Skip to comments.Your first day with a new Mac: the get-started guide for Windows users 20 handy OS X tips
Posted on 12/26/2008 2:36:02 AM PST by Swordmaker
Just got a new Mac for Christmas and feeling a little bewildered?
Fear not - Switch to Mac, brought to you by our colleagues over on MacFormat magazine, shows new Mac users how to move comfortably from the familiarity of Windows.
Below are 20 common tasks that PC owners perform without thinking about, and their equivalents on a Mac - just as easy!
On Windows I used to... Do a right-click
There's a myth that Macs can't right-click. Nonsense! Since before the days of Mac OS X, Macs have had the ability to use two-button mice to bring up the kind of contextual menu you're used to in Windows, and you can happily plug a two-button scrollwheel mouse into a Mac and start using it without installing any drivers. Even without that add-on mouse, it's easy to do a right-click. If you have an iMac that comes with Apple's Mighty Mouse, or add a Mighty Mouse to any other Mac, you can simply use your middle finger to click to the right of the scrollwheel. Check that side is configured for Secondary Click in the Keyboard & Mouse pane of System Preferences. The same pane configures how you right-click on notebooks, and if you have an old Mac that really only does have one button, simply hold down the C key and do a normal click.
On Windows I used to... Use [control] for keyboard shortcuts
The C [Command/Apple] key replaces the [control] key as the main modifier for keyboard shortcuts. [control]+[C] becomes [Command] +[C], and so on. Hold down [Option] and type a number to get special characters. You can either use the Character Palette enable it from the Input Menu tab of the International pane of System Preferences or learn the easy-to-remember shortcuts. For accents, type the shortcut for the accent then the letter you want to be accented. For example, á is [Option]+[E], à is [Option]+['], â is [Option]+[I], ä is [Option]+[U], ã is [Option]+[N], and ß is [Option]+[S].
On Windows I used to... Configure my PC with Control Panel
System Preferencesaccessible from the Apple menu at the top left of your Mac's screendoes the same thing.
On Windows I used to... Use the Start menu
There's no direct equivalent to the Start menu when you're on a Mac. You'll find everything you're used to finding there in one of a few places. The Dock, at the bottom of your screen, holds your favourite applications, and most other stuff. Recent documents, applications and servers, system preferences, log off and shut down options are all to be found in the Apple menu. Printers and faxes are in System Preferences. And the Help and Support equivalents are in the Help menu always the last menu in the menu bar at the top of the screen.
On Windows I used to... Defrag my hard disk
Usually, you don't have to do this on a Mac. See
About disk optimization with Mac OS X
for more information.
On Windows I used to... Use [control]+[alt]+[delete] to quit unresponsive programs
[Option]+[Command]+[Esc] calls up the Force Quit window, which lets you pick an application to force to shut down. Those that your Mac knows are misbehaving are usually highlighted in red.
On Windows I used to... Use [control]+[alt]+[delete] to check processes and system resources
The Activity Monitor, found in Applications > Utilities, provides an overview of what resources are being used on your system, and gives you more granular information about which processes are doing what. If you know what you're doing, you can use standard Unix commands in Terminal (Applications > Utilities) to kill specific processes using their PID.
On Windows I used to... Tap [backspace]/[delete]
Full-sized Mac keyboards have [backspace] and [delete] keys in the places you'd expect them. On laptops, or when using the Apple Wireless Keyboard, you can do a forward-delete by holding the [fn] Function key and tapping [backspace].
On Windows I used to... Move files to the Recycle Bin
Move files to the Trash in your Dock, or tap [Command]+[delete].
On Windows I used to... Make shortcuts
On a Mac, shortcuts are called Aliases. You can create them simply by right-clicking on a file, or by starting to drag the original then holding down [Option]+[Command]. You'll see the little black Alias arrow appear at your cursor, and you can now drop the Alias wherever you like.
On Windows I used to... Find stuff in Windows Explorer
Instead, use the Finder to navigate through your files and folders.
On Windows I used to... Use Properties to find out about a file
You can get bucketloads of information about a file by selecting it and either right-clicking or going to the File menu and choosing Get Info. (Or you can click [Command]=[i] - Swordmaker)
On Windows I used to... Rename files by clicking Rename this file in the File Tasks menu
You rename files in Mac OS X either by selecting a file then tapping [Enter], or by selecting it, pausing, then clicking on the filename. (Do the two clicks too close together, though, and the Mac will think you meant to double-click and open the file!)
