Windows Backup

After installing Windows 7 in place of OS X on my MacBook Pro for work, there are only a few things I miss. But man, they were really nice.

  1. Unix shell
  2. Time Machine

The first one I’ll just say if you haven’t used a Unix-like shell of some type (Bash, zsh, whatever) then it’s hard to explain. Just that you can do everything a GUI can do (save for graphics work), but much, much faster. It’s very powerful, especially with file management.

Compared to Windows Backup, Time Machine is light-years¬†ahead. Mainly because it’s a ‘set it and forget it’ type of thing. Here’s the number one problem with Windows Backup, it doesn’t overwrite the oldest backups. That’s right, no rolling backups. So guess what happens when your backup drive is full? It doesn’t backup. Great! If you’ve disabled the annoying Action Center, it silently fails.

Windows Backup

 

You have to manually delete older backups. Here’s the process:

  1. Remember to check Backup status
  2. Start Windows Backup and wait for the service to start to show status
  3. Realize it’s out of space and doesn’t have any recent backups
  4. Click on “Manage Space” and wait for another window to load
  5. Click on “View Backups” to show the list below
  6. Click on a backup period to select it
  7. Click delete
  8. Click “Yes” on the confirmation
  9. Wait for it to be deleted
  10. Repeat steps 6-9 until a satisfactory amount have been removed

Windows Backup

6 clicks, at a minimum, to ensure you’re backup is working. That’s pretty lame. Also,¬†there’s no way to encrypt your backups without BitLocker (not available in all Windows 7 flavors) or a 3rd party tool. Time machine does all of that, automatically. And it’s easy to navigate. And it tells you when things go wrong.

OS X? Unimpressive.

I’ve been working with a MacBook Pro and OS X 10.8.2, and I have to say I’m not impressed. Coming from a background that consisted almost entirely of Windows and Linux, it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s still another OS with it’s own set of problems.

That said, the user interface is more consistent and usable, in a lot of cases, than Windows and especially Linux desktop environments. But I don’t like it.

First, the good:

  • Multi-display support is good. I use a secondary display at work, and the Mac remembers my settings for it. I don’t have to enter a config screen every time I detach or reattach the display. Windows Vista/7 are way better than XP about this, but not this good.
  • The system preferences window is pretty all-encompassing and consistent. Advanced options for networking are easy to get to, while still making basic network connection access easy to use.
  • Encryption was super-easy to setup and is almost completely seamless.

The bad:

  • It’s slow and unresponsive. Now, this is subjective and a lot of this has to do with what programs I’m working with. But to be sure, I see the beachball a lot, in various applications, and in OS X’s window manager as well. It seems simple actions in specific programs freeze up the entire computer. It’s really annoying.
  • Another complaint is the closing application window does not actually close application. But, that’s by design, and I am a Windows user I guess.
  • Multi-display backgrounds aren’t remembered so well. Considering how well OS X handles multiple displays, this comes at a surprise. OS X frequently (like everyday) forgets how the laptop display’s background is setup, and reverts to the OS X default ones or single color background. If I open up the desktop background settings window when this happens, it shows the system’s default photo library. I then have to reselect the folder I had enabled before, and re-setup the checkboxes for it. I tried tricking it by moving all my desktop background images to the system library. Didn’t work–OS X still forgets the background and shows a blank color instead.
  • When the preference or settings you want isn’t available, you’re screwed. Sure it takes a Google search and shell command to change it, if possible. But it’s usually some batshit insane command that’s impossible to remember.
    sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.ReportCrash.plist

    Makes perfect sense, right? Well, I can’t complain. Linux is much worse. Except Linux isn’t marketed to non-computer saavy people (as much as it would like to be).

  • There’s no cut or move command, as far as I can tell. You have to drag items to move them, which requires opening another Finder window in most cases.
  • This is kind of a *nix problem too: Moving items to the trash doesn’t move them off removable media. Windows is worse, it just deletes the items. But this puts them in your trash, which you might think is on your internal HD. Nope, it’s still on the removable media. You have to empty the trash to make the space available.
  • When you unmount a drive, like a USB thumb drive, the icon disappears from the desktop before it’s flushed everything to the drive. This is really annoying. If the drive isn’t ready to be removed, don’t remove the icon. With most of my USB drives, an LED lets me know when it’s done flushing data. But not all.