Transferring Windows PC files to your new Apple Macintosh

“With the holidays fast approaching, plenty of shoppers are heading toward their local Apple stores with plans to buy a new home computer. Amid all this excitement, it’s worth taking time to consider how to transfer content from the old Windows PC to a shiny new Mac,” Katherine Boehret reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“If you buy a new Mac from the Apple store, staffers there (‘Geniuses,’ as they call themselves) will transfer your files over to the new machine free. This process takes place in the store, though Apple says it generally isn’t a “while you wait” task. If you buy a Mac elsewhere, such as online or at Best Buy, Apple stores charge $50 for this transfer,” Boehret reports.

“This week, I tried yet another method, copying data from a Windows machine over to a new MacBook using a special transfer cable from Belkin International Inc. The aptly named Switch-to-Mac Cable plugs into USB ports on two computers. It came out a month ago and is available for $50 at places like Best Buy and Apple stores,” Boehret reports.

“If you’re moving away from a Windows PC, Belkin’s Switch-to-Mac Cable is one tool that can