Windows users tell why they’re buying Apple Mac minis; it’s time for Mac users to step up and help

Over on Apple’s Support site and discussion is taking place on the recently added “Mac mini” board. In response to a post asking Windows PC users who have ordered a Mac mini what their reasons for doing so, a discussion is growing. Here’s a sample of selected responses:

Current setup: 1 laptop: win xp pro, 1 desktop win xp pro (just finished), 1 desktop win 98 (last two test machines). God willing a Mac Mini at about 9:01-9:20 tomorrow morning. I already have extra monitors (crt and flatpanel), keyboards, and mic. Had to buy a “y” cable for $9 at walmart.

1. Test/Develop machine
2. File server
3. Maybe file editing or web cruising
4. DVD stuff, ilife stuff … I dunno what this software can do outside of what is installed on my windows machine… we will see. If better than what is installed on my current windows machine, I will use the software… if not, see #2.

I am the original Windows fan. I am a small (read: very small) developer and always wanted to have a Mac line of products. In the past I could only afford a used Mac, not really good if you want to keep the machine for a year or more. With the intro of the mini I am able to buy a new machine, which has a 1 year warranty (2 years when purchased with my credit card) and I have a nice cheap Mac test machine with the latest Mac OS. For 499 or 599 you can’t beat that.

I have never owned a mac my life. I’m a windows software developer, I even used to work at Microsoft and I’m going to by a Mac Mini. Here are some of the reasons why.

-It’s cheap 575 bucks with 512RAM. I already have plenty of monitors, mice, keyboards. I also have a firewire/usb dvd burner and 300GB hard drive.
-My newest windows PC is almost 5 years old now. It was a top of the line $3,000 computer when I bought it so it has held up. It’s still fine for most what I do, but it’s boring.
-I’m a computer geek and I’m interested in software, OS and GUI design so I’d like to check out what Apple has done with their software.
-I’d like to check out Apples ILife suite for managing my digital photos, digital videos of my kid and DVD burning. I already use ITunes for music and I think it’s a great piece of software. There must be good software on the PC for doing these things, it’s just that I haven’t found it yet. Everything I’ve used is missing something or annoying in some way. I really want a true digital media hub with software that makes all that stuff easy and fun.

I had a Mac 128 a LONG time ago. As I could not justify the price, the Mini simply hit the sweet spot. But funny thing is, this Mini I ordered will replace my wife’s aging PC and I will get the hang of OS X at the same time. Plus I will see what we can develop for OS X. If everything goes well I will get a Mac for me as well.

My significant other is a graphic designer….she is such a MAC lover. I don’t fault her for that! wink

I myself am a total PC buff and work in a an industry dominated by Bill. I think Apple has come out with an impressive new markteing idea to bring us PC users out of the attic. I will never see Apple moving towards our industry in the near future, but I bought one because I needed a new toy to play with. This will probably replace my pc at home.

I am buying a Mac Mini as a third computer – and my first Mac. The main reason is that I am eager to try ilife. I also like the challenge of learning a new (and supposedly superior) OS. I bought a new keyboard, mouse and monitor for it and am going to keep the system on one side of my desk – the other is occupied by an older desktop PC.

I am really impressed by the community here. Despite the fact that I have never used a Mac before, I feel pretty confident that help will be easily available if/when I have issues.

I’ve decided to try a Mac for the following reasons:

1) Windows has got boring
2) Its a chance to learn something new
3) Panther looks amazing
4) Ever since a mate switched from the PC world and bought a Powerbook I found myself using his mac all the time.. I want one!
5) The Mini is cheap and cool!

Not in any order, all are #1:
1. OSX makes windows look out-dated….again
2. Wanted cheap apple computer
3. OSX much more secure than windows
4. Half the height of my 4G 20gb iPod
5. One word-iLife
6. Hypnotized by Jobs’ mini introduction
7. HDTV and composite tv video-out support
8. DVD player
9. Better iPod compatibility
10. OSX Tiger will be out soon

I currently own 4 Windows PC’s. My reasons are:

1) I’ve always wanted a Mac to see what it is like.
2) I’ve never got one because of the price.
3) I didn’t want to spend all that money on something I may not like.
4) I already have LCD screens and numerous Keyboards/Mice.
5) I love the cool factor of the Mac.
6) I want to try something other than Windows.
7) It is small enough to easily sell on Ebay if I hate it grin

I am not intending to replace my Windows PC’s. I have made too much of an investment in Windows to simply get rid of the Windows machines that I currently own.

However, my plan is that if I really like the Mac I shall upgrade to Mac instead of Windows in the future.

Can’t wait for it to arrive!

MacDailyNews Take: The thread continues here.

