Having used both Windows and Mac OS X over the years, there’s little doubt in my mind that my Mac is, overall, nicer to use than any Windows PC. And of course, this is a Mac blog, so many of my posts invariably end up singing the praises of Macs and all things Apple.
However, as it’s the season of goodwill and all, I thought it fitting to redress the balance and list 10 things that Windows does better than Mac OS…
1. Windows is more customizable
2. Windows is more compatible
Let’s face it – practically all software and peripherals out there support Windows. (Though the Mac is getting better all the time in this regard.)
3. Choose your own hardware
With Windows you’re not tied into one manufacturer with a limited product range like you are with Mac OS (Psystar notwithstanding). On a budget? Any cheap clone will run Windows. Want something that exactly matches your lifestyle or situation? The range of PC options is huge so you’re bound to find something that suits.
4. Better keyboard shortcuts
You can access any menu option in a Windows app with 2 or 3 keystrokes, and they’re the same standard keystrokes on any Windows PC. With Mac apps you’re limited to the shortcuts chosen by the app developer. (You can add your own shortcuts on a per-app basis, but then you have to remember which shortcuts you’ve added for each app. And what happens if you get a new Mac, or use a friend’s? You have to redo all your shortcuts again!)
Furthermore, you can access pretty much all controls in any Windows dialog or window via the keyboard. Mac OS lets you turn on so-called “full keyboard access”, but there are still many things you can’t do with the keyboard (try moving from the Calendars pane to the Day/Week/Month View pane in iCal, for example, or activating the all-important Scan button in Image Capture).
5. Sensible use of navigation keys
I know I’ve been over this before, and it’s largely a “personal taste” thing, but after nearly 3 years of using the Mac I still can’t get my head around using the finger-twisting Command-Left Arrow to go the beginning of a line, and Command-Right Arrow to go the end of the line. Not to mention the Home, End, Page Up and Page Down keys that scroll without moving the cursor. Arrrgh. Windows uses these keys much more sensibly in my opinion.
6. More useful file manager
Finder can’t cut and paste files or give you a 2-pane tree view of your files and folders. Windows Explorer can, and jolly useful these functions are, too.
7. More flexible open/save dialogs
Speaking of file management, Windows open and save dialogs let you rename and delete files and folders; add new files and folders; open a selected file in another app for viewing/editing; open a selected folder in Windows Explorer; and manipulate image files:
Mac’s open/save dialogs merely let you select a file and create a new folder. Not nearly as useful.
8. Much bigger range of games
I’d love to play a lot of games on my Mac, but sadly there just isn’t the range that there is for Windows. And when you do get a game for the Mac, it’s often a second-rate port of the Windows version.
9. Easier to get help
There are many more Windows users than Mac users. If you get stuck with your Windows PC, chances are you know someone round the corner (or their kid!) who can help you fix it. With a Mac, you might be struggling.
10. Windows Media Center does more than Front Row
Media Center lets you watch and record live TV and/or radio (with a suitable card), and you can do a lot more thanks to plugins. It also works with a mouse if you want it to. Can’t do any of things with Front Row (the Apple Remote is nice though).
So there you have it. Macs may be lovely, but there are some things that Microsoft simply does better! Not that I’ll be trading in my iMac for a Dell just yet.
Merry Christmas, Windows users everywhere.