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Microsoft's Windows 7 to bring Apple-tinged design changes

post #1 of 123
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At its Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft has shown Windows 7 to the public for the first time and has revealed a user interface with some of the largest changes to the operating system's interface since Windows XP -- if not earlier -- and which bear slight resemblances to Apple software.

The public appearance on Tuesday has shown an interface that may be familiar to long-time Windows veterans but which also rethinks concepts that have existed since the introduction of the taskbar in Windows 95 more than 13 years ago.

Like Apple's Dock in Mac OS X, Microsoft is now taking a more minimalist approach to its task management and has reduced the taskbar to a sliding list of icons that includes both running software and shortcuts to commonly-used titles. A new context-sensitive menu item, known as a jump list, lets Windows 7-aware programs offer some of their built-in functions without having to switch tasks -- a function already present in Mac-oriented programs like iTunes, which supplies basic track navigation without having to bring iTunes to the front or invoke its Dashboard widget.

Other changes to the taskbar, however, are meant to improve window switching and are potentially faster than tricks such as Expose in Leopard. Mousing over any active program's icon in the taskbar shows all open windows, while users can also quickly peek at the larger contents of a window just by mousing over the thumbnail, which temporarily brings the window to the front.

Windows 7's taskbar: active programs have borders that show the number of windows.

The Windows 7 desktop; system tray at bottom right, desktop gadgets (widgets) in background.

Besides these additions, Windows 7 should have several changes to other parts of the operating system that are either intended to simplify common actions or to eliminate nagging quirks of Vista. The system tray is now locked into the place and won't show third-party apps that the user hasn't authorized; the Gadget sidebar has been scrapped in favor of desktop items; dragging windows to the screen edges resizes them automatically based on context. And Microsoft's now notorious User Account Control, which was attacked by critics as imposing security prompts too often, can now either be toned down to infrequent warning-only messages without being shut off entirely.

A new file system feature dubbed Libraries lets users view files of particular types or content in special modes without having them located in a particular folder or launching a search. Additionally, the ribbon interface from Office 2007 will port over to key Windows apps to try and reduce the clutter of menus in those components.

At a deeper level, Microsoft also plans for a FileVault-like drive encryption system known as BitLocker, a Device Stage service for managing cameras, peripherals and other plug-in hardware, and better maintenance that includes protection against unstable drivers that repeatedly crash the system. Windows 7 should also perform much more smoothly on low-end hardware and, according to multiple live reports, was demonstrated at the conference running well on a netbook. Until now, Microsoft has been forced to offer Windows XP for these systems to avoid handing the market to Linux.

A Windows 7 Library showing photos from the entire system sorted into groups.

Paint in Windows 7 is one of multiple apps using the ribbon toolbar at top.

The introduction of Vista's eventual successor comes at a critical time for the Redmond, Washington-based company. It recently launched a $300 million ad campaign in an attempt to mend the public perception of today's Windows as broken but which also avoids mentioning Vista by name -- a trait which Apple has been keen to exploit in its latest "Get a Mac" ads, which jab Microsoft for purportedly being ashamed of its own product. Some businesses home users have yet to adopt Vista due to compatibility and performance problems that prevent these groups from using legacy hardware or software.

Despite the relatively complete showing of version 7, though, Windows users still have a significant wait before it's made available as a finished release. A test version released to attendees is described as pre-beta and will require at least one additional beta and customer responses before a final ship date, which Microsoft has estimated is most likely for early 2010.

Apple's Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is due in mid-2009.
post #2 of 123
Unsurprisingly, it looks like shit.
post #3 of 123
Why doesn't microsoft just get it over with and make a dock? "Sliding list of icons" of "dock"
post #4 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post

Unsurprisingly, it looks like shit.

