I'm a reluctant Windows user now

New job–hooray! The new employer is standardized on Windows. I decided not to kick up a fuss, partly out of desire to make a good first impression, partly out of curiosity of what Windows has become in the 15 years since I switched to Mac. I’m not even adding any third-party software–at least not yet. Just the standard Windows/Office stack.

I’ve been on Windows three days now and you know what? It’s fine. I can’t see any reason why a Windows user would want to switch to Mac. I also can’t see a reason for a Mac user to switch to Windows. Any advantage of one over the other seems not worth the cost of learning a new platform.

Random impressions:

  • Window management on Windows is way better than the Mac. Big preview thumbnails on the task switcher, and when you hover over icons on the taskbar. Also, split-screen implementation on Windows is lovely.
  • I love the integration between Office applications.
  • I’m living in OneNote on Windows. A very nice app for content management. It’s not futureproof, but I don’t care. The work I’m doing does not need to be saved for decades in the future.
  • Windows has built-in clipboard history. Why does the Mac not have that?

Unlike on past job, I’m maintaining a STRICT separation between work and personal information. The work computer will be used ONLY for work—for everything else, I have my trusty MacBook Pro. Which I’m typing on now, and happy to be doing so.

For switching between the two devices, I’m using the Logitech 380 multi-device keyboard. Logitech keyboards are great—they take a lot of abuse, and they’re dirt cheap.

I don’t know if the employer allows users’ installing apps on work computers. But if they do—what should I install? I’ve already looked at AutoHotKey for automation. I’m not really interested in 1Password for the work computer. Anything else?

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I agree. Windows is quite good overall.

PowerToys offers a lot of good enhancements. :blush:

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How is the automation? I know of Power Automate (formerly Flow) but I’m not versed in anything else, such as other apps (native or third-party) or the ability to link to files, emails, etc. like you can on the Mac.

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I haven’t used windows in a few years but if you are a Hazel user check out File Juggler. Google can be your friend, just ask for “name of mac app” for Windows, i.e. “Hazel for Windows”.

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What are your favorite windows tips, everybody?

I haven’t looked into automation. Baby steps. Today I figured out how to open two OneNote windows side by side.

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My work computer has Windows 10. Earlier this summer there was frequent push for software updates. That tended to interrupt working.

The hardware, that is where I have gripes. The machine is a Toughbook 33. I have had it for 4 years now, the rotation is 5 years. The battery life is nonexistent. The next gripe, which is also a hardware issue, the power cord to the charger went bad. A minor thing is the bigger picture. Most the time my computer is in a dock. When I was on the road every day, using it as a tablet and taking pictures it was handy.

Now, for Windows, I would like to be using Windows 11. That isn’t in the cards for this. Now, I like Onenote. I use it daily. It helps manage my work assignments. I use to track contact with folks I am working with. It also helps track progress of tasks. I also like Outlook. The calendar does a great job of keep track of appointments.

Take a walk through ALL the Control Panels, one by one. Lots and lots of customization hidden there. Sometimes, as on Mac, the preferences affecting something are squirreled away in a weird place.

NotePad ++ is a decent, customizable (lots of plug-ins) text editor.

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Breevy replaces Textexpander/Typinator on Windows for me. Another thumbs up for OneNote for work notes. Shared notebooks are very helpful - no need to publish meeting minutes.

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at least for myself, there are a few reasons for preferring Mac than Windows

  1. apps that works on Apple ecology only, such as DEVONthink, Alfred, Hazel. I could be wrong but I cannot find the equivalents in the Windows envirornment.
  2. Mac is tightly integrated with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch etc, whereas Windows may be able to connect to Android phone but it is not seamless continuity
  3. Mac is closer to Unix/Linux environment, terminal mode is built-in

Onenote and Office365 works just fine on Mac and iPhone

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I’m a Windows user for work and have given up fighting it really! However, at the next hardware refresh, I will push for a MacBook, as they are available to us. However, I would say I’m platform agnostic - I can do my work on either device without issues. My work issued Lenovo E14 is decent - though battery life and screen are poor, especially compared to my M1 MacBook Air, but the keyboard is better!

For me, the following programs are equivalents of the macOS software:

Mac Windows
Hazel File Juggler
Alfred Keypirinha
Alfred Cipboard History Ditto*
Typinator Breevy**
Keyboard Maestro AutoHotKey

* Ditto also replaces some of the functions of Typinator for me - in that I can save snippets and search to paste them.
** Breevy is discontinued I believe, but it’s still available and it works well. However, Autohotkey can replicate some of it’s functions. There’s aways aText as well.

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My SO also moved to a Windows environment. She’s been working on a HP laptop for more than a year. She’s okay with it and was able to adapt well. Her only gripe is the hardware. Her bluetooth keyboard and mouse always get disconnected. Laptop built is crickety like its going to break by simply holding the opened laptop with one hand. She’s not a power user, so software needs are basic.

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Have someone, who is doing the Updates and Maintenance for you… :joy: :sweat_smile:

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For sure!

But… The Office suite on Windows is playing on a totally different level. Many of the frustrations I have in Office on the Mac are limited to Office on the Mac. Excel on the Mac is a pain in the rear in comparison to Excel on Windows. One of the reasons may be that I have “grown up” on Windows, but that it is not the main reason, given that I switched to the Mac at home 16 years ago (crazy how time flies).

