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 won’t disclose my age, but let’s say I remember the days of windows 3.1 and being in awe when all the eye candy was introduced. I have been an windows user for years until recently when I decided to give Linux a try.  I found that it was great to do mostly everything I wanted, but not quite as polished as I was used to.  I use linux today for web development and server.

    One day, I stumbled across a hacked version of 10.4 OSX that would supposedly allow you to install osx on your pc.  I gave it a try and it worked mostly, expect for video not being great and other drivers were not there.  This was my first experience with os x.  I played with it for a few weeks and started to like the feel of it.  Before i new it, I was standing at best buy with a macbook under my arm.  I swear that the hacked os x was Steve Jobbs ‘brain child to get us windows users to try os x grin.

    At first, you quickly realize that it’s different.  You have to relearn ways of doing things.  But, once you get the hang of it, it’s very slick.  It definitely just works!  I use it in my everyday life, work and play and have never found it to be a problem… actually accept for the people who keep wanted to play with it a work when they see the apple logo on the back of my screen.  Let’s face it, even though we have all downloaded thousands of cool programs off the net, there is a core of software that is used 99% of the time and the mac has it.  Office for mac, is a big one.  For those of you using highly specialized software, you may have a more difficult time.

    2 weeks ago, I needed another testing web server.  My windows machine was a good one so bye, bye windows and I installed Linux.  I’m happy to say that the only windows in my possession these days are the ones that slide open.  Actually, I do have it running under vmware on my mac.  I have a couple of very specialized programs I need to use only available on Windows.  Funny though, I find myself searching for the similar programs that run natively on the mac grin.

    I feel like a televangelist.  So many people ask for my advice on what kind of pc to buy.  I find myself recommending the mac more and more.  I’ve never tried vista and probably never will.  My has the world changed.

    rpaulpen had this to say on Dec 17, 2007 Posts: 2
  • You know, I think when it comes to Mac users trying to convert their friends to using Windows, I don’t think it is too-much love that is the problem, but too-much hate. I think a lot of the loudest Mac users (and Linux users) viscerally hate Microsoft, and want you to hate them as well. The Mac promotional machine which almost solely consists of bashing John Hodgman…I mean PC Guy. Read MacDailyNews which takes glee at hating Microsoft. Read James Stoup’s article which is essentially “Windows Users are Stupid Because They Don’t Hate Microsoft or Windows Like I Do.” If you read Microsoft Watch, there’s always a contingent of commenters who flood the forums trying to sell Linux by posting how evil and corrupt Microsoft is.

    People like that come off as irrational at best. Most people, even those frustrated with computers, don’t understand where all of this hate and ridicule come from.  People generally don’t hate Microsoft as a company or Bill Gates as a person. And in fact, in a rare set of cases, people don’t “hate” their computers.

    SterlingNorth had this to say on Dec 30, 2007 Posts: 121
  • Read MacDailyNews which takes glee at hating Microsoft.

    MDN hates EVERYONE who competes directly with Apple.  They do not reserve their bile-spewing to Microsoft, although since MS is really the only company to have dominated Apple in a particular market, MS gets the brunt of the rage.  The editor is a real douche bag.

    Just read their takes on new mp3 players or cell phones.  One of their common mantras is “blood on the iPod’s click wheel” when a competitor’s product is discontinued.  Charming.

    There is literally NOTHING he won’t defend Apple over. Whether it’s suing Think Secret out of business or Apple’s anti-competitive business practices, things he’d go ape-shit over if MS did the exact same thing.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 30, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • Yeah, that’s true and that is what makes me do all I can to avoid that site and sister site iPodDailyNews. That said, at least in advertising the iPod and the iPhone (and the rare non-Hodgeman/Long Mac commercial), Apple doesn’t go out and say PCs are uncool and you are by extension if you use one. I am absolutely convinced that Steve’s contempt for not only his competitors but for his partners serve as cue to how the groupies react. I pull up the example of comment number seven to this post by Thomas Hawk praising Vista’s file-copy alert (which you lauded elsewhere on AM).

