8 Reasons Windows Users Don’t Switch

by Steven Leigh Oct 02, 2007

Let me say it right off the bat: Macs running OS X give the best computing experience on the planet. It’s not that Macs are perfect, but compared to everything else, there is nothing like the Mac experience. With that in mind, it’s difficult for many Mac users to comprehend why there are so many Windows users suffering needlessly by running a Windows system. That’s where I come in.

I have been a die-hard Windows user since I started computing. If you had told me I would switch to Mac at any point in the future, I would have laughed at you. There was nothing that could ever make me switch! Well, that didn’t exactly last forever, but as a recent Mac “switcher,” I have a unique perspective on both worlds. Experienced Mac users may not have the perspective that it takes to see what makes Windows users stay with Microsoft, and let’s face it, some Mac users (not you or me, of course) are just downright zealots who think that anyone using Windows should be cast into the fiery pits of Mount Doom and forgotten for all eternity. (Nerd alert!)

So allow me to take an objective look at what keeps some Windows users from switching, from the perspective of someone who has resisted switching to Mac for a long time and was looking for any excuse to stay with Windows. And once you’ve read this article, check out 8 Reasons Windows Users Do Switch to Mac to learn what is working.

1. Ignorance
Ignorance is merely a lack of knowledge, and when it comes to Macs, most Windows users, myself included, are extremely uninformed. My experiences with Macs were mostly pre-OS X, before the really good stuff began to happen, and I made a decision that Macs were not for me and never looked back. Many Windows users think they’ll have to “re-learn everything” and that nothing will be familiar. While this is partly true, Macs are so much easier to use; many beginners find it easier to do most tasks intuitively, without having to be taught or open a manual. As someone who has spent long hours teaching family and friends how to do simple tasks like email attachments, I can you tell that the same cannot be said about Windows.

2. The Office
No, I’m not blaming Steve Carell, I’m talking about where you work. Most office environments run Windows, period. While this is beginning to change, the reality is that the majority of people are using Windows at the office. If you need to bring your work home and get things done, it makes sense that you should run Windows at home, right? Not really, but the average Windows user doesn’t know about Office for Macs, or that their files will still be compatible. They don’t realize how easy it is to work across both platforms, or that they can even run Windows on their Mac when all else fails. Even if they do know these things, they figure that it will be more difficult to work on two platforms than it is worth.  Apple is doing a great job lately of educating people on these misunderstandings, but it is still the prevailing thought among Windows users. Even if the Mac doesn’t get a strong hold on the business market, it’s important that people know they’re capable of it.

3. Hardware
I have always been a bit of a hardware geek, and used to enjoy building my own machines. Every few years, I would upgrade the motherboard and processor, and re-use the case, the hard drives, and power supply, and could make a significant upgrade for $400-500. I can never do this with a Mac. Hardware geeks are hard to convince for this very reason, and even average Windows users may scoff at something like an iMac because they don’t want to pay for a new monitor every time they upgrade their computer. Mac Minis are popular with Windows switchers because they can use their current monitor, mouse, and keyboard and not have them bundled as with an iMac. This is becoming less of an issue as the price of Macs have come down considerably, and technology moves so fast nowadays, you’ll likely to want to upgrade almost every component every few years anyway. As a former system-builder, I’m now at a point in my life where I would rather pay a little extra for a system that works right out of the box and has great support than save a few hundred dollars at the cost of countless hours of being my own tech support.

4. Price
The perception by Windows users is that Macs are more expensive than Windows PCs. This may have been true in the past, but the new Macs are very comparably priced to similarly equipped PCs. Unfortunately, the perception remains. Budget PCs may undercut Mac prices, but budget PCs sacrifice quality parts and support. Apple has shown that they are not interested in competing in the budget computer market, and it’s a smart move, as the margins in this area are extremely small. Windows users should consider what they’re getting for the extra money. Apple’s support is top-notch, the included software, such as iLife, is stellar, and the quality and design of the machines is always first-class.

