Windows 8.1: Drawing me away from the Mac

Windows 8.1: Drawing me away from the Mac

Summary: Like many, I left Windows behind for the most part and switched almost exclusively to the Mac. That's gradually changing with Windows 8.1.


Like millions of Windows users, I was happy with my desktop system and laptops for years. I was one of the rare Tablet PC users in my daily work, with Windows front and center. Then I tried my first Mac, the original 17-inch MacBook Pro and everything changed.

Win over Macs
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

I got the Mac to give it a try and see what the other side had to offer. I used it as a desktop replacement more than a laptop. It didn't take me long, about a month, to realize I was using it exclusively in my office. The Windows systems were sitting on the desk without getting much use.

The primary reason for my happiness with the switch from Windows to the Mac was ease of use. It didn't take me long to realize I never had to think about maintenance. I never had to reboot a frozen system, nor deal with hung apps. It just worked.

I've been using Macs in my office ever since. I have two now, a 11-inch MacBook Air and a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. They are both fine systems that I've enjoyed using since the purchases.

As good as those Macs are, I realize I'm using them less than in the past. The reason is Windows 8.1, and how good it is. I now find my office compute time is divided pretty equally between my Windows 8.1 hybrid and one of the Macs.

That's a testament to how Windows 8 has evolved in the short time it's been available. With Windows 8.1, I really like using my Asus Transformer Book T100 tablet. My heavy tablet use sucked me into using the T100 a lot, and that use includes docking the tablet to form a laptop.

Windows 8.1 works as well on the laptop as it does on the tablet, and that has me reaching for it a lot. Where I'd formerly sit down at the Mac, I now often grab the T100 and work wherever. I take it for outside working sessions and I use it in my home office. It hasn't completely replaced my use of the Macs but it's eating into work time normally done with them.

I'm not ready to dump the Macs and go totally WIndows, but I know I could if I had to. Windows 8.1 has come along nicely, and it's a testament to the work Microsoft has done with it already that it's gradually getting me back to the PC side of things.

That's a significant change for this Mac user. That I'm even thinking about this speaks volumes.

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Topics: Mobility, Apple, Windows 8

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  • True

    Not trendy, not cool, not a bandwagon, not clickbait...

    Just true.
    • Definitely...

      As much as I like Macs, and even my brother is a dyed-in-the-wool Mac head; I can only use PCs because industrial automation is still based on that and G code. Windows still drives the world that gets things done. We have run emulation in Macs, but sometimes it is more difficult to port that out to an actual controller. I is just easier to use Windows and get it over with.

      I love this article, because it helps me realize my decision to go hybrid will probably be a good one. I've always loved convertible technology, and even my 1st PC was an IBM called the Convertible.
      • The latest "convertibles" really do work well

        I've never charged my Haswell-powered Sony VAIO during the day. I find that I now quite naturally switch between a mouse and a finger on the screen (and I get a little frustrated when I use Visual Studio - it has no real understanding of fingers). I'm much happier using "Metro" apps when I can, but it's great having all my old desktop standards around as well (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, pen-powered OneNote (I take a lot of notes) and Visual Studio).

        Oddly enough, one of the best features of Win8.1 is the ability to set the background of the Start screen and the desktop to the same image. Suddenly, the start screen just seems *way* more natural - I really don't miss the start menu at all.

        And, since folks will accuse me of being a shill... I am an ex-MSFT employee, but, given how our ways parted, not someone you'd expect to be shilling for them.
        • the year of the convertibles

          was going to get a surface pro and then played around with a Samsung Ativ 700t in the Samsung store and OMG, snap call!
          never looked back and I can't go without it now.
  • Windows 8.1 is better

    Mac is old dull and boring. Mavericks? Dumb name for a useless system. Windows has majority market share, can run anything, and is way more modern.
    Sean Foley
    • Mac is dull and boring?

      Of the two types of computers, which one comes with GarageBand? I don't know anyone who got a Mac as a gift who wasn't horsing around with GarageBand within an hour of turning it on....
      • Garageband

        That's the music maker app right?
        No interest. Next.
      • Huh?

        If by messing around with it you mean trying to rip out all the resource wasting files it left behind when I deleted it... Then true, I messed with it on my Macs.

        However, I never used it and there are better apps on the PC. Look up Finale for Windows, that's what the real musicians I know use.
        • Um, what?

          Finale is for composing. And yes, it is one of the tools I use for.... scoring music.

          It has no value or use whatsoever in recording it or for music production (beyond generating MIDI, I suppose.)

          What a strange comment.
          • What???

            Finale will use midi samples and play the arrangement for you... It can make the whole thing once you score the music.

            How strange you wouldn't know that.
          • I am well aware of what it does, I own it

            What is strange is that you don't seem to realize that music production is much, much more than simply scoring music - there is recording instruments (performed by musicians, not rendering the internal synth from Finale), looping parts, applying Steinberg VST effects, mixing, and mastering.

            Finale plays a very, very small part in that process.
          • Band-in-a-box

            I use Band-in-a-Box together with Cubasis (amongst others). And the best thing about those is that I can use them on my Surface Pro or on my Dell XPS 18 (core i7). Having this powerful software on an 18" tablet is actually very handy.

            It's like having full Logic Pro on an iPad, except the iPad doesn't have full Logic Pro - you need a Mac for that.
          • No value?

            I stopped using Finale years ago in favor of Sibelius (though I'm anxiously awaiting what Daniel Spreadbury, et al are doing at Steinberg now that AVID has hopelessly fumbled the product). Sibelius (or Finale) playback using the Vienna Symphonic Library/East West can produce some usable--sometimes stunning--results.
          • No value?

            (I posted this as a reply, but it ended up as a new comment for some reason... posting again as a reply.)

            I stopped using Finale years ago in favor of Sibelius (though I'm anxiously awaiting what Daniel Spreadbury, et al are doing at Steinberg now that AVID has hopelessly fumbled the product). Sibelius (or Finale) playback using the Vienna Symphonic Library/East West can produce some usable--sometimes stunning--results.
          • Ok... I *know* I posted that as a reply to another post (was "No value?")

            But somehow it ends up as a new comment... hmmm.
      • Dull and boring?

        No, but very frustrating. I switched to OS X in 2007, but I prefer using my Windows 8.1 tablet and laptop now.

        I 'have' to use a 27" iMac at work, but I find I am spending more and more time using RDP into a terminal server or Windows 8 virutal machine than using it natively. It is a Core i7, with 16GB RAM, but it feels slow, compared to my 2010 Core i7 laptop with Windows 8.1 on it. Heck even the Atom tablet feels more fluid - it isn't anywhere near as fast, but it feels quicker.
      • Garageband?

        I played with it for a couple of minutes, not my thing.
      • "horsing around".......?

        Yeah, I really don't do much "horsing around" on my computers.

        Everyone has their own uses I suppose. Just not a big factor for me in choosing a device.
    • Re: Mac is old dull and boring....

      ....Windows has majority market share, can run anything. Windows 8.1 is nothing more than kindergarten building blocks.
      Anything will run on OS X (including Windows) if you must introduce the Micro$haft poison.
      • What?

        I guess Windows will run on OS X with a virtual machine, but have fun with the bad performance.
        Michael Alan Goff