Migrating from Windows to Mac OS: Windows 7 Taskbar vs. Mac OS X Dock

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by xizdun, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. xizdun macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    My workplace is looking to migrate to Mac across the board.

    I have been using Windows since v3.1, and while I am open-minded about the transition, I have my gripes.

    The main one being that I love the Windows 7 taskbar. I have mine set to double-height with small icons and the taskbar icons "don't combine".

    I prefer the visual overview of knowing what applications are open versus the OS X's single icon per application setup (which I, personally, believe is geared more towards novice users, similar to the default Windows 7 taskbar).

    My question:
    To what degree can the Mac OS X Dock be customized to mimic the appearance of the Windows 7 taskbar, either natively or using third-party software?

    I am intentionally keeping this short and to the point. Please no bashing and off-topic based on assumptions.
  2. xizdun thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2011
    So far, I've discovered applications that mimic:

    Aero Peek:


    Unfortunately, they're all created by independent developers and aren't polished, regularly-updated products.
    A combination of the applications might do the trick.

    The search for an all-in-one solution continues / waiting for an established company to tap into this niche (and growing?) market.
  3. soonadog macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2010
    I agree with you xizdun - the dock is really inferior and probably geared towards novices.

    I use a PC at work and an iMac at home. At work I might have open two emails, an email I'm drafting, an excel spreadsheet, two browser tabs and three word processing projects, and they are all available down in the task bar, and none of the other stuff that I am not running. It's very easy to go back and forth and keep it all straight.

    The Mac dock is unhelpful, I could never deal with all that stuff on a mac. Maybe I'm just not very good at keeping track of things, but I am constantly hitting the F3 button to see what's open, but then when you click one you have no control of what order everything else falls in.

    I've tried expose and spaces, but it's not worth the trouble . . . .

    I guess I don't mean to complain but to ask if people have any tips?
  4. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I always used the windows taskbar with combine if full option. That gave me the best of everything without sacrificing horizontal screen space. Never liked the autohide on Windows. I wanted to have the overview like you.

    Do it like me forget the Dock exists. It is for novice Users and those that really need to use the mouse for everything. I set it to auto hide because it just takes to much space and loose the benefit of any overview. Navigation still works quite well and status stuff is on top anyway.
    There is really no point to the Dock other than telling you what apps are open.
    I also don't use it for launching apps (Alfred works better) and thus don't cluster it with all kinds of icons that I might use. Those overly full Docks are a thing for wannabes and noobs. Just put the stuff there that is always open like Browser, Mail, itunes, finder (so you have it at the same location everytime) and throw the rest off and launch it through Alfred or something similar. In this setup it does a good job at giving a quick overview of launched apps when you move the cursor down.

    I use spaces (four finger swipe left/right, four finger tab) and expose(four finger swipe down). I also set an Application expose which only shows the windows of the open apps to the top left corner. It is the same as holding the app in the dock with the left mouse button but that just is extremely slow.
    And unlike Windows there is Alt+tab which is like CMD+tab just in between the App windows like pdfs.

    I got used to it dealing with it this way. What helped also is that closing windows and opening them is very fast so I don't keep open what I don't need. three finger swipe up triggers globally CMD+W and three finger swipe down trigger CMD+N in some apps and CMD+T in some others.
    I disliked that exposé really doesn't help with mulitple pdfs open that all look mostly the same from afar. In the taskbar you had the titles and you could easily find them. With exposé it just isn't as easy you need to go all over the screen with your eyes and look for the small titles next to the big unhelpful thumbnails.
    It is a downside but the pros outweigh them and I hardly miss it anymore.

    For launching/opening Apps/Folders and more install Alfred.
    For the custom gestures install BetterTouchTool (that also gives you a Windows snap like feature).
  5. soonadog macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Thanks! That's a lot to absorb but I appreciate it and I'll try to work through it.
  6. bmcgonag macrumors 65816


    Mar 20, 2007
    Just my 2 cents here, but I work on Windows at work, and on Mac at home. I love Expose, and I use it constantly to switch between windows. That said I usually only have 4 or 5 apps open at once, and often less than that on my Mac.

    At work I have mail, design app with 4 to 6 separate windows, at least one firefox if not 2, IE (because I have to), Interaction Client for Phone, Skype, Windows Explorer, and more. I use a program called Smallwindows for the expose like quick change, but when all of these windows are open, it gets too small to tell which one I want sometimes, so I use the Windows taskbar preview.

    Hyperdock seems like a good combo of this for mac, though it's $10 on the app store, they have a 15 day trial from their site. It's fairly configurable, and didn't seem to slow my system down much. I have a rather old iMac now, so it should run well on any newer stuff.

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