Mac Windows

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps

Joel Lee 01-03-2017

Nobody can deny that Mac users really love their Macs. In fact, not long ago, I bought my own Mac machine and found many aspects that blew Windows out of the water. But believe it or not, this isn’t a one-way street. Reverse conversions happen all the time with users moving from Mac to Windows.


The only problem is that Mac users tend to use Mac-only apps, which means they can’t keep using those apps once switching to Windows. The good news? Windows has plenty of just-as-good-if-not-better apps that can successfully replace or replicate the best apps on Mac.

Before continuing, take a moment to check out these tips for Mac-to-Windows converts 7 Tips for Switching from Mac to Windows You'll be surprised to see how much Windows has to offer. Transition smoothly from Mac to Windows with our advice. Read More . Once you’re comfortable with Windows, go ahead and install the following.

1. Seer: Alternative to Preview (Finder)

One of the niftiest day-to-day features of macOS is the ability to select a file, press Space, and see a preview without actually opening the app associated with that file. This is incredibly useful for images, videos, text files, documents, etc.

Couldn’t you just enable the preview pane in File Explorer? Sure, but that clutters up the window and negatively impacts system performance. The better option is to install Seer.

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps windows app seer


It works in exactly the same way: select a file and press Space. It works with images, video, audio, text, markdown, PDFs, and more. You can copy directly from the preview and you can customize which third-party apps are used to launch the file from the preview.

The free version is an older version with fewer features. Update to the pro version to stay on top of the latest updates. It’s a one-time buy at $12.18 for a lifetime license.

2. Sumatra PDF: Alternative to Preview (App)

Sumatra PDF is a must-have app for every Windows user. I actually think it’s so good that it shouldn’t be considered an alternative to any Mac app — rather, I think macOS lacks good alternatives for Sumatra PDF. Whenever I want to read a PDF document on Mac, I’m reminded of this.

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps windows app sumatra pdf


The beauty of Sumatra PDF is its lightweight design and lightning fast performance. And not only does it read PDFs, but you can use it to read EPUB, MOBI, XPS, CBR, and CBZ files. You won’t find any bloat or unnecessary features, which is why I consider it the best PDF reader for Windows The 6 Best PDF Readers for Windows in 2019 The best PDF readers don't cost any money. Read our roundup of feature-rich PDF viewers that out perform even Adobe Reader. Read More .

3. Wox: Alternative to Spotlight

Windows 10 made a lot of improvements to search functionality, so much so that it’s actually good enough for comfortable daily use 7 Search Tips to Find What You're Looking for in Windows 10 Are you using Windows 10 search to its full extent? We will show you how to customize where Windows searches, handy search parameters, and other shortcuts. Our search tips will turn you into a search... Read More . But does it live up to Spotlight on macOS? Not quite. The interface is sorely lacking and the pattern matching can be off at times.

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps windows app wox

Wox is an open source launcher that’s trying to bring Spotlight over to Windows. It can search apps and files on your system, it can search the web, and you can extend it using plugins if needed. If Wox doesn’t suffice, you can always try one of these third-party search apps The 13 Best Free Search Tools for Windows 10 Windows Search is only good for basic and casual use. If you search Windows often, you may be better off with an awesome third-party search tool. Read More , but I think you’ll like it.


4. RocketDock: Alternative to Dock

When moving from Mac to Windows, the switch from a dock to a Taskbar can be uncomfortable. Fortunately you can get around this with an amazing free app called RocketDock. It’s customizable enough that you can get it to feel just like the Mac dock if you so wish.

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps windows rocketdock

Two benefits that elevate RocketDock above other Windows docks: first, it’s extremely lightweight and fast, and second, it’s completely portable so there’s no installation needed. But if you want to try a dock that’s more experimental, consider one of these multifunctional docks for Windows.

5. SharpKeys: Alternative to Karabiner

Karabiner is a Mac app that lets you remap any key to pretty much any other key. This is a godsend when you have an unconventional keyboard or you just want to shift things around for personal comfort. And if you’re switching from Mac to Windows, you’ll definitely need a key remapper.


13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps windows app sharpkeys

SharpKeys hasn’t been updated since 2012 but it still works flawlessly, even on Windows 10. Since I run Windows on an iMac with a Magic Keyboard, I use SharpKeys to change the CTRL/ALT/CMD keys to be more comfortable — not to mention the fact that I also use the Colemak keyboard layout One Simple Change Can Boost Your Typing Speed by 50% Your keyboard could be slowing down your typing speed, so here's a simple change you can make to unlock your true typing speed. Read More .

6. Greenshot: Alternative to Grab

Screenshots are dead simple on macOS: just press CMD + SHIFT + 3 to capture the screen or CMD + SHIFT + 4 to capture a window. On Windows, you need to hit Print Screen for the screen and ALT + Print Screen for a window, but then you have to open Paint, paste it, save it, etc. It’s a hassle.

