Windows FanBoy seeks reason to change

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JonL12345, May 21, 2012.

  1. JonL12345 macrumors regular

    May 21, 2012
    I have used Windows all my life, viewing Macs as an overpriced and less flexible alternative. However, my views are changing somewhat. They have an excellent piece of software called OmniFocus that I really want to use. That alone is almost enough to persuade me to switch.

    In addition, I am feeling my life is a bit overloaded with things to do. The whole nature of the Mac seems to be simplicity. For example, the iMac has few cables, the keyboard has a small footprint, no virus software to slow your machine down and no doubt more. Less clutter, more focus.

    My intention is to get a new iMac next month when they come out and to use that together with my PC dual monitor setup. Essentially I will have 3 monitors with an auto KVM switch that kicks in when I move the mouse off the left of my iMac screen.

    Now to the point of this post. I've already decided to switch. But can someone here who has made the switch in the past tell me how they found the change in reality? I am currently using Windows 7 which is pretty slick. How did you feel after switching across and was it what you expected? Is OS X as good as Windows 7?


  2. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    That's what brought me back to the fold myself in early 2005. I finally got tired of being the home system administrator/IT guy/Mr. FixIt for my Windows and Linux boxes. Mac OS X gives me the best of all worlds. Unix under the hood, Professional native apps and Windows when I need it.

    You will lose some of this simplicity with your KVM solution.

    You will also have to keep this desire for simplicity in mind and try to understand the Mac way rather than try to force it to your Windows habits.

    May I ask what you do (what apps, etc...) on your Windows box? Are you considering the 27" or 21.5" iMac.

  3. noteple macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2011
    I have both, Windows the longest and as a business necessity.

    I also have a little Linux in the background for NAS, Server type things.

    Its like having two completely different cars.

    Both can get you to the same place but can be uniquely different experiences.

    Some times I drive one, sometimes the other, as it suits me. Simply because I can.

    I must say though over the years the Mac is getting more use.

    Forgot to add. The Mac, is a notebook added into a KVM setup. Never use the notbooks screen or keyboard anymore since I purchased an Air.
  4. JonL12345 thread starter macrumors regular

    May 21, 2012
    I do masses of things on my Windows box! I use Firefox a lot. Word, Excel, Outlook, Games, Anki and a whole lot more. My intention is to keep some of these apps on my PC and use them there.

    You mentioned that having the Mac/Windows KVM combination would lose some simplicity. In what way do you mean?

    I intend to get the 27" iMac with SSD drive. I use an SSD now with Windows 7 and its fab.
  5. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I switched a few years ago from XP to OSX. I love OSX. I'm going to sound like a Mac fanboy but it's not so much because of opinion but rather because of the miserable experience I have using Windows at work (which is the only place I am still forced to use it). The numbskulls that set up our machines make it almost unbearable. I can vaguely imagine Win 7 could be usable but that's simply not my experience.

    So rather than pretend I could be objective about this when my Win 7 experience is ruined by bad IT, I'll give a few examples of things I like better about OSX with the disclaimer that some of the stuff I put up with on Windows may not be a MS issue but rather an IT admin issue.

    Quick View. This alone is worth the price of a Mac. Have an email with an attached ppt file? Want to see what it looks like? On Win 7 that means launching Office 2010. You have time to plant the coffee beans, wait for them to grow, send Juan Valdez to pick them, roast them slowly, brew them slowly, and sip an entire 16oz mug before that stupid animation finishes and you can see what's inside that PPT file. The same is true for pdf files. PDF is the native format for passing data around in OSX. This means no Adobe software is required and QuickView opens PDFs instantly. And when I say instantly, I mean before your ear can register the click.

    Network setup. Ever try to join a wireless network on Windows? You have to decide whether it's WPA, WPA2, PSK, 802.11x, etc, etc, etc. Then you have to type the key twice and it takes an extra click to turn off hidden characters. On a Mac, you see a network, the OS figures out what it is and offers you a dialog to type in the key. No muss. No fuss. Done.

