Convert me from Windows

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by daniel.ord, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. daniel.ord macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2007

    Now there are probably lots of topics about this, but they often end in dribble :)

    My laptops is due for an update, and I've been pondering a Mac. I'm a long time Windows-user, and I'm fairly well educated in that world. I work in media and use XP, Vista and Ubuntu - and I can find advantages in all of them.

    Can some of the other converts in here maybe tell me what made them switch, what they likes about OS X compared to Windows, what they didn't?

    You know, actual thought through non-fanboy advice. There must be something worth it about those Mac-things, since they seem to be gathering momentum again. Plus, that way I'd have been through them all, and could honestly say which I found to be superior.

    Thanks for any replies,

  2. a456 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2005
    The thing that made me switch in the first place was really iTunes and the way CDs could be imported and burned while windows only had the very restricted Windows Media Player, able to play .wav but not convert to other formats or burn CDs. And although iTunes is now available for free on Windows, it really speaks volumes about the Mac experience - it is all about programs being able to offer you as much flexibility as possible without continually having to buy extra software or download more and more. For example, you can create .zip files direct from the Finder without WinZip or Stuff-It.

    Two other things that I find really useful on a day-to-day basis are: (1) the drag and drop functionality that far surpasses Windows, e.g. drag text or images from one program to another or drag a file to the email icon and immediately an email will be created with the attachment; (2) spotlight instant search available in every program so that when you go to save a Word or Adobe document you can search for the folder you want to put it in.

    I could mention many other things, e.g. build quality, resale value, etc. But
    the main thing is that Apple seems to have a vision of where they are going and how to make things better for the user in a real world environment by for example making machines smaller - laptops that can actually be carried in rucksacks and are rugged enough to survive years of being treated in this way (as mine did and still does) and being occasionally dropped from a height onto concrete pavements (as mine also did). They make machines for the demands of the software they will be running not to have the best numbers in newspaper ads - how often have you seen a cheap Core 2 Duo only to find in has a weedy 1.6 Ghz or whatever and is simply thrown in for its name.

    Other plus points are that OS upgrades are cheaper than MS, and so the list goes on and on. Add to this how many committed open source and shareware programmers out there that will help you out when MS provides obstacles to compatibility and using a Mac will give you the feeling of being part of a straight talking community that will willingly give assistance in the many forums that exist.
  3. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    I am a windows and osx user. I use windows on my main machine but love OSX on my laptop. I find OSX to be much better designed for laptops that windows (IMHO).

    1. The battery life on Mac laptops is great for the price. You have to go to the upper echelons of PC laptops to get the same battery life or better.

    OSX is also very good at managing battery life, better than XP and Vista.

    2. They are designed brilliantly, and i don't mean "OMG it's aluminium", with nice smooth edges which make them easy to hold and comfortable on your lap. There are no sharp edges to digg [sic] into your legs (MB palm rest excluded).

    They also feel great to hold and use

    3. They come with great hardware as standard. I love having Firewire, built in camera, built in remote sensor and remote (for music or video with an external screen). If you go Pro then you get a brilliant back lit keyboard and ambient light sensor.

    4. Great keyboard and excellent big trackpad makes working on them a breeze compared to similar windows based laptops with small track pads and cheap keyboards. I know you can buy a lot of laptops these days with good keyboards however very few come with a nice sized trackpad. You'll find other laptops trackpads very constraining after using a MB or MBP.

    5. OSX is a very good operating system. It takes a while to get used to the differences but there are some things you will really miss when you go back to windows, such as:

    a. Exposé
    b. Drag and drop everywhere
    c. Spring loaded folders
    d. Spotlight (which is a lot faster than the search in Vista)

    I could keep going but hopefully those are some (slightly biased) reasons why mac laptops are worth it.

    Some of your points are good and valid but some aren't.

