Things to Consider Before Switching from a Windows PC to a Mac
You’ve been comfortable with your Windows operating system for years, but now you’re considering buying a Mac. There’s no doubt that the Apple Mac is a fine machine but, when you’ve been used to working with Windows for so long, you may find that learning how a Mac works offers more challenges than you were anticipating.
There are a few things to consider before switching from a Windows PC to a Mac. Don’t hesitate to ask salespeople any and all the questions you may have.
Before You Make the Move
- Go to an Apple Store to familiarize yourself with the OS X and the Mac you want
- Get answers to any questions you may have from the salespeople at the Apple Store
- Choose a time to buy when you can take your time to get familiar with the OS X at your own pace
Extra Costs for Applications
Windows apps won’t run on a Mac so you’ll need to find alternatives. Most apps don’t allow you to switch your license between different operating systems, so that’s an added cost to consider.
Transferring Your Data
You’ll need to become familiar with migration tools if you plan on moving data from your PC to the Mac. Before you begin, read Apple’s comprehensive instructions on how to move your data between different operating systems. You’ll need to make a note of what is and what isn’t moved.
The alternative to doing this yourself is to get an Apple Store genius to do it for you.
Learn a Few Keyboard Shortcuts
Here are a few keyboard shortcuts for the Mac to get you started:
- Command + C – Copy
- Command + V – Paste
- Command + A – Select All
- Command + W – Close window
- Command + Q – Quit app
CTRL + ALT + DEL
On the Mac, use CMD + ALT + ESC instead of CTRL + ALT + DEL.
Right-clicking on a Mac
There are no buttons on the Magic Mouse or the trackpad that let you right-click but you can still right-click by holding down the CTRL key while you click. An easier way is to go to System Preferences – Trackpad and turn on Secondary Click, which allows you to tap two fingers on the trackpad for a right-click.
If you have a Magic Mouse, go to System Preferences – Mouse and enable Secondary Click. This makes the right mouse button act as a right click.
Run Windows on your Mac
You can run Windows on your Mac by using one of these options:
Whichever way you choose, you’ll need a valid copy of Windows. The copy that came with your PC won’t do so you’ll need to buy one unless you have a spare full retail copy somewhere.
If you’re planning on using both the PC and the Mac, be aware that you run the risk of making changes to documents on both systems and this can lead to trouble down the line. For instance, if you copy your expense sheet from your PC to the Mac, but make edits to it later on both systems, the expense sheet won’t be up-to-date on either machine.
Backing up Your Data
Macs are reliable machines, but something can always go wrong, so make sure you back up your data. Here are some available back up options:
- Back up to a local disk using Time Machine
- Third-party tools such as Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper! backups to external hard drives
- An off-site backup service such as CrashPlan or Backblaze
The Mac’s Good Points
A few of the Mac’s many good points include:
- No long setup process
- No advertising links and no “free” Norton antivirus
- No drivers to install
- 15″ Retina MacBook will last around eight hours on battery
- Many games for Windows have a Mac version
Well, This is Awkward
There are a few things that a former Windows user will find awkward about the Mac, including the following:
- Different keyboard key symbols take time to adjust to
- Confusing way that applications are installed (applications that are installed using the Mac App Store simply install themselves without requiring any drag-and-drop or DMG mounting)
- The OS X “maximize” button doesn’t seem to work properly and tends to just stretch an app up and down
- Boot Camp doesn’t support Windows 8.1 yet
If you do decide to switch from a Windows PC to a Mac, having enough information about what to expect ahead of time can go a long way toward smoothing the transition and easing the stress of changing operating systems.