You're being too kind. Most linux distros look better.
post #5 of 123
Looks like Lipstick on a Pig. It is still a pig under the makeup.
post #6 of 123
I can't believe it! Steve Jobs, was right. Microsoft does have their copy machines fired up. It still must be in the beta stage, it doesn't completely look like OSX yet. I'm sure a few years from now they'll be claiming they invented the dock.

post #7 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisualZone View Post

You're being too kind. Most linux distros look better.

http://www.dreamlinux.com.br/

post #8 of 123
I think they should drop the pretenses and just call it Windows 10.7.
post #9 of 123
Even IF it was as good-looking as OS X, as functional as OS X, as easy to use as OS X, none of which seem likely....

Is it going to be as stable and secure as OS X? Yeah, I didn't think so!
post #10 of 123
Apple uses the perfect amount of eye candy in OS X; Microsoft completely overdoes it in Windows. Do they seriously think that having reflections and transparencies everywhere makes the OS usable? Just looking at the screenshot makes me cringe - they really need to hire some new GUI people if they want to even try and compete with Apple.

Apple is known for beauty, usable simplicity, and elegance.
Microsoft is known for clutter, excess, and gaudiness.

Yeah, PC machines can be cheaper in some cases, but you get what you pay for.
post #11 of 123
Those planes look ok I guess.
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post #12 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by ALBIM View Post

Why doesn't microsoft just get it over with and make a dock? "Sliding list of icons" of "dock"

I believe Apple recently filed a patent for the doc, so they can't copy it without getting sued or paying Apple to use it.
post #13 of 123
It seems like Microsoft's operation system's (G)UI has become worse and worse by release, whereas Apple's operation system's (G)UI has become better and better by release.

Microsoft should stop trying to copy Apple and go their own way. I wonder if Mac OS 10.6 will have any (G)UI changes....
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post #14 of 123

All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.
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All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.
- Lily Tomlin
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post #15 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobertoq View Post

It seems like Microsoft's operation system's (G)UI has become worse and worse by release, whereas Apple's operation system's (G)UI has become better and better by release.

That's why one's on the way up and the other's on the way out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobertoq View Post

Microsoft should stop trying to copy Apple and go their own way. I wonder if Mac OS 10.6 will have any (G)UI changes....

When have they ever done this? Since the ruling Windows has only ever been a (bad) copy of MacOS.

McD
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post #16 of 123
It's fun to watch Microsoft chase the glitz and shine of Mac OS X Jaguar and Panther as Apple moves forward to a far more sophisticated GUI in Leopard and (presumably) Snow Leopard; as someone called it, "Sun-Dried Aqua." The sad thing is, Mac OS X at its worst so many years ago still looks better than Windows 7 will when it's released a year and a half from now (if they meet their own deadline).

Now excuse me as I wash out my bleeding eyes.
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False comparisons do not a valid argument make.
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post #17 of 123
Oh, just quit it.

#1) The sidebar is clearly STILL visible. In Vista you can move the gadgets out of the sidebar and place then anywhere. And unlike Dashboard they are always visible on the desktop and can be open and visible while another app is open so you can reference RSS feeds or weather or the calendar.

#2) In OS X, you have the menu bar and the dock. The dock doesn't cover the whole area of the screen unless it is filled with apps. The taskbar covers the whole bottom area of the screen, including the start menu. You don't have stacks. You do have task notifications that in OS X you get from the menu bar not the dock (or taskbar) The only difference REALLY from Vista or Windows 95 is that there is no text associated with open apps.

But hey... Oh well, why get OS X *when all the OS X people say Windows looks just like it but works with my existing apps and has Windows Media Center which is so much better than Front Row and comes free with a cheaper PC.

THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO PROMOTE OS X

Next Microsoft will be accused of copying OS X if they include notepad. *OMG, our OS has textedit. How dare they. I really don't see this copying that you see. Yes features from other OSs will be implemented in each other. Just like every OS has text editor, or has a browser (OMG, They copied Microsoft and bundled) or now RSS, and now Gadgets or Widgets. Personally I wish there was a way to move the Widgets to the desktop and keep them open and viewable while I work on something else.

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post #18 of 123
Call me crazy, but I'm actually liking the changes.

