You needn’t worry, however. Apple has listened to its customers and addressed their concerns. Switching from a PC to a Mac is not a leap in the dark; it’s a smooth transition to a responsive and powerful computer.
A Mac is simple to use because Apple has designed its applications to work in a similar way. Once you become familiar with the Mac OS X operating system, everything falls into place.
Moving your files
Perhaps the most crucial aspect of changing to any new computer is the migration of your files from one to the other. These files might include documents, music, and photos, but it doesn’t really matter what they are: your Mac will automatically recognize almost all of them.
You have a number of ways to transfer your files. You can
copy everything on your PC to a USB or FireWire hard drive, connect the hard drive to the Mac, and download
use your local network to transfer the files
burn the files to a CD or DVD on the PC, place this in your Mac and download
send the files to your Mac via your email account
When you’ve organized everything on Mac’s hard drive, you can install Windows (see below) and use your files as you would on your PC. If you don’t want to load Windows, you’ll need Mac versions of the appropriate software such as Microsoft Office (see below).
Having decided to make the move from PC to Mac, you may feel more comfortable if you still have Windows to hand. Fortunately, you’re able to load Windows XP Home Edition or Professional (with at least Service Pack 2), or any version of Windows Vista, using Boot Camp. This is a piece of software that comes as standard with every new Mac. (Please note that you cannot load any Windows software other than those given here.)
Once Windows is on your Mac, use it as though you’re operating a PC. If you want the flexibility of having Windows and Mac OS X available at the same time without restarting the computer, install either Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion.
If you’re part of a Windows network in an office or at home and everyone else is using a PC, you can still switch to a Mac without upsetting anything. With a Mac, there’s nothing to prevent you sharing files across the network, surfing the Internet, or sending and receiving email.
If you want to continue using Microsoft Office 2008, simply install the Mac version. It has all the features of the Windows equivalent including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can also work on Office documents that originated on a PC, and transfer your Mac-created Office work to a PC.
You don’t have to buy new peripherals when you change from a PC to a Mac. Your Mac has pre-loaded drivers for hundreds of devices, which means that it recognizes the vast majority of peripherals such as printers, hard drives, joysticks, and cameras. Just install your device using the USB, FireWire, Bluetooth or audio connections and you’re up and running. If you’d rather, you can also continue to use your PC keyboard and mouse with your Mac.
You can use your existing email service and email address on your Mac without any problem at all. Put your email account details into Mac’s Mail application and that’s it: you’ve successfully switched over. You can also access any web-based email with your Mac’s Safari web browser.
You may, of course, have a stock of email folders that go back for some time. Switching from a PC to a Mac is a good opportunity to do some email housekeeping, but this doesn’t mean you have to lose any of your archived messages. Instead, if you have a fairly small amount of email, you can forward it to your Mac. If you have a larger quantity of mail on your PC and have a number of accounts, you can transfer everything by using your ISP (Internet service provider) and IMAP (Internet message access protocol).
If you’re used to instant messaging on your PC, you’ll be delighted with your Mac. It has a built-in feature called iChat for text messaging and video calls.
Macs are wireless and compatible with most routers. The available wireless networks in your area automatically register on your screen. You needn’t lose any of the wireless features of your PC, and by choosing a Mac you may, in fact, discover you’ve upgraded your Wi-Fi capability.
Your Mac has the fastest web browser around: Safari. If you prefer, you can use Mac versions of other browsers, but the speed and easy-to-use features of Safari will soon have you hooked.
Software and games
You won’t lose out on a choice of software and games when you switch to a Mac. Virtually everything has a Mac version, plus you’ll benefit from specific Mac items such as iWorks.
When you switch to a Mac, you’ll want to know your data is secure. The good news is that Macs have built-in security with regular free updates. Apple also constructs each Mac with its own hardware and software. The result is a computer that resists viruses and spyware far better than the average PC.