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps windows app greenshot

But Greenshot streamlines everything just like on macOS. You can set hotkeys for screen capture, window capture, region capture, and more. It automatically saves each capture as an image file. It’s dead simple to use, it’s lightweight and fast, and it’s open source.

You could always try one of these other screenshot tools but Greenshot is currently the best.

7. Duplicati: Alternative to Time Machine

System Restore has nothing on Time Machine. If you’re on Windows, you absolutely need a full-fledged backup solution — you can unexpectedly lose a lot of sensitive data in the blink of an eye, and that’s not an experience you want to go through. Trust me. System Restore won’t cut it. On Windows 10, it’s not even enabled by default.

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps windows app duplicati

Duplicati is free, open source, and excellent. It can make manual or automatic backups (incremental so they take up as little space as possible) and it can encrypt them if needed. It can auto-upload backups to cloud services including Google Drive, OneDrive, Amazon Cloud Drive, and more.

But what’s most unique about Duplicati is that you can access it remotely, either on the web or from a mobile app. This means you can configure and control it from anywhere.

8. Geek Uninstaller: Alternative to App Cleaner

Windows is messy behind the scenes. When you install a program, files are spread out in various locations across the system and certain details are stored in the Windows Registry. When you uninstall that same program, not all of those things get properly erased. It happens on Mac, too.

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps windows app geek uninstaller

Unless you use Geek Uninstaller, which is the Windows analogue to App Cleaner on Mac. Geek Uninstaller first uninstalls programs per normal, then when it finishes it scans your system for any remnants related to that program, both files and Registry entries. It keeps your system clean.

9. Nylas Mail: Alternative to Mail

The Windows 10 Mail app is… okay. Not terrible but nothing to write home about. Of course the truest solution for Windows is Outlook, which we highly recommend because it’s very good at blasting through email. But if you can’t afford Outlook, then Nylas Mail is a strong alternative.

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps desktop email nylas

What’s nice is that Nylas Mail’s interface is almost identical to Apple Mail. You’ll feel right at home and you won’t have to stumble through the learning curve of Outlook. But if it falls short for any reason, you can check out a handful of other free email clients The 5 Best Free Email Clients for Your Desktop PC Want the best free email client? We've compiled the best email software for Windows, Mac, and Linux that won't cost you a dime. Read More , including the awesome Hiri.

10. MediaMonkey: Alternative to iTunes

As if the Mac version of iTunes wasn’t inconvenient enough, the Windows version is just a nightmare. I don’t have a solution for you if you’re using iTunes as a podcast manager. However, I do have a solution if you only use iTunes for transferring music to and from an iOS device: MediaMonkey.

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps windows music player mediamonkey

We’ve highlighted MediaMonkey in the past as one of the best free Windows music players and as an iTunes alternative The 5 Best iTunes Alternatives for Windows iTunes is bloated and slow. We show you five fantastic iTunes alternatives for Windows that let you play music and manage your iDevice. Read More , but it’s much more than that. It’s a top-notch music library manager thanks to all of its advanced bells and whistles, and it can sync with iPods and iPhones. Perfect for power users.

11. Tixati: Alternative to Transmission

Transmission is beloved on macOS because it’s so lightweight and easy to use. You can actually use it on Windows too (though it’s in “early preview” stage as of this writing), but we think there’s a much better torrenting client. It’s called Tixati and it’s simply unmatched.

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps windows app tixati

It’s super fast in two ways: First, it has unique algorithms that maximize download speeds, and second, it’s coded without the use of Java or the .NET Framework (both have overhead and tend to result in slower programs). It also has a few advanced features, like event scheduling and bandwidth management, but they don’t slow it down at all.

As far as lightweight torrenting clients are concerned, Tixati reigns as king.

12. Skype: Alternative to FaceTime

Skype has a crazy reputation, and most of it is deserved, but it’s still one of the most popular free communication apps available and is the closest analog to Apple’s FaceTime. It can handle text chat, voice chat, video chat, plus it can make calls to phones (but this feature costs money).

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps skype for web calls on linux

Perhaps the best part of Skype is that, unlike FaceTime, it’s built for so many modern platforms. Not only is it available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, but it’s also usable on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire, Xbox One, and even some smart TVs. In short, you can chat with pretty much anyone.

13. HitFilm: Alternative to Final Cut Pro

If you do video editing on a Mac, there’s a good chance you use Final Cut Pro. This app by Apple is pretty darn good but isn’t available on other platforms. Moving to Windows, your best alternatives are Premiere Pro or Vegas Pro — both of which are quite costly.

13 Windows Programs That Are Better Alternatives to MacOS Apps windows app hitfilm

HitFilm is a professional-grade video editor that’s available for free on Windows. It’s far superior to other free video editors, including OpenShot, Shotcut, and Lightworks. Though there will be a learning curve as you transition from Final Cut Pro, it won’t be too difficult.