I just hope that ALL things will show up in the dock ...err... umm.. task bar. Right now (in XP, I have no clue about Vista) some windows don't show in the task bar (properties windows, some control panels, etc.) Makes it a pain to get back to them when you have a lot of windows open.

Although if my work would just let me use a MBP I wouldn't have this problem
post #19 of 123


Quote:
Originally Posted by tink View Post

post #20 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimateKylie View Post

Personally I wish there was a way to move the Widgets to the desktop and keep them open and viewable while I work on something else.

there are ways: http://mac.elated.com/2008/07/27/how...-your-desktop/
post #21 of 123
As somebody who hates Vista (I stupidly bought a Vista laptop for my girlfriend) I think this is looking like what Vista should have been, and isn't bad looking - perhaps because they *are* taking hints from OSX.

Anyway, nobody has yet mentioned here what other people have been rumouring at for a while - that Microsoft is most likely heading for a mid-2009 release of Windows 7. So we'll have this and 10.6 out at about the same time. I really think that is a possibility.

Plus I think they're secretly working on WM7 too, so they can release that at the same time. The whole 'delayed till 2010' messages I think were just to cover their arses and make it so that they beat expectations this time instead of under-deliver like always.

Thoughts?
post #22 of 123
It's make or break time now Microsoft, better cross those fingers.
post #23 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisualZone View Post

http://www.dreamlinux.com.br/




It sure does look FAR better
post #24 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by nutts View Post

Anyway, nobody has yet mentioned here what other people have been rumouring at for a while - that Microsoft is most likely heading for a mid-2009 release of Windows 7. So we'll have this and 10.6 out at about the same time. I really think that is a possibility. Thoughts?

I think MS has long, sordid history of delaying OS updates long after their announced dates. MS needs to cut bait and write an OS for the future, not try to drag every legacy system along in their wake.
post #25 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkerst View Post

I believe Apple recently filed a patent for the doc, so they can't copy it without getting sued or paying Apple to use it.

I believe it was only for the magnification. Plus we dont really know what they signed together that time, I'm guessing they have patent share agreement on certain UI elements together.
post #26 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkerst View Post

I believe Apple recently filed a patent for the doc, so they can't copy it without getting sued or paying Apple to use it.

actually Apple filed for a patent 7-8 years ago (i'm not sure exactly) it was just recently ( i think this month) that they were awarded the patent! way to go patent office for being quick!
post #27 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by appler0x View Post

Apple uses the perfect amount of eye candy in OS X; Microsoft completely overdoes it in Windows.

Most well designed products I've seen/used have been understated, as much about what's left out than what's included.

One question, how to you clear the Windows to get to the gadgets then how do you clear the gadgets to get to the desktop?

McD
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post #28 of 123
"Pre-beta"?

Is that like an "alpha"?
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post #29 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDave View Post

Most well designed products I've seen/used have been understated, as much about what's left out than what's included.

One question, how to you clear the Windows to get to the gadgets then how do you clear the gadgets to get to the desktop?

McD

in XP you can use Windows+D or the show desktop shortcut in the quick launch bar. I assume it will be similar.
post #30 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimateKylie View Post

Oh, just quit it.

#1) The sidebar is clearly STILL visible. In Vista you can move the gadgets out of the sidebar and place then anywhere. And unlike Dashboard they are always visible on the desktop and can be open and visible while another app is open so you can reference RSS feeds or weather or the calendar.

#2) In OS X, you have the menu bar and the dock. The dock doesn't cover the whole area of the screen unless it is filled with apps. The taskbar covers the whole bottom area of the screen, including the start menu. You don't have stacks. You do have task notifications that in OS X you get from the menu bar not the dock (or taskbar) The only difference REALLY from Vista or Windows 95 is that there is no text associated with open apps.

But hey... Oh well, why get OS X *when all the OS X people say Windows looks just like it but works with my existing apps and has Windows Media Center which is so much better than Front Row and comes free with a cheaper PC.

THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO PROMOTE OS X

Let's look at dollar figures:
  • Apple spent $844 million on R&D in the calendar year 2007
  • Microsoft spent $7.5 billion in research and development in fiscal 2007

In my neighborhood, the guy over there who makes $7.5 billion drives a much better car than I do, has a bigger, nicer house than I have, and his trophy wife, although not smart, is much better looking than my wife, which only makes sense since I only make $844 million.

Now, why doesn't that same logic apply to Apple and Microsoft? Microsoft should have Minority Report-style interfaces in beta, not inferior OS X Leopard copies, what with all the resources they have at their disposal. If money doesn't buy you the resources you need to blow away the competition, than I don't know what does.

And if you want to get even more dumbfounded by their lack of initiative and effort, look at some of the Linux releases, which are done on a budget that probably rivals Microsoft HQ's janitorial budget. (I just clicked on that Dreamlinux link up above and it looks nearly as good, if not better, than Windows 7 already.)
post #31 of 123
It's a left aligned dock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To be honest that's an improvement. I constantly get annoyed at work when using Windows because I like my taskbar buttons to be in a certain order because it's quicker than looking across the taskbar to find what I want. And if a program crashes this all gets screwed up. OS X doesn't suffer from this problem because the task switcher is also the program launcher and the icons stay in the same order.

On one hand I'm happy that M$ are improving the Windows UI which they managed to take backwards with Vista (give me Windows 2000 any day), but their problem with Vista has been lots of inconsistency with previous versions of Windows - and of course they're going to continue that now that they're changing things round again.

That new taskbar owes as much to certain Linux distros as it does to OS X.
post #32 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariofreak85 View Post

there are ways: http://mac.elated.com/2008/07/27/how...-your-desktop/

Thank you for that Its shame its has to be a bit difficult as opposed to true drag and drop but it will do for now. I guess I should fire off a suggestion on Apple.com and hope true drag and drop is included in Snow Leopard.

Now for some more hard talk. I'm sorry for those of you who think that Apple has a copyright or patent on Transparent. I find Aero is way different than Aqua. Both are very nice.

Second on your Jealousy (as that is all it is) of Windows' Marketshare. Grow up, it turns me off and makes me wanto return my Mac. Must people don't like cultish fanbois and you are foolish if you think it helps Apple and OS X in anyway. Even Steve Jobs has referenced this.

And I think part of it may be that Windows 7 includes new features while Snow Leopard is a rewrite of things like Finder in Cocoa. Maybe some are afraid Snow Leopard will appear stagnant. I read the bug list for the latest beta release to Developers and its quite huge, but that is expected with a rewrite. Every review of Windows 7 Pre Beta has remarked how stable it is, and makes them think it will be ready in no time. So don't dilude yourself, Windows 7 will drop next year and be stable. Though, honestly I haven't had any issues on Vista, I use everyday as my TV DVR. My biggest waiting list from Windows 7 will be even better WMC and DirecTV HD support with the USB DirecTV Box. An OS should be a preference and chosen based on what features you need it gives you, not based on blind fanboyism.

I wish Steve Jobs would make a DVR... focus on better front row. But I guess iTunes Store brings in alot of money. I do like the rewrite of OS X, but the focus will be if it increases stability and more importantly increases the power available to users. As the people that buy a new iPod or new Windows all the time might be blinded by more features (which is why they upgrade the iPod).

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post #33 of 123
<rant>

OK, this is coming from a longtime Windows user who still thinks Windows XP was not a horrible OS (though it is terribly, terribly outdated now). When, oh, when will Microsoft stop extracting every drop of "cool" from computing? Yes, I understand that the GUI is not the only part of an OS, but for the sake of all that is good and holy, someone stop Microsoft from turning my computer into what looks like a toy for a three-year-old. OSX looks cool. Compiz Fusion on Linux looks cool. Hell, the menus on my digital camera look cool compared to any version of Windows. Cool can be easy to use. Cool can be efficient. Cool can be functional. Why doesn't Microsoft realize this?

