macOS + Windows

How To Make Your Mac Look & Feel Like Windows 10: At Least A Little Bit

According to a 2017-based Verto Analytics report, 25% of desktop users and 21% of laptop owners are willing to move from Windows to macOS.

Switching platforms is understandable because Mac offers a more user-friendly experience, especially for those employed in the digital world. However, there are some differences that some users might find troublesome when moving to a Mac.

The good news is that you can customize Apple’s OS to look and feel like Windows 10. It’s simple to do and makes Mac seem more familiar and less threatening.

Does Look And Feel Matter?

Despite the minor hiccups and the premium price tag, users switch to Mac because of its stellar memory management and multi-tasking capabilities.

Switching to Mac provides better safety and security, driver-free software installation, and you can even run Windows on Mac systems!

But switching is not without its challenges. The operating systems have major differences and are great in their way. But for those who are used to the look and feel of Windows, it may be beneficial to customize your Mac to function more like a familiar Windows system.

This article will help you customize your MacOS to add some key Windows features and functionalities you depend on without compromising the cutting-edge technology that Apple brings to the table.

Here are five Windows features that will help you use your Mac toward its full potential:

1. The Highly-Functional Start Menu

The Start menu is one of the features that users migrating from Windows to Mac miss the most. While you can start apps in a variety of ways on your Mac, including Spotlight and Launchpad, Windows users miss the simplicity of the Start menu.

The Mac App Store offers an app simply called Start that replicates the Start Menu functionality on your Mac. The app creates a drop-down list on the menu bar that provides a list of files, folders, and URLs.

start application

You can customize the Start app by tagging and color-coding items for easier identification. It offers Windows users a familiar interface for starting programs and accessing the information on their Mac.

2. Comprehensive Taskbar

The Windows Taskbar is another user interface feature that many individuals will miss when migrating to a Mac. It presents the open applications differently than the Mac’s Dock and can be hard to leave behind.

New Mac users who miss the Taskbar have two options that bring a lot of its functionality to your Apple computer. Both uBar and ActiveDock provide Taskbar emulation that enables Windows users to feel more comfortable with their Mac.

uBar

uBar 3

With uBar, you can customize the macOS Dock or replace it altogether with a Windows 10 taskbar.

Similar to the Windows 10 Taskbar, all opened apps will be displayed. Hovering over an app will show a small preview.

ActiveDock

ActiveDock Software

ActiveDock offers users another option to replace the Windows Taskbar on a Mac. This app uses the Mac’s Dock and allows you to customize its appearance and define how owned apps should function.

ActiveDock enables you to add a start menu and allows previews for all open tabs. It attempts to provide a more familiar Taskbar experience while building on the capabilities of macOS.

3. App Window Management Made Easy

Windows 10 has a unique feature known as window snapping. You can drag a window to any screen corner, and it will fill the given space. By default, macOS doesn’t have such an option. The closest that Mac comes to that functionality is the Split View.

A more practical alternative is to add BetterSnapTool to your system. This $3 app offers you many windows-like functionalities.

BetterSnapTool

With it, you can define how windows should resize and what happens when you middle or right-click on the traffic light button.

You can also assign hotkeys for shortcuts. With this feature, you can set up the same shortcuts you were using on your Windows 10 machine.

4. Seamless App Switching

Windows uses the Alt and Tab keystroke combination to switch between all open apps on your machine.

When pressed, all opened applications appear in the foreground and a selection pane moves across them allowing you to select a pane by landing on it.

After using a Windows system for many years, muscle memory kicks in and makes it extremely difficult to use new keystrokes to switch between applications.

The Witch add-on for macOS brings lets you switch apps in the same way as you did on Windows.

witch software

The app’s customization options let you assign whatever shortcuts you please. It also allows you to change the switcher’s layout—jump between apps using a menu bar button, spotlight themed design, or set it up however you like to work.