MS Office on the Mac has still some way to go to be on the same level as on Windows feature-wise, UI-wise and what not. Microsoft tried to adapt to the “Apple way” with early Office versions. I do not think that they ever succeeded in doing so, but it led to an Office that was decent (to some degree) to provide compatibility with their file formats while being a very limited software. It has gotten better over the years, but it is still not 100% there (at least that is how I feel).

But I do not want to derail this topic. I am happy reading @MitchWagner’s post because this quote here is where he has a valid point:

I’ve been on Windows three days now and you know what? It’s fine. I can’t see any reason why a Windows user would want to switch to Mac. I also can’t see a reason for a Mac user to switch to Windows.

I have seen so many frightened and frustrated posts all over this and other communities when long-time Mac users had to use Windows PCs and I get where that comes from. But the Windows environment of today has changed.

So, why am I a Mac user then? I was impressed with the iPod and curious about Apple so I gave the MacBook a try (the first Intel one). And I was blown away. I still prefer the Mac at home and yes, I like the Apple ecosystem (most of the time ;)).

Regarding the Apple ecosystem: @fuzzygel has a point there. But… the iPhone does a very good job working with the Windows ecosystem (for instance in combination with Exchange) as long as those Exchange servers are running recent versions and are being configured correctly. I do not want to go off-topic any further on that one.

I want to close with this: if you are ever confronted with Windows in your work life, do not fight it. Try to embrace it, look around and you may be surprised that it can be quite good.

So, regarding automation: there are already good alternatives being mentioned in this topic. I have to say that I do not use any automation tool at work because we are working differently. Regarding 1Password - the newest version should be fine on Windows. I have switched to Bitwarden - on all platforms.

To be honest, I cannot recall when it was the last time that I had issues with updates. Regarding maintenance: what maintenance? If you are a user, Windows “maintains” itself as does MacOS.

Be it as it may, thank you again for this topic. It may help those that have uneasy feelings when it comes down to using Windows. Be open for something “different” :wink: , you may be surprised.

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Glad to hear you’re coping. But for (almost) every good point you see, I am reminded of things that annoy me regularly.

  • Alt-Tab is superior to Cmd-Tab, and Split screen is great when you want it, I agree. But I do get annoyed every time I just want to put a window at the top of the screen and don’t want split screen. Manual split screen on Mac isn’t hard; when you want it.
  • The Office applications integrate with each other* and yet there are multiple versions of each with different feature sets. (And can we give a special callout to OneNote for Mac which has… no kidding… a different default display width for content than the Windows app.)
  • OneNote’s text engine is not the same as Word’s, nor Outlook’s, nor SharePoint’s. It is quite limited. And have fun when you discover the drawing tools.
  • I cannot fault clipboard history, even though I never remember to use it.

I use both all the time. Windows for work, Mac for enjoyment. Do I get my work done every day? Yup. Does Windows nag me with paper cuts every day? Yup.

But I sum up the entire Windows experience with one word: sloppy. Yes, macOS and its first party apps have limitations and annoying bugs, but what you do get generally works well and looks clean. If Microsoft would just knuckle down on consistency and reliability it would be very hard to say a bad word about it. I’d settle, for starters, for them deciding what a window looks like and sticking to it for their own applications — “what is a title bar?” :man_shrugging:

*Banging a web view in a Teams panel doesn’t count as integration in my book.

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100% true! :slight_smile:

But, Apple…

Yes, it is not fair. Beta and stuff like that. But there are other examples. Regarding consistency: my experience is that it has become better on Windows (from being bad to being usable [not good, but usable]) and it has become worse on the Mac during the last 10 years (from very nice to still being good overall).

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Hm. :thinking:
Biggest tip? The window close button is on the right side :slightly_smiling_face:

Yeah, Windows is fine. I’ve heard the Windows Linux System is fine too, though I haven’t tried it. OneNote is fine, and it’s cross platform, as is Teams. Teams is good for collaboration too, sharing docs and notebooks. MS products have better integration than Apple’s.

Yes! Best editor I’ve used on Windows.

And this is sage advice too. Rather than grousing about IT making you do this or that, just learn the tools.

I guess my biggest gripe with Windows is its tendency to go full screen at times, it’s very jarring. That may be the reasoning behind their doing it. You’re installing something!!!

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One of the main reasons why I switched to Mac over a year ago was Devonthink. Ironically, I have still not really integrated it into my workflow.

The one app I miss the most is Everything by voidtools. It finds every file (including network shares) instantly. I have not found anything* to match it on macOS (and spotlight has been unreliable - to put it positively - in indexing my samba shares. Everything doesn’t just find everything instantly but requires very little brain energy to use because it searches the entire path of the file, not just the file name and you can just combine bits from anywhere in the path in random order and Everything will find what you’re looking for. Highly recommend it.


* Finda comes rather close, but it is rather expensive and the UX is rather basic/not my style.

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This looks really good!
I’m always surprised when someone mentions something like this that’s been around for over a decade, and that I’ve never heard about.

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Alt+tab is burned deeper into my muscle memory than breathing.

(Not sure that’s a good thing, or even if Alt+tab still behaves the same way…)