Forget The Snow: Windows 7 Is Behind Mac OS X Leopard

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I don’t know why Microsoft is worried about Snow Leopard. They want to dismiss it as a “service pack” or some such nonsense, but they’re worried about the wrong OS in my opinion.

Microsoft should be worried about Leopard. Yep, plain ol’ Leopard, without the snow. In my eyes Windows 7 is still behind that OS, so Snow Leopard will just be gravy on top of Apple’s lead.

Sure, Windows 7 is an improved OS. Perhaps, as Steve Ballmer says, it’s even Vista done right. But what does that mean? While no one thought Vista would be the failure it is, neither did anyone think it would be particularly special. So if they’ve finally done it “right” that only makes it the XP successor we should have had five years ago. Even with the whiz-bang features added, it’s lack of polish is evident.

Here’s a sample of what I miss from Leopard when I’m working on Windows 7:

  • One-click access to my most common folders (i.e., can’t add folders directly to the taskbar);
  • No folder springload capability;
  • No QuickLook;
  • No stacks with a graphical or hierarchical view of folders;
  • No easy way to keep the screen uncluttered via virtual desktops (instead I must minimize windows to get things out of the way);
  • The taskbar scrolls (ugh!) when it runs out of space, instead of elegantly resizing to fit;
  • No easy way to see all windows at once.
  • I can see the whole desktop, but it’s only for viewing, whereas on the Mac it’s “live”;
  • I can Command-Tab to switch apps, but on the Mac that’s “live” as well.

So even with Aero Peek and the new taskbar, Windows 7 is not very “smart”. Why not let you pin folders? Why not show all my windows? To me these are obvious details that Microsoft just didn’t think of, or can’t implement on the aging Windows code base. Meanwhile, it’s the attention to detail Apple’s famous for. I use these things without thinking about them, and miss them on a system from 2009 that sometimes seems to have been designed a decade earlier.

Windows 7 adds nice enhancements over Vista, but not the Mac. For me it’s nowhere near the Mac even just in terms of keeping your apps, folders, files, desktop and windows under control; too many clicks are still required.

Windows 7 runs fine, has been stable, no viruses (yet), and I can’t imagine anyone using the new taskbar for more than 60 seconds and not thinking it’s miles ahead of the old one. Still, it’s only a start and there’s a long way to go. Snow Leopard isn’t even needed for this round.

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30 thoughts on “Forget The Snow: Windows 7 Is Behind Mac OS X Leopard

  1. ““On the Mac, there is no way to cut and paste files with a keyboard.”

    This is true. You can copy and paste, but not cut. Still, if this is all about what one OS has and the other lacks, there isn’t enough room in cyberspace to list them all.”

    No, this is not true, unless I’m missing something here. Cmd+x=cut has always worked for me; cmd+v then pastes that text.

    • He was referring to cutting and pasting files, not text. You can copy and paste a file on the Mac, but a cut and paste (essentially, a move) is not possible.

  2. I use keyboard equivalents heavily on both Windows and Mac machines, and I prefer the Mac equivalents to Windows. The keys are more ergonomically placed on Macs as well, which also makes a difference. For example, the Mac Command+X/C/V for copy and paste is much easier than the corresponding copy and paste equivalents with Windows (with Ctrl being in the far left corner on Windows keyboards).

    In general, there are far more keyboard equivalents for Mac commands than in Windows, and they’re a lot more intuitive.

    The only thing I miss on my Mac is not having Macro Express, which is a Windows-only app and by far the best macro programming tool around.

  3. Macs require too much mousing in general. Windows has way better keyboard support. Windows has built-in support for dedicated Page Up, Page Down, Forward Delete, Home and End Keys. The Mac OS doesn’t recognize these properly and the corresponding shortcuts on a normal Mac keyboard are all 2 finger (2 hand even) shortcuts.

    Macbooks still have only one mouse button. With only one mouse button, how do you right-click-drag? On Windows, you right-click and start dragging, you can’t do this at all with the Macbook trackpad.

    There is no Mac shortcut to be able to quickly switch between 2 windows from 2 different applications. The Mac OS only deals with applications, it doesn’t deal with windows of an application. This is what Alt+Tab does in Windows. On the Mac, you use Expose and your mouse.

