Switching from Windows to OS X

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nickdylan, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. nickdylan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    #1
    I'm not an Apple diehard and I've been using Windows all my life and OS X for less than a month. I got a 13” rMBP for Christmas though, and after a few weeks I find myself using my rMBP more than my Windows machines for a few reasons. Most of it comes down to killer hardware/software optimization - you can just tell they were made for each other. Here are a few things I really love about using a Mac over a Windows PC.

    1. No driver updates. Upgrading to Mavericks was simple and easy. Upgrading from Windows 7 to 8 and then 8.1 (especially on laptop hardware) is much more difficult sometimes in my experience. I have a high-end late 2012 Windows laptop that can't upgrade to Windows 8.1 because of display driver issues - although I didn't know that, so after attempting to upgrade (and booting to a black screen - even in safe mode, which makes no sense) I had to use a recovery partition to restore it. There were driver issues with Windows 8 that weren't resolved as well.
    2. Software. Windows has a huge library of software, everybody knows that. OS X has a pretty active software development community and some nice exclusive apps that I haven't really fully looked into yet. What I have seen is the default software - including Pages, Keynote, Garageband, and iPhoto, all of which are well-made, well-integrated, and very functional and efficient. Exporting files to Windows compatible formats is a cinch - I even stopped checking them before submitting them after the first few.
    3. Trackpad. Before I got a Mac I treated trackpads as a necessary evil. When I used a laptop I used a USB mouse as well. The Mac trackpad has completely changed that - I do things more efficiently with the trackpad than I did with a mouse. I'd heard people say that before and thought they were exaggerating but you really have to try it yourself for a few days to really get it.
    4. Keyboard. I've typed on ThinkPads and EliteBooks before and to be honest the typing is just as good on them as it is on the rMBP (and on any of them, it's heads and tails better than most laptops). That's not all there is to the keyboard, though - the mission control and launchpad hotkeys are very convenient once you know how to use them.
    5. And speaking of mission control - I love it. It’s quick and seamless, and it doesn’t pause anything you’ve got running. I don’t understand how it seems to work without slowing the programs that are running, but I love it. If you tend to have 30 different things running at once (as I do) it’s especially awesome.
    6. Dock. It's just nicer than the start menu (or that Metro nonsense). I like being able to store folders on it and have easy access to stuff that I use often, like the downloads folder.
    7. (near) Universal drag and drop. This is one of the great examples of "it just works" (when it works - which is almost always). It's nice to be able to drag and drop things between different apps.
    8. Spotlight. It works like Windows' search function - Plus it indexes your email and searches through that as well. All instantaneously (thanks to the SSD).
    9. Memory compression. My rMBP has 8GB of RAM, which is plenty for most usage on OS X or Windows for that matter. OS X has a nice little trick with memory management, though - is compresses memory for applications you're running in the background instead of defaulting to a swap file, which makes for far superior RAM usage in many circumstances. Running side by side with a Windows laptop, I find I'm able to have a lot more stuff running in the background without any performance hit on OS X. Now, this wouldn't extend over to single application memory hogs - but for people who just like to have dozens of tabs open and dozens of other applications, it's much easier on OS X.
    10. Pages and Keynote are great. I know I already mentioned that under software, but they're just so much simpler and cleaner than Word or PowerPoint. Numbers doesn't work for me, so I still have Excel, but I greatly prefer working in Pages over Word or Keynote over PowerPoint.
    11. iTunes doesn't suck. I've been using iTunes for years on Windows and it's always been a behemoth of a laggy memory hog. I don't know exactly why, but it just runs so much better on OS X - well enough that it's actually a plus, and feels like nice, optimized software. iTunes is a necessary evil on Windows, but a great program on OS X.
    12. Activity Monitor is nicer than Task Manager. I love the energy monitor.
    13. Steam works well, and there are a lot more OS X games than you’d expect. Even triple A titles - XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a current favorite.
    14. Universal menus. You don’t know that you want these until you have them. Whatever app you’re running, the menu bar for it is standard and in the same place. It’s pretty fantastic.
    15. Notifications, available on the right. There when you want them, gone when you don’t.
    16. iMessage and FaceTime. I rely on them a lot on my iPad/iPhone - if you don’t use one of those or have friends/family that do I can imagine they wouldn’t be as useful.
    17. The Mac App Store. It’s just like the iOS app store, enough said. I wish more app designers used it.

