My Personal Mac vs. PC Experience: I’m Going with Windows 7

Speaking of the Mac, my year-long experiment is over, and the winner is: Windows 7. Yes, after more than a year using a Macbook Pro (early 2008 edition) as my primary system, I’ve now switched “back” to Windows and have retired the Mac. Some very general conclusions:

1. Windows 7 tipped things in Windows’ favor, even as a beta. Things were much closer between Vista and OS X, but Windows 7 provides enough usability enhancements and overall performance improvements that OS X lost much of its edge in these two areas.

2. OS X is a real mixed bag. It excels in some areas, for example Mac applications tend to be more elegant than Windows applications. And, it falls down in others, such as in windows and file management. Furthermore, the silly things in OS X, like the inconsistency in maximizing windows (at least, I haven’t taken the time to figure it out), just bug me more than do the silly things in Windows.

3. Even with #1 and #2 above, I might still have chosen the Mac if it weren’t for overall compatibility and my general dislike for the Mac user community. I use a variety of services, such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, that basically require Windows for efficient use, and a number of hardware and software products that work best, or only, with Windows systems. I might be an outlier in this respect, but I do prefer the Zune ecosystem to the iPod, for a variety of reasons, and the Zune and the Mac have no desire to become acquanted.

Also, everyone in my family has their own system, and we share some others. With a total of seven computers in the house, I could never afford to make the switch to Apple only, and it’s too hard to work productively between two platforms.

4. If I could only own and use one piece of hardware, however, I’d choose the Mac, for two reasons. First, Apple hardware is certainly better than the run-of-the-mill Windows-based system. My Macbook Pro is a very well designed and built system (although, certianly not perfect). It gets hot, certainly, and the screen has a bit of a bend to it, but overall it feels better in use than my Windows systems. Second, the Mac can run Windows with relatively few limitations, and legally, while I can’t say the same about Windows.

I might write more about this experience here or elsewhere. Suffice it to say that it wasn’t an easy decision to make, and I do miss things about the Mac. I haven’t figured out yet what I’ll do with the Macbook Pro; I could use the money I’d get if I sold it, but I have a nagging feeling that I’d regret it.

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