Ten Windows Apps That Make Mac Fans Drool

Last week we profiled 10 Mac apps that jealous Windows users could only pine for. Well, Windows has its share of nifty stuff too, so we'd be remiss if we didn't remind Mac users why 90% of planet Earth still runs on Redmond.

XMap 6 by DeLorme


XMap is your friendly neighborhood Google Map on steroids. Meant for surveyers, energy companies, pilots and resource-extraction teams, XMap has several suites of software that let you create and edit data layers and GIS data, plan flight paths, and mashup with in-vehicle GPS data. $199 - $1499.

DVD neXt Copy Ultimate

DVD neXt

Buying movies and TV shows on iTunes is for suckers; when you can rent unlimited movies for pennies each from Netflix and rip them onto your PC with DVD neXt, paying $4 for a movie rental that expires in 24 hours doesn't sound so high tech. DVD neXt let you copy your movies to DVDs, Zunes, iPods and PSPs, and can cram 10 DVD movies onto a Blu-ray disc for storage. Download version: $70.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Google Chrome might get a lot of press these days for its future as an operating system, but don't forget that it's a pretty great browser today. With a thumbnail view of your favorite pages and private browsing per window, it's the perfect alternative for the Firefox hater. Free.

Spybot by Safer Networking


It might be unfair to include a spyware eradicator in this list when Macs don't really suffer from malware, but that doesn't make Spybot's performance any less formidable. Whatever crap invades your PC, Spybot can kill it, and it updates faster than big-box antivirus suites. By donation.

Nero 9

Nero 9

Apple's in-OS burning utility works fine, but it's nothing compared to the supertool that is Nero 9. Nero lets you burn and rip DVDs, CDs, Bluray discs, and setup autocopy, backup, and photo slideshows on disc. It also functions as a home media center that can pause, record, manage and burn live HDTV. Download: $70.

The Orange Box by Valve


The Orange Box contains six of the best video games to ever grace the personal computer. Gaming has long been the province of Windows PCs, and things haven't changed much in that domain; games like Half-Life 2 and Portal are still light-years ahead of anything on the Mac. $30 on Steam.



Apple's Preview is good, but Irfanview is better. This robust file-viewer can convert, batch process, scan and print, as well as handle movies, sounds and slideshows. Oh, and there are plugins too, as well as a selection of toolbar skins for aesthetes. By donation



NoClose is one of those stupid little workarounds that could save your life if you work with a lot of SaaS or Web-based services. It disables the X button that tempts you to close out all your work when you mean to minimize or maximize the window. You can even toggle the feature on and off with hard-to-accidentally-activate hotkeys. Free.

Windows Media Center


Few of Microsoft's homegrown programs are as gorgeous or functional as Media Center for Windows. It can interface with your TV to become an on-PC DVD, as well as doing all the stuff you'd expect from a media dashboard: Play DVDs, flip through photos, and play music. Sure, Apple's got FrontRow. But can you record live TV with that? Nope. Included with Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate.

Window Extractor

Window Extractor

Window Extractor does exactly what it sounds like: Pulls embedded videos out of their sites so you can place them into their own windows, or blow them up full screen. Also works great for CAD drawings, spreadsheets, and photos. Best part: it's open source. Free.

Related: Ten Mac Apps That Make Windows Users Drool

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  • Jim Hawkins

    DVD ripping: try "Mac the Ripper" or Handbrake or even VLC - all free on the Mac
    Instead of Nero, consider Toast.
    Instead of Window Extractor maybe use Safari web clips? http://www.apple.com/pro/tips/...
    Instead of Chrome: try Safari 4.0 - an ACID 3.0 compliant browser.

    Gaming: Windows leaves the Mac behind, but I gave up on PC games years ago. It's too hard to keep your h/w up to date - so now I use a console.

  • Snapper Cridge

    @Chris...I don't believe that "Windows is just a legacy operating system" (well at least not for now). What I do believe is that there are very few software applications available that don't a. have a compatible version for OSX or b. have an equal (and for the most part better) OSX version available.

    The gaming world is a big deal for Windows users, including me. However I never used my computer for any other game with the exception of Unreal Tournament which I quickly switched to the PS3 version as soon as it was released. I like video games just like the (maybe not as often as) next guy, but that is really the only advantage Windows OS has over OSX (IMO).

    I can only hope that Microsoft isn't hanging some of it's hopes on gaming ever being a driving force for Windows. Heaven forbid game developers pushing to offer more games avail for Mac OSX's platform. Or even worse for MS...an Apple designed video game system!

  • Chheang Yang

    Agreed... author seems to have lost his bearings in the last 24 hours. I was really looking forward to seeing a fair list. Advice for author, don't write on things you know nothing about.

  • Chris Dannen

    @Snapper: While the Mac list is obviously more exciting, what we're trying to show here is that Windows has some powerful software out there -- particularly the games -- that keep die-hards from switching. If you're a Windows user used to being able to do all the "media theft" you want on Windows, and you're asked to switch to a DRM-plagued Apple environment, you would probably be less than excited. I also prefer to use my Mac whenever possible, but we'd be remiss to think that Windows is just a legacy operating system.

  • Snapper Cridge

    This article makes me wonder how the author's intuitiveness seemed to vanish in just over 24 hours! Yesterday's Palm article made much more sense and had insight to back it up. This article lists a handful of apps that either unnecessary (NoClose & Spybot), specialized (XMap & Orange Box), used for media theft (Windows Extractor & DVD neXt Copy), or currently do or soon will have a equal or better replacement (all the rest).

    As a (converted) Mac user, that runs a small business I am oh so glad that I am a part of the 10% on planet Earth that doesn't run on Redmond...Cupertino will suit me and my business just fine thanx!

  • Arthur English

    After using a Mac and a PC and now a MacBook with Fusion running Windows, I can say the one app you are missing and that needs to be at the top of the list is Microsoft Outlook. The best email app ever. I wish Entourage would be as rich in features as Outlook. Then I could switch.

  • Dave Cyra

    I work in a Mac world and play at home in a Windows world. I have 3 of these apps (Chrome, Spybot S&D, and The Orange Box) and it looks like I have some downloading to do tonight. The Orange Box and all of the fantastic online gaming is the reason why I stay in the PC world at home. Well that and having the freedom and cost advantage to building my own computer. Although, I'd love to have Tangerine! for the 7,000+ songs I have on my iPod.

  • Dmitry Gorshkov

    Most of these suffer from feature bloat.
    Especially Nero (there is even a joke going around: "Who do you think will come up with a new OS first. Nero or ACD See?").

  • Ian Markowitz

    I dont know, but i think that the ten mac apps make me drool a lot more than the ten windows apps, and i have both computers. chrome will be on mac shortly, the delorme is highly specialized that very few people would need with google maps, the spybot is unnecessary on a mac, and the other ones are just mehh apps except The orange box.