    App install and uninstall. Install: Drag to applications. Uninstall: Drag to trash. There are a few exceptions but the vast majority of applications can be handled this way.

    Email. No need to purchase Outlook or Entourage. comes with OSX and it works very well. Of course you can get Thunderbird if you like but the bottom line is your computer comes with useful software and no bloatware.

    System Preferences. It's what control panel wishes it could be. Fully searchable. Well organized. Streamlined. Settings apply as soon as you change them. No OK. Are you sure? Are you really, really sure?

    Security. OSX doesn't get viruses. Yes it has vulnerabilities but there are few to no viruses in the wild for OSX. Part of this is small market share. Part of this is the way OS X is organized.

    Finder. I've got mixed feelings about the finder. At first, I used pathfinder so I'd have some of the "features" of Windows but gradually I weaned myself off of all that stuff. The only addon I still use is totalfinder which gives me a single tabbed finder window and an easy to find "cut" option. There is no refresh button. OSX updates finder windows in real time. OSX updates finder windows in real time. I know this sounds like much ado about nothing, but after having to hit refresh on my Win 7 box at work to get it to update almost a dozen times a day, I can't help but wonder what Win 7 is doing that it can't make time to update explorer windows in real time?

    Drivers. There are no drivers. The guy who wrote the OS also designed the hardware and wrote the drivers and they just work.

    Printer setup. Most printers are included with the OS. Those that aren't are a quick download from Apple not a fishing expedition to some poorly designed, flash-laden web site with a link to the world's slowest ftp server for the actual file you need.

    Industrial design. Unless you consider some of Lenovo's high end notebooks, pretty much all computer manufacturers other than Apple are making junk. Cheap. Plastic. Junk.

    I know this is a bit of a long post, but I wanted to give some specific examples of how Apple/OSX has worked better for me than HP/Dell/Windows.

    hope this helps...
  6. n00blar macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2012
    I made the complete switch last year in April and I bought an iMac 27".

    First off, make sure that for all your Windows software there is an OS X equivalent. Next, make sure that all the hardware you attached to your PC is supported on the Mac and OS X. Nowadays, the two points mentioned above are well supported by the Mac and OS X, with the exception of games. Some PC games do not have native OS X clients, but I don't know if you're a gamer. I'm a big time gamer and this gives me lots of trouble, since most popular games do not have native OS X clients.

    Please don't be fooled with Macs have no viruses, if you follow technology news you might have heard what happened recently. Coming from an IT background (20+ years in computers), I recommend you follow some of the tips found in this link. Some of these tips may be a bit overkill for some, but no system is immune to viruses or malware, and OS X is not the exception.

    As for OS X, it has a slight learning curve. You'll have to learn OS X 'lingo'; however, there isn't anything you can't find on Google. If you're experienced with Windows, and computers in general, then you won't have many issues getting your way around the system. As for the OS, both Windows and OS X have nice features and flaws (yes, OS X does have flaws unlike what other may say).
    As to asking, how did I feel when I switched? That may be the wrong question to ask, as every person is different on the way of viewing things. I'm a techie by heart, so for me the switch was a tech challenge, so I enjoyed the switch and now my home is primarily Macs. As a professional, most of my work is on Windows with 15% support on Macs.
  7. GeekGuys, May 21, 2012
    Last edited: May 21, 2012

    GeekGuys macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    Why have both when you can have both?

    I have used every flavour of OS from mainframes to mobile phones as I work in IT. However, when I get home I just want things to work and not have to worry about 'fixing' the computer all the time. So at home, I use Mac computers (desktops, media server, laptop etc etc).

    However, there is some software that just runs better on Windows or you can't get on Mac OSX. MS Visio is one (OmniGraffle is great but MS Visio is better imho). Quickbooks on Mac is VERY old compared to Windows version.

    All that said, I run dual screens of a 24" iMac for my main desktop. I run Parallels with Windows 7 in it. I also use Bootcamp for full Windows gaming but I haven't used it for about 6 months now. Too busy! In fact, I haven't rebooted my iMac for 6 months. And in the past 5 years, I have only ever crashed once, and that was because of MS Office 2004....

