Top Mac OS X annoyances and how to fix them
6 months, I made the switch to a macbook pro laptop, and I have to admit, I really love it. The machine runs smoothly, the graphics look great, the multi-desktop environment is fantastic, and it run’s virtual machines very smoothly. Having said that, out of the box, Mac OS X is lacking several things in my opinion. This post highlights some of those, and some solutions with how I fixed it.
#1 – TotalFinder: the file explorer with all the features Mac OS X Finder is missing
The Finder application is Mac’s alternative for windows explorer. Some core features it is missing: – Finder does not support keyboard shortcuts for cut-copy-paste – Finder doesn’t support tabbed browsing For less than $20, TotalFinder fixes all headaches you might have in relation to all file browsing related activities.
#2 – NTFS harddrives are only accessible in read-only mode
Imagine wanting to exchange files with a usb key between your mac system and a windows system. Or writing files to your external harddrive that you share with your windows system. You got it, it won’t work out of the box.Interestingly, Mac OS X DOES support it, but it is disabled by default!
- SL-NTGS: This software will enable the Mac OS X build-in capability to read and write to NTFS disks.
- NTFS-3G is a third party NTFS driver for Mac that does the job as well.
#3 The Maximise button… it’s just not functioning by default!
Not too sure why at Mac they think that a click of the maximise button equals to stretching the window vertically to the maximum windows dimensions, but ignoring the horizontal dimension! To fix this, install the application RightZoom. Nothing else to be done, it runs hidden in the background.
#4 Switching to applications using Command-tab doesn’t work for minimised applications
In Windows you can switch between all application windows with alt-tab. In Mac, the alt-tab equivalent is command-tab. For some reason Apple decided to not allow users to switch to applications that are minimised using this way: you can see the application in the command-tab menu, but when you highlight it and release your key combination to switch to this application, Mac OS blindly ignores you. 2 workarounds:
- Once you have highlighted the application you want to switch to, release the Tab key and next hold down the Option key BEFORE you let go of the Command key. This will cause the top-most window of the new application to “unminimize” if it was previously minimized. I know, doesn’t really make much sense to have you go through so much effort to switch to an application hey?
- You can also press command+tab and before releasing the command key press the up or down button key. This will allow you to choose between the different minimized windows.
- ‘Slide with your 4 fingers upwards’ mouse gesture will show all application windows of your current workspace.
- You can install an alternative application such as Witch
#5 Tab key is not working on dialog boxes
I’m used to press the enter or escape key on dialog boxes. On Mac it’s not possible to control the buttons on dialogboxes with the keyboard by default. To change this:
- Open system preferences
- Go to Mouse and Keyboard Settings
- Go to Keyboard Shortcuts
- select the option at the bottom to allow “All Controls”.
#6 – Apps don’t close when you press the close button
Same as on the iphone, on Mac OS X a click on the close button won’t shot down your application.
- Press the command-Q key combination to close the application
- Install RedQuits, an application that runs in the background. When clicking the close button your application WILL close now.
#7 – fn, control, option, command: is it really required to have 4 options keys?
With so many option keys, how difficult is it to remember a key combination. To take a print screen, was it alt-shift-3, or option-shift-3, or control-shift-3? Oh no, it was command-shift-3. I tried to live with it, but if you want, you can change the keyboard key mappngs via:
- System preferences – keyboard – keyboard shortcuts
#8 – Return key renames a file instead of opening the file
On Mac you have to use the shortcut command-O to open a file. If you want to change the mapping of the Return key to open files, install http://www.returnopen.com/.
List potentially to be continued.