... or "how you can help me be more productive". Of course there are lots of things that I like in Mac OS X, and others that I'm sure I'll get used to over time. Please spare me your flames 🙂

These are things that I just can't seem to get used to, things that I miss when going from Windows to Mac OS X. In other words, stuff that Mac OS X developers should seriously consider changing/adding to their OS.

  • The mouse acceleration curve. After years of working in Windows and Linux (Mandriva/SUSE/Ubuntu), this is by far the hardest one to deal with. I'm trying out iMouseFix for now, but things still seem a little "off" somehow.
  • Resizing windows only on one corner (Thanks to Steve for this link).
  • Easy keyboard access to the menu - this is probably just something that I missed in my scanning for Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts. I really miss the Alt key usefulness in Windows. [Update: As mentioned below, ctrl-f2 works, but it is far worse than a simple alt keypress]
  • Related to the above, Menus and Title Bars not attached to the window in question. I hate having to move my focus and mouse to a different region of the screen to do something related to the window in focus. Yeah, I know this is a contentious one, and possibly it's just something I need to get used to - but an option for Windows users trying to get used to Mac OS X would be great. [Update: To those below who claim that ONE menubar is a better idea, why is it better for the menubar to be detached from the window you're using, but not its toolbars?]
  • I miss being able to copy and paste a file path from Windows Explorer into a File Open dialog in any application. Why doesn't Finder include this very obvious thing that I can at least drag to the toolbar during customization?
  • Dragging a file from Finder into TextEdit does not open the file, it puts in a file link. Is there a way for TextEdit to automatically open any file I drop into it? Barring that, what's the easiest way to bring up arbitrary files into a text editor? I miss my TextPad right-click option...
  • System clock does not visibly show me the date information, I am forced to click [Update: David posted a tip below to fix this, though I've found the it buggy: you must not be in a "Custom" region and you must use the "Medium" time format and you must paste your date _AFTER_ the time]
  • You cannot selectively delete items out of the Trash. This seems ridiculous to me. If a file has been in my Trash for a month, I can be pretty sure that I don't need it anymore, but the same is not true of a file that I've just deleted. Yes, I can move files out of Trash, then Empty, then items back. Or I can install little apps to do that for me. But once again, OS X has made more work for me where Windows did not.
§459 · November 23, 2008 · Apple, Software, Technology · Tags: , · [Print]

10 Comments to “Reasons Why I Hate Mac OS X…”

  1. Fyrd says:

    Regarding your last two points, try this:

    Instead of copy&pasting the path into a File Open dialog, you can actually drag any folder or file from Finder into the dialog box, and it will automatically browse there or select it. This is a bit scary at first, since you might think this would actually move your folder, but that’s not the case. I personally love this ability and find myself missing it in Windows.

    Instead of dragging a file into a window, have you tried dragging it to the icon in the Dock? That’s generally how you would tell an app to open a file. Again, this is something that I prefer to the windows method, since you can’t drag files to anything in the taskbar.

    Here’s another tip which I really love about OSX (I think it was introduced in 10.5, maybe 10.4), in most applications, the title bar has the name of the currently opened file, together with its icon. You can right-click on this, and it’ll popup a menu showing the parent folders of that file. Selecting one will open a Finder window at this location. This is a great way to access files that are in the same folder as the currently opened file.

  2. Ian says:

    I’m not familiar with that “Windows” thing you mention, as I’ve been using Macs since they came out, but here’s my main irk:

    Why, when I copy a folder named abc onto a separate volume and there’s already a folder called abc there, it deletes the old as it replaces it with the new? What if I’d just removed most of the contents of my local abc to make room, and my external abc folder is supposed to be a bigger backup going a long distance back in time? Now I’ve lost all the old stuff, and only have a copy of the new stuff. If I copy an empty abc folder I end up with an empty abc folder in both places. This is just ridiculous and dangerous.

    As for your menu-bar irk, you’re wrong, the Mac way is better from a UI point of view, as you a] know where apple, application, file, edit, etc is all the time (always in the same place) but more importantly, you don’t have to unconsciously slow down as you near the menubar for fear of overshooting it – it’s always at the top, where your mouse will hit even if you just whack it up there.

  3. Apart from the two issues that Fyrd answered, the bottom line is that you’re trying to Mac OS X into Windows. Either go back to Windows or open your mind to the new way things work. There are generally good arguments on both sides of the issue (except the menu bar where as Ian points, the Mac is quantitatively better). It’s ok to think the Windows way is better or think the Mac way is better, but you have to pick an OS and deal with things the way it does it. I would avoid using things like iMouseFix, they’ll just make things closer to the same and thus more annoying – make them more different and you’ll get used to them faster.

    It’s harsh but it’s true. The same advice applies to people going from Windows to Linux or Mac to Windows etc, you’re changing for a reason, so stop trying to make everything the same.

  4. dave says:

    If you use the keyboard quite a bit you may wish to turn on Full Keyboard Access in preferences.

    I second the dragging of a file into a file open dialogue. In a similar manner you can also drag folders/files into terminal instead of typing the path. And the icon in the titlebar will also work too, (unless you have unsaved changes).

    The historical perspective on the menu bar at the top of the screen is (if I recall correctly) that Windows copied it, got sued and had to change to what they have now. See Question 5 here for other interesting details: http://www.asktog.com/columns/022DesignedToGiveFitts.html

  5. Volker says:

    Have you ever worked with two screens? I can really follow your point regarding the menu bar. I love working with two screens, but the fact that the menu bar of any window is on my first screen (that of my mbp) while all windows of the application might be on screen two (my external one). You always have to go back to screen one to use the menu. Just another point for your list… However, every OS has its pros and cons.

  6. g. says:

    I don’t know about mouseFix, I use Mousezoom to adjust the accel. curve (frankly the curve is a bit too slow for me, so I use it to make it faster. don’t know if that helps or not, since I don’t know how linux behaves.)


    and regarding file paths: I always have a terminal window open – dragging and dropping a finder item onto that, pastes the complete path into the window.

    also: in the finder hit Command-Shift-G to paste a path directly into a window.

    I also made a system-wide shortcut for “Zoom” (with me it’s command-shift-m), since that was the main function I use the mouse for when I wanted to resize a window.

    pro tip: I recommend putting expose’s “show all windows of front application” onto the middle mouse button 😉

  7. Ted Naleid says:

    Regading keyboard access to the menus, the default answer is that you can use ctrl-F2 to put focus on the menu bar and then arrow around from there.

    In Leopard, there’s a much better option though. Try hitting cmd-shift-/

    That will bring you to the “help” search box. If you start typing the name of a menu command it will actually search through all of the menus for that command and show you where it exists in the menus. It’s much quicker than it sounds, and is really great for finding a hidden menu item that you know exists somewhere in a complex app.

  8. mburns says:

    “Dragging a file from Finder into TextEdit does not open the file, it puts in a file link.”

    Drag the file to the dock icon of TextEdit to have the application open it. I use it constantly.

  9. Alex says:

    One thing that annoys me about the menu’s at the top of the screen, is that they’re always on the main screen. If you’re like me and have 2 screens (or more), apps end up father and father away from their menu’s, and the target to hit them gets larger and larger (You’ve now got monitor width * number of screens) but the menu itself remains at the same width.

  10. David says:

    To show the date on the menubar (no other software required!), see this link: