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The Nillabyte Perspective: Technology

Windows 7 An Improvement, But Is Mac OS X Still Better?


Windows 7 is coming next week, and thus far most reviews have been positive. It's more stable, it has a useful taskbar with nice features, and it has more advanced networking features than Vista. It's the best version of Windows to date. Regardless, I feel that Mac OS X or Ubuntu are both better systems. But today, I am going to discuss why I feel that Mac OS X is preferable to Windows 7.

A Better Interface And Layout

This is one of the biggest reasons I prefer Mac OS X -- and I'm not talking about eye-candy. I think that both Mac OS X and Windows 7 have some appealing visuals that make continual computer use a little more tolerable. But I think the actual layout and interface of Mac OS X is more attractive and less confusing.

Windows 7, although less cluttered overall than Windows Vista, has a very convoluted layout at times. Some system settings are buried in sections that are not sensible. The different sections in Windows 7's Control Panel have ambiguous names and are confusing to the eye, and sometimes trying to determine where to go to do even a simple task like adjusting the screen saver is an effort. It can be difficult to find if you are unfamiliar with the Control Panel.

Take a look at the default layout of the Control Panel found in Windows 7:

Windows 7's convoluted and crappy control panel.  Seriously, this is crap!  Click for a larger view


It attempts to be overly simple, but results in most of the information you need to know being buried behind multiple layers of frustrating menus and sub-screens. I know, you have the option of changing the display method of the Control Panel, but can you honestly say that this mess is any better?

A crappy and long list view of Windows 7's terrible Control Panel.  Isn't it awful?


Windows 7's Control Panel is either superfluously simplified -- which causes all settings to be buried under multiple ambiguously named system panes and mouse clicks -- or it can be a list of several misnomered choices containing multiple sub-choices.

Mac OS X is much more intuitive and easy to use:

The System Preferences pane in Mac OS X


Each icon is self-explanatory, the layout is clean, and most of the settings you will desire to change can be found just by glancing over the icons and using common sense to choose which icon to click. Not every setting can be found quickly and easily using this method. For example, to disable the infrared receiver that the Apple remote uses, you have to click on Security. Not very sensible, but this type of occurrence is significantly more rare than in Windows 7.

The clean layout of Mac OS X isn't limited to the System Preferences. The entire system has a clean intuitive look and feel. And Apple still uses the traditional menu structures (File, Edit, View, Tools, etc), something that Microsoft has abandoned solely for the sake of change.


Nagging Annoyances

Although better than Vista, Windows 7 is still a nag. Honestly, it puts my wife to shame. Nothing aggravates me more than pop-up windows telling me stuff I don't care about, especially when I am scrambling to get work done. Although pop-up boxes appear in Mac OS X, they are much less frequent and easier to deal with. They usually only appear in Mac OS X when the system needs input from the user, but in Windows 7, there are still information popups that annoy and are not always needed.

I know, the annoying UAC, which caused blood pressure to rise for Vista users, can be adjusted in Windows 7 to nag less frequently, but they still annoy. Many of the pop-ups in Windows occur when the system feels the need to tell me I can't do what I want to do. These rarely occur in Mac OS X.

Another annoyance, some common tasks take several clicks to accomplish. For instance, ejecting devices, such as iPods, thumb drives, SD cards, and external hard drives takes so many clicks, I would rather yank the device from its cable and deal with potential data corruption and the annoying box that appears telling me I'm naughty for not ejecting the device properly.

Viruses, Malware, And Trojans

It doesn't matter what the reason is, Mac OS X is hit much less frequently with viruses and other malware than any version of Windows. It is near cyber-suicide to have a Windows box connected to the web without first having antivirus or other protection software. The problem is, most antivirus programs affect system performance and sometimes prevent functions desired by the user. I don't have to deal with that stuff when using Mac OS X since no antivirus is needed.

Data Protection

Windows 7 has an improved data backup feature, but to say it is complicated and confusing would be an understatement. There are many settings (which reside in multiple places in the system settings) and most are not explained well enough for the average user to make any sense of them. For Mac OS X, all that is needed is for the user to attach an external HD, approve the device as the backup drive, and that's it. The system will automatically make note of any changes on the entire computer and back them up every hour. And restoration is a snap.