5. Lies
Let’s face it: Apple tends to bend the truth once in a while, especially about Microsoft and Windows. One of the “Get a Mac” ads states that Windows is for spreadsheets and pie-charts, while Macs are for “fun stuff” like photos, movies, etc. To Mac users, this seems both funny and true. Windows users, however, are thinking of the aisles and aisles of games that are available for Windows, while there is a half-shelf devoted to games for the Mac. I don’t know about you, but I can only have so much fun playing with photos. Things like this just sound like lies, and they sometimes present Apple as a company that has to lie about its competitors to get business. Other ads point out flaws in Windows that are so true it hurts, especially letting people know that Macs don’t get viruses, or that Macs include a lot more useful software and less bloat than Windows. Don’t get me wrong, I take the commercials as a light-hearted jab, as they are intended, but some of them bend the truth so much that it creates mistrust.

6. Windows Bashing
Apple and Steve Jobs are constantly making jabs at Vista and Microsoft, and Mac users follow suit. That’s understandable, but when Steve Jobs is constantly berating Vista and Microsoft instead of touting the features and advantages of Apple’s own products, it makes Windows users think that Macs don’t have much going for them. I remember watching the 20 or 30 minute Vista-bashing session at the WWDC conference and wondering why Steve Jobs is so insecure that he has to berate the opposition. Can you imagine shopping for a car and having the salesman only talk about what’s wrong with the competition’s cars? This always reminds me of John Kerry, whose entire campaign was about bashing Bush instead of telling you why he was a good candidate himself. It didn’t work for him either. Apple, your products are the best in the industry. Act like it.

7. Vista
I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret, but you need to sit down first. Windows Vista is actually a good operating system! There. I said it. The ugly truth is that Vista is the best operating system Microsoft has ever released, and for many users, it is good enough. That’s right, good enough. I really like Vista. It fixes so many of the little issues that have plagued me for years, and if I had to use Windows, it’s the version I would use. But now that I have spent time with OS X, I could never go back. For Windows users who have never touched OS X, or are resisting Macs for any of the reasons listed here, Vista is the best operating system they have ever used. I know, I pity them too, but all we can do is hope that they see the light eventually.

8. Mac Users
Okay, I’m not talking about you or me here, but there are some Mac users out there who have just a little too much love for Apple. When they are shouting (or typing in all caps) about how much better Macs are, they’re not convincing anyone to switch, they are scaring them away. Even well-intentioned Mac users can sometimes get a little carried away. I’ve had many friends lecture me for hours on end that I was stupid not to switch, and all it did was push me further away. In contrast, when I got a chance to sit down and quietly use a Mac, I began to enjoy the experience, and luckily, a friend was smart enough to answer my questions and just let me play for a while, and it made all the difference.

Apple is doing so much right these days. I am sometimes awestruck by their constant stream of good decisions, but there are still so many Windows users unwilling to take the bait. I think it helps to know what we’re up against when we’re trying to convince Windows users to join the Mac side, and I hope I have provided some insight.

Did I miss some reasons? I’d love to read them in the comments.


  • I got a job about three years ago where I had to use an iMac running OSX.  I was really excited because I’d heard so much good stuff about OSX.  My home machines use WinXP.

    I was able to get up and running instantly because I found the basic interface to be nearly identical to Windows, something I had not found to be true with, for instance, OS9.  I still have trouble when I use an OS9 computer because there are enough differences with what I am used to, but OSX was so similar to Windows that I figured out some tricks that none of the Mac fans knew about simply because I knew they were there in Windows.  I showed people a useful trick the very first day I ever used a Mac.

    I also found that the interface is prettier on the Mac, the colors more harmonious and the proportions very pleasing.  But the programs ran the same.  If you use Word and Photoshop exclusively, you will find absolutely no diff between platforms. 

    In more specialized areas I found that I liked the way, for instance, the screen capture programs work in OSX, and I like the ones I use on XP just as much.  They just work differently. 