    Windows media player has been capable of encoding MP3's and burning CD's for a very long time. Also windows itself has a lot of excellent third party music player software which leaves Windows media player and iTunes in the dust.

    Also you can easily create and open zip files in windows without extra software from at least ME/2000 on.

    Apple upgrades are cheaper per upgrade but come out far more often than windows upgrades so this is not really a valid point.

    Also Apple provides obstacles to other companies with their own special file types and storage. This isn't a windows only problem although they have been called out on this in the past.
  4. saltyzoo macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2007
    I just switched about 3 months ago after using PC's since the IBM XT. Here are my main joys in using the mac laptop:

    1. Better battery life
    2. Though hot, it's still cooler than a high powered PC laptop and it only gets hot when it's actually doing something intense. The power management actually works.
    3. Though much more expensive, it has every hardware feature I've had in the past plus dozens I haven't. The only thing it doesn't have that I miss is a built in compact flash reader.
    4. It's lighter and thinner by miles. Looking at PC laptops now I just go into a fit of maniacal laughter that someone would put one of those on their lap. This one seems like a minor thing, but it really isn't.
    5. Boot time is at least 10 x faster. Waking from a sleep is instant. Rebooting is so much faster. I used to do anything to avoid a boot on my PC laptop. I rarely have to boot the mac, but when I do, I'm functional again within seconds instead of minutes.
    6. I do a lot of photoshop work. With the PC, it would struggle working with large files (over 30 meg). Saving a file would take 30-40 seconds sometimes longer with bigger files. I had to be very careful about my workflow to avoid long lasting tasks. With the mac (same amount of RAM BTW) my workflow is natural and I don't bother worrying about "laggy" tasks. At worst I'll have to wait a few seconds for something major.
    7. It just works. I know, it's cliche, but it's true. The biggest difference for me is that I just don't even think about the machine anymore. I just do what I want with it without thinking about it.

    There is a lot more, but those are the ones that pop out of my head easily.
  5. Nym macrumors 6502a


    Oct 4, 2006
    Porto, Portugal
    What kind of stuff do you use your current laptop to?
    If it doesn't involve specific applications I have no other advice to you than to "Get a Mac!".

    The hardware has never failed me, the software bundled is the best around (IMO), the OS is stable, secure and hassle free with some nifty features that, after you use them for a while, you wonder how you ever worked on a computer without having them. (Exposé, Spring Loaded Folders, QuickLook, Spaces, Active Screen Corners, etc etc...)

    My point is, I work in a Windows XP PC from 9AM to 6PM and I can tell you that, everytime I get home, it is literally a relief to come back to OSX, theres just no match in visual presentation, ease of use and features.

    The thing is, It's not that you can't do the same stuff on Windows (you probably can), it's a matter of how you do it and how long it takes you to do it. Besides, there are a lot of very cool apps for Mac OSX that just aren't available to Windows PC's, I guess that while Mac OSX developers are less in numbers, they compensate with creativity.

    And if you can tell me what kind of work you do on your laptop maybe I can even help you further with application suggestions and that kind of stuff.

    Anyway, whatever your decision, choose what's right for you.

    Just a tip, go to and see the OS for yourself :)
  6. NickFalk macrumors 6502


    Jun 9, 2004
    Admittedly I'm something of a fan-boy although not a fanatic hail-all-things-apple one. I made the switch some 7 years ago, as at the time it was close to impossible to get a Windows-machine to do video-editing even if you were willing to pay the price. (Believe me I tried).

    I still use Windows everyday in day-job and as such probably spend more hours in Windows than in OSX. I would say that I by know my knowledge about the two OS'es is about the same. There are a lot of small things that make me prefer OSX but simply put I find that I do things faster when working in OSX.

