Why I bailed out on Windows and switched to Macintosh


It’s kind of funny how things work out. When I originally bought my MacBook three months ago I viewed it as a complimentary machine. Something that would be added to my menagerie of computers. I had been using Windows for so long and it’s use was so deeply embedded into my workflow that I couldn’t imagine another OS displacing it as my primary operating system. I just wanted something new and different.

 
 

So what was wrong with Windows?

 

I guess after 17 years of Windows I became more than just a little tired of it. I watched new versions comes out with only incremental improvements in usability and more often than not, changes to things that just took some getting used to. Windows became larger and larger, more memory dependent and requiring more processor just to be functional. I accept that great new features and functionality will come with a larger footprint but it didn’t feel like I was getting that much great stuff out of it.

 

 

I was really hoping that Vista would reenergize my Windows experience but it did not. It was… meh. It felt like Microsoft was simply wrapping more and more layers of security on top of Windows, not really improving the Windows user experience. I loaded Vista on to my HP nw8440 laptop, a decent, high end machine that had 2GB of memory and a good graphics card. Vista ran fine from a performance standpoint but had some serious stability problems. Windows XP ran like a champ on the machine but Vista would lock up on me at odd times and if the machine ran for more than a day it could not be shut down – I would have to hold down the power button for an extended period of time to get it to turn off.

 

 

In October of 2007 I went out and bought a little HP Slimline PC. I wanted a nice little low power usage machine that could run Ubuntu for me. As power machines go this was not one of them: A little AMD 64 X2 dual core processor and 1GB of memory. It was all of $550 at the time – clearly a bargain class machine – and I had so many BestBuy credits from other purchases that my cash outlay was only a couple hundred dollars. It came with Vista capable logos all over it and had Windows Vista Home Edition installed on it. I knew I was going to wipe out the OS and install Ubuntu over it but I decided to play with it as a Vista machine for a bit. What a mistake.

 
 
Vista was dog slow on that machine, nearly unusable. It may have been because HP had so much extra crap on the machine to subsidize the cost but damn – it seemed like a waste of money. I considered just taking it back to BestBuy and getting a refund. Instead I went ahead and installed Ubuntu on it and lo and behold the machine’s performance was excellent. It is a great, complimentary machine for my purposes. The latest version of Ubuntu (8.04, Hardy Heron) is fantastic on the little HP. It looks even better and performs as well as the previous version I had.

 
 


The Last Straw

 
 

The last straw for me was the issue of viruses. I had run for years without virus protection on my PCs because I knew how to take care of my machine. Sure, I put things like Norton Anti-virus and PC Tools on my kid’s and wife’s machines but that was because they didn’t know how to stay out of trouble. I did so I knew I was safe.

 
 
I only installed software from well defined resources. I never even looked at attachments from people. I felt streetwise and here it was, 17 years into Windows and I had not gotten a single virus on my own machine.

 
 
Then, early this year I was doing some research on a programming issue I was having. I Googled up some web sites that appeared to have an answer and clicked on one that looked reputable. Even though I had popup blockers installed the site managed to open a popup on me. I closed the popup and left the site but before I knew it popups were happening to me randomly, even when the browser was not loaded. Clearly my machine had been infected by something.

 
 

I installed PC Tools and it found and eradicated the problem, some class of Spyware / Ad Malware crap. Rather than take the chance of that happening again I left PC Tools on and running. This unfortunately was a problem because now when I ran Visual Studio and went into a debugging session my machine slowed to a crawl. So I had to disable PC Tools in order to do my actual work. This was tremendously frustrating and happened to coincide with me looking at a MacBook.

 
 


The door was open and the Mac stepped in

 
 

Now that I’ve converted to using Macs for everything I am really enjoying it. You can read through my blog and see how this has developed over time – lots of ups and a couple of downs.

 
 

Funny thing is, I run into people all the time that are Mac users and they have similar stories. They were frustrated PC users that tried out and fell in love with Macs. When you ask people why they like their Macs more than Windows (if they have switched) many will recite the Apple line "it just works". Either Apple has figured out a way to get people to recite their marketing messages to others or they managed to tap into why people really like the machines.

 
 
Yesterday my youngest daughter had a friend over to work on a school project together. She brought her Dell laptop and was trying to access our wireless network. After setting everything up properly she just couldn’t seem to connect – she got a good signal but could never seem to get an IP address from our wireless router. I ended up disabling the wireless networking tool that Dell provides and used the native Windows version – this worked after a couple of minutes. When I attached my MacBook to this network it worked flawlessly the first time – as did my oldest daughter’s Mac when she connected it.

 
 
Just this morning I had my MacBook sitting on my lap and typing up this blog entry while waiting for my wife at the doctors office. A gentleman came over and asked some questions about the machine; he was considering getting a Mac for himself after his daughter was accepted to a graduate school and she decided that she was going to get a Mac. It was an interesting conversation because I immediately started to show off some of the Mac’s features, firing up VMware Fusion and loading up Windows XP to show how quickly it runs.

 
 
 
In three short months I’ve gone from curious about Macs to a newbie user to a switcher that promotes Macs to strangers. I guess my conversion to the dark side is now complete.

Comments

  1. Been there, drew the same conclusions for the same reasons, and switched to the Mac myself. I have never looked back! The Mac is simply better in every way that matters to people who want to get things done (except games…).