Switching From Microsoft Windows to Apple Mac
Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS are two of the most popular computer operating systems available today. Windows is the dominant operating system with over 90 per cent of the net market share. Each operating system has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, you will see the steps to follow in switching from Microsoft Windows to Apple Mac OS.
One of the major reasons why Windows users do not switch to Mac is ignorance of the Mac platform. Besides this, Windows computers dominate most of the world’s offices, and people have been easily accustomed to the Windows interface. In addition, Macintosh computers tend to be a little more expensive than the Windows ones.
Familiarize With the Mac Interface
First step you need to take to know about any new operating system is familiarizing with its interface. Mac has an intuitive interface, which may not be easy to understand for the first time users. The latest version of the operating system is Mac OS X Lion.
All Macs have something called Dock at the bottom of the screen. This is the place where you have all the application icons. You can launch any application from here. It is something similar to the Windows task bar. On the Dock, you have all the running apps as well as icons of inactive apps. It also includes the Trash Can (Recycle Bin on Windows).
On the top, you have the Apple menu. This menu opens several system related options such as Shut Down, Sleep, Log out, System Preferences, and Software Updates. Beside the Apple menu, you have the specific menu bar of the active application.
Mac OS X Finder
Just as Windows Explorer, you have Finder in Mac to browse through your files and folders. It does all the tasks Windows Explorer is capable of doing, such as copying, moving, deleting files, searching files, etc. Finder gives various view options for folders—Icon view (displays a number of icons); List view (this shows each folder in the spreadsheet style); Column view (the hard disk’s folders are represented as columns); Cover Flow view (shows live previews of multimedia files)
In order to connect to the Internet, you need to either connect your modem directly to the Mac system using an Ethernet cable or you have to go wireless. Systems like the MacBook Air do not have an Ethernet port built in. If you have such a system, you can use an Apple Ethernet adaptor. This USB device has an Ethernet port to which you can connect your modem and get online.
In order to join the wireless network, you need to click on the AirPort menu on the top of the system and then select the appropriate wireless network. If your network has a wireless security key enabled, then the system will ask you for that. Type it in and you will have a connection to the wireless network.
Moving Files and Folders to a Mac System
The next task would be to move your personal files from your Windows computer to the new Mac system. Mac recognizes most of the file formats that you use in Windows. Moreover, most of the Windows applications have their Mac versions available. They include Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, Macromedia Studio, etc. Hence moving all kinds of files to Mac is not a difficult job.
In order to make the matters easier still, you have a program called Migration Assistant in Mac. Migration Assistant helps transfer user files, account information, system settings, etc., either between Macs or a PC to a Mac. Once Migration Assistant has run, you will see that your desktop background, email accounts, contact list, bookmarks, favorites, etc., are all in place.
Another daunting area is the keyboard of your new Mac. Some of the keys are very strange and different from Microsoft’s familiar keyboard. Let us look at some of the keys from a Mac keyboard.
Command key: This is similar to the Windows Control key. It appears on either side of the Space bar. It forms different key combinations with various other keys to do some basic functions.
Option key: This is similar to the Alt button in Windows keyboards. It appears next to the Command key. This is also a modifier key.
Besides these, a Clear key is present in place of Windows ‘Num Lock’ button and a Help key instead of ‘Insert’.
Understanding and familiarizing with the Mac keyboard may take some time. However, Apple support website has given all the key combinations you need to perform most of the daily tasks.
Basic Mac Software
Now, you will see some of the Mac replacements for Windows software.
For browsing, you have Apple Safari. The tiny compass icon on the Dock belongs to Safari. Click on it, and you can browse the Internet. Besides Safari, you can install other browsers, such as IE, Firefox, Chrome, etc.
iCal: This is the calendar application on Mac. This helps you make a note of appointments and events in the future.
iChat: This chat application gives text, audio, and video chatting capabilities.
Boot Camp: Do you want to run Windows and Mac on the same system? Boot Camp is the solution. This application creates a separate partition for Windows and creates all the necessary files and folders so that you can install Windows. This way you can run Windows and Mac side by side.
As you can see, Mac OS X is a very powerful operating system. Although not so popular as Windows, Mac OS is gaining popularity and may become as popular as Windows someday. If you are thinking about switching to Mac, follow the steps given in this article and familiarize with the operating system.