Why I Chose To Switch To Mac OS Over Windows 7?

So several people have asked me why I made the change to Mac OS, from being a Windows user for over 2 decades. Here’s why:

mac versus windows

1. A more functional laptop

I wanted a new laptop. I narrowed it down to a Lenovo, Sony or Macbook. 2 years ago, I wouldn’t even consider the Macbook, but these days the Macbooks come with a very functional touchpad, a gorgeous screen, and very comfortable keyboard. Not only that, it’s unibody design meant less of the flaws that you’ll get with a conventional laptop, such as my old Thinkpad with its warped base, cracked plastic bits, and creaky metal hinges (still a solid machine nevertheless).

2. A new OS

Windows 7 was released, and with that, it means a new learning curve. Why not learn Mac OS? Granted, it’s probably steeper than Windows 7, but it’s still something that you have to learn anyway.

3. Focus on function

The Mac OS isn’t just pretty, it’s more functional too. One thing that always left me irate is the activation of Windows. Even genuine users would get bugged with activation alerts and be hassled with the procedure. Mac OS? Just buy the CD, install it, and you’re set. That’s beautiful.

Is everything all good and rosy though? Not at all. Here are some quirks that I still haven’t gotten used to:

1. Replacing folders in finder

This is a file operation that I don’t get at all. When you overwrite a folder in Mac OS, the entire folder gets replaced. E.g. assume you had a folder named MyFolder. Inside MyFolder, there’s 10 files.

Now imagine you suddenly discover that you had another version of MyFolder elsewhere on your hard drive, and it has 5 files inside that’s not found within the 10 files. Great – now you have 2 locations, but you just want 1. So you just copy the 2nd folder over to the original location.

Under Windows, the 5 files will be added to the original 10 files, so that you will have a total of 15 files.

Under Mac OS, the new folder will completely replace the original folder, i.e. you will find a total of 5 files (the new ones) inside. What happens to the original 10 files you ask? They’re GONE.

I found out the hard way about this (my files were completely overwritten and unretrieveable). No undo function for that too.

2. Mac Office 2008

It sucks. If you do a lot of documents and work in Office 2008, then this may be a huge deal breaker. Mac Office 2008 runs so slowly and has such a counter-intuitive interface that I find myself loading up VMWare just to run Office under Windows.

I’m not kidding when I say it takes 10-20 seconds for Word (or any other Office app) to open up. Besides that, try auto-fitting a table to the page width, or changing a document theme, or styling text (e.g. headers), or inputting smart art. You’d feel like killing yourself. And that’s not an exhaustive list, by the way.

I have no idea why the MacBooks in the Apple stores open up Microsoft applications so fast.

3. Finder

It sucks too. First of all, what’s Finder? Finder is to the Mac OSX as Explorer is to Windows. My first grouse: there’s no cut in Finder. You’ve only got copy and paste, which is absurd, even with all that talk about it being a more secure operation. I had to look for alternative file browsers to use on Mac OSX because of this missing functionality.

Second grouse: you can’t move things around intuitively because it doesn’t have a fixed folder list on the side. If you are ten folders deep and want to drag a file out to the top folder, you’ll have to pull serious tricks to do so (even with that spring-loaded thing). In Windows at least there’s a folder list on the side that allows you to go to any folder that you want easily. I had to solve both these problems by getting PathFinder, which is what Finder should really have been.

4. Flash

Again, this sucks. Adobe has clearly put Windows as their platform of choice, and Unix a distant second. Anytime you run Flash or Air on your Mac, you’ll see a huge spike in CPU usage. Sometimes if you leave something running – like GrooveShark, Pandora, or something like that – your system can be brought down to its knees. Unlike the above issues, this problems has no workaround at all, except to wait for Adobe to beef up Unix support for Flash/Air, which is annoying.

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Alvin Poh lives in Singapore, and is interested in marketing, techy stuff, and likes to just figure out how the two can work with each other. He can also be found on Google+.

3 comments On Why I Chose To Switch To Mac OS Over Windows 7?

  • I've been looking at posts on your site for awhile and I must say we have many things in common. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Personally, I think Finder is too integrated into the Mac OS such that I experienced inconsistencies in overall UX when trying out PathFinder.

    Just wanted to share:

    1. You can move files by holding Cmd and dragging them to the new location. I prefer Windows-style Cut as you don't need multiple Explorer/Finder windows open, but it's the closest in OSX.

    2. If you have trouble with navigating between folder levels, go to Finder and View > Show Path Bar. It might help a bit.

  • Thanks for your comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I agree with you about PathFinder being not as integrated – it feels more of a patchwork solution (and it really is), but I find that it's so much better than Finder. For instance, I've tried the Cmd+Drag operation in Finder, but I never did seem to get used to drag-and-drop operations :S Thankfully PathFinder has almost everything included, so i'm not dying in frustration anymore.

    Still, it's something that I find strangely lacking in a consumer-grade OS.

  • First off I would like to mention how user friendly and intuitive Apple has made their products since the beginning. Assuming learning to use a Mac would be more difficult then learning a PC is like thinking your playing chess when really your just playing a simple game of memoryโ€ฆ On that note: The Finder does have a “Cut” function (In all OS Versions as far as I know)… you must be either going senile or u got a bugged version of the OS. Also, if you go to “Window > Show Path Bar”, you can see the entire folder path on the bottom of each window no matter how you are viewing the files and folders. Just drag and drop what you need where and your set. Also hitting Cmd+N makes a new finder window so you can have as many different folders open that you want (Don't forget to make good use of Alt-TAB and the F1-3 keys as well since they come in handy a lot). Also you mention how things run slowly on your computer, what is your mac's properties (IE: OSX Version, RAM, CPU, number of cores, etc..). You may just have bought a slow computer, or maybe you haven't used Software Update ( In the toolbar go to: APPLE > Software Update) which you should do the first time you get your mac and about once every month since apple always has new ones coming out. All that being said I do agree that the finder setup should have a sync option rather then overwrite, I did that one time and lost about a half a year of work for my portfolio! Fortunately I was able to find a backup of it all, phew! One last thing, I have found Mac's are even more flexible then PC's with Bootcamp, Crossover, Parallels as well as many other programs to run Windows on any Mac (given it isn't truly PC but it still works well). You can then run any PC games and apps without having to have bought both systems. Well good luck and congratulations on choosing Mac! If you have any more questions or issues don't be afraid to look at Apple.com's help forums and/or use the handy dandy little tool we like to call Google. ๐Ÿ™‚

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