On Windows I used to... Set default applications to open certain types of files
Annoyingly, there's no equivalent to Windows' Set Program Access and Defaults on the Mac. You define the default web browser and email client, confusingly, from within the preferences of the Mac's standard apps Safari and Mail and use the Get Info window to change default applications for other files. Select a PDF, say, right-click and pick Get Info. Then from the Open with menu, pick which application you want to use to open it, then click Change All to ensure all PDFs open with the application you defined. (I suggest you do NOT change the application that handles PDF files because Macs use PDF display technology and Preview will display any PDF file. - Swordmaker)
On Windows I used to... Eject CDs and DVDs (using the physical buttons)
Macs don't have eject buttons on their slot-loading or concealed optical disc drives. You eject CDs and DVDs either by tapping the eject key at the top right of your keyboard, by dragging them to the Trash in your Dock, or by clicking the eject button next to them in a Finder window's Sidebar.
On Windows I used to... Safely remove hardware (such as external USB or Flash drives)
With the exception of external storage devices, you don't need to 'safely remove hardware' on a Mac. With external disks, just make sure you eject them as for CDs and DVDs, except you don't use the eject key on the keyboard before you unplug them.
On Windows I used to... Switch between running applications (using [Alt]+[TAB])
[Alt]+[Tab] cycles through open apps under Windows; [Command]+[Tab] does the same thing on a Mac, even giving you the opportunity to hide and quit apps by tabbing over them then tapping [H] and [Q] respectively while keeping the C key held down.
On Windows I used to - Have applications close automatically when I closed the last window
(Most) Applications on a Mac stay running even if they have no windows open. You have to quit each one manually from the application menu, or simply tap [Command]+[Q].
On Windows I used to... Use Windows Messenger to chat
The Mac's built-in IM client, iChat, uses a different system to Windows Messenger the AIM protocol. If your friends use that too, you can simply launch iChat and chat away. Alternatively, you can download Microsoft Messenger for the Mac from Microsoft's site it's also installed by default with the Mac version of Office.Or you could use the excellent, free multi-protocol IM client Adium to chat to folks regardless of whether they're using AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Jabber or many others.
On Windows I used to... Use Device Manager
Go to the Apple menu, select About this Mac, then click the More Info button. This launches the System Profiler app from your Utilities folder.
On Windows I used to... Add or Remove Programs
There's no unified way to uninstall apps on a Mac, unfortunately. (Most can simply be dragged to the Trash Can - Swordmaker) You could try third-party software such as AppZapper
but the most reliable method is to check the support options for each application.
First published in Switch to Mac, by MacFormat
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ping to self.
Mac to PC switchers Ping!
Mac to PC switchers? Are there any such people?
I’ve been told they exist...
Sworwdmaker, I’d like to say a belated Merry Christ Mass to you. Hope you’re doing well...
And, of course, there is always this possibility: http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora
No Macs under the tree, but we bought two this last year to add to our 24” iMac. It’s great to have a better alternative to Windows!
I find the interface much cleaner and better suited to doing work. There’s a ton of software, and even the iMacs are darned snappy these days!
“And, of course, there is always this possibility: http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora"
As a software developer, and Linux fan, I can honestly say that Fedora’s a better deal if your time is worth $0/hr, and you don’t need most commercial software.
Happy New Year! ;-)
Merry Christmas Swordmaker,
Mrs. GRRRRR is the surprisingly happy recipient of a 13” MacBook. She’s been playing with it more and more, since 4 am today doing the email address book update and surfing.
SO much lighter than the 17” widescreen HP laptop, she’s taking it into the kitchen for recipe use as well.
THE ONLY thing with this model, it doesn’t have the backlit keyboard on the 2.0gighz model...you have to get the 2.4ghz version to get the backlit keyboard...that upset me !!
I’m working still, to get her MB to access the iPhoto library stored on one of my iMac external disks..the security is so tight on my iMac I can’t seem to lower the shields so she can share pics as READ ONLY.
Printer sharing is UP and running!
Thanks for all you do for we Mac Users.
Now, would someone be so kind to do something equivalent to show the difference between Windows XP and Windows Vista?
I am getting a new computer with Vista, and I am anxious about it. I know XP backwards and forwards and I will feel lost using Vista.
With the exception of external storage devices, you don't need to ‘safely remove hardware’ on a Mac. With external disks, just make sure you eject them as for CDs and DVDs, except you don't use the eject key on the keyboard before you unplug them."
I have a Canon A ??? and a Nikon D 80. The Canon has a way to eject but I don't know where the eject is for the Nikon and I always get the”THIS DEVICE WAS SHUT DOWN IMPROPERLY yada yada yada”. Give me a clue...
Bump for reference.
I have used Windows since Windows 2.0 in 1991 or so, and EVERY major change has brought some concern and confusion, but eventually I got used to it. 2.0 => 3.1, 3.11 => 95 =>98, NT4 => 2000 => XP....