The onus is now on us Mac users to welcome Windows-only PC users and be as helpful as possible. If any Windows person with a new Mac has questions, you can email MacDailyNews with your questions and we’ll do our best to help! Email us here: . Obviously, the Support and Discussions sections of Apple’s website will be a valuable resource for new Mac users:

We encourage every Mac user to put their best foot forward and welcome new Mac users to the platform. We have a “Window” of opportunity here, thanks to Apple’s new Mac mini, to help grow the Mac platform. This is an important time to be a Mac user, let’s make the best of it and try to be as accepting and helpful as possible! The Mac mini’s low price, Mac OS X, and iLife are getting Windows users in the door and the community of Mac users can assure that they stay and make themselves at home.

To get Windows users who are new to the Mac started, this page shows Mac OS and Windows Keyboard Equivalents:

And this site, MacWindows, features “Tutorials for Macintosh-Windows Integration” here:

Please post additional links you think would be helpful to Windows users about to dive into Mac OS X in the reader feedback below.


  1. Greetings new switchers.
    I switched back in 2000 when I first studied graphic design. I am currently employed as a Production Mac operator working in a Mac Windows print/prepress/production environment. I mostly use Indesign CS during the day as well as MS Office for Mac 2003 -namely Excel to read my work schedules. At work I am on a Dual 1.8 G5 Mac with a Gig of RAM working off an Xserve.
    At home I have a PC running Windows XP Home with a 40GB HD and 512MB RAM with Adobe Suite Photoshop7 etc, I use Mozilla as my web browser of choice.

    To all new PC-Mac Switchers… Welcome to the light!

  2. Oh yeah.. check out Expose.. it’s kinda neat..

    But don’t feel pressure to pick up Tiger.. it’s not a patch or anything, like ahem.. MS..

    Mac users buy upgraded OSes because they want to.. I mean.. you can check out the Tiger preview and decide for yourself.. but by no means are you forced to get the newest version (129 usd)

  3. Winston Churchill-“Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.”
    Yup, like democracy, Macs ain’t perfect. You need to use Disk Utility to “repair permissions” regularly, especially after an install. Find out about booting into Open Firware and other startup tricks. Buy the program “Alias Menu”; it uses no screen space and gives quick access to everything. If you do an install of OS X, do a Custom install and unchek the foreign language junk. If you want to partition your drive while booted from the OS X CD, use the File menu to call up Disk Utility. You can install OS X on both partitions so you can boot from one to fix the other if you ever have a problem. Check out,, and Get “TinkerTool, Maintain, and PreferentialTreatment (all free). Don’t install any antivirus, antiadware, antispyware, etc.; you will never need any of these (so far, anyhow!). Install XCode 1.5 if you are a developer. If you don’t know unix, forget X11 and just look into roughly a dozen or so unix commands for fun with the Terminal. (Otherwise, go for it.) Buy Samsung RAM if you upgrade. Buy Adobe Photoshop on eBay. Don’t buy older Mac software–it likely won’t run under OS X. Don’t drool over Apple’s high-end apps like Final Cut Pro or Logic unless you are a specialist. You can print anything to a pdf from the Print menu. If you want to upgrade a mini, use a putty knife to open it. Get a 7200 rpm 60 GB 2.5” hard drive from Dell ($149) as the best upgrade after RAM for the mini. Have fun!

  4. So welcome, Windows brothers and sisters, over to the Macintosh side!

    The good news is that we are your friends and allies in helping you make the transition over to a very cool computer platform, and will work tirelessly to help you through the rough spots. Let’s all bury whatever hatchets that are still lying around and no more sniping.

    The less than good news is that we Mac users (and I bought one of the first Macs made in 1984) have been paying Apple top dollar for quality for the past 20 years. Heck, from 1984-85 I paid almost $5000 (maybe more) for the original 128k Macs and at least two hardware upgrades to the MacPlus.

    Soon, the OS X 10.4 Tiger upgrade will be available, which usually makes a lot of users upset because they will have ‘just upgraded’ to Panther. and Apple just doesn’t make backwards compatibility the way it used to. The more resources are devoted to backward compatibility the fewer can be allocated to making a better OS.
    Now, you won’t HAVE to upgrade to Tiger. for quite a while. But sooner or later you will have to if you want to run the latest version of Safari (just to use an example). So you will marvel at the VALUE of those OS upgrades and the elegant, smooth, software programs like iChat AV, iPhoto, and iMovie, etc.and how it will make your computer experience more rewarding and fun than ever before. But you get what you pay for, and there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, so a lot of us who are used to it, might not be so fast to rag on Apple when the tab comes due.
    I’m getting ready to hear ” I JUST paid $500 to Apple for the WHOLE computer NOW I have to pay $129 just so I can KEEP using my computer?” Well, no, the Mac Mini will still work just fine, as will all of the software you got included with it and most of the whizzy software you just bought or got from VersionTracker.