    So, I would look to image your current Windows drive (using Parallels transporter or Ghost methods) and run it as a Parallels session on the iMac thus reducing your devices and screens and no KVM etc.
    Simples! :D

    Also, Windows 7 is very good. I find Windows too cluttered for me. OSX is a simplier and smoother desktop/OS when navigating around.

    OSX has some differences that will frustrate you to start with.

    I won't repeat the r0k message above but window management on the right (Windows) round buttons on the left (OSX).

    Windows X is close window and (generally) close application.
    OSX X is close window but (generally) application stays open. This means faster re-opening if required.

    Lion introduced anyside window resizing. Massive improvement !!!!!

    Finder is very different and will take getting used to. I repeated this as I think this will be the biggest change to get used to.

    Also, you need to think UNIX. I mean you no longer need to know or care where your files are located or how applications are installed in the drive. OSX takes care of this. If you are a control freak (or have worked in IT) then this means you need to let go of that control..... tricky for me !

    Spotlight is your new best friend ! If you think of MS Search as your 90 year old grandad and Spotlight is Usain Bolt. Now set them off on a 100m sprint. That is the difference !!!

    CMD+Spacebar and type anything.... search results appear in milliseconds. You can use it as a calculator (just type the sum and the result appears straight away). Mouse hover over a document and a preview appears. You can even watch video/music straight from it. To me, this is the killer feature of OSX over Windows.
  8. CrickettGrrrl macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2012
    B'more or Less
    Switched in 2005, it was a little frustrating at first because I kept trying to do things and find things the way I was used to in Windows.

    Trying to burn data to a CD? Ha! I figured out a ridiculously convoluted way of doing it, sort of similar to Windows. Then I read that all I had to do was drag the files onto the CD icon & click "Burn". Whoa! -Giant light bulb/epiphany, ---I got the Mac thing at that point. Using my Win laptops after that became frustrating, terribly slooowww experiences.
  9. shyam09 macrumors 68020


    Oct 31, 2010
    also remember that with Macs you can use Parallels or VMWare Fusion or VirtualBox to run a "virtual" system of either Windows, Linux, or another Mac OS [provided that they are supported, and a vast majority are supported)

    If you even feel the lack of Windows you can use the Virtual machine to have a setup of both Windows and Mac on your computer.

    Sadly it isn't possible on a windows computer 9unless you count the whole hackintosh, but that itself isn't stable, so i hear)...

    I hesitated to mention Bootcamp, which installs on a separate partition of your hard drive another OS, but you would have to be restarting your computer whenever you wish to. Technically it's the best because it isn't run on a virtual machine and your RAM isn't being split b/w the two OS' so you get the "max" performance as compared to the virtual machines, but the VMs still work pretty well.

    Finally, to sum up the whole Virtual Machine stuff, I know that VMWare Fusion and Parallel's Desktop can start up a WM through your bootcamp partition, so you could essentially have a bootcamp partition and then use Parallel's Desktop or VMWare Fusion to run it, rather than restarting the machine ...
  10. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Exactly what I was talking about above. More often than not there is a simple way to do something in Mac OS X that may be simpler/more obvious than the Windows approach.

    Conversely there are things Windows does well (like Aero Snap or cut and paste files in explorer) that aren't really worth trying to force it to do.

  11. nefan65, May 21, 2012
    Last edited: May 21, 2012

    nefan65 macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2009
    I concur with the others here. I converted our entire house over back in '07. My son used an older Macbook at his school. I got one for him for home; refurbed. We loved them, and replaced all the household computers with them.

    I think the biggest benefits are the ease of use, and makes it fun to use a system again!

