Going Rogue: The Switch to Windows

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rdhlaw, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. rdhlaw, Jul 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014

    rdhlaw macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2014
    This is going to be my first post on this forum so I might as well make it count. Specifically, I need some good advice that takes into account the situation I am in. First and foremost, I truly appreciate all Apple products, however lately I have been asking myself whether the switch from a Macbook Pro (late 2009 mode, old I know), that I have set up basically as a desktop, to a Windows desktop computer is worth it. So, I'll lay out the situation and see what everyone thinks.

    First off, and probably most significant, is the fact that I am currently in law school. It did not take me long to realize that my tradition of handwriting notes was not going to cut it, so I decided to buy a cheap (and I mean cheap) Windows laptop that would serve simply as a note-taking computer. I purchased a $250 Asus laptop that only sees action when I am taking notes in MS Word.

    Recently I updated the MS Word on the Macbook Pro to Word for Mac 2011 as part of the Office 365 package that came with the Asus. I have noticed that I cannot get the format I need for documents in Word for Mac. Double spacing seems to be 2.5 spacing, and single spacing appeared more than single but less than 1.5. So, I went through the routine of checking the line spacing options (0 Before/After Paragraph, Don't add extra space between ¶'s of the same style, you name it...I tried it).

    I resorted to the next best thing. Trial and error. I ended up being able to save the document to Dropbox, open it on the Windows computer, open a blank doc on Windows, type some random words with the formatting I needed (double spaced text, single spaced footnotes), and then copy the entire doc from Dropbox, then after pasting into the blank file and getting the format I needed, I saved it again to Dropbox under a different name, opened it on the Macbook Pro in Word, and wa-la...it was there formatted exactly as I needed it to be. Hopefully you can see what a pain this was to figure out.

    Second, I know that I will not be using a Mac where ever I may be working. It took me a solid 2 weeks to learn the in's and out's of the Windows laptop I used for class. My point is, I would benefit in making the switch to an entirely Windows 8.1 world. In addition, my Macbook Pro is currently showing its age. From overheating after the Mavericks update (fixed with an SMC reset...twice), to not always recognizing the HDMI-Mini DP cord when connected to the monitor; I simply don't know how much longer my baby is going to hold out. Right now I am honestly terrified to try to open the Macbook for fear that the connection to the monitor will never be recognized again.

    What I am asking is this: Would you make the jump in to a Windows world? I would prefer not to spend the $599 for the Mac Mini much less the $1299 for a new Macbook Pro, only to have the same issues concerning Word and unfamiliarity with Windows in general. Also, because I have only been a Mac user I have no idea about the difference in processors with Windows desktops (Intel Core i3, AMD A4, etc.). All I know is that I can get a Dell Inspiron Desktop with 8gb of memory and a 1TB hard drive for around $450.

    Any advice would be helpful and thanks in advance for reading this long post.
  2. Striker-UMB macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2010
    The windows world is fine and Windows 8.1 is a good operating system, I prefer Mac OS X, but I still use my Windows desktop everyday. People bash Windows 8 because it seems to be the cool thing to do these days. Windows 8.1 is great, I have had no issues with it at all since January. My Windows desktop is an absolute powerhouse, I mainly use it for PC gaming. I built it myself this passed January. Honestly if you are even a little tech savvy I would recommend building the Computer yourself. It's really fun and you get to hand pick all the components yourself and there are always tons of sales. Building a computer is not as scary as it sounds, it is actually really straight forward. The tower/case will have all the ports for you to place your motherboard, PSU (power supply), fans but pretty much every case comes with a few fans already installed. Then it's connecting everything to your motherboard from there. The only real tricky part is the wiring/cable management. But you can take your computer to a computer shop and they will do that for like $40 if you really get stuck, but it is so straight forward. YouTube has tons of video's on how to build a computer, that's what I used and it was my first build ever.

    Everything work,school, leisure etc runs on Windows so you can never go wrong with a windows desktop. Plus it is way cheaper to buy/build a windows desktop so its up to you in the end, but I would do it if I were you. It sounds like it would benefit you a lot more than a Mac would anyway.
  3. rdhlaw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2014
    Although I completely agree that it would be great to build a machine specific to me, 1) I am not that tech savvy and 2) Spare time is a luxury I simply do not have anymore.