    On the Mac, there is no way to cut and paste files with a keyboard. On Windows, I do Ctrl+X to cut and Ctrl+Y to paste. Any file, anywhere.

    On Windows, I can have a file highlighted and simply hit my dedicated Delete key that comes on every non-Mac keyboard. The Mac OS makes you drag the file with the mouse or use a 2 handed keyboard shortcut.

    On Windows, I get to do my work the way I like to do it. On the Mac OS, it’s Apple’s way or the highway.

    • “Windows has built-in support for dedicated Page Up, Page Down, Forward Delete, Home and End Keys.”

      My Macs have always used them flawlessly (and Windows’ way is not the “best” or “correct” way). I don’t even use them on my keyboard now. To each his own.

      “Macbooks still have only one mouse button. ”

      That’s nonsense, and has been for years. I right-click all the time. And yes, I do so on a trackpad as well. Right-click drag is entirely unrelated to whether a second mouse button exists or not. I keyboard-drag for multiple functions, which Windows does not do. To each his own.

      “The Mac OS only deals with applications, it doesn’t deal with windows of an application.”

      Command-tilde switches between windows of an app. And I can use Expose or the mouse. I thought Windows users liked choice?

      “On the Mac, there is no way to cut and paste files with a keyboard.”

      This is true. You can copy and paste, but not cut. Still, if this is all about what one OS has and the other lacks, there isn’t enough room in cyberspace to list them all.

      “On Windows, I can have a file highlighted and simply hit my dedicated Delete key that comes on every non-Mac keyboard.”

      Stretching things a bit far, eh? Cmd-Delete is too much? Really?

      “On the Mac OS, it’s Apple’s way or the highway.”

      As just one example, the Mac lets me change the keyboard command of any item on any menu in almost every application. Windows does not. Oops. Looks like it’s Microsoft’s way or the highway.

      I appreciate the difference between both OS’s, but the tiny things you brought up barely even enter into the equation. You’re so buried in your way of doing things I imagine Windows 7’s new taskbar must be killing you.

      • Tom, regarding Wayne’s inability to hit CMD+Delete with a single hand. Don’t write his point off completely. He may, in fact, not be able to span the very large 2.5″ distance between the keys with a single hand. I just found out my cat can’t do it (based on the very unappreciated experiment I just ran with him). Maybe my cat and Wayne have similarly sized hands/paws. Just saying. 😉

  4. Cuda, you miss my point. I know you can do all these things on a Mac in other ways. But, you can do all Tom’s things in Windows in other ways. The fact that Tom prefers the Mac ways doesn’t prove the Mac is superior any more than a Windows user preferring the Windows ways proves the opposite.

    Regarding one of your answers, you say you can enter multiple page ranges when printing on a Mac. Have you tried this? When I try, the print dialog has two options: “All” and “From: to:”. How exactly would you print pages 1 and 3-6 of a document? Let’s assume we’re printing duplex (i.e. page 1 and 3 back to back). I’d like to know if there is a way because I can’t find it.

    Finally, of course it doesn’t matter that A4 pages are shown as being 20.99cm wide. It just seems to me that Mac fans are very critical of anything that’s not quite right with Windows but very forgiving of anything that’s not quite right with a Mac.

  5. Any Windows user could come up with a list of things they miss when using a Mac. Mine includes:

    Alt-tab to switch between windows with a single keystroke.
    Right mouse button. (On a mac, I can use Alt-Tab, click the open app in the dock, use expose.. all single clicks)
    Ability to cut and paste a file in Finder. (On a mac I can cut and paste between any 2 apps on my computer, files, photos, folders…etc. Hell… I can click and drag a pic or link from the browser and drop in onto the desktop or anything else)
    Safari won’t allow you to customise the search provider. (sure it does)
    Applications don’t stop running when you close the last window. (Ctrl-Q, right click close, File>Quit, right click dock>close)
    Can’t drag something to a dock icon and have the window come to the front so you can then drop the item onto it. (I can drag anything to a app on the dock and drop it into any app I want…open or not. No need to switch to the app first, its called multi-tasking))
    Paper size A4 shows as 20.99cm wide and not 21cm (duh!)(Cant figure out why this matters?).
    Have to fix a region code before playing a DVD and then can only change it three more times (MacBook)(If you bootleg movies from Russia maybe, other than that..ive never did this on my macbook).
    Print dialog only allows all pages or a range. Can’t enter, for example, “1, 3-5, 7, 10-12″. (mine does… PDF, Word, Pages, Text Edit..etc)
    Finder mixes up folders with files, Windows Explorer puts them at the top of the list making navigation simpler.(click the top to sort anyway you want. My folders are all in top of list)