    But not ALL of it. When you spend $2500 for a new Mac G5 (that’s the liquid cooled starship you see for sale on the other pages), $129 doesn’t seem like so much. If you just scraped up $499 for the Mini the Tiger upgrade seems a bit steep. It isn’t of course. It’s an incredible value. Just look at GarageBand. It will blow your mind. But it will seem like you are paying another 25% to get the latest and greatest. Because it is 25% more.

    I noticed a lot of these comments here in the MDN story on your reasons for ‘switching’.

    “I have a nice cheap Mac test machine with the latest Mac OS. For 499 or 599 you can’t beat that.”

    “-It’s cheap 575 bucks with 512RAM.”

    “As I could not justify the price, the Mini simply hit the sweet spot.”

    “The Mini is cheap and cool!”

    ” Wanted cheap apple computer”

    ” I’ve always wanted a Mac to see what it is like.
    I’ve never got one because of the price”

    Apple offers VALUE, VALUE, VALUE. But rarely offers CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP. And other computer platforms are ‘less expensive’ only if you consider your time free.

    Cheap, cheap, cheap, does not buy you or make you the best, best, best. Few of us can afford to buy or be the best, best, best, in everything or even a FEW things.

    But in ONE area let’s be the BEST! Apple isn’t NEARLY as expensive as you think it is, or the way it used to be. And the small premium we pay we get back tenfold from the most useful and well thought out personal computer platform in the world. And have FUN doing it.

    Let’s be the Best!!

    David Vesey

  5. jbelkin,

    “you might want to warn some people that iDVD ’04 and perhaps even iDVD ’05 will NOT work with external DVD burners.”

    True in ’04, but Steve showed in his MW keynote that iDVD ’05 removes this limatation. Hooray!

  6. I’m betting that more than a few “early adopters” of the Mac mini are going to be I.T. types and current/former developers. Wherever you post, please remind these folks of the following:
    1) X-Code, Apple’s developer tools, ship on every Panther disc. they can also be downloaded for free at the Apple website.
    2) The X-11 client, not installed by default, ships on the disc and allows tons of open source goodies to be run on the Mac. Send the X11 folks to:
    3) Apple maintains a huge library of resources on the ADC (Apple Developer) site. BTW- basic membership is free.
    5) Tell them about MUGs (Macintosh Users Groups). A good place to start is at:
    6) New Mac owners get free trial membership in .Mac. This gives them access to online Mac training.
    7)Many University students and business people have to work with Microsoft Exchange Servers. Here is some great info from an expert.
    8) Microsoft offers a FREE Remote Desktop Client for Windows XP Pro/Windows 2000 so you can run your PC from your Mac.
    9) For those who try the Office:Mac Test Drive, Entourage will be the most different. Here is Microsoft’s list of support articles, etc.
    10) Be sure to tell them to enable tabs and block pop-ups on Safari and be nice to all the new switchers.

  7. Great commentary MDN.

    Now, more than ever, we need to be welcoming. And the self-loathing Apple people who bash Apple because Apple did something they disagree with, need to dial-it-down and remember that potential switchers are reading and more susceptible to FUD.

    Don’t get me wrong, we should still criticize Apple when need be. But some of the idle blather where people are complaining for complaining’s sake needs to end.

    But to finish on a positive note, this is great news for Apple, and we now more than ever need to support the cause. If it can’t happen now, I doubt it ever will.

    But Steve and the whole gang at Apple deserve enormous credit. This was 6 years in the making, and kudo to all of them.

  8. I remember back when I first switched to Macs in 1991 or so. One of the things that attracted me even then was the sense of community I saw among Mac users (of course the computer itself was the main reason tho ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> ) Now when i am explaining about Macs to windows users that is always something I mention. Mac Users just tend to want to help other Mac Users. It has been that way all along, even in the Hay Days. Let’s keep this valuable facet of the Mac experience alive and be as helpful as we can to new users. Good Job MDN.

  9. Killer secret Mac trick: Try starting to type out a word that you are not sure how to spell and then holding down the “option” key and hitting the “esc” key.

    (example: Just type “sphyg” (as the start of sphygmomanometer) then do the option esc thing.)

  10. Hallo Mac newbies, welcome !
    1. Take a look at MacJanitor or something and do cheque the HD permissions every week or so. It keeps the system fresh and fast.
    2. Buy double equal memory-strips if you are going for a bigger one than the Mac-Mini, double 512 for example makes the Mac much faster than two different memo-strips.

  11. My holdout wants to start his music collection (ripping his CDs) probably for an iPod in the future. And iChat too, though it won’t become really useful for us until Tiger gives us multi users.

    Switchers, may I recommend Pastor for encrypting your software keys, login/passwords, etc., and Little Snitch for asking your permission before your comp sends anything out online.

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