Here's a clue, Microsoft:
  1. Work the bugs out of Vista (you're doing this now with Windows 7)
  2. Rewrite the code to use 1/4 of it's current size and run twice as fast
  3. Make an original, cool, skinable GUI that doesn't look like a Fisher Price toy
  4. Hire some other company to write a Windows version of iLife and include it with the OS
  5. Integrate the OS and bundled apps wiith free access to your new cloud computing service

Once you're done with that, fire everyone in your marketing department and let your software engineers write your advertising materials.

Trust me on this one.

Until then, I'll be using OSX and Ubuntu.

</rant>

-Switchy McSwitcher
post #34 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimateKylie View Post

Oh, just quit it.

#1) The sidebar is clearly STILL visible. In Vista you can move the gadgets out of the sidebar and place then anywhere. And unlike Dashboard they are always visible on the desktop and can be open and visible while another app is open so you can reference RSS feeds or weather or the calendar.

#2) In OS X, you have the menu bar and the dock. The dock doesn't cover the whole area of the screen unless it is filled with apps. The taskbar covers the whole bottom area of the screen, including the start menu. You don't have stacks. You do have task notifications that in OS X you get from the menu bar not the dock (or taskbar) The only difference REALLY from Vista or Windows 95 is that there is no text associated with open apps.

But hey... Oh well, why get OS X *when all the OS X people say Windows looks just like it but works with my existing apps and has Windows Media Center which is so much better than Front Row and comes free with a cheaper PC.

THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO PROMOTE OS X

Next Microsoft will be accused of copying OS X if they include notepad. *OMG, our OS has textedit. How dare they. I really don't see this copying that you see. Yes features from other OSs will be implemented in each other. Just like every OS has text editor, or has a browser (OMG, They copied Microsoft and bundled) or now RSS, and now Gadgets or Widgets. Personally I wish there was a way to move the Widgets to the desktop and keep them open and viewable while I work on something else.

You need to admit that Windows copied Apple, that's all. No one cares with these nitpicking details. Broad picture is that Windows will always copy someone else. Yeah, and your Windows Media Center came right after Front Row was a new feature in Tiger.

Just go ahead and buy that Cheaper PC and be happy. Why come here and express your anger towards Windows. I guess you've watched too many windows ads.
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post #35 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwitchyMcSwitcher View Post

<rant>

OK, this is coming from a longtime Windows user who still thinks Windows XP was not a horrible OS (though it is terribly, terribly outdated now). When, oh, when will Microsoft stop extracting every drop of "cool" from computing? Yes, I understand that the GUI is not the only part of an OS, but for the sake of all that is good and holy, someone stop Microsoft from turning my computer into what looks like a toy for a three-year-old. OSX looks cool. Compiz Fusion on Linux looks cool. Hell, the menus on my digital camera look cool compared to any version of Windows. Cool can be easy to use. Cool can be efficient. Cool can be functional. Why doesn't Microsoft realize this?

Here's a clue, Microsoft:
  1. Work the bugs out of Vista (you're doing this now with Windows 7)
  2. Rewrite the code to use 1/4 of it's current size and run twice as fast
  3. Make an original, cool, skinable GUI that doesn't look like a Fisher Price toy
  4. Hire some other company to write a Windows version of iLife and include it with the OS
  5. Integrate the OS and bundled apps wiith free access to your new cloud computing service

Once you're done with that, fire everyone in your marketing department and let your software engineers write your advertising materials.

Trust me on this one.

Until then, I'll be using OSX and Ubuntu.

</rant>

-Switchy McSwitcher

Good job. Windows people actually read all Apple blogs and follow everything, how else would they know what to copy and what is popular. =) I hope they take notes. =)
Apple had me at scrolling
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post #36 of 123
post #37 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Let's look at dollar figures:
  • Apple spent $844 million on R&D in the calendar year 2007
  • Microsoft spent $7.5 billion in research and development in fiscal 2007

In my neighborhood, the guy over there who makes $7.5 billion drives a much better car than I do, has a bigger, nicer house than I have, and his trophy wife, although not smart, is much better looking than my wife, which only makes sense since I only make $844 million.

