The Macintosh's Dock is the equivalent of Windows' Task Bar. While Windows Task Bar requires right-clicking, selecting Properties and further configuration to add/remove icons, icons need only be dropped or removed from the Mac's Dock.
System Preferences vs. Control Panel
Just as Windows Vista's Control Panel (shown on bottom) provides access to critical system settings, so too does the Macintosh's System Preferences applet. The Mac utility is most frequently accessed using its icon (located on the Mac dock, or Task Bar).
In Windows Vista, the Control Panel will continue to be accessed from the Start menu.
User accounts are created on the Mac using the Accounts applet. The program is reached from the System Preferences menu. Potential account features (Password, Picture, Login Items and Parental Controls) are configured simply by clicking the respective icon.
In Windows Vista, user account settings are configured using User Accounts (reached by clicking Start | Control Panel | User Accounts and Family Safety).
Trash vs. Recycle Bin
Discarded files are sent to the Mac's Trash, shown on top, whereas Windows' trashed files are stored in the Recycle Bin (shown here on the bottom).
Finder vs. Explorer
Macintosh OS X users navigate their computer's contents using the Finder, shown here on top.
Windows Vista users, meanwhile, will navigate their hard disks' contents using Computer (My Computer is no more after Windows XP). In the new Computer view, file and folder structures are shown in a left pane, while icons for drives appear on the right.
Network vs. My Network Places
Mac OS X users can view workgroup computers, and other network resources, using the Network application (shown on top). The Network menu is reached by clicking Network within Finder.
Windows Vista operators, meanwhile, can use the Network menu (Network replaces My Network Places) reached by clicking Start | Network.
Available network connections (such as WLAN and LAN networks) are displayed within the Mac's Network menu. They're reached by selecting the respective network from the Show menu.
Windows Vista users can view network connections using the new Network Center (reached by clicking Start | Network | Network Center).
Network settings are configured on Macs by highlighting the appropriate network interface from within the Network applet and clicking the Configure button.
TCP/IP settings are configured in Windows Vista by highlighting the appropriate network connection from the Network Center menu and clicking Personalize. Users must then highlight the appropriate adapter, click Properties, click Properties again, highlight TCP/IP Version 4 and select Properties, upon which the TCP/IP settings shown in the bottom window become available for editing.
Appearance vs. Display Properties
The Mac's look is configured using the Appearance menu, reached from System Preferences.
In Windows Vista, desktop confguration is set using the Appearance and Personalization applet (reached by clicking Start | Control Panel).
Sound features are configured similarly in Mac OS X and Windows Vista. The Mac's Sound applet (reached from System Preferences) sets its audio configuration, while Windows Vista's Audio Devices and Sound Themes menu configures the new OS' sound properties. The new Audio Devices and Sound Themes window is reached by clicking Start | Control Panel.
A Mac's security settings are configured using the Security applet found within System Preferences. Administrators can specify that passwords be entered to change security settings, automatic login can be disabled and more using this applet.
In Windows Vista (beta), numerous security components (including Security Center, Windows Firewall, Windows Update, Windows Defender and more are accessed from within the Control Panel's Security applet.
Safari vs. Internet Explorer
Safari (shown on top) is the default Mac OS X Internet Browser. In Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 7 manages Internet browsing tasks by default.
Terminal vs. Command Prompt
The Macintosh's Terminal (accessed from within the Utilities folder) provides a powerful command line interface.
Windows Vista (beta) users, meanwhile, can access the Command Prompt by entering CMD in the Start menu's Start Search box.
Mac OS X vs. Windows Vista boot screen
Learn (and see) the similarities and differences of the Mac OS X and Windows Vista (beta) user interfaces as they're compared side-by-side in this gallery.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...