    If you only need Windows every now/again, I'd look at VirtualBox. It's free, and works well. I use for both a Windows VM and Linux [the latter for testing stuff].
  12. shyam09 macrumors 68020


    Oct 31, 2010
    If OP is looking for an Aero Snap like effect, I would certainly recommend Better TouchTools

    you could buy BetterSnapTools (which is the window snapping portion of BTT), but BTT is free, and includes a wide variety from Mouse Commands to Snapping tools
  13. rutledjw macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2011
    I don't want to discourage you, because I'm a Mac / *nix fanboy. BUT - I would spend some time playing with the Mac to the point that you're going to be comfortable with the subtle differences in admin and advanced use. You sound like a power user so these little things can bug more than they may bug others.

    No doubt there's some cool apps out there - I use OmniGraffle a ton and am sold on it, but I find iWork seriously lacking (especially considering the latest Office for Mac). I'd also make sure you know you have apps for what you want to do on a Mac - and that you're at last content, if not happy with how they work.

    I had a friend who wanted to switch because her Win laptop was so unstable. She was so used to Windows that it took her a while to really move over, and then even the Mac had issues. Turned out she's a menace to technology regardless of vendor, but her frustration early on moving over to tormenting a new platform IS notable...
  14. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    The OP has explicitly said their Mac will coexist with their PC. Not really a "switcher."

  15. ag227 macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007
    see reply below in red...

  16. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    I laughed when I read this. GGJStudios, where are you???? :)

    There hasn't ever been a virus in MacOSX. Malware/spyware there have been less than a dozen for Mac, all except two of which had to go through the full install sequence including Admin authentication. One was the java vulnerability, the other was the flash installer that didn't need admin rights. And yes, there is virus scanner software for Mac, but it doesn't catch anything besides the aforementioned malware. Windows=more secure?..keep dreaming.
  17. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    I've been a Windows person all my life and held numerous IT jobs supporting Windows servers and desktops. I too used to think Macs were pricier and less flexible...

    ...then I ordered one (due to Windows Vista's awful pre-service pack 1 bug preventing the transfer of large amounts of data from one drive to another).

    What I loved:

    1. More flexible than Windows alone. I can run anything on my Mac, including Windows if I wish.

    2. Far more stable for large data sets. Thats not a bust on Windows. Window's strength lies in compatibility, Macs strength lies in stability. As with anything computer related, there is a tradeoff.

    3. Virtually no maintenance as far as updates, anti-malware software, etc.

    I still use Windows at work daily as I make a living from it but its nice to come home to something different and its very helpful to know multiple operating systems.
  18. joiede macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2011
    Do it! but get "Missing Manual" on switching to the Mac

    After a lifetime as a PC geek I switched in 2008. The first couple of weeks were agony because I kept trying to do things the hard (Windows) way. David Pogue's book saved my sanity - so many tips and tricks - and I was off and running after that.

    Now Windows 7 seems really kludgy to me.

    I use VMWare Fusion to host a couple of Windows programs that suck on the Mac side, namely Quicken. I also keep older versions of Excel and Word there because I prefer their simplicity for certain functions.
  19. englishman macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    In 2006 started using OSX and have happily mixed both OS since then but on Apple HW - Bootcamp.

    Best thing about Macs - very little depreciation on hardware.

    Also excellent community eg here.

    Much easier to install SW.

    Looks better both HW and SW.

    At work its all Windows so kind of makes a change at home.

    Simplicity - single point of purchase.

    Excellent Applecare warranties.
  20. chrisrosemusic1 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2012
    Northamptonshire, England
    I've switched in the last 12 months and I wouldn't go back!

    It just works, and when you have other iOS devices connected to iCloud/home network the whole process is just seamless!

    Highly recommend the switch and the investment should last you a good few years. Build quality is superb and the updates are regular and great.

    Do it!
  21. NorEaster, May 21, 2012
    Last edited: May 21, 2012

    NorEaster macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2012
    kudos ro r0k for a fairly decent post on some differences between Windows and OS X. I switched recently (Nov 2011) and to be honest, there are things in OS X that are great and somethings that drive me crazy (features available in Win7 but missing in OS X).

    Here are some of my thoughts:
    Like a previous poster mentioned, this is possible in Win 7 with Outlook.

