My MacBook Pro has both OS X 10.7 (Lion) and a Windows version (no accompanying feline-species name) on it. It’s a dual boot, which means I can start the Mac up and run either, but not both at the same time. I much prefer Lion…that’s probably because I’ve been using Macs for some time now, OS X since 2002…and for my own personal use, it’s been my only choice since 2007. Every version of OS X builds upon the previous one, so I’m sure the familiarity has something to do with it.
Not long ago I took Windows XP off and installed Windows 7. Yes, I know it’s been out for three years now, that it’s not new. For reasons I’ll go into in a minute, I don’t particularly like Windows…in fact, I’ve come to loathe it. Recently, however, with what seems like greater and greater frequency, I find myself shutting down OS X and rebooting from Windows 7. This version is clearly what Microsoft had in mind when it created the failed and awful but-it-still-deserved-a-better-fate-than-it-got Vista years ago. I don’t love Windows 7 like I do Mac OS X…but I sure do like it a lot.
There is no particular reason for me to use Windows 7. I’ve got the basic software–Microsoft Office and so on—also loaded on the MacBook Pro side. It’s mostly just like a new toy for me, like a new car that you go out to the garage just so you can sit in it. I’m kind of impressed by it. It’s not as clumsy and awkward as XP (which, let’s face it, is 11 years old now), and as it owes a lot to OS X, it’s a–dare I say it–wonderful OS to work with…at least, so far.
I say that because I had grown to hate the Windows operating system in general. I was an old DOS user 30 years ago, once actually paid $50 for an outdated copy of DOS 7 from a secondhand store in 2000 because I was experimenting with a PC from the early 90s and wanted to use the recommended operating system. My first experience with Windows was the same one that most in the mid-90s had: Windows 95. I was fascinated with it. I studied the little animations of the sheets of paper moving from folder to folder when you copied a file, watched the little hard drive icon spin with its rainbow colors while using the various disk repair functions. Since that beginning I’ve always replaced the standard startup sounds on all my Windows-based computers with the Windows 95 Startup Theme (did you know that it was written for Microsoft and performed by rock auteur Brian Eno?).
It went downhill from there. While Windows 98 was supposed to be more stable and a better OS, it was more complicated. In fact, it seemed that the more Microsoft tried to make each successive version of Windows simpler, it actually made it much more difficult and complex.
Much of the reason I started using Macs is that Apple’s operating systems were so much easier to do things with. And, they weren’t complicated like Windows, with its DLL files, a Registry, pieces of a program scattered all over the hard drive, and so on.
Windows 7 doubtless has the same things…but it just feels different. Windows 8 looks like a return to the complicated design we first started seeing with Me. Both it and RT (created for tablet computers) looks like a GUI designed by a 4 year old boy with a handful of broken crayons and a vision problem.
The other Windows versions since 95 seem like a pelican or stork or some ungainly tall bird. To me, Windows 7 is like a sleek light graceful four-colored butterfly.