5. Swift File Lookups And Management

Though Mac’s Finder and the File Explorer on Windows have plenty of similarities, there are differences in functionality which may take time to get used to. Some examples include:

  • Pressing Enter when a file is highlighted opens it on Windows, whereas on macOS, you get the option to rename the file;

  • The cut option is missing when you right-click on a file on your Mac;

  • Copying and pasting a file makes use of different keystrokes on Windows and Mac computers.

To gain more Microsoft-like functionality, you can use the XtraFinder add-on. This application provides all the cutting and pasting options familiar to Windows users as well as new features like a limitless clipboard, dual-panel view, and better file searching capabilities.

xtrafinder

Bonus: Windows Keyboard on a Macintosh

A major challenge when migrating from Windows to Mac is the difference in default keyboards. Due to the familiarity with the keyboard layout and the fact that Windows keyboards are less expensive, many new Apple users prefer to use a Windows-style device.

Some of the most obvious differences are the Windows key which is missing on a Mac and the Alt key which replaces Mac’s Option key. Switching keyboard layouts can result in the loss of productivity as users struggle to learn the new keys positions.

Fortunately, you can use a Windows keyboard with your Mac. With just a few clicks you can set up a wired or Bluetooth Windows-style keyboard on your Mac and start enjoying the functionality of your familiar input device.

New Key Assignment

Reassigning keys is one way to replicate the Windows 10 environment on your macOS system. You can assign keys however you like on your Mac, for instance using the Control key instead of Command to make it more Windows-like.

The good news is that macOS allows key management without requiring any additional tools or drivers. To do so, refer to the steps mentioned below:

  1. Open system preferences, then click on the keyboard. Within the keyboard tab, you will find an option called Modifier Keys; click on it.

  2. Use the drop-down menu to select the keyboard.

  3. Select ⌥ for the Command key.

  4. Select ⌘ for the option key.

  5. Press OK and exit the window.

reassign keys

In this way, you can modify your keyboard to obtain the same functionality you had with your Windows system.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

  • How Do I Sort Folders On Top In Finder On A Mac?

    Sorting folders to the top of a Finder window is very simple. With Finder open, click on its menu and select Preferences. Alternatively, you can press Command+.

    Next, click on the Advanced Tab and a checklist will appear. At the end of the list, you will find an option labeled “Keep folders on top when sorting by name.”

    Select this option to list folders at the top of the Finder window when sorting by name.

  • How Can I Get Window Previews In The Dock On Mac?

    It can be advantageous to preview files before opening them and can save a lot of time. For instance, if you have a few documents open, you might want to preview them instead of checking each separately to find the one you’re looking for.

    macOS does not have the native capability to preview open apps or windows. To obtain this functionality on your Mac, you can use third-party apps like HyperDock, uBar, and ActiveDock which allow you to preview a file by hovering over it.

  • How To Make The Red X Quit Applications Like On Windows?

    By default, the provided X does close the application but it keeps running in the background while consuming RAM.

    To quit the app entirely, you need to select the app from the top bar, press Command + Q, or click on quit from the Dock.

    If you want to have a Windows-like function which closes any application when the Red X gets clicked, do the following:

    Go to System Preferences, and under the General section, uncheck the option which says "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps.”

    This will ensure that all instances of a closed app get halted.

    However, if that does not work for any reason, you can install the RedQuits application. Once the app is installed, uncheck the option that says "Quit only when one window is left for that app.” Now apps will terminate when the Red X is clicked.

Conclusion

Over the past decade, many users have shifted from Windows to Macintosh systems. There are many reasons to make the switch, including enhanced security, an extended lifespan for the machine, prompt software updates, and better resale value.

One of the main factors that steer some individuals away from a Mac is their reluctance to learn the new system and software. That should no longer be a concern as you can replicate many of the features of a Windows computer on a Mac with the addition of a few apps and some minor configuration changes. There is no excuse for even the most experienced Windows user to not try a Mac.

Ian Haynes is a content strategist with seven years of experience in developing content and editorial calendars. He specializes in creating content that resonates with business audiences while being differentiated enough to draw in new prospects. As an expert in technology, marketing, and business-related niches, Ian can develop content strategies that help brands adhere to a consistent philosophy and create a strong digital presence.
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