    There are a few points where OS X and Windows are pretty tied up, or just weird things that I prefer on Windows.

    1. Command is Control, except when it isn’t. You need to relearn some hotkeys - CTRL + C doesn’t copy, COMMAND + C does, etcetera.
    2. Screen resolution is problematic. There’s no default way to run at a glorious 2560x1600. Luckily there are third party apps that fix that quickly and free. SwitchResX is what I use, and even though it’s available for free I paid to register it because it works very well. At 2560x1600, with mission control, my rMBP turns into an efficiency powerhouse - I just wish it was available by default.
    3. ENTER doesn’t start applications, it - renames them? This is just weird and a bit annoying at first.
    4. The filesystem is hidden. View -> Show Path Bar, pretty much fixes that. It took me a little while to figure that out but now it’s just as easy to access the filesystem as on Windows.
    And then there are a few things I miss from Windows.

    1. Aerosnap. If you use Windows 7 you might not even know what that is - it’s the thing that makes it so when you drag a window all the way to the left it automatically fills half the screen on the left. An app called “Cinch” fixes that, but it doesn’t work for a few applications (Steam included).
    2. Gaming. You can’t play as many games on OS X as you can on Windows. That seems to be changing, but for now that’s just how it is. If you’re into gaming, you’ll need a Windows machine or Boot Camp.

    On a more hardware-specific note, there’s a lot to love about the 13” rMBP.

    1. It’s tiny and super-portable.
    2. It’s solid. No creaks here, though I’ve heard some people have trouble with them.
    3. The keyboard and trackpad work very well with the software, as I noted.
    4. The MagSafe charger is great and won’t knock down your laptop by accident.
    5. The battery life is fantastic. I’ve gotten almost 9 hours of use between charges (although I don’t tend to do many battery-intensive things in most of my usage)
    6. It doesn’t get hot. It gets pretty warm on the inside but the outside is never more than slightly warm.
    7. The screen is fantastic - my other main machine has a 17” 1080p TN screen which is very nice looking, though the viewing angles leave a bit to be desired. The rMBP screen is so much sharper and offers so much more space, though, which is just awesome for me because instead of just laying two documents side by side I can have three or even four open. The maximum brightness is roughly equivalent to a roadside flare being shoved six inches in front of your face, but right around 50% looks great.
    8. Intel Iris works great for most games at 1280x800, which is fine on a 13 inch screen.
    9. Similarly, although the CPU is a bit of a step down from the high end i7 I use on my Windows laptop I don’t notice a difference in performance in most of what I do.
    The only thing I dislike about the hardware is that there are only two USB 3 ports on it. Normally I need three, for two hard drives and a mouse, but I don’t use a mouse with the rMBP because the track pad works - so I’m looking into getting a nice powered USB 3.0 hub just in case.

    So overall, I’m loving the rMBP. For my purposes - mostly web browsing, multimedia, and referencing absurd amounts of PDFs and text documents, it’s fantastic, and makes me think I should have tried switching over to a Mac a long time ago.
     
  2. Steve121178 macrumors 68040

    Steve121178

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Bedfordshire, UK
    #2
    The 13" rMBP is the best notebook I've ever had. I didn't buy the previous generation as I had major concerns about the HD 4000 integrated graphics. I'm very pleased that I waited as the Iris 5100 is much better suited to driving that high-res display.
     
  3. marc55 macrumors 6502a

    marc55

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    #3
    @Nicdylan, Nice post.

    Have you found anything that doesn't work on your Mac? For example, in the "Why is Mac more convenient than Windows?" thread, one poster indicated he had banking issues: "Also a lot online banking I do only works in Windows. You can call it very inconvenient on the Mac"

    That has me concerned, and every time I think I'm ready to jump on a MBP, I read posts like this that has me rethinking if I should just simply stay with Windows where everything works for us.

    Thank you
     
  4. NikkiJayne macrumors regular

    NikkiJayne

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2012
    Location:
    England
    #4
    I agree with you. I grew up with Windows and only switched to a Mac in 2012, but it just seemed much more natural. After 11 months of using it I started a new job where they use Windows, and it was amazing how much I had forgotten and had to relearn. OS X seems a lot more intuitive to me. And I know it's shallow, but gosh - I never get over how pretty it is.

