10 minutes with Safari for Windows

by Marc

Safari is Apple’s answer to Internet Explorer, it’s the default web browser that ships with OSX. And it now runs under Windows – so I thought I’d give it a try.

Installation was painless and it hasn’t (so far) taken over all my file associations to become the default browser. It automatically picked up both my IE and Firefox bookmarks too which is handy.

Could this be the first step into tempting me away from my Wintel bias and onto the Mac bandwagon? First impressions after the jump…

I can’t really verify Apple’s claims that it’s faster than the other browsers because frankly I’m waiting on the connection more often than I’m waiting on the page to render. I can confirm that it’s certainly not sluggish though, it never felt slow. Here’s the results of 10 minutes bouncing around the web:


  • Fast to load. Firefox is turning into bloatware these days (and it’s getting more unstable as time goes on too). Safari, in it’s current form, is pretty quick to load.
  • Seems pretty compatible. The CG admin page works (I’m typing this up with Safari) and a quick roundup of other sites doesn’t show any glaring rendering errors
  • Clean UI. That’ll be a matter of debate I’m sure but I rather like the way it gives you the maximum amount of space for browsing. The page loading / progress indicator is superimposed over the address bar and the bookmarks bar is very slimline.
  • Nice autofill – by default, you get what looks like a fairly comprehensive Autofill function for forms. Which is just as well, because none of your standard plugins like Roboform are going to work (see “not so good” below)

Not so good

  • Dialogs have the OK and Cancel buttons reversed. Perhaps this is the Apple standard, but it breaks the Windows default of putting Cancel last so you need to get out of that habit of clicking on the bottom right for the “Oops, I didn’t mean that” option.
  • No Google Toolbar. In fact no plugin compatability at all, which could be a deal breaker for some people. You get the standard “Google Search” option on the toolbar, but the Toolbar extentions that give you GMail, Google bookmarks, predictive searching, etc. aren’t going to work. It’s nothing you can’t do in other ways but I’ve gotten used to having it there… And don’t even think about things like Roboform or the rather useful context menu for Bugmenot
  • Probably just a beta hiccup but the back button on my mouse doesn’t work. This is more than mildly annoying…

So… what’s the verdict? It’s got me interested enough that I’ll stick with it for a bit and see how I get on. It’ll take some work to make me swap permanently but so far the experience is positive.

10 reviews or comments

Andi Says: June 11, 2007 at 3:11 pm

i was going to write something about it in few minutes

i installed it on my windows machine (rusty one) and it failed miserably, truly miserably… i guess it just varies from machine to machine…

firefox? bloatware?.. runs perfectly for me, with lots of extensions too.. and it’s darn stable too.. i’ll upload a screenshot in wp for you to see ;)

Gallery of Gadgets #81 » Coolest Gadgets Says: June 11, 2007 at 3:13 pm

[…] « 10 minutes with Safari for Windows […]

Marc Says: June 11, 2007 at 3:39 pm

As you say, I guess it varies – who knows, perhaps when I’ve had a few days with it I’ll change my mind!

Neagle Says: June 11, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Firefox is running better than ever on Vista. Hell, I wish Vista was as easy to use and as customizable as Firefox. Damn, Microsoft crap.

Mike Says: June 11, 2007 at 7:29 pm

Eh, I tried the new Safari on OS X and Windows, but I still prefer Firefox. Still, I do love one thing about Safari: the widgets look beautiful.

Hezekiah Says: June 12, 2007 at 7:11 am

I’m using Safari on Windows running in Parallels. Since I haven’t yet ponnied up for extra memory I run Windows XP at 256MB. Far as I can tell Safari blows IE6 out of the water on load time & page loads both! Yeah yeah, so I’m a Mac fan & my opinion doesn’t matter eh? I was once the oposite & then I got into Linux. From the stability of Linux I finally made my way to my first Mac & have never looked back. I especially love the improved search in Safari 3, very easy to see at a glance all that was found & what word is selected, if only they would make it more customizable now.

Not bad for a Beta, not bad at all if you ask me!

Andi, is that an XP machine? I was even able to install Safari on a Win2K machine, though setting it as default browser is broken. Other than that it seems to work great!

Tommy Says: June 12, 2007 at 8:25 am

How does it compare to Maxthon? I love Maxthone over all the others so far.

Marc Says: June 12, 2007 at 11:10 am

@Hezekiah – am I reading that right? You run the Windows build of a native Mac browser, on a Mac, under emulation? You get points for… something, but I’m not sure what ;-)

James Says: June 13, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Hi, i’ve solved the back button problem for Safari beta 3 on windows.

This worked for me and I hope it does for you too.

I’ve always used the navigation buttons on my mouse to flick backwards and forwards between pages while browsing in IE. and in safari it doesn’t work…

Well, here’s how I fixed it.

firstly… i have a media keyboard that uses browsing buttons (forward and back) as well as other functions like a button for media player and email etc… many people have these now.

I also have a programmable mouse. With most 5+ button mice you get a program that you can change the function ofr the buttons on your mouse. I’ve got a Razer Mystify Boomslang “Boomer” mouse, and that comes with a good little program to change all the buttons… ANYWAY

I load the program up and tell it i want to change the function of the back button on my mouse and it asks me to press a key, so I press the back navigation key on my keyboard and save the config, and hey presto, it works!!!!!

Then I changed the forward button for the forward button on my keyboard too.

I can’t be more specific than this because every mouse uses a different bit of software to program the buttons on it. I uses the part of my program that says “assign a key” to the button.

hope you guys have some luck

Marc Says: June 15, 2007 at 1:34 pm

Good idea – turns out you can also bind to alt+left arrow if you don’t have a media keyboard

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