  6. The irony made me post: “Even with the whiz-bang features added, it’s lack of polish is evident.” That’s “its,” not “it’s,” unless you spell the possessive of “he” as “hi’s” instead of “his.”

  7. “You’re kind of missing a key point. A laptop PC with a 16″ screen costs $800. A MBP 16″ costs $1700. Are those few features worth $900?”

    I didn’t know that $800 PC laptop was carved from a solid block of aircraft grade aluminum, had a multi-touch trackpad with no buttons, or a custom flat celled battery with 7-8 battery life that’s greater than most netbooks. Backlit keyboard? Firewire? Quality screen? Runs OSX, Windows and Linux at the same time or to boot up from? Magnetic latch or power cable?

    What an ignorant statement.

  8. “Any Windows user could come up with a list of things they miss when using a Mac. Mine includes…”

    Virtually everything in your list has Mac equivalents or can easily be addressed on a Mac, just as you note, so I’m not really sure why you would miss them. If you are not noticing the obvious superiority of Mac over Windows, I would suggest working your way through a handbook like David Pogue’s Missing Manual for Leopard. Alone the stability and the huge difference in reliability make a Mac a stunning contrast to Windows. I almost never have to deal with computer issues on my Mac, with Windows it was a constant battle dealing with error messages, bugs, virus warnings, ad nauseam.

    Your computer needs must be awfully light to not have picked up on these obvious differences in your first year of using a Mac.

    • Of course a Mac is better in Windows in lots of ways. I use both more heavily than most people, I would think, and I am quite aware of what the differences are. However, my comment was in reply to the original post, not about whether Macs get viruses or are more stable. Tom even disagrees with you in that respect and said in the original post “Windows 7 runs fine, has been stable, no viruses (yet)”. That’s been my experience too.

      The original post was making out that Windows is inferior to Leopard because it doesn’t have some features that one Mac user likes in the way he likes them. I was just pointing out that the same could be said in the other direction.

      Sure there are other ways to do the things on my list if you use a Mac. But there are ways in Windows to do what Tom lists. e.g. Windows doesn’t have “folder springload” but you can drag an item down a hierarchy in a very similar way.

  9. Any Windows user could come up with a list of things they miss when using a Mac. Mine includes:

    Alt-tab to switch between windows with a single keystroke.
    Right mouse button.
    Ability to cut and paste a file in Finder.
    Safari won’t allow you to customise the search provider.
    Applications don’t stop running when you close the last window.
    Can’t drag something to a dock icon and have the window come to the front so you can then drop the item onto it.
    Paper size A4 shows as 20.99cm wide and not 21cm (duh!).
    Have to fix a region code before playing a DVD and then can only change it three more times (MacBook).
    Print dialog only allows all pages or a range. Can’t enter, for example, “1, 3-5, 7, 10-12”.
    Finder mixes up folders with files, Windows Explorer puts them at the top of the list making navigation simpler.

    I would argue that most of the areas above are objectively better in Windows (from XP, never mind Vista or 7). Mac users will no doubt have alternative ways of doing those things, which they prefer. I use OSX and Windows and there are things in both that I like. When I bought my MacBook just over a year ago I expected to quickly see and understand the superiority that Apple fans had been telling me about for years. Actually, the experience made me more appreciative of Windows as it isn’t far behind OSX in many respects and is ahead in others.

    • @Julian

      Alt+Tab on a Mac is Command+Tab.

      Macs have had a Right mouse button for right around 7 years now.

      Applications don’t stop running when you close the last window. Exit.