Home Networking That Actually Networks

Windows 7 has better home networking features than Vista, but Mac OS X puts the Windows 7 network features to shame. Home networking actually works in Windows 7, but it takes some coaxing and encouragement from the user. Once it is enabled via the confusing Control Panel and after the user gets it working, all enabled Windows 7 computers on the network can share files and printers with each other. This is very useful, but on my network, the computers would sometimes disconnect from each other and require user input in order to reconnect.

Home networking in Mac Os X is easy to enable and easy to activate. In addition to file and printer sharing, Mac OS X also has an incredibly easy to activate screen sharing feature. In any Finder window under Shared, just click on the desired computer, then click Share Screen. The contents of the other computer's screen will be shown and it will accept keyboard and mouse commands. Basically, you can control all the Macs on your home network from one Mac.

Windows 7 Does Not Suck

For the record, I feel that Windows 7 is loads better than Vista. Although I don't feel it is worth the $120 upgrade price tag, I can't deny that it is more stable and less annoying than Vista. I simply feel that Mac OS X is a better system.

Comments

  1. Gigi's Avatar
    Windows is a nag. And it's annoying. It really amazes me that so many people tolerate it. Any benefits gained by using Windows are pointless when you have to endure the frustrations and annoyances in Windows.
  2. BanjoMan's Avatar
    Mac OS is definitely better, as long as you don't expect to actually do anything like play games, right-click, or use the network at work.
  3. cluttered_desk's Avatar
    Quote From BanjoMan
    Mac OS is definitely better, as long as you don't expect to actually do anything like play games, right-click, or use the network at work.
    There are lots of games for Mac. Apple mice have had right click for years, and the OS supports it just fine. And networking is much easier, even at work. Have you tried a Mac lately? Maybe you should.
  4. Toby's Avatar
    If Mac OS X is so great, then why won't it boot into 64-bit kernel?
  5. Jazmac's Avatar
    Quote From Gigi
    Windows is a nag. And it's annoying. It really amazes me that so many people tolerate it. Any benefits gained by using Windows are pointless when you have to endure the frustrations and annoyances in Windows.
    Its done for security purposes. But my Leopard is a bit of a nag too. I needed to play a real media file. (I'm surprised people still use that) so I had to get a player. Got from from real.com. After I got it down I got 3 popups about using it on my mac.

    One about the keychain,

    one about moving it to my app folder and

    one more about running something downloaded from the internet.

    Not a lot different than Vista if you ask me.

    I'm Just sayin'

    -JazMac
  6. Duke's Avatar
    Quote From Toby
    If Mac OS X is so great, then why won't it boot into 64-bit kernel?
    It can. Simply press 6 and 4 as Mac OS X boots.

    Snow Leopard currently does not boot into 64-bit kernel because there is little point since not all drivers for third-party devices are 64-bit.
  7. Chris's Avatar
    No offense to the writer of this article but most of your complaints about the Windows 7 interface are as bad as Windows users complaints about not understanding Macs interface. Of course you're going to find Windows 7 'nagy' and other features 'confusing' if you don't know how to navigate the OS. Almost all your complaints sound like Windows user I know when they buy a new Mac and can't figure out how to navigate as succesfully as they did on Windows.
  8. Kyle Buckley's Avatar
    Quote From Chris
    No offense to the writer of this article but most of your complaints about the Windows 7 interface are as bad as Windows users complaints about not understanding Macs interface. Of course you're going to find Windows 7 'nagy' and other features 'confusing' if you don't know how to navigate the OS. Almost all your complaints sound like Windows user I know when they buy a new Mac and can't figure out how to navigate as succesfully as they did on Windows.
    No offense taken.

    I've been using both systems for several years. I simply find Mac OS X to be a more user-friendly system. When I switched to the Mac platform in 2002, I had no difficultly finding where things were. When Vista was released nearly everything had been moved around just for the sake of change and settings were organized in a rather arbitrary manner. Although I prefer Mac OS X over Windows, I am not a Mac user who seldom uses Windows—I use it everyday.

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