Little Annoying Thing; Closing windows.

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Tragedies, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. Tragedies macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    I was just wondering if anyone could help me with this. Whenever I close a window in windows, it'll close. On MAC OS X when I press the little red X the program or application doesn't completely close, because there is still a black arrow under it.

    can anyone help me fix this? Is there some sort of option?
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    OSX is designed for multitasking and leaving apps running. If you need to quit an app, it's quicker to just key Cmd-Q, close a window Cmd-W, hide the app Cmd H.

    It's not what you're used to but give it a while and you'll see it makes more sense.
  3. eluk macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2006
    East London, UK
    You need to quit the application.

    Cmd+Q or from the Application drop down menu select Quit.

    Too slow. :(
  4. neonblue2 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 25, 2006
    Port Pirie, South Australia
    Just to add to what the others have said, here is a bit more information from the technical angle.

    When Windows was first made as a shell for DOS, each window created was actually a separate process. So, close the window, kill the process. Microsoft have decided to carry on with this behaviour even though Windows does not sit directly on DOS anymore.

    The original Mac OS (and every version since) however saw each window of an application as parts of the one process. Open an application with multiple windows and the system will still only see one process. There a few exceptions though. Apps that only have one window will mostly quit when their window is closed. Some other programs will also do this if the developer wanted the behaviour.

    The easiest way to quit an app? Command + Q.
  5. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    Hmmm... and OS9, OS8, OS7 ... were all designed for multitasking too? :D
  6. Much Ado macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

    Sep 7, 2006
    OP: Load up iTunes, play a song, and close the window.

    And the beauty of the system is revealed :)
  7. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    Wow... in all these years of using Mac OS X I did not know you could do that with iTunes. :D
  8. Much Ado macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

    Sep 7, 2006
    Mail, Quicksilver, Dashboard, Preview.. we could go through them all if you wanted.

    But i notice you are not the OP.
  9. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I actually really like that feature in OSX.

    Case in point - in the Windows Safari beta, if you close the last remaining browser window it will also stop any downloads.
    This isn't a problem in OSX.
  10. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    a lot of windows developers have noticed the beauty of leaving an application open when closing the window. this can be seen when apps use the taskbar in windows. examples are utorrent, limewire, some antivirus apps and of course apple followed this tradition into windows with itunes.
  11. Roy Hobbs macrumors 68000

    Roy Hobbs

    Apr 29, 2005
    OS X isn't Windows so don't expect it to act like Windows
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Nice explanation. I would add that Windows is more-or-less forced into this behavior because users have no way of knowing whether a program is running unless a window is open or collapses in the task bar. The Mac has both the Dock and the menu bar to provide this information.
  13. teiresias macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2007
    Just got my 24" 2.4 last night, and aside from a piece of annoying dust under the glass (which I may or may not try and remedy myself, haven't decided yet), it runs and looks great, and will run even better when I get the RAM upped to 4GB. So I've got a total of probably 5 hours of OS X experience. I'm not going to load up a bunch of stuff until I get my Leopard discs and upgrade the OS.

    In any case, I noticed this 'x' button behavior right away and it definitely is different from what I'm used to under windows. However, given this behavior when hitting 'x' what is the point of the '-' (minimize) button on the windows? Doesn't that end up doing the same thing by just "dismissing" the application to the dock?
  14. jellomizer macrumors 6502


    Sep 12, 2006
    Upstate NY
    This is part of the design of the OS. Unfortunatly App Developers (even in Apple) are not always consistant about it. While much of the Mac Faithful will say how this is better then the other ways for various reasons, (and some of them are really good advantages) I personally would rather have the App Quit when I close all the windows and be able to run an App twice if I felt like it. (eg. Running two calculator apps, or two Chess apps, where the developer didn't do a file New option) It does get annoying sometimes but you do get use to it. And it does has some advantages such as there are application you use all the time such as Safari you can close all the windows when you are done for now then you can load up safari quicker when you need it again. This would actually be a more minor problem if all Mac Applications used it consistantly. All application had a New Window option. But this guess work of it doing it sometimes and quitting others is a real pain. But the Command-Q normally does the trick. or Quit the application by right clicking (or click and hold) on the dock and choose close app.
  15. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    As it turns out, you can run two (or more) instances of any Mac OS X app, via a clever little technique, which involves subverting the GUI, basically. What you do is this: Right-click the app and choose show package contents. Open the Contents folder, then the MacOS folder. Inside there lives the primary executable. Double-clicking this will cause the Terminal to launch, then an instance of the application inside it. Do it again, and a second instance opens, with a second terminal window. Unfortunately, since the instance lives inside the Terminal window, closing the Terminal window will terminate the instance too.
  16. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    No, in Windows, when you close a window the application (or process) closes, not the Window.

    Try think about these two options…

    You start typing a reply to this, then you

    a) Close the windows (in Safari 3 you will get a warning as you have started typing)
    b) Mimimse the window

    This is what happens:

    a) The window is closed, you cannot get back the text you started typing.
    b) The window is in the Dock, you click on it to get back the text you started typing.

    Windows struggles with this, the solution is simply to "double up" on controls, so you have one for the window (in this case an excel document) and one for the application (excel itself). (example one)


    You can also create many instances of the same application, so here I have two documents in one instance of excel and a third document in the second instance of excel. (example two)


    The document windows can be reduced in size and float inside an application window. In this case if I were to close the front most window the application (excel) stays open. This is how the Mac works. (example three)


    Finally, if I choose to quit (or exit) excel, the second instance of excel stays open. I have not actually exited excel at all, I am still running excel. (example four)


    Now anyone with any reasonable degree of intellect can figure out all these combinations and if you are used to Windows it is probably second nature, but for a new user it is far simpler to explain this:

    "One application can have many windows"

    Obviously in this example I have picked out areas where confusion can be caused, but a new user could quite conceivably be presented with all four scenarios.