    Basically, I am asking for a little insight in choosing a Windows desktop if I decide to go that route. Things like processors and security software are like trying to understand a foreign language to me since I have never had to exactly worry about them with a Mac. Rather than finding a forum for Windows users, I prefer to hear from Mac user. At least to me, Apple makes their OS and hardware options much simpler in some ways and much more complex in others, with a trend towards the simpler side in the way I use them.
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    A computer is a tool and should be chosen based on similar criteria. For your work, Windows seems the way to go. You can get any of the cheap pre-configured boxes, it will work well for you. I can absolutely understand the lack of time argument — I used to build computers when I was a high school student, but later I just wanted something that works without any hassle for me.
  5. Matthew9559 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    It's definitely understandable that you would want a Windows machine. I went through the same thing in college with papers and huge templates for projects. You just gotta use MS Word on Windows.

    Personally, I used Windows through Bootcamp on my MBP for those classes. So that's an option but since it sounds like your worried about the state of your current laptop.

    I love Windows and 8.1 is fantastic. It definitely takes a little getting used to but it's fun to use a new OS. ;)

    I don't really have any recommendations for a Windows desktop since I've been building my own since high school. I completely understand the notion of not wanting to go through the pain. You can easily end up with dead on arrival parts and firmware issues. I just built a desktop last Thursday for myself and actually ran into both of those issues. It's not the worst but if you don't have the patience for that **** then it's just not worth it.

    I dunno if I helps any but that's my opinion on this. :D
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Windows/PCs are not evil. I use windows, support windows servers and find that MS Office is light years ahead of ahead of Office for the Mac, which is sad, since its from the same company.

    Long story short, you use the tool that best fits your needs, not what logo is on the back of the computer.
  7. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    Yes, this. I went with an Apple laptop this time around after years of Windows systems because it fit my needs. Nothing against windows or Microsoft. They make some good stuff too.
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Yep, I use OS X for a lot of my needs, and then switch over to windows for others. For my image editing, and processing (was using Aperture now LR), I'm in OS X. For MS office and work stuff, its windows.

    I rather like windows 8.1, MS has done a good job at tightening up the OS and with some utilities, I completely avoid the Metro UI :)

    I'd much prefer to stay in one OS, but alas, both operating systems have their advantages and disadvantages. I try to use both to the best of their ability.
  9. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    While some law firms use Macs, they are in the minority. Having retired form the corporate world I used Lenovo/IBM laptops and desktops for years. Their business class machines are rock solid. I have a Thinkpad that is over 10 years old, used in less than ideal conditions - outside and stored in a trailer, and still going strong. They cost more but can be worth it if downtime is a problem.

    My experience with Dell has not been favorable. My son had one in college. It died a month before the warranty ran out. They replaced it and the replaced only lasted another 4 to 5 months.

    While I prefer the Apple ecosystem, I still have to run Windows occasionally to maintain some programs I wrote for a non-profit. That's about the only thing I've done on Windows in the past year.
  10. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Not sure why you are going to the trouble of buying a PC. Macs can also run windows via bootcamp. I did it myself during law school, as I needed onenote. By far the cheapest and easiest alternative. Just dedicate at least 80GB to windows, install MS office, and you've got yourself a PC.
  11. wuush macrumors member

    May 4, 2014
    I switched from Windows to Mac recently (6 Months) and i get your points but this is my advice: Stay with Apple, because of the following

    • Battery Life - Try to find a windows laptop that last 12h, i tried its impossible, because OSX Power Managment is just better
    • Bootcamp - you can run Windows on your Mac if you really need it (battery goes to hell but you can do it)
    • Time Machine - Easy Backup Function that you actually use cause it just works!
    • Weight/Design - Macbooks are light and sturdy, the design is also a plus
    • Display Quality - Retina is just awesome and apple doesn't cheap out on the Display
    • Office works on Mac - This should solve your problems
    • Voice Recognition and Text to Speech - I know this can be done on Windows too, but you need to pay for programs and the windows built in feature isn't comparable to apple.
    • Free Updates and OS Upgrades - Free!
    • Keyboard (nicely Backlit) - A Joy to type on
    • Multitouch Trackpad - There is nothing comparable in the Windows World - Nothing

    But in the end those are my arguments not yours.
    Buy the tool that fits you best.