Now, why doesn't that same logic apply to Apple and Microsoft? Microsoft should have Minority Report-style interfaces in beta, not inferior OS X Leopard copies, what with all the resources they have at their disposal. If money doesn't buy you the resources you need to blow away the competition, than I don't know what does.

And if you want to get even more dumbfounded by their lack of initiative and effort, look at some of the Linux releases, which are done on a budget that probably rivals Microsoft HQ's janitorial budget. (I just clicked on that Dreamlinux link up above and it looks nearly as good, if not better, than Windows 7 already.)

Well Linux needs a total rewrite in GUI department, as no matter how well its looks it doesn't behave as well as OS X or Windows. I have always found that in Ubuntu, Mandrivia, or SuSe. You can click on an App and it won't load, the little icon bounces like on OS X, but nothing ever happens. I think a big part of this is the lack of proper integration of the code that runs the software and the GUI, it almost feels like the program is running in DOS and then has to send its GUI to Windows 3.1. No matter what version of KDE or GNOME it is... I have always felt this and honestly think the whole way the OS handles GUI needs to be scrapped with probably ditching Xorg for another flavour. That was my biggest worry with OS X, is that it would handle this way but it doesn't probably because the whole GUI is written from scratch with Aqua in mind, so it doesn't matter that the sub is UNIX based. It also probably helps that the Kernel of OS X and Windows are BOTH similar with a Hybrid Kernel. Linux is NOT a Hybrid Kernel, and this is more suited in my opinion to server tasks which it excels at.

Second to R&D. Microsoft has alot of products it does R&D to, not just the GUI of Windows 7. Personally I like Aero. I'm not sure on the new taskbar. I will have to play with it first. Products probably include the next version of the Xbox (gaming consoles take alot of R&D, ask Sony) and products like Office, Windows Server (which can't freeload off of MySQL and Apache), and new products like Expression, Silverlight, Dynamics. Not to mention Microsoft Surface. Microsoft is working on alot of fronts much more than what Apple is working on. Apple doesn't have to test new DVR Technology or work to partner with DirecTV.

R&D is GOOD for the tech industry, and alot of things like the Xbox 360 i'm very happy for. Microsoft actually shares those technologies with others, including allow Netflix to protect its rentals (as not protecting them is stupid) when Apple refuses to share its DRM with Netflix. Now if only Netflix would have good movies for free streaming... lol

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post #38 of 123
It comes to a clear reality check-point. Although Windows was the base to a lot of modern day culture, they sure can't hire people. Big difference between Apple and Windows. Windows just make really ugly products and software, Apple spends more time adjusting typography in its OS than windows fixing its bugs.

Even if Windows is copying Apple, they are very obvious. They take some feature and add something to it to make it look like its their original design. Yet Apple perfecting its design structure and originality, windows just add icons next to EVERYTHING.

Adding icons to text makes it twice as long for our eyes to find what we need. Its like showing circles of colors and naming colors underneath. (its only useful if someone is colorblind)

Windows just don't study design, interface and phycology . As computers become more and more tied to our lives, this is the time to create better and easier OS. That's how Apple is winning so many people, yet they spend 10 times less on their OS.

Take notes Windows.
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post #39 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Mousing over any active program's icon in the taskbar shows all open windows, while users can also quickly peek at the larger contents of a window just by mousing over the thumbnail, which temporarily brings the window to the front.

That is such a typical MS blunder. Gimmicks that get in your way. This is the most annoying thing about Windows. What if that is not what you want it to do, or what if you inadvertently mouse over an icon while doing something? Your attention is immediately pulled away. So annoying.
post #40 of 123
I really don't know how Windows fanboys can look at themselves in the mirror and not puke. Do they really think they have a superior platform? It boggles the mind. Really. According to one colleague at work he has to spend at least one hour every day unfucking Windows just so his wife or son can use their computer.
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