    I know this is probably not the detailed explanation of every single advantage/disadvantage you would prefer, but it's my honest opinion and a lot of the Mac-experience have to be uh… experienced. I could probably sit down over a cup of Coffee an discuss this with you for several hours, so if you're ever in Oslo give me a call. ;)
  7. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    Daniel, these "Which is better?" arguments have been going on since people were fighting over whether the Z80 was better than the 8080. No one wins these fights. They just move on to fight about something else. There are many reasons people have switched (and many threads). Ultimately, they are all personal.

    My feeling is that you should switch because you are curious, learning new things is good, and you know you will be able to do everything you do now. As an accomplished Windows user, you may find David Pogue's Switching to the Mac helpful. Don't buy anything until after Macworld on the 15th. Don't buy RAM from Apple ever. Best wishes.
  8. daniel.ord thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2007
    Thanks for all the quick replies, they are all helpful.

    I probably will end up getting a Mac and then discover how things work for me. It's just nice to hear what struck other people when the switched. I can always just slap XP on it, if I get desperate. I'll probably end up having both on it anyway.

    The laptop only gets used on the go, so mainly Office-apps, Dreamweaver, Flash, light Photoshop, that kind of thing, run of the mill. Of course I also watch movies during transport (I'm not that much of a work horse, thank god ;) ). Most of those things are the same in OS X anyway - I'm not all that worried about missing programs / apps (though I am awfully partial towards GrabIt as a newsreader, don't think that works natively).

    Oh, and hallelujah with regards to the battery time! My current machine conks out at 3 hours max, with all powersaving tricks going. Plus it has vents underneath, which is just plain stupid.

    Edit: Oh, and I obviously use all kinds of small apps, that I won't know I'm missing 'till I can't use them ... ;-)
  9. Play Ultimate macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2005
    This may not be an issue since there are many small apps available on the Mac; software to provide a function is often not an issue. However, using specific software can be an issue.

    BTW, I switched 14 years ago. The reason I switched was my teacher wife wanted to use the same computer at home that she had at school. For most people switching comes down to personal preference since both Macs and PCs can get the job done. I just find working on a Mac is easier/simpler.
  10. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    I make my living with Windows, but use Macs for just about everything (including admin work on the Windows network I manage, wherever possible).

    I can point at lots of little reasons why I stick with Macs; I can talk about security, stability etc, but at the end of the day it simply comes down to the fact that I like the way the user interface works. Every time I sit down at a Windows box, it seems like a badly thought-out mess - there's no real consistency to the GUI and things get moved around from one Windows version to the next for no good reason.

    YMMV, of course - certainly, I can be productive on either platform (I've used them both since the very early days), but I seem to get more done with my Macs...
  11. Orng macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2007
    Saying "no fanboy stuff" isn't a good way to start, some people consider "Fanboy" to be a kind of childish insult.

    I've been called it a few times, but truth is, I made my choice based on experience with a range of machines. I switched from Windows 98, but at work i regularly use 6 machines running Tiger, Panther, Win XP, Win NT, and Win 2000. (There will be no Leopard or Vista here for at least another year.)

    So I consider my OS preference to be based on more-than-fair comparison between systems. At home, i choose Mac. At work, I am constantly reminded WHY I prefer Mac. I don't dislike the Windows machines (though I do hate PowerPoint) They do what they do well, or I wouldn't use them at all. But when it comes down to it, I am much more at home in the Mac environment. I can relax and feel creative and happy. Could be in my head, but when I'm on Windows, I'm thinking too much about Windows.

    There's other stuff, iLife is pretty awesome; no viruses; welcoming user interface; but people have probably already listed most of that stuff, so I won't get into it. Don't buy into the "It Just Works" thing too much, there are ways you can crash or hang up a Mac... although you do have to work a lot harder at it. You'll still be a lot happier than you were if crashes and hangs and instability were an issue for you.

    Don't buy till after Macworld (next week)
  12. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    UNIX. In my previous 2 jobs I've used both Linux and AIX. I learnt to use vi. I can comfortably write bash scripts, and as long as I use a UNIX based OS, everything works as I'd expect it to. My Mac is no exception.