    Of course all of this comes at a different price compared to your 300$ Windows Notebook.
  12. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Not really an opinion either way on Mac vs. Windows... But I wouldn't expect that Dell laptop to last very long. The quality control on those is pretty shoddy. That hard drive won't be quick either.

    Dell has taken a dip in recent years. I'd think about a surface pro as a windows machine right now.
  13. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I wrote my thesis while owning a Mac and was quite annoyed by all the shortcomings of Mac Office. Espcially once you get into bigger documents with references and links going back and forth between Mac and Windows Word is horrible. Word 2013 is worlds better than the Mac version.
    I would go for a Windows machine in your stead. Just because you go Windows shouldn't mean to get cheap crap hardware though. As a law student I would think about something like a Lenovo Yoga hybrid. You will probably read a lot and folded with touch reading is nice. The surface 3 isn't so bad either with the keyboard but the weight distribution on the lap is less optimal imo.
    Good standard notebooks are the Asus zenbook line. Basically a Macbook Air with a retina display.

    Eitherway you make a mistake using dropbox IMO. Skydrive is free as well and much better integrated with MS Office. It works on both OS and you also get the online web office support in nicer form.
    Dropbox was great once and still is neat for just files but for office other offerings are better. I am not sure how much is free on skydrive but it is a couple GB and enough for tons and tons of text documents.
    Office for Mac remains crap though. Office 2011 is still worse than office 2007 on Windows.
    If you stay on OSX switch away from MS Office to something like iWorks or Libreoffice both are much higher quality in their OSX version IMO than MS Office which still doesn't deserve any more than beta status in its 3rd final instance.

    That is not the same thing. You get worse battery life and a much worse track pad than you'd get on a notebook sold with Windows 8.1.
    You can run Windows but the experience is crap. Unless you run Windows only on rare occasions or only while being plugged in with mouse and keyboard stay the hell away from Apple hardware.
  14. qtx43 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2007
    If MS Word compatibility is your only problem, try OpenOffice. MS Word isn't always compatible with itself (as you've found out), sometimes OpenOffice is better than the real thing.
  15. Freyqq, Jul 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014

    Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Trackpad in windows is the same as OSX, just no multitouch. Two finger scrolling works fine. To be honest, it is rare in my experience to find a PC where multitouch works reliably, so the competition is minimal. Scrolling is fast by default, but that is an easy fix in control panel. Battery life is worse, but only if you have a dGPU. Otherwise, it gets within an hour of battery life of OSX.
  16. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    There are better thesis and publishing software than MS Word, which chokes on larger documents and can't really be trusted... unfortunately one must double and triple check everything the MS Office kludge does to your document. MS marketing is wonderful, however. For those customers that insist on word files, we charge extra due to all the extra manual labor involved. Trusted version control, please. Even the ancient wordperfect is better.... and I've had law professors demand nothing but wordperfect input.

    I also do many things while not connected to the internet, not everyones use case, and the MS phone home and update slow downs are incredibly frustrating to deal with. Personally I find it very hard to find anything in a windows 8 eco system... but I'm sure after month of learning I would pick up the tricks.

    Open office is certainly a better cross platform solution. Most everyone serious about research and publishing uses it over the MS products. For those that write a paper every now and again, and some resumes or letters, its fine... but even pages is also fine for that.
  17. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    With law, MS office (PC version) is the standard. Everyone works in it and expects 100% compatibility, so I don't blame the OP for needing MS Office in Windows. It's just that this can be accomplished easily using bootcamp instead of buying a new computer.
  18. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    No multitouch is quite a big thing IMO. I have tried a few trackpads of recent notebooks and they work perfectly well in my experience. Apple only beats them if you include bettertouchtool. Those things have gotten worlds better over the years.
    Also scrolling like in OSX (pixel by pixel in a smooth way) actually works on many windows notebooks and their trackpads. With Apple you only get the choppy emulation of a 3 line jumping scroll wheel which is way to sensitive to be bareable.
    There is absolutely no comparison to decent Windows trackpads.
    Point and tab is the only thing that works well but that is only part of what a big decent trackpad today can do. I probably spend more time scrolling than anything and using gestures is second. I rarely actually click on stuff point and tab style except for formatting. It is less than a third of my total finger on trackpad time.
  19. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    If you set it to 2 lines at a time instead of 3 for scrolling, it is very usable.

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