    Speed and Stability
    While Win7 made strides in stability and performance, I do think OS X is more stable. I can run many many applications at once and while sometimes one app may freeze, I find that it doesn't take down the entire OS. In the past 6 months, I've only had OS X hang on me once (to the point where I had to shut the machine down completely via the power button). I can't say the same for my previous Win7 machine.

    OS X Dock
    I actually loathe the OS X dock (I'm sure I'll get down votes on this) but here are some reasons why:
    1) The Dock does not show thumbnails/previews of the windows. For example: If you have 3 different Firefox sessions running (or rather, 3 different FF windows), you can't hover over your Firefox icon in the Dock to see a thumbnail of each window. This makes switching between multiple running sessions of a given app (or across apps) extremely frustrating. I couldn't believe, with all of the claims that OS X is easier-to-use than Windows, that this is not a standard feature in OS X. I had to buy a 3rd party app (Dockview) in order to emulate this in OS X.

    2) App icons in the Dock shift in location, depending on the apps that are currently open/running. For example, the following could happen: You could launch Firefox (which could be pinned to the Dock) and then you could launch another app (such as Preview) which may not be pinned to the Dock. When Preview is launched, it will appear in the Dock but all app icons to the left of it will shift farther left. I know this may sound trivial, but this means my Firefox icon is now no longer in the same location as it was prior to the Preview launch. Pinning an app in Win7 would always keep it there and launching new apps meant the new apps would always get added to the right of pinned apps without affecting the pinned apps' locations.

    OS X's "Document" paradigm
    In Windows, each window is it's own self-contained app. The menus of a given app are accessible in that app's window (Example: The file menu for an app in Windows is always found in the window's title/header bar). In OS X, each window is a "document" for the given app. This means certain menus (like the FIle menu) for an app are always found at the top of the desktop (not at the top of the window). So who cares, you might say? Well, try using this in a multi-monitor setup. Launch Safari for example, move one Safari window to your left monitor and then try to access the File menu. You'll find that you need to move your mouse back to your right monitor (assuming it's the main monitor that you use) to access the File menu. This is really annoying.

    I much prefer the Windows Explorer to OS X's Finder. Win7 had some nice advances to the header of the Explorer. For example, for any path that is displayed in the Explorer header, you can select on any folder and access a drop-down to jump to a different folder. That's really convenient (and not possible in Finder). You also can't copy a path in Finder (I do this often because I'll create a new folder in some location, and then I'll want to copy that new folder's path because I have several other apps open and I want to save their data to the newly created path)

    I have a networked Epson printer at home and various network printers at work. Finding them and setting them up in OS X was a breeze (in fact, there was no setup). Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for Win7.

    If anyone is reading this and feels there are ways to alleviate the issues I mentioned above, feel free to comment. I am by no means an OS X expert (and some of my gripes above could potentially be a result of my "noob"-ness).
  22. CrickettGrrrl macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2012
    B'more or Less

    Try SecondBar (free) for your secondary monitor:
  23. MacStu09 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2009
    Here's my breakdown. It's a fairly easy switch; almost everything is user friendly on a mac. You'll sometimes try to do things the way you did in Windows, and may get a bit flustered at times, but Macs have their own unique ways to do things that you will find through daily use.

    For a computer-literate generation, the switch isn't difficult. Most software is available on both platforms these days, and most files are compatible with both. OSX is pretty much out of the box like Windows 7 is after a day of configuring/deleting unnecessary things. I use OSX 10.6 and Windows 7 daily. Both of them serve their purpose well.

    As for viruses/spyware/malware; it truly does take an oblivious person to get them on either platform. Windows XP vs OSX; I would say OSX was VASTLY safer. VISTA vs OSX; OSX was GREATLY safer. 7 vs OSX; it's a bit safer. I use my 7 computer daily and have never had a problem because I'm not stupid. Don't download random files/software 'hacks'/attachments from sources you can't verify. Don't go to websites that seem extraordinarily suspicious. Simple as that.

    Overall, you'll like it. You'll use both. It'll be smooth.
  24. NorEaster macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2012

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