“Good artists copy, great artists steal,” Steve Jobs once said. We think Microsoft should take this advice to heart because there are a few macOS features that Windows could use.
Here at How-to Geek, we think the best operating system is whatever works for you, which is why we try to cover every platform. But there are always features I miss when I jump from macOS to Windows 10. I’d like to propose that Microsoft shamelessly steal the following ideas… as any great artist would.
In macOS, you can instantly preview any file—document, picture, video, whatever—by merely pressing Space. It’s called Quick Look, and it’s one of those features that’s hard to live without once you get used to it.
This feature dates back to 2007, meaning it’s over a decade old at this point. Microsoft could have stolen this for Windows 7, which came out in 2009, and it would have felt overdue then. Why don’t Windows users have this feature now?
I’ve no doubt they will eventually, but for now, you can add the feature yourself using QuickLook, which instantly previews any file in Windows.
This open source program works almost as well as the macOS feature, so give it a shot. You’ll probably end up using it all the time.
And yes, Windows’ File Explorer does have a preview pane that lets you view certain types of files, but it pales in comparison to the Quick Look feature.
Column View in Finder
Look, I’m not here to defend the Finder: it kinda sucks. But one great feature it does offer is column view. Behold:
These panels represent nested folders. Intuitive, right? Even better, this makes navigating files using only the keyboard a breeze. Apple has offered this for literally decades; Microsoft should add it to Windows Explorer.
Popups For Accented Characters
Typing accented characters is easy in macOS. Just hold down the letter you want to add an accent to and wait for the popup.
Apple brought this feature over from the iPhone a couple of years ago, and it’s a big help for those of us who only occasionally need accented characters. It’s fast and intuitive, which is more than we can say for typing accented characters in Windows, which involves either memorizing codes for specific characters or launching the Character Map tool. Neither option is great, so we propose that Microsoft rip off Apple’s solution.
This one’s obscure, and not all Mac users love it, but I think it warrants a mention. Mac users can set up Hot Corners in System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver. The idea is to trigger specific actions when you mouse moves into a corner:
Many people swear by this and miss it when they switch to Windows. I think Microsoft should just add it. True, they used something like this in Windows 8, and everyone hated it, but there are reasons for that: it was mandatory instead of optional, you couldn’t customize it, and the features it did activate kind of sucked anyway.
If you’d like to give this a shot in Windows I’ve got you covered: WinXCorners is a free download that adds Mac style hot corners to Windows 10.
There’s no nice way to say this: Windows settings are a mess. There are two different panels for configuring your system—Control Panel and Settings—with not entirely overlapping features.
What makes this even crazier is that a perfect template for doing settings right has existed for literally decades. Look at this, Windows users:
Imagine a single, neatly organized panel of settings. Every section is clearly labeled, and also has an easy to understand icon. You can see everything without scrolling. And there’s even search, so if you don’t know where something is, you can find it quickly. Microsoft should rip this off, shamelessly, as soon as possible. Ideally ten years ago, sure, but now works too.