I’ll be comparing to a Mac the things that, I believe, Windows has done right, because Mac is well-known and very respected in the OS field. This doesn’t mean that I think Mac’s are useless or rough to use, but Windows 7 has done some things right and I’d like to point them out. (Warning: The following is opinionated)
I have a Mac, I barely use it, but I know it extensively nonetheless. I am familiar with Mac software and Mac preferences and file and folders and widgets and gadgets and the finder and on and on… My point in this is, while Windows can learn a few things from Mac, like presentation, style, ect…, Mac could learn a few things from Windows and in no particular order, here they are:
Window Actions – I would like to think that even Mac users can appreciate the way windows works in Windows. A minimize button minimizes, a maximize button maximizes and a close button closes the window and the program. Mac’s windows work in a weird and mysterious way. While the minimize button does minimize, the maximize button has a different action depending on the program, none of which actually maximizes, more like resize. The close button, or the ‘X’ basically works like a minimize button, but to a different place on the dock. To actually close a program, you must use the “file” menu and quit or right-click or control-click the icon in the dock and select ‘quit’. Also worth noting is the fact that windows can be resized from any edge on a Windows 7 PC, not the case on the Mac.
Window Management – Many people like Expose, including many Windows fans that I know, but when Windows 7 was introduced, Microsoft introduced the best system for moving, arranging and ordering windows on the desktop. Aero Peak, Flip, Shake and Snap are the easiest and best ways to manage programs and windows on the desktop. Everything can be done in and around where you already have your mouse cursor and every one of the features works seamlessly with the theme and look of Windows 7.
The File Menu – I do realize that these are different operating systems and they each need to be a little different, but this is where I believe Windows got it right. The file menu for a program in Windows is on the window that you have open. The file menu for a window for the active program on a Mac is not on the window, but on the Apple menu bar at the top of the screen (the options change depending on which window or program is active). I know this is being picky, but it gets annoying going back and forth to the same menu bar for each little program that is open.
Programs and Apps – One thing that I like about the Mac is the ability to drag a folder to your applications folder and bingo…it’s installed. Going through the installation for everything on a Windows PC is sometimes tedious. However, the one thing I do like about the Windows programs setup is the central uninstaller, which would be nice to have for some Mac programs.
Taskbar – The new Windows taskbar is thought by many to be inspired by the OSX dock. Whether this is true or not is not what I’m going to get into here, what I do want to point out is the advantages the new taskbar has over the dock. In one glance you can see what is open, how many windows of that item are open, a thumbnail of the window or windows and whether there is a progress bar and where it is. I mean…come on, if Windows 7 did one thing right, it’s the new taskbar. It’s a great program launcher, very customizable, displays information easily and is easy to learn. The Dock may or may not have been its inspiration, but I think Windows 7 has 1UPed Mac on this one.
Customization – One thing that I like about Windows is that I can dig my hands into every little nook of the OS and change and edit my way into and out of a disaster. I like being able to edit system and important files without rearranging my permissions. And yes, I do disable the UAC, so I can edit everything without being asked if I’m allowed to. One of the ways I learned computers and troubleshooting was to mess with files and options, screw something up and then figure out how to make things right again. I wouldn’t recommend this method for everyone, but that’s what the UAC is for, so Microsoft has thought of almost everything.
Keeping with the same point, there is no contest when it comes to customization options with the Windows OS and that’s not even taking into consideration the endless possibilities for hardware (I know, I know Ubuntu fans).
I realize that Mac fans will differ on a few or all of these features. They believe that they have the best OS with the best features and we Windows users know we have the best OS. Like I stated at the beginning, I have a Mac and I’m very familiar with its features and setting options, but when I sit down in front of my Windows 7 PC’s, something just works better and feels right about that operating system. Maybe it’s a combination of all of these things I mentioned, but Mac just doesn’t deliver, for me, like my Windows 7 PC does.