    Thats it?!? A nice ‘move files’ requester is the reason you are giving here to stop bashing on Vista?!? Hey you ever thought about using sub-directories to store your photos based on event or point-in-time? The factors that govern whether or not an operating system is ‘awesome’ are both complicated and diverse. This isnt one of them.

    I’ll note several things. Hawk isn’t declaring the operating system point-blank awesome as the commenter is declaring, just that file copying is much better. I’ll also note how he argues it is Hawk’s stupid fault for not operating the way the computer wants him to.

    The damn weird thing is that it becomes where even acklowedging that there are good features, emulatible features from “the enemy” gets you criticized by overly excitable folks.

    This is the type of my-people-can-do-no-wrong tribalism that hurts everything.

    SterlingNorth had this to say on Jan 02, 2008 Posts: 121
  • It’s easy. Whoever wants to leave Windows uses Linux.
    I did. I see no point in using Mac…
      -It has less support than Linux.
      -You have to pay for it.
      -You only get to choose from one Distro: OSX.
    Personally, I’ve seen plenty of Macs, and they’re nothing special. KDE3 with Compiz Fusion kicks the crap out of Mac’s window manager. And KDE4 will do it even more. Why pay for an overpriced Mac when you can get an even more stable OS like Linux?

    Deecodeuh had this to say on May 10, 2008 Posts: 1
  • I was an Apple user and when I decided to move my design/art/web business here to Europe 20 years ago the worst item and shock about moving here was the sticker price of Macs. Apart from the mountains of bureaucratic red tape and hoops I had to jump through - when one is starting out then the last thing one needs is to find out that Apples here can cost as much as double or triple the price of that in the states - it’s enough to break you.

    I had the talent and drive to continue but the cost of each machine was killing me and especially when they went down.  The cost of maintenance and upkeep of those 4 Macs was a continual financial struggle for 18 long years.  Then 2 years ago by sheer coincidence I found myself at CeBit, perhaps the largest PC/Mac Convention in Europe (Hannover Germany) and there I gave the Windows 7 a test run.

    I was sold immediately and now two years later I have sold all the Macs except for my personal notebook. I now have 18 Windows 7 machines, 16 employees and after so many years of struggle we have hit gold, even in this hard-luck recession - our business is thriving.

    Windows has not been the entire answer but it was the switch and a combination of some really savvy moves - the ability to purchase more PCs, hire more employees and finally making ourselves incredibly competitive without the loss of one single moment of efficiency or design quality. My question after reading your 8 reasons is that I don’t really know where we fit in on that list.

    Windows runs and uses every single Adobe product as the Macs did and I been hard pressed to name one single ill effect or hardship suffered or quality lost since the switch.  Do I miss the Macs? In a word, No.  Personally, they will always represent the many years of struggle and hardship.  And when I want to play with my Mac I always have my notebook but to be honest - lately, I have really been toying with the idea of trading this in also.  After using Windows 7 I have really found it so limiting.

    EuroUSA had this to say on Dec 17, 2010 Posts: 1
  • I’m window user since I’ve started to use computer for my job. Franquicias Baratas

    Franquicias Baratas had this to say on Mar 17, 2011 Posts: 1
  • Windows 7 supports advanced hardware like touchscreens, is compatible with different kinds of computer parts (much better than Vista) and automatically installs device drivers for new hardware. hire a programmer

    Hire a Programmer had this to say on Aug 24, 2011 Posts: 13
  • I really am not that knowledgeable with regards to the operating system, but one thing is for sure, I am comfortable using Microsoft Windows.  Before, and I mean way back 1980s, Apple is the most popular. However, things changed since then. As we all say, the rest is history. Windows is presently the hot item and for the obvious reason. It is more user friendly. - Mario]http://twitter.com/marioromano1”]Mario Romano[/url]

    Alan Shortall had this to say on Aug 29, 2011 Posts: 35
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