I consider the Win2000 interface to be the best (matter of opinion), so the first thing I do with a new XP system is get rid of the Fisher-Price loopy stuff and make it look like 2000 classic. I can use it -- it's familiar.
My Vista machine allows me to do the same thing -- it looks like 2000 with slightly different icons. I can use it -- it's familiar.
But put me in front of a stock Vista interface and I lose my mind.
I suspect you'll find Vista initially off-putting, until you find ways to beat the interface into familiar shape. Then all you have to get used to is the "Mother-May-I" so-called security stuff (UAC).
Vista was poorly executed. I have greater hopes for Win7 being more functional overall.
Unfortunately, Win7 (apparently) dropped the ability to revert the interface to older versions. This I consider a major problem, but that's just me.
But really, why would you? This was a behavior I had to get used to on the Mac, and now gladly accept. They take up few active system resources because they get paged out, so why quit them under normal circumstances? It just means they'll open faster the next time you need them.
Happy New Year! ;-)
(Actually, I use Ultimate Edition (Ubuntu) at home ...with a Vyatta router...rather than the Fedora distribution...but the blasted Ubuntu stuff is too PC to advertise here)
And Wine has worked pretty well for any Windows applications I have needed at home.
But I would NEVER advocate converting client boxes at work to Linux -- it would be FAR too much of a headache.
I’m not an expert on Macs, heck barely above novice but ..
To eject a flash drive or anything else I’ve plugged into my Mac, I right click on the device icon on the desktop. Select ‘eject’ and the
I’ve got a question...
In Win XP, I could hold the ‘CTRL’ key while highlighting a file and then another many files away. Every file between those 2 files would highlight.
I haven’t found an equivalent in OSX. Is there one?
The desktop icon tip in how i eject the Canon but there is no icon for the Nikon?
Now back to your XP question... You will have to ask someone with a brain, like the Tin Man or the Lion...
Yes. Click on the first file then hold [Shift] and click on the ending file of a list you want to be inclusive. All files between the two will also be highlighted.
Even slicker: hold down the [Command] key and click on files and select any, skipping any between [Command] clicked files. Much more useful.
thank you Swordmaker, and a belated Merry Christmas to you!
As typed on my MacBook Pro 2.4, 160 gig.
And happy Christmas recipient of an iPod Touch 32g.
Well, first of all, what’s this “Windows” you keep talking about? ;’)
Was Santa good to you?
But for some people phone tech support is a large part of their social life.
ping for later
Hey, Swordmaker! Belated Merry Christmas!
Since we last talked, I got my Macbook Pro, @ the week before Thanksgiving. Thanks for all your help! Couldn’t be happier—unless I had more time to spend playing with it! The worst problem I’ve had is trying to scroll down at work by dragging two fingers across my desk—couldn’t figure out why the page wasn’t doing anything—until I remembered I wasn’t on my Mac at home. LOL
Isn't that the mythological character that comes around in his sleigh at Easter?
The Christmas Bunny was very good to me. I found lots of eggs under my tree...
Try this...click on 'Finder', and look for it in the left column. Then highlight, right click....,
I must be brain dead because I swear I tried the 'Shift' key before. After I posted I found it, thanks.
I've been using the 'Command' trick but when I'm moving 30+ pictures it's a pain. Plus if you happen to double click on a pic you lose all the highlights and have to start over.
Last night I xferred some pics from my camera to the MacBook Pro and showed them to my SiL. They were really nice.
He loaded them onto his Dell laptop and the difference was apparent. They weren't nearly as clear, sharp, colorful.
He noted it.
One other point, the iPhoto editor is terrific, better than any commonly used editor IMHO .
With one glaring exception. No way to reduce the pic size to my liking. I can e-mail a reduced pic to myself. (No control over size, just 3-4 choices).
I just opened and set up my new 20 Inch iMac less than an hour ago. The keyboard is strange, the mouse is stranger, so far I have managed to convince it I live in Tokyo and not Cupertino. That’s all I can report at this time.
Click on the black Apple logo in the upper left corner and select System Preferences. in the second row, select Keyboard and Mouse. Select the Mouse tab and check out the settings. If you are not getting a Right Button, you can turn it on here. You also might want to tweak the tracking, scrolling, and double click speeds while your there.
I got that taken care of and have set my clock. I downloaded Firefox but it still doesn’t seem as friendly as the Windows version.... not yet anyhow.
But the weather application in the dashboard still insists on giving me Cupertino weather and when I try to click on it it just goes to the application home page but I can’t figure how to reset it to Tokyo.
Oh well.... I’ll get it figured out sooner or later.