What a Mac user likes (and dislikes) about Windows #1

What a Mac user likes (and dislikes) about Windows #1

I’ve started using Microsoft Windows recently and if know me as a Mac user, you know that’s somewhat of a shock to the system. Oh, I’m not one of those Mac bigots who thinks that Windows or Microsoft are evil or who thinks they are horrible and unworthy of ever being used by anyone anywhere.

I simply prefer Apple computers and OS X. I think they are superior hardware and software that are reliable and easy to use and very powerful. I can do things with OS X that perhaps might be possible on Windows, but would take me a long time to figure out.

That said, I’ve found some things about Windows in the past few months that I like and a few things I dislike. (I will reserve my comments to Windows 2000 and XP, which are the only two Windows versions I’m familiar with; I have not yet used Vista.)

One thing I like about Windows that I wish were true in OS X is the speed with which applications open. If I receive a Word document in an email on Windows and click to open it, the program starts and the document opens in seconds. The same for other programs. They just pop open.

On OS X, it’s a lot slower. Now I will readily admit that part of the problem may be that I have tricked out my Mac with all kinds of utilities and enhancements that may be slowing things down, but even a fresh-out-of-the-box Mac is slower than any of the Dells I’ve used, including Melanie’s three-year-old Dell laptop.

Of course, there’s plenty to dislike about Windows. Configuring anything, especially hardware, is needlessly difficult and arcane. There is no consistency among programs. The first thing I have to install on a new Windows installation is anti-adware, anti-virus, anti-whatever software. Well, you know I could go on: Mac users’ complaints about Windows are well known.

I just wanted to note one positive thing I’d experienced.

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  • I don’t know. It’s not just Office programs. Acrobat is the same way. And Pages opens itself quickly but the file takes a while (admittedly because the one I’m working on now has a lot of photos). Maybe Pages ‘08 fixes that. (Woohoo! New software versions!)

  • The reason Microsoft Office opens quickly in Windows is because MS loads it at (really just after) system startup, so it sits there taking up huge amounts of ram, waiting for you to open a document.

    And I disagree, Microsoft is evil.

  • I use a Mac running 10.3.9 at work and an HP running WinXP at home.  Sometimes it’s just the simple little things that make me like the Mac, such as the “windowshade” effect so that when you minimize a window on the screen, it “rolls” up like a windowshade, leaving just the title bar.  I could have 20 different windows all drawn up like that and know exactly what and where everything is.  On a PC, all I get is a bunch of unreadable buttons in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen.

    Stopping an operation on a Mac, though, is (for me) practically non-existent.  The “command-period” keystroke to stop an operation never works.  I always have to resort to Command Option Escape to end the program in question.

    Plus, given that my iMac can’t be upgraded to 10.4, I’m stuck with pre 2.0 version of Safari and an old version of Firefox.  Let’s just say “I have issues” with both browsers in this current config.

    One thing you DO learn very quickly (and the hard way) is not to confuse the Cut and Paste commands of both systems.  You soon realize that you can cut, but you cannot paste… and what you cut is GONE (many “Argh!” moments before I finally learned that lesson).

  • Dom,

    I understand… As a guy who works in IT and works with both systems there are reasons for the opening problems:

    1)  Acrobat – Adobe still hasn’t gotten its head around code optimization – Preview (which opens PDFs) opens pretty dang quick.

    2) Microsoft – Word, Excel and Powerpoint have become bloated i.e. too many features that way too many people don’t use.  Now if they were to reprogram Word, Powerpoint and Excel to be more modular i.e. you can remove some things that you don’t need then It would be better.

    Finally Microsoft owns the OS and the productivity suite, it is well know that they have special undocumented APIs that allow their software to have a better integration with the OS.  The Commerce Department has made them “open” up the APIs but there are still complaints out there that MS hasn’t shared everything. 

    Finally all software companies get into the rut of programming for the hardware and sofware that is out there i.e. the Dual Core Intel processors 2+ gb of Ram, and Large Hard drives.

    Also if you are using an Intel Mac, once office 2008 ships it will be native so you will see an improvement.  I am currently using 2004 on a MacPro system so I am hampered by Rossetta emmulation for the PPC code.

  • Yes, I’m on an Intel Mac and yes, I’m looking forward to Office 2008. You’re right about the OS integration. iWork and iLife are also pretty snappy. Didn’t know about the preloading of modules in Windows. In a way, I wish I could have that as an option on the Mac. If I’m in and out of the programs enough, I wouldn’t mind the system load.

  • An IT guy told me back in the 1980s that, in general, things that work well in Mac are awkward and clunky in Windows and vice versa.

    The saddest thing for me about Windows and Mac is the DOS guys like me have been abandoned.

    By far the best word processing program (as opposed to a graphics program which is what Word is) is XyWrite. In its day (the 1980s) XyWrite was routinely hailed as the best program out there and was (and still is, last time I checked) used by the major newspapers sich as the NY Times, WSJ, etc.

    Anyway, the think that amazes me is how much memory is needed for these program.

    XyWrite opens in a few seconds, and after that, one can open and close files instantly. It’s command driven, and no mouse is needed.

    Imagine doing every single thing you need to write a long article without once taking your hand off the keyboard.  The whole mouse thing is absurd to DOS people.

  • “And what’s with these remote controls for TVs? In my day you walked uphill—both ways—to change the channel… and we liked it!”

    “You lucky bloke! We didn’t even have a TV. We had to act out all of our visual entertainment, including all the stunts and explosions!”

    Sorry Jay, couldn’t resist. grin