    I use a multitrack recording program called Samplitude on the PC.  The first time I had to use Protools instead I had absolutely no trouble doing my work because again, they work very similarly.  I even showed the engineer I was working with some tricks that I knew from Samplitude that HAD to be in Protools, and of course were, but he didn’t know about them.

    The place I worked was a pure Mac house, everyone loves Macs there.  I found people getting very angry at me every time my work computer rebooted in the middle of my work.  If I asked for help to fix the problem people would almost not believe this kind of thing was happening.  When it happened to other people, they looked at me with pure fury when I asked what they were doing just before the crashout.  I was just trying to troubleshoot to prevent these things on my system.

    Then I noticed that every single other mac, all kinds of high end puppies, were giving their users fits.  When anyone upgraded their computer they had terrible trouble with at least one program, often mail or DTP.  Crashes were extremely common.  The network was not 100% reliable, though nobody expects that.

    Through about 2.5 years of working with Mac computers I found the harmoniousness of the design to be a tremendous factor in enjoying my work more, but the crashing that happened on a monthly basis assured that I would not switch over, especially when you consider that since 2003 I have had exactly one system crash using XP.

    So my experience is quite different from people who have made the switch away from XP, but I know a number of people who have switched away from Macs to PCs, and none of them wind up feeling like they’ve stepped into the hell they have always been told they would experience.  My friends who have switched over to XP generally work in animation, and their work boxes are all XP, so they buy one for home use intending to keep the Mac as their main squeeze.  Finally, however, they realize that the bad stuff they’ve heard about Windows is ridiculously overstated.  One of them even says that Macintosh is the new Scientology.

    bobfreen had this to say on Oct 03, 2007 Posts: 1
  • Thank you, Beeblebrox, you illustrated my point with not one but two, whiny retorts.  My question was an earnest one:  if something troubles one so, why pursue it?  Masochism?

    I use Macs and am interested in how to use them better.  That interest doesn’t mean I have any closer attachment to that tool than to a shovel or a rake. I have no interest in or opinion about Windows machines and do not read about them.  As I said, I’ve never used one.

    I didn’t disagree with your position on Apple or Mac or any other type of zealot. My observation was about this site and you.  As noted on this site, you have the largest number of comments posted (1763).  How many of them are useful, encouraging, creative, positive, or thought provoking?

    You seem to have become what you abhor most.

    Carolina had this to say on Oct 03, 2007 Posts: 5
  • Here is one:  Mac loyalists are just a little too smug and a little too into “the movement”.  To quote Maddox on the subject: “I feel like Apple is not just selling computers, they’re selling a way of life, and I’m not ready to be that heavily invested in a product.”

    bob-bob had this to say on Oct 03, 2007 Posts: 12
  • “if something troubles one so, why pursue it?  Masochism? “

    If my comments trouble you so, why pursue it?  Masochism?

    “How many of them are useful, encouraging, creative, positive, or thought provoking?”

    I JUST made a comment in the Mac mini thread.  Lots of my comments are about the Mac products themselves.  Your confirmation bias naturally filters that out, just like it filters out the whining by the users who happen to agree with you.

    So take your own advice.  If you don’t like my comments, ignore them.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 03, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • If I asked for help to fix the problem people would almost not believe this kind of thing was happening…Then I noticed that every single other mac, all kinds of high end puppies, were giving their users fits.

    I have found this to be the case not only my experience but even among the Mac fanatics I know.  One guy who admits to fanboyism and goes on and on about the superiority of the system suffered a total system crash the DAY I first visited his house to check out his set up.  What a coincidence, no?

    I experience crashes about as often as my Vista system.  Not very often in either case, granted, but it does happen.  But Mac zealots filter all that out.  They either shift the blame to anything but the Mac or they forget it happened.  Whereas on Windows they blame EVERYTHING on the OS and remember each and every incident since it confirms what they already believe.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 03, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • 1. I can buy three PCs for the price on one MAC.