    @Marc55: I've never had a problem with anything. If a page doesn't open properly, I just fire up Chrome and you can guarantee it will load in there. My online banking works perfectly.
     
  5. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    #5
    1. I got used to it pretty quickly. Fortunately, ctrl+Tab is still ctrl+tab, making switching tabs much easier.
    2. Well, the screen is amazing, though I wish that 2880*1800 was the resolution for the 13" rMBP (to match the effective resolution of the 13" Air)
    3. Command+O opens applications. It took me almost 3 years of frustration before I found out.

    Install Better Touch Tool. You'll love it. With that, you can really use your multi-touch trackpads with tons of gestures (must have: 3 finger tab for middle click). Plus, it comes with inbuilt Window Snapping, which is highly customisable.

    Also, check out Alfred 2. It's a pretty amazing replacement for Spotlight.

    My response to the keyboard and trackpad was similar to yours when I first got my mid-2009 White MacBook.

    Best of luck.

    Raptor
     
  6. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #6
    Keep in mind that 1 user making such a statement will be likely working off a single internet banking experience with a single browser/bank etc. Individual websites (of all kinds), will have issues with certain browsers from time to time but it should not be extrapolated to be anything more - and certainly not a platform/OS generic/pervasive issue without further evidence.
     
  7. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #7
    You can only find out by trying. As pointed out, there are always outlier data points that will have random issues. If a person can't use his banking site on his Mac then the problem is the bank's site.
     
  8. priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #8
    [1] you can also navigate the icons fast with the trackpad while the task swicher is on screen
    [2] Cmd+DownArrow achieves the same.
     
  9. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #9
    Simple 2-step process:

    1. Boot MacOS
    2. Don't look back

    :)
     
  10. nickdylan thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    #10
    Same - I was pretty wary about powering a high res screen with integrated graphics. Iris 5100 seems to do the job very well though =)

    I haven't. I don't do much online banking on my computers, but my banks work fine on the rMBP. I'm surprised to hear that actually - Chrome and Firefox are cross-platform and very widely supported. I wouldn't worry about that if I were you - even if somehow there was something that absolutely wouldn't run on OS X, you could set up Boot Camp (which is a good idea anyway if you like to run Windows exclusive games/apps).

    Well - can't say I'd complain about a higher resolution :D but since I run it at full 2560x1600 I've got plenty of screen size to work with.
    I'll check those out! Especially Better Touch Tool, that sounds very useful.
     
  11. Qaanol macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #11
    Definitely get BetterTouchTool: it's got window snapping, and customizable system-wide (and/or app-specific) gesture actions / keyboard shortcuts.

    Since you mention Numbers being too weak, you might want to check out LibreOffice.

    If you like having access to hidden settings, get TinkerTool.

    If you want a drawing program, get Seashore (way better than MS Paint, almost as powerful as GIMP for most purposes but much easier to use.)

    You might also want to check out a site like opensourcemac.org that lists a number of useful programs. And if you're looking for a Mac equivalent to something you used on Windows you could try alternativeto.net, though it can be hit-or-miss.
     
  12. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #12
    That could be because that particular poster's bank relies on Windows-specific things like ActiveX controls. I know someone in that thread mentioned Safari having a poor HTML5 support or whatever, but I haven't found that to be a deal-breaker -- at worst it makes some sites look a little funny, I've never seen one not work at all.

    There are other subtle differences between Windows and OS X that can take a little getting used to. For example, OS X treats folders like singular targets, where Windows wants to treat everything on a per-file basis. What do I mean? Say you drop a folder full of stuff into a drive which already has a folder with that same name. OS X will ask you if you want to replace the first folder with the second one. Windows will ask if you want to merge the contents of the two folders.
     
  13. oldhifi macrumors 6502a

    oldhifi

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Location:
    USA
    #13
    I switched last year, and the peace of mind from virus and malware...:D

    and it just WORKS!
     
  14. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    #14
    Cmd+DownArrow? It seems that I learn something new everyday. But then again, I almost always use the command buttons with my thumbs so Cmd+O is easier.
     

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