Windows 7 taskbar

The taskbar in Windows 7-10 is so much better than on Mac

Having a persistent taskbar where you can launch applications with a click of a mouse button is such a good idea, that all Desktop operating systems seem to have one, which is great!

On Windows it runs the full width of the bottom of the screen, and in Mac (on every version I’ve used at least) it does the same, but aligns to the center.

The taskbar has 3 jobs as far as I’m concerned, which are:

  1. Allowing you to open an application.
  2. Showing you which applications are currently running.
  3. Allowing you to move between one running application to another. You might have minimised it, or another application is blocking its view.

It’s #2 and #3 that I think Windows (I’m talking 7 – 10) does a much better of than Mac (I’m talking OSX).

By default in Mac when an application is open, it’ll have a small coloured dot underneath showing you that it’s open. This can sometimes be difficult to see compared to Windows which will outline the entire icon, and doesn’t indicate if the application has more than 1 window open.

Some applications have more than 1 window, for example you might have multiple Windows Explorer windows open, or 2 instances of a running application (like Chrome). In Windows this is demonstrated by a “stacked” effect on the right of the icon (see below):

Stacked icons in windows

And when you hover or click this stacked icon, you get to see a thumbnail preview of these open windows.

Windows 7 taskbar

On OSX you get, well… nothing to indicate there’s more than one running application.

Taskbar in OSX El Capitan
I’ve actually got 3 Chrome windows open, but you can’t tell

The only way you can tell is to right-click the icon, where you’ll get a vertical list of the open applications, using their names (or in Chrome, the title of the current webpage).

OSX Taskbar expanded
A taskbar icon right-clicked on OSX. You can choose between open windows, but only by name

For me, the Windows visual preview is so much more useful, because instantly you can see what the application looks like, rather than having to read the text, which (I can’t say for everyone else of course, but is certainly true for me) takes longer than glancing at a picture.