    2. I have 20 years of software that will have to be repurchased for my new shiny MAC

    3. MAC hardware is not technically better it’s just marketed better. There is a difference!

    4. I can buy three PCs for the price on one MAC and put Linux on any one of them.

    mliving had this to say on Oct 03, 2007 Posts: 1
  • @ 30 says “then all you have to do is convince me to use a non-open semi-unix like OSX and not Linux.”


    the reason that mac aficionados despair at the dumb-ass criticisms by the windows/ludites is that they are generally speaking so technically ignorant—and yet they dare to pass judgements about stuff they are totally unqualified to talk about.

    take this crazy-talk about os/x not being closed & not true unix ....


    1) first, let us ignore the historical irony about the lineage of the true ‘semi-unix’ that is the pathetic history of linux ....

    FACT: linus torvalds has publicly admited that he created unix as a csi students because he didnt know that BSD - an opensource alternative to att’s closedsource unix - already existed!

    what kind of mediocre pinhead even bothers contemplating creating a unix clone without first doing the basic research into the history of unix? .... BSD which was the GOLD STANDRD for unix had already been in existence for years & had delivered such important features as the TCPIP networking stack & a distributed filesystem - allthewhile tovalds was barely out of middle school!

    but that is neither here nor there grin

    2a) second, let us observe that os/x is the only opensource unix derivative to achieve “full unix” certification by the “OPEN” group (which legally controls the specification for the official “unix” brand). Linux isnt even on the “OPEN” group’s radar! (I agree GNU is many good things: but a standardized API it is not). 

    thus os/x (10.5) joins the three “big-iron” offical unix’s ...  SUN (solaris) IBM (aix), and HP (hp/ux).

    cf: http://weblog.infoworld.com/enterprisemac/archives/2007/07/leopard_gets_un.html

    cf: http://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/certificates/1190p.pdf

    2b) third, let us dispense with the canard that darwin (the opensource core of os/x) is “non-open”.

    the ppc source-code has always been available; only the intel source-code was ever delayed .... on account of apple’s oem mobo driver “AppleACPIPlatform” which is the DRM apple uses merely to confine buildable-ity/bootable-ity to apple’s own hardware).

    * here are the darwin (intel) sources from apple’s sponsored site:

    cf: http://kernel.macosforge.org/

    * here is some industry press coverage which announces all of apple’s opensource projects -including the intel update for Darwin’s xnu kernel sourcecode:

    cf: http://www.applematters.com/index.php/section/comments/1363/

    Conclusion: this geek-wannabe probably wouldnt know how a microkenel’s port architecture differentiates between IPC and RPC if his life depeneded on it! ... yet he has the gall to make such ridiculous, counter-factual claims about both “fullness” and the “openness” of apple’s unix!

    Is it a wonder that the adults eventually lose patience with the temper tantrums of the script kiddies?!

    Sure, we are supposed to be patient & kind when dealing with dolts—yeah, yeah I get it.

    But there is only so much a soul can bear with these self-satisfied pseudo-intellectuals ...

    eventually one has no choice: one must busrt their bubble, call a spade a spade, and just have out with it: linux fan-boys like poster #30 are ignorant fools who shouldnt be taken seriously .... and more important, mac users should havent to just bite their tongue forever in order to win some kind of false humility contest!

    There is no shortage of GOOD reasons to critcize apple .... but ignorance & stupidity dont count amoungst them!

    zahadum had this to say on Oct 04, 2007 Posts: 6
  • opps -

    an editing oversight in my intoduction somehow caused me to not lump ‘linux’ ludites together with ‘windows’ under the heading ludites.

    how could i have fogotten such as basic pairing? grin

    it’s like tweedledum and tweddledumber!

    zahadum had this to say on Oct 04, 2007 Posts: 6
  • There is no shortage of GOOD reasons to critcize apple ...

    Such as?

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 04, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • Number one and two are the biggest reason. The others don’t add up to anything even worth discussing. For many people, using a computer means email and the internet. That’s it. Add that they were raised on windows, and they have no reason to switch. Too much work for too little gain.