    To say Apple needs to somehow "fix" or "correct" this behaviour is inaccurate, especially when you compare and contrast the approach with the many contradictory mixed metaphors found inside Windows.

    Please note that I don't want to sound rude (so don't take it the wrong way!). I actually spent a bit of time composing this reply so it makes sense and helps you understand how windows management works on the Mac and how it differs to other systems.

    Great machine by the way, I hope you have a lot of fun with it! :)

    Attached Files:

  17. teiresias macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2007
    Obviously, I haven't played around in OS X enough yet to notice all the little differences in behavior, but this seems rather unintuitive to me simply from a technical implementation standpoint. I mean, in either case the application itself is still running, so when you get rid of the window in either method you'd have to push stuff onto the stack and get it back when you go to the dock and open a window again.

    I suppose you're saying if I 'x' the window and re-open Safari it will take me back to my homepage as if I've just freshly started Safari (though since it was already running I get a slight boost in start-up), whereas minimizing with "-" saves the state of the application itself. So am I to understand that when I 'x' the application I'm saving a minute amount of resources over '-'ing the applications, since when I use '-' it's having to save the state of the application itself, rather than just keep the process in memory?

    Also, the excel behavior you describe is different depending on the version. The newer versions of the Office suite do the "nested" window approach to applications and documents. But my home copy of Office, which is Office XP from back in '01 or something opens a completely new excel window for each document you open (as does Word) rather than nest them all together in a single "application" window. It's probably all implemented the same, but I actually prefer it the Office XP way over the newer way.
  18. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    I don't believe it is unintuitive at all. Once you get your head around the concept of "one application => many windows" you will be fine. :)

    Just as when you maximise or close a Window (Window, not application) in Windows. There is no difference here.

    If you have a window in the Dock, there is a good chance it will stay in memory, depending on how much memory you have and what else you are doing.

    Not quite, clicking the Dock on a running application will just take you back to that application in it's current state. It is not like starting afresh every time.

    No, it minimises the window. Application state is handled by the application. Again -> "one application => many windows". The best way is just to try it, you will quickly get the idea.

    Again, you don't 'x' the application, you 'x' the window. Minimising the window saves the window state. Using Safari as an example, minimising a window displaying a webpage would the state of that current window.

    I wouldn't get bogged down on details like resources. Your computer will manage all this. From a resource point of view I can't see the logic of loading each app multiple times for every document you want to open.

    I was just using excel as an example for a windows app. I've seen many others operate this way (like photoshop) and certainly previous versions of office have had two banks of close/minimise/maximise controls.
  19. tjevans macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2006
    OP, I feel your pain. This behavior still confuses me at times. But, as others have said, gradually, you'll get used to it and it will make sense. It's one of those things that has to be done repeatedly to really understand; it's easier caught than taught.
  20. tusker macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2007
    Definitly takes some getting used to...I can still tell when my dad has been using my iMac because of all the programs he leaves open.

    And lets not even get started on what hiding the application will do...
  21. slooksterPSV macrumors 68040


    Apr 17, 2004
    Correct me if I'mm wrong but, OS X has True Multi-tasking. With OS9 and below it had multi-tasking, but it wasn't true multi-tasking.
  22. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    OS9 and below had extremely limited multitasking. The Finder had it, and iTunes, but that was just about it.

    What BV is talking about isn't machine multitasking, but more user-centric. The Mac interface is supposed to be like a pile of papers on your desk. You move the one you're working on to the top, but the others are still there ready for you should you need them. Windows in contrast comes from the concept of the user doing one thing that takes up the full screen.

    You can see this in other ways in the respective OSes too. Windows is optimised so that it's incredibly quick when running one app, far more so than OSX. But OSX is optimised to run several apps simultaneously, so as you load each system more the Mac that gains the performance advantage.
  23. displaced macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2003
    Gravesend, United Kingdom
    In addition, the Window being separate from the Application means there's no need for Start menus (for launching) Taskbar Icons (for window switching/activation) and the System Tray (for notifications).

    - I want to read my mail, I click the Mail icon.
    - I want to switch to mail from another application, I click the Mail icon.
    - I want to see how many new emails I've got, I look at the Mail icon.
    - I want to start a new message with a file attached, I drag the file to the Mail icon.
    - I want to check for new mail, compose a new message from scratch, quit mail or ensure Mail opens at startup, I click+hold on the Mail icon.

    Think of all the screen real-estate you need to achieve all the above as easily accessible in Windows. Say I want to open two or three emails simultaneously for reference ... well, straight away that's 3 more task-bar buttons. :)

    To all intents and purposes, the Dock icon for an application is the application.
  24. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2007
    Bristol, England
    I would agree with what you said, if you hadn't used excel as your example.

    In my experience, on windows xp, I'm not sure which version of office, if you have multiple excel files open, and you hit the red X EVERY SINGLE BLOODY ONE OF THEM CLOSES, WITHOUT ASKING IF YOU WANT TO ****ING SAVE CHANGES. Which is different to EVERY SINGLE OTHER APPLICATION EVER. Including word and office and powerpoint and access.

    /rant. I really really hate excel, and yes, I have enabled auto save every minute, but it's still really really maddening.
  25. hyddan macrumors member

    Dec 29, 2006
    Yea the little red button closes the window, not the application (see; close, not quit). Cmd+Q is your friend (or hold click the app in the dock and select quit from there).

    Some red buttons have a darker dot in them, that usually means it quits the whole thing if you push it (or got unsaved stuff).

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