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10 features Windows stole from Mac OS

Microsoft tools we think we've seen before

There's no such thing as a new idea right? It's only ever an old idea that been borrowed and when it comes to operating systems there's been plenty of idea-snatching from both Microsoft and Apple over the years.

Windows 7 and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard each contain features that originated in the other OS. Some features were stolen so long ago that they've become part of the computing landscape, and it's difficult to remember who invented what. Here we give credit to Apple where credit is due.

1. Taskbar makeover: Dock look and feel

The Windows 7 taskbar is decidedly Dock-like, with large, label-less icons. Like the Dock, the taskbar is now a place to launch programs as well as to minimise windows.

You can drag an application icon to anywhere on the taskbar and drag to arrange them, as on a Mac.

In Windows 7, a box around an icon indicates that a program is running; Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard uses a dot under the icon of running apps.

Apple acquired the Dock from Steve Jobs' NeXtstep OS, which stole it from Acorn's Arthur OS of 1987.

2. Jump lists: Dock menus

Both the Taskbar and the Dock have had menus, but the menus of Windows 7 are similar the functionality of not only Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, but of Leopard before it. There are commands and access to files.

What's in a jump list (or Dock menu)? Some lists (such as those for iTunes) have more functionality in Mac OS X. Others have more in Windows 7.

Web browsers in Mac and Windows provide similar functionality, depending on the browser. In both OS, a right-click brings up the menu.

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  1. These OS functions look similar, we think we've seen them before
  2. Aero Peek and file previews
  3. Gadgets and Sticky notes
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  5. RSS feeds and Windows Disc Image Burner

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