      Can’t drag something to a dock icon and have the window come to the front so you can then drop the item onto it. <- Macs can do EXACTLY this. Not sure where you're getting your info…

      Have to fix a region code before playing a DVD and then can only change it three more times (MacBook). <- Do you really move around continents this often? Really?

      Print dialog only allows all pages or a range. <- This is super annoying and I'll give you this one…

      Finder mixes up folders with files, Windows Explorer puts them at the top of the list making navigation simpler. With Mac OSX you can setup whatever custom views you would like to and it will remember this setting and use it for every folder thereafter (or for only that specific folder, if you so desire).

      • Typo Correction: Applications don’t stop running when you close the last window. <- From an end users perspective it's a gift that all Apps on a Mac are exited using the exact same method—using the menu bar (which is always at the top of the screen). Much better than Windows way of sometimes exiting apps by the red x, sometimes by right clicking on the menu bar, sometimes by going to File then Exit.

      • Whether the Mac can do these things wasn’t the point I was making. I was pointing out that the original post was just coming up with a list of some things the Mac does better or that the writer prefers. The writer was trying to say that Windows 7 therefore wasn’t even as good as Leopard, never mind Snow Leopard, based just on just this list. A Windows user could do the same, which is what I was illustrating with my list.

        By the way, Alt+Tab on a Mac is not actually Command+Tab. In Windows, Alt+Tab cycles between all the open windows. On a Mac, Command+Tab cycles through the applications to the window that last had focus. If you want to do the same thing as Alt+Tab on a Mac, you have to uss a combination of Command+Tab and Command+`. I’ve not met anyone who thought that was easier.

  10. Win7 isn’t even in the major leagues; it still isn’t UNIX. It’s new wine (in the form of eye-candy) in an old wine sack, to use a Biblical metaphor.

  11. Pete,

    Windows 7 adaptors will overwhelmingly be buying new machines; the difficulty of most so-called “upgrades” to Windows 7 will see to that. Remember that two-thirds of Windows’ base runs XP; that update is painful.

    For Mac users, non-Intel machines are out of the running, but something like 80% of the base is on Intel. And compared to Windows 7, the upgrade path is painless. Plus it’s a relative bargain.

    I’m sure Microsoft will sell more upgrade _units_ than Apple, but if figured as a percentage of the eligible base I believe SL will crush W7.

  12. You’re kind of missing a key point. A laptop PC with a 16″ screen costs $800. A MBP 16″ costs $1700. Are those few features worth $900?

    Also, a main reason people switched to a Mac is from all those viruses. Win 7 should improve on that.

    I’m a Mac user but I think Apple’s going to take a huge hit by this.

    • Cut this crap out. An $800.00 Windows laptop with a 16″ screen isn’t comparable in features, capabilities, and/or quality of components to the low-end MacBook Pro, which greatly exceeds any $800.00 Windows laptop in all of those areas.

    • Even if your price comparison is correct which and the computers are equal on features/quality , the time you spend on computers today is a significant portion of your life, so if you are wasting time then you are wasting a lot more than $900. What people fail to understand is that in this day and age time is a very expensive commodity. Macs are so much easier to use and so much more productive they make up for it. That is why we pay more money for faster internet connections as an example.

  13. The biggest leap forward I noticed when moving from Windows to Mac OS X was the incredibly high integration between the OS UI and the apps. I found the intuitive nature of just moving objects (images, bits of text, etc) from one app or space to another was amazing, and such a huge leap, technologically, from Windows. Making use of this kind of integration has been the essence of my use of OS X, it transforms the whole computing experience. Because of this tight integration, you need to spend little time learning things or trying to figure things out. You just try it and voila, it works!

  14. It’s just like Zune. Microsoft targets whatever Apple released two years ago, and still misses the mark. In my opinion, Apple could bring back Tiger and it would be preferable to Windows 7.

  15. Sorry, I don’t agree – I don’t see Vista, or even Win 7, as a 5 year leap from XP.

  16. Pingback: Windows 7 perde do Mac OS X Leopard (não o Snow), diz Small Wave » AppleMania.info

  17. You hit the nail on the head again Tom. Windows 7, or Vista 2 is a better OS then either XP, or Vista 1, but it is nowhere near equaling Leopard, let alone Snowy!

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