    Windows began to irritate me. Stuff such as:

    - product activation
    - WGA
    - windows updates, having a stupid dialog box constantly stealing focus just to ask you if you want to reboot. This usually happens when you're playing a game or watching a movie. Or even better, you're downloading something overnight, and wake up to find your machine had rebooted. For me this was the straw that broke the camel's back. It was point when user control was lost.
    - annoying balloon tips that popup with useless info
    - explorer grinding to a halt whenever a cd is inserted
    - usb disks mounting themselves on letters that have been assigned to network shares
    - drives being assigned stupid alphabetical mount points
    - a general (and deliberate) lack of compatibility with Linux
    - I can't ssh into a Windows machine (natively and directly)
    - crappy support for UTF-8 (XP and below)
    - MS screwed up the Romanian alphabet. (XP and below). Watching Romanian TV is a constant reminder to me of the incompetence of MS.
    - can't compile unix apps
    - having to re-install Windows every once in a while due to the registry filling up with junk and slowing the OS down
    - the registry, makes migrating apps and setting a complete nightmare
    - the registry, again, just the thought that just a little bit of corruption could render my system inoperable
    - the principal of handing money over to a company whose ethics I don't agree with
    - the amount of clicks it takes to get rid of the stupid dog, and get the search functionality into advanced mode

    For the majority of Windows users, there's probably nothing on my list that would bother them, and if they don't have a list of their own, then it's probably best not to switch.
  13. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    I bought a new Dell with Vista recently (got it for half the retail price, don't hurt me :) ) and it never bugs me with product activation. MS have really made it simple on Dell machines. All you need is a cert and a code and you don't even need to go online to activate windows! This is all automatically installed if you install from a Dell Vista install disk so the user never even notices it.

    BTW this goes for nearly all new Vista systems from big companies like Dell, IBM, HP, Gateway, etc.

    Still though i feel your pain. I really love that OSX doesn't need any activation nor do most of the standard programs that come with it.

    However i wish that the third party companies would follow apples lead. A lot of them have more stringent activation than most similar programs on windows (which usually have free alternatives that OSX doesn't)
  14. jamesarm97 macrumors 65816

    Sep 29, 2006
    All I have to say is since I switched I have not looked back. My windows xp computer in the bedroom stays turned off. Have a Mac mini for the wife / kids and I use the Macbook Pro. I have gotten to the point where I like it so much and it is easier / faster to use for all the stuff I do that I take it to work and hook it up to the extra DVI port on my monitor and use it mainly. I have the small alum keyboard and mighty mouse to use on the desk. I do Coreldraw / Photoshop and programming / IT admin. My boss just emailed me this weekend and called me yesterday to see if I got the message. Something about a free PDF creator called cutePDF, all I could think about was, get a Mac. PDF works out of the box. No need to install anything.

    I also like how when I am at home and click Print it knows to just default to my Epson printer connected to the Airport Extreme and when I go to work it sees the Brother network printer and makes that my default printer.

    For anything else I cannot use OS X for (freescale microprocessor programming) I just use VMware.

    - James
  15. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    Well, my irritation comes from having to speak to someone in India and tell them how many machines I've installed XP on, and have them read me a bunch of numbers, just because I had to re-install due to a motherboard/cpu upgrade.

    It's just a bunch of BS I can easily do without.
  16. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    Well you'll never have that problem on a Mac because, well, you can't upgrade the motherboard :D
  17. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    Nor would I have that problem on Linux or FreeBSD.
  18. crazycat macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2005
    There are a lot of things that i like about my mac, you can check out what are the 15 reasons why Apple thinks you should get a mac.

    Here is my list, in no order.

    1- OS X, the operating system is great, i can get things done much faster then on windows.

    2- Virus, there are none. I do not update a virus software daily.

    3- Ease of use. Deleting an application is just as simple as dragging it to the bin. Burning a cd is as easy as dragging the files to the cd then clicking burn.

