If you’re a new Mac user, and were a future PC user, you are not alone. Many people have made the change from PC to Mac, simply because Mac’s are an easier computer to use, and many believe that they are far superior to that of the PC. It’s all opinion, and it’s a hot debate for all things technical right now. However. this article does not cover the raging fight. This is simply how to convert from PC to Mac – I will show you some features in Mac that are equivalent to common windows applications/settings, as well as some new ones you’ve probably never seen before.
So out of the box, you’re probably thinking wow, this thing is easy to set up. And then you get to the main screen, and you’re not sure what to do. You’ve used PC your entire life, and now you have this beautiful looking Mac in front of you, running OS X, and you’re not even sure why there is no Windows key on your keyboard. Well lets start with the basics.
When you first start using the Mac OS X, you’ll realize that your mouse does not have an option for right clicking. Depending on what type of system you’re on, and which peripherals you are using, it is very likely you do in fact have an option for right clicking built right into your mouse. With the new Mac bluetooth mice, you can simply click on the right side of your mouse. Even though there is no physical button, it is indeed there. With the new Macbook, Macbook Pro, or Macbook Air, the track pad has a built-in feature for right clicking that is configurable under system preferences. You can set up for the right click to be accessed through clicking with two fingers, or through tapping the lower right hand corner of the track pad. Of course, with a Mac it is much less necessary to frequently right-click than with Windows, but it is needed.
At the bottom of your screen when you first started up, is your dock. This is actually quite similar to the dock in Windows 7, that allows you to pin programs, and also shows programs that are running. In Mac OS X not only may you pin short cuts to applications, and see currently running applications, but a folder link to applications, downloads, and documents are displayed. These folders are great shortcuts, and they are visually enhanced – they will change in icon/stack if you add a new document to them. If you click on them, you’ll see that they fan out, or open a grid. This option is changeable through right clicking the folder on the dock.
Where do I find all of my settings!? Macs are in fact very customizable, and you’ll see that there is no option for a “control panel” for your system, like Windows has. Click the apple at the upper left-hand side of your screen. Think of this little menu as a compact version of the start menu for Windows 7. Open system preferences. This is your Mac equivalent of a Control Panel. Notice that it is very well arranged, with only a few categories, and they are organized in an effective style. This is much easier to use than the Windows control panel, especially once you get used to using it. If you click on trackpad/mouse, this is also the place to make changes to the mouse settings that I spoke of.
iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, Garageband, Safari, what is all of this stuff? One of the best part of the Mac is that it does not come loaded with a bunch of crap. When you first get your PC out of the box, not only do you need to spend time installing drivers and the operating system, but you’ll need to go through and work with all of the crap that comes on the computer, figuring out what you want and the majority of which you probably will need to uninstall. iPhoto is your photo viewer, and this is much better than the default photo viewer that comes with Windows 7. This program also has a few neat features. Such as album organization, and facial recognition. Tag your friend in one photo, and iPhoto will automatically find and tag your friend by facial recognition in all of the other pictures. iTunes is a media player and downloader, similar to Windows Media Player but with the iTunes store built-in. iMovie is a movie-editing program, much more feature-packed than windows movie editor, but still very easy to use and get used to. Garage Band is an audio file creator and is quite easy to figure out and mess with as well. Safari is your equivalent of Internet Explorer, except for that it’s not a slow, ad infested piece of crap. This browser is actually worth using, however I do run Google Chrome on my Mac just because it’s very lightweight. All are very good software and are much better programs than what comes with Windows 7.
You’ll notice that you do not get a task/process manager when you hit cntrl+alt+delete. This is a very good thing. Not only is the task manager hardly needed in Mac (programs are able to run and close on their own, and don’t stop responding nearly as often as on Windows), but it is much more powerful in and of itself. To access the equivalent of the task manager, open up your applications. From there, open the Utilities folder. Open the Activity Monitor. You’ll see this is a lot like the task/process manager, except much easier to read, and with more features. If you look back to the utilities, you’ll see a lot of other useful features, one being the Mac equivalent of a Command Prompt. You’ll also see that Mac has a built-in disc utility for partionining and managing your hard drives. Windows never has had any programs like this, built in.
Most of all just remember that you are now a user of the better computer when you are on your Mac. Be curious, do some exploring, and try new things with the Mac. You will soon be a huge Mac fan, and will greatly prefer Mac OS X to the virus-laden Windows 7. Enjoy!