    I’ve seen several people who use their computers extensively switch to a mac however and are very happy. No one’s saying a windows box is awful (except for me), and for some people windows may be preferred, but I’m confident side by side with everything equal most would pick a mac. If you want the cheapest, go with windows. Some people love mcdonalds. Nothing wrong with that.

    One side note, apple has its annoying idiot fans. So does windows. Beeblebrox is an perfect example. They’re best ignored.

    ” If you use Word and Photoshop exclusively, you will find absolutely no diff between platforms. “

    I’ve used photoshop on a mac, a windows box, and a mac running windows, and a windows box is by far the worst experience. It’s not even close.

    “One of them even says that Macintosh is the new Scientology.
    By bobfreen”

    Then your friends are morons. Honestly, I read your comment and the whole time thought to myself that nothing you’re writing sounds based on reality, as if you were making it up as you went, maybe a mac hater trying to sound unbiased (I’ve tried both etc.). Then you lost it with the last statement. It shows either you’re full of it or you couldn’t quite make it through your speech without showing your true colors.

    Back on topic, and too close, I really hope apple doesn’t try to make large in roads on windows. BMW sells far few cars than ford, yet side by side most would pick BMW. Let them have their fords. I like the leather seats in my BMW.

    mark33 had this to say on Oct 04, 2007 Posts: 1
  • One side note, apple has its annoying idiot fans.

    Yup.  You’re one of them.  Know how I know?

    So does windows. Beeblebrox is an perfect example. They’re best ignored.

    Because you make the classic Apple idiot-fanboy mistake.  I’m critical of Apple so in your fantasy Appleland, that make me a Windows fan.  Because if we’re with you, we must ipso facto be against you.

    But I dare you to find a comment in this thread in which I defend Windows other than to say it’s about the same as OS X.  Only in your deluded kool-aid brain could that be considered Windows fanboyism.

    I own two Macs, an iPod and one PC.  I like Macs, but unlike you I haven’t lobotomized myself and replaced my brain with press releases from Apple.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 04, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • “Because if we’re with you, we must ipso facto be against you.”

    That should read, “Because if we’re NOT with you, we must ipso facto be against you.”

    Makes more sense that way.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 04, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • I was a PC fan since I was a small kid. I new little about macs before I started working for a company that almost only uses Mac. Nobody is forced to use a Mac there, there are some Linux and even some Windows guys, but in the end, 90% of all employees end up on a Mac, because working on a Mac means actually working. Not dealing with security issues, bugs, problems, driver conflicts, blue screens, crashes, etc. Now I’m not interested in PCs any more. If anything, I might get a Linux machine one day, but never a Windows machine again.

    Many things you said are so darn true. The price is high, the ads are very provoking and so on. However, there is one thing I must comment about:

    Apple is on their way to release Leopard (10.5). Now please tell me, which features has Vista, that Leopard has not? Actually most of the Windows feature exists in OS X since Panther (10.3), like the fancy 3D Stuff (Expose is much better than what Vista offers). The latest Leopard Build runs fine on an old 900 MHz PPC IMac. The speed is not much worse than the last version’s speed, with all UI features enabled. Now try the same with Vista. Install Vista onto a 4 year old machine and try to use all the new cool UI features -> BRRRR… won’t work. No Aero support. Compare speed? Noticeably slower.