What Are Your Favorite Alternative Apps?

Fortunately, most modern apps are cross-platform — e.g. VLC, Spotify, Chrome, Postbox, OneNote and Evernote, LibreOffice, etc. — so you’ll be able to use most of your favorite Mac apps on Windows. But for the few that are unavailable, the above replacements should be more than good enough.

Know of any other good replacements that we missed? Or are there any apps that are irreplaceable? Please share your thoughts with us in a comment below!

Related topics: Application Dock, Data Backup, Desktop Email Client, Media Player, Screen Capture, Skype, Uninstaller, Video Editor, Windows App Launcher, Windows Search.

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  1. Ivan
    December 11, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Is this article is a joke? macOS apps are far better than the mentioned app and built in the OS (Windows default app is even worse). And the second is that the mentioned apps have inconsistent UX and pure UI in compare to the macOS competitors, not even mention their resource usage and performance.

  2. Marek
    May 13, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    This article is fake. Compare Windows system apps to macOS system apps or the best apps for Windows to the best apps for macOS. Other comparison is not fair.

  3. Rob
    March 2, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    You don't need another application for screenshots. Use Snipping Tool.

    • Sid
      October 23, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      Just use (Windows Key) + (PrtScr) ; This will send a screenshot in pictures folder.

  4. Dan
    March 2, 2017 at 1:48 am

    You should definitely check out Snip from Microsoft Garage! It's so good for screenshots.

  5. Joe
    March 1, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Use Windows Key+Prnt Scrn on Windows 10, and it will automatically save the screenshot to a Screenshots folder in the Pictures folder. I'm not sure if this works with Alt+Prnt Scrn for auto saving window screenshots.

  6. Roberto
    March 1, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Wow, only 2 apps worth looking at...
    And all essential features of OSX are not even mentioned!
    If I had to switch because of this article it would never happen...

  7. Peter
    March 1, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Would love to hear other options for iPhoto - especially slideshows. That's one thing the app on Mac does really well. I'm using ProShow Gold for similar functionality - very powerful, but not free.

    I appreciate the hint on a movie editor. I like Vegas, but if there's something free that works reasonably well, I'll check it out. I sometimes try to teach basic video editing and a free video editor would be welcome.

  8. Tim Evans
    March 1, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    I switched back to Windows from Mac last fall. I've found replacements for all my favorite mac-only apps, except for Hazel. I've tried everything suggested by, but nothing works as well and as simply as Hazel.

    • RobtheComputerGuy
      February 3, 2018 at 11:38 am

      2 points: 1, Not being able to find a hazel type program for Windows has been the bane of my existence. (Belvedere is awful.) I went to and found some apps listed that look plausible - File Juggler is $40 and looks advanced like Hazel, but there are other apps that look simpler for just moving files for less (or free).

      2, This article shows up in Google search for "Hazel for Windows", and that in itself should explain why we over-value Google. Making a comment on an article where the keyword(s) are not mentioned in the actual article does not possibly make that article highly relevant to the keyword one searching for. [soapbox] And in my list of "banes of my technological existence", how truly awful Google's search results are is far and away my #1. This post is not reasonably listed as a search result - but at least the comment was made within the past year - how annoying is it to be given a page of search results for a technically related search that doesn't include a single result within the past 5 years? Discussions about alternatives to Hazel from 5 years ago are very unlikely to have a higher relevance to discussions within the past year. Who thinks that solving a Windows or OSX problem will be accomplished with a blog post from 2003? Those solutions were either for Windows XP or OSX 10.2-3 Panther/Jaguar. No, Google, no. [/soapbox] MUO, are you structuring your web pages in such a way as to make your search results incorrect (and dare I say deceptive?) by including comments in the article's body? Why would one want to include comments in such a way? When I test your page against similar sites, comments are not indexed at all on other sites. I don't know enough about HTML markup in this area to know if you're gaming the system or not. Making it impossible for people to search for anything accurately on your website is the worst offense - because you are wasting my time making me read the entire article unnecessarily - and in this case the keyword was on the last comment that wasn't already displayed by default (ugh). It's worse than actually having awful content, and I so resent it if this is the case. The quality of the information you provide is so top-notch that I went on this tangent checking your page markup so I could figure out what I was doing wrong that this article wrongly shows in my search result - on a rarely used computer where the results weren't being skewed by Google heavily personalizing my search results. Comments should obviously be on topic to the article, but since you manipulated that so search engines would consider comments as the core content of the article, I think this comment is on-topic. And to be clear, I think MUO is innocent until proven otherwise - This is one kick*ss website.

      But back to my original point, if Google is so great, why couldn't they figure out that "Comments" indicated the beginning of a comments section of an article where the article clearly conforms to the protocol of declaring it an article, and therefore discount or disregard the text after the word "comments"????