    4- Its an amazing media hub with itunes, ilife and DVD ripping.

    5- Great community, you will find lots of great places to learn more about your mac such as here.

    6- Everything works with each other. After using an iPod for a few years i tried the zune but could not get the damn thing to work. I had lots of problems with buying music. Everything that has an apple logo will work great.

    7- No more windows problems. I spend all my time except for gaming on my mac. Even thou i spend much more time on my mac i spend more time fixing stuff on my windows machine.

    8- Better usability. One example i will give is when i change from my home network to my work network to a coffee shop network. With my mac i just pick a location and boom it works, with my windows machine i have to retype the ip every time.

    There are many more here but with bootcamp, parallels and VMWare i dont see a reason to buy a windows machine unless you are a big gamer.
  19. snickelfritz macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2003
    Tucson AZ
    For me, Windows 98 was a deal-breaker, and the decision to buy a Mac back in '97 was not so much a choice, but was necessary for the work I do.

    The problems I've noticed with WinXP Pro:
    • The inability of the system to natively handle basic DTP files.
      This is frustrating; the only files I can send to my clients are jpeg and pdf.
      And even a format as ubiquitous as pdf requires that they install Adobe Reader. This is just stupid.
    • No native print to PDF function.
      All applications that have a print command in OSX can make a PDF.
    • GUI is very poorly designed; why does every window need a complete menubar at the top?
      I have better uses for my screen real estate.
      This is just the tip of an iceberg.
    • Hardware drivers and software updates often invoke the moronic and intrusive Windows PNP notifications.
    • Viruses and malware are issues that must be managed by the user.
    • No easy way to create automated functions and batch processing.
      OSX can record your actions and save them as a workflow.
      It's very similar to Photoshop Actions.
    • Color management is very poorly implemented.
      Calibrating the display for good color accuracy is difficult or impossible
      without third-party software/hardware.
      Apple is very centric to color management and graphics workflows.
    • Disks and volumes do not mount to the desktop.
      Why should I have to open a window in order to see mounted volumes?
    • Font compatibility issues; older Mac fonts cannot be installed.
      This is a limiting factor in file exchange, that does not exist on the Mac.
    • No Smart Folders
      (saved searches that group files together without he need to create an actual physical folder hierarchy.)
    • GUI has not been improved since Win98.
      WinXP looks like Fisher-Price designed it, and the overall system is unpolished and replete with organizational/complexity issues.
    • 32bit system has significant memory limitations. 64bit Windows is not a viable option for most users.
    • WinXP bundled software and utilities are not competitive with Mac.
    • Final Cut Studio not available for Windows. (this alone should be a deciding factor for video enthusiasts)
    • Windows can be installed on a Mac if necessary, but OSX cannot be installed on a PC.
      This basically means there is more software for the Mac than for PC.
    • There are literally dozens or even hundreds of subtle but very useful functions and UI paradigms in OSX that are completely absent from WinXP.
      Things like global dictionary, global spell-check, global grammar-check, extremely simple and logical optical disk burning, flexible and powerful file browser (Finder), etc... the list goes on.

    IMO, the decision to choose Mac for media authoring or DTP is fairly obvious.
    If you're a hard-core gamer, the choice is not so clear-cut.
    Macs are simply not as flexible (in terms of hardware) as Windows PCs for serious gamers.
    (although my iMac significantly outperforms my gaming PC in terms of raw framerate.)
  20. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    I'm sure you can think of dozens of reasons to escape from Windows, I know I can.
  21. daniel.ord thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2007
    Thanks again for the answers. And I mean no offence with the fanboy-thing, though I do mean it as a not-so-positive thing. Meant that I would like real reasons, not just "because windows suck boo yay mac" -> that would be the fanboy respons;). Saying it's better, just because. You get Windows fanboys too ;)

    Oh, and why haven't Apple made a Media Center yet? Something tells me they would just get that very right.
  22. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Well, I switched for the quoted reason alone. You don't see Windows fanboys, or even Linux geeks fanboys all that often. Even if OS X sucked, I wanted to see why there's a huge fanboy community, and what messed up disease they have.:p

    I switched with a PPC G4 Mini about 3 years ago, and right now it serves as my family's main computer, and it's still running the original OS (no reinstall!)
  23. janstett macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2006
    Chester, NJ
    I've been using Windows forever. Since 3.0. I ran Windows NT 3.1 (1st version).

