I've been using Windows regularly for a while now. I have many gripes. I realize Vista and Office 2007 fix some of these, but I'm pretty sure they'd be aggravatingly slow on my desktop PC, where Windows XP isn't. Note that I have complained about most of these here -- this post is a consolidation & update.


  • In the Alt-Tab task switcher, I cannot Hide (Command-H), Quit (Command-Q), or click an application's icon to switch directly to it. This is aggravated by the fact that icons in the switcher often correspond to windows rather than on the Mac, where they correspond to applications (each with one or more windows), so there are many more icons to Tab through, and often several indistinguishable windows (4 Firefox windows generate 4 identical unlabeled icons; so do 4 open messages in Outlook). Considering Windows has had this feature for longer than Apple, it's shockingly lame.
  • I cannot hide the current application (window) from the keyboard (Command-H), or Hide Others (Command-Option-H).
  • I want to drag icons onto applications. The Start bar, Windows' equivalent of the Dock, doesn't accept dragged files -- Microsoft knows it should because it pops up a message when I try, but they didn't make it work.
  • I want to drag proxy icons from document windows into other windows (typically Outlook messages). Proxy icons seem like such a minor thing, but Apple introduced them years ago, and I feel the lack in XP keenly.

Text (UltraEdit, UltraCompare Lite, & kate)

  • I miss BBEdit. UltraEdit is very good, but BBEdit has many advantages, and I haven't yet encountered any UE advantages (although presumably there are some). I use UE and vi daily, and kate periodically -- when it's faster than vi but not worth bringing the files back to my desktop, or pointing UE to my account on a UNIX box.
  • kate is broken in several ways, although I'm not sure how much to blame Exceed. Specifically, Copy & Paste are unreliable (sometimes they both work, sometimes only one direction works, and sometimes neither works!). Shift-selection from the keyboard doesn't work. Tip: In Exceed, assign the left modifier keys to X11 instead of Windows.
  • I really miss the bbedit command, particularly for opening local and sftp files from the command line. I miss being able to bbedit in a loop!
  • In Windows, Control-Backspace works in some places, but inserts non-printing ('box') characters in others.
  • I see that UltraEdit offers 4 different flavors of Find & Replace: Plain, perl regex, UNIX regex, and UltraEdit regex. This seems crazy to me -- I consider anything that's not 100% backward-compatible with PCRE a bug, but I am not selling to a population of users who live in MS Word. BBEdit's is based on PCRE.
  • BBEdit's Find Differences is much better than either UE's (both files must be in a rooted window, and UltraCompare Lite is confusing and awkward). kate uses kompare, which is pretty weak. Neither kompare nor UltraCompare is very well integrated. BBEdit v9 makes major improvements to Find Differences.
  • UltraCompare Lite (like UltraEdit) displays documents inside a root window, which makes comparing across 2 monitors a pain, since the root window must be manually sized to cover 2 displays.
  • UltraCompare Lite doesn't have BBEdit's (new) character-level comparison, which I've wanted for years.
  • UltraCompare cannot compare unsaved windows.
  • UltraCompare's merge functionality is very confusing -- there are lots of obscure buttons, and some simply don't work. Manually copying from one document to another is a pain, as it requires a switch to UltraEdit (the UC docs aren't editable) and a re-compare (leaving the original one open) to get a fresh comparison.

Internet Explorer 7

  • I can increase the font size, but if I do the window grows beyond the window size -- there's some brain-dead full-page magnification, rather than the classic (and useful) text size increase.
  • If I increase the font size, selection highlights no longer align with the text I'm dragging over. It's bizarre.
  • In PDF tabs, Control-W doesn't work; I find this extremely aggravating, but fortunately Command-W works fine in Safari (even with the Acrobat plug-in).
  • I still hit Control-L to select the URL for copying, and IE7 still fails to do it, bringing up a blank URL entry dialog, instead of selecting the URL in the current window as Safari & Firefox do. I shouldn't need to use Alt-D instead to select the current URL. That Control-L window has no reason for being.


  • MS Office Communicator flashes in the Start bar, many times, whenever someone types to me (unless that window is already in the foreground). It's very distracting -- on the Mac I tend to turn this off, or set it to only once. For some reason it annoys me more on Windows.
  • When someone sends me a message in Communicator, the "buddy list" window's icon flashes in the Alt-Tab task switcher, rather than the updated conversation.
  • I open a bunch of programs whenever I log in, so I created a batch file to launch several applications and PuTTY sessions. Unfortunately, it launches one application and then stops. In a UNIX (Mac) shell, I'd use a trailing & on each command, so the script could continue to the next one without waiting, but I was unable to find a working equivalent for .bat files.
  • The inevitable overnight reboots are quite disruptive. They make me appreciate the Mac more, where this kind of thing is less common, and the system (Finder) makes an effort to resume where I left off.