    Mecki78 had this to say on Oct 04, 2007 Posts: 1
  • I think some of these misperceptions exist today still, some of which you touched on…some not..
    1)Mac Minis cant play games- Not true, with bootcamp, windows superior drivers use up to 256m of video memory compared to 64 max under OS X. This is only with 2 gb system ram though. I have done this, and played Madden08, far cry, and others, textures full blown, and plays smooth.
    2) Macs are expensive- You touched on this, people compare apples to oranges, pardon the pun. Budget Pcs for 325 dollars are so under powered its not even funny. Plus, forget ilife, and that type of software….where is your Windows OS disk? You dont get that anymore. Mac gives you the Operating System on a dvd, and it will work on ANY computer of the same type (macbook on macbooks, imacs on imac, ect). So not only do you get a disc, but you get pdf and dvd support. Did you know you can install Windows Vista on a beige box using an oem disk and it WONT PLAY A DVD!! no codec license! Thats why pcs come with power dvd or something like that. Dont take my word for it, try it yourself if you have the means. Build a pc box, put vista on it. We used Home Premium. Dvd would not play in windows Media player. Once we put powerDVD in, it did. PDF support is another one, in mac, you go to the print menu and you can convert dozens of pages to PDF. thats 80 more dollars a PC user has to spend. Also, anti virus software…not everyone knows how to find the free ones. Plus, whats the cost of system resources used to run the anti virus stuff?
    3)ALL IN ONE! problem with software? computer? one phone call touches one base. with a PC, you have a box built by Dell, OS by microsoft, software by someone else. With a Mac one call can solve all your problems, and you never hear ” Thats not an issue of ours, youll need to contact so and so”
    4)Bottom Line, with a Mac you have the best of both worlds. You can run Mac and Windows.
    5)There is Mac software to do ANYTHING you can do on WINDOWS! Day was where the entire compUSA store was for pcs, and there were two shelves of mac stuff. Mac Software is on the internet, not on a shelf. When I switched, I found a title to do anything I could do on a pc, and usually it was done better or easier.
    6)No matter how much better Vista is than XP, OS X is ten times easier to use. No confusing C drive, D, E, people have to mark their computers with markers, then when they add a USB drive, all the letters change.
    7) IF mac users get so worked up, anyone ever wonder WHY? have you ever met anyone with Microsoft stickers on their car?? Maybe its that good.

    Nikos Mac Attack on ebay had this to say on Oct 04, 2007 Posts: 3
  • “Hello world !”

    Here is my first visit and post on this website.

    First of all I’d like to congrat Steven for his great article. Secondly, i’d like to point out rigth now that english isn’t my mothertongue so my comments won’t be as well written as all of yours.

    Anyway,  I’m a Mac user for nearly a year. I bougth a MacBookPro last november. Indeed, I wanted a portable device, powerfull enougth to use MatLab in proper conditions. Anyway, being an ingineering student, I can understand some point of view saying OS X isn’t the best way for proffessional application.
    But I think that what has been said is to global. It’s true for engineer like programs (such as Catia, Matlab and so on) but it isn’t true for proffesionnal designing tools such as CS3 suits, movie editing etc etc…
    Moreover, I think that with a proper MacPro (well, it migth be more expensive than a PC, I don’t know) running XP (or Vista) with bootcamp or anyother similar apps you could easily run any 3d software you want. I don’t know what you think about that, and I’d be actually interested to know…

    Anyway, that wasn’t the main point of my comment.
    As I bought my Mac last november, I was extatic about it (and I still am), it’s by far the best computer I’ve ever had. At first, I was afraid of handling a new OS but as it has already been said “it’s really easy to use… It works like magic” wink So I was glad…
    I was also extatic about being a member of this “Apple community”, about how guys in Cupertino were managing stuff and planning new amazing things. But now, with a little more thinking and watching of job’s keynotes, I’m feeling anxious and a little bit annoyed with apple’s policy.

    The best exemple of it is, I think, the ringtones things. Well first of all, not being able to put any ringtones you’d want on your iPhone was bugging me, but it was ok. Then, I watched the job’s keynote introducing the all-new-merveillous-sensational-innovative Ringtones stuff. And as I was watching, I started to laugth and thaugth “They’re f***ing us around here !”. And that made me thinking.

    Then I read a blog article (that I found on digg… I’m a new digg fan lol) of a long time mac user starting to feel like me. The overall thinking was that apple is still a great company making fabulous products but they are slowly getting ahead of issues like monopoly or users begging for 3rd party apps…

    Anyway, I’m a little concern about the future of Apple and I hope job’s and his staff will hear people complains…

    Sozat had this to say on Oct 04, 2007 Posts: 1
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