    But i also used OS/2, Linux, etc., so I like trying different operating systems. I already had a PPC mini to play with, but when they announced the switch to Intel I preordered a Macbook Pro and it's my primary machine.

    I could go through a long list, but I'll sum it up by saying: Every day there's a nice little feature you discover. For example, I'm listening to music on iTunes and then a Skype call comes in. On the PC, I have to find iTunes, pause it, find skype, answer call. On the Mac, as soon as you accept the call iTunes automatically pauses. The first time I noticed that, I was like "Oh ****"!

    You find tons of nice touches like that, the little things, that make Mac OSX fun for me. The built-in optical audio output. The slot loading drive. And I still use XP, Vista, and Linux on a daily basis.

    The other thing is you can run Parallels or VMWare and still have your Windows apps at blazing speed.
  24. GoKyu macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Orleans
    I had been a PC guy since '91 (DOS days through WinXP Pro where I am today), Linux since '92 or '93, and never owned a Mac of my own (my brother had a Mac Plus back in the day) ..... until today.

    I just bought my first Mac (Mac Pro, 2x2.8ghz) and here are a few reasons:

    1. I'm just tired of windows and the way it works. Admittedly, XP is probably the best win OS I've run so far (forget Vista!), but that doesn't mean much in the overall OS experience.

    2. You're always having to run antivirus/antispyware software. Not only is it a pain that windows is so vulnerable, but also that you have to waste CPU cycles to keep this stuff running. On a Mac, there aren't viruses and spyware (99.9%), and if it does happen eventually, you have to enter your password before installing software on the computer (allowing you to catch any unauthorized software installs.)

    3. Thanks to Mac OS X's UNIX underpinnings, you have rock solid stability, security, and even greater power under the hood (through the Terminal app.) It's also much more efficient with memory usage than Windows will probably ever be (unless MS decides to... *gasp* ... rewrite windows with UNIX at its core as well...) The journaling filesystem is also a plus and doesn't require defragging like NTFS does.

    4. If you absolutely need Windows for some reason, the current Intel Macs will let you install windows on a separate partition through Bootcamp, or you can get VMWare or Parallels and run it through a virtual window directly in OS X.

    To me, getting away from all the hassles Windows provides is MORE than enough reason to have purchased my Mac today. I can't wait!

    My current PC will become a full-time Linux need to get rid of a perfectly good box ;)

  25. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    They do, it's called the Apple TV, and while it works with your computer and tv rather than as a computer, it is really great. It hasn't gotten that much hype yet and kind of flies under the radar, but I think it is fantastic.

    Things I use my Apple TV for:

    I have it networked with my router and iMac. I sync some data from my iTunes and also stream from my iTunes anything else I want.

    It is great for listening to music - with a fantastic slide show scrolling thing that totally mesmorizes my wife or just about anyone else watching.

    We also use it to watch Youtube videos.

    We watch movie trailers straight off the web.

    We watch movies synced or streamed (on a g not even n router with no hiccups) that I have either bought from iTunes or Handbraked from my DVDs (great if you have kids - no more scratched DVDs).

    We watch photo slideshows (fullscreen on our 42" DLP)

    I'm sure I'm leaving something out. We do all this with the iMac in the office and the TV in another room. And it works with a PC running iTunes as well so sometimes we stream slideshows of photos off my wife's work laptop.

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