I also enjoy
HAWX (Okay no)
WoW (Yea this works)
NFS Undercover and others
tell us what your mac run; iTunes, Safari


So if you want to come here slagging the mac off when the OP is trying to make a valid point about the windows enviroment from a mac users point of view at least do some research first.

Its high time you mac users just shut the hell up and go play with your "toy". Are you all really so dumb??!! So many of the posts out here say that Windows keeps crashing, my hardware does not work etc. GET THIS IN YOUR THICK HEADS...Windows has to put up with countless hardware and software on the market, whereas every part of your toy is sold by the same company, so obviously, it will work flawlessly (or at least you think it does).

And yes, older versions of Windows used to crash sometimes, but all that is pretty much history (if the person knows how to go about things).

And you never want to accept that your "almighty" OSX also has a lot of flaws. For instance, your operating system makes use of right click menus in a lot of places, and so does almost all 3rd party software, yet why did Apple stick to a 1 button mouse for so long?!

What happens in the event of a failure; OSX just stops responding, with no indication of what has happened whatsoever. What do you do then, restart. If it keeps happening, you call up Apple. The guy comes over and also has no clue what is going on, and proceeds to restore your computer to factory settings!! At least in Windows you get an error message of some sort everytime, and even if you don't know what to do, someone else will.

I could go on and on, but I won't. Nobody says Windows is perfect, because it isn't. But you guys go on ranting about how perfect your stuff is, even though it is quite far from it. The fact remains, most of you mac users are just plain thick headed.

The Guardian said,
Its high time you mac users just shut the hell up and go play with your "toy". Are you all really so dumb??!! So many of the posts out here say that Windows keeps crashing, my hardware does not work etc. GET THIS IN YOUR THICK HEADS...Windows has to put up with countless hardware and software on the market, whereas every part of your toy is sold by the same company, so obviously, it will work flawlessly (or at least you think it does).

And yes, older versions of Windows used to crash sometimes, but all that is pretty much history (if the person knows how to go about things).

And you never want to accept that your "almighty" OSX also has a lot of flaws. For instance, your operating system makes use of right click menus in a lot of places, and so does almost all 3rd party software, yet why did Apple stick to a 1 button mouse for so long?!

What happens in the event of a failure; OSX just stops responding, with no indication of what has happened whatsoever. What do you do then, restart. If it keeps happening, you call up Apple. The guy comes over and also has no clue what is going on, and proceeds to restore your computer to factory settings!! At least in Windows you get an error message of some sort everytime, and even if you don't know what to do, someone else will.

I could go on and on, but I won't. Nobody says Windows is perfect, because it isn't. But you guys go on ranting about how perfect your stuff is, even though it is quite far from it. The fact remains, most of you mac users are just plain thick headed.


"But my wireless router manual doesnt mention a single word about Airport"
hahahaha

The Guardian said,
And you never want to accept that your "almighty" OSX also has a lot of flaws. For instance, your operating system makes use of right click menus in a lot of places, and so does almost all 3rd party software, yet why did Apple stick to a 1 button mouse for so long?!

I thought that 1 button mouse is history? Or do you mean on the MacBooks/MacBok Pros? Sorry for having a multitouch trackpad. As if swiping with 4 fingers isn't enough now.

The Guardian said,
Its high time you mac users just shut the hell up and go play with your "toy". Are you all really so dumb??!! So many of the posts out here say that Windows keeps crashing, my hardware does not work etc. GET THIS IN YOUR THICK HEADS...Windows has to put up with countless hardware and software on the market, whereas every part of your toy is sold by the same company, so obviously, it will work flawlessly (or at least you think it does).

I know MS can't force all PC hardware to be the same, but Apple had the right idea here..


And yes, older versions of Windows used to crash sometimes, but all that is pretty much history (if the person knows how to go about things).

It'll never be history, Software is made by humans, humans have faults, so will software.

And you never want to accept that your "almighty" OSX also has a lot of flaws. For instance, your operating system makes use of right click menus in a lot of places, and so does almost all 3rd party software, yet why did Apple stick to a 1 button mouse for so long?!

Never heard of CTRL+click eh? And the Mighty Mouse has had the option for years now.

What happens in the event of a failure; OSX just stops responding, with no indication of what has happened whatsoever. What do you do then, restart. If it keeps happening, you call up Apple. The guy comes over and also has no clue what is going on, and proceeds to restore your computer to factory settings!! At least in Windows you get an error message of some sort everytime, and even if you don't know what to do, someone else will.

Read what I said above about reading the Console, or As someone else said, use verbose mode. If a Genius, or even technician can't figure this out, then they have a problem, and likely shouldn't have their job.

I could go on and on, but I won't. Nobody says Windows is perfect, because it isn't. But you guys go on ranting about how perfect your stuff is, even though it is quite far from it. The fact remains, most of you mac users are just plain thick headed.

I honestly don't hear the majority of mac users claiming OS X is perfect.

Most people are quite thick headed if you ask me.

Riva said,
All mac users advertise macosx as perfect and that is what ****es everyone off


Really?! 100% of them!??

Come on, get a brain. Or stop being a Windows fanboy.

See how low you 've fallen? You have nothing else to say about windows or your glorious mac and now switched to personal insults

yeah lets face facts here, if you're still having trouble getting windows to work properly or haven't figured things out since say 'theh year 2000!', you should be using a Mac, or Linux, i'm not trolling, thats how i feel... its why i threw my mother on the ubuntu bandwagon without telling her the admin password :P

meanwhile, i'll continue to use vista until 7 becomes available, you know Microsoft's slogan really does ring true in most instances, life without walls... the rest? put them in a box where they can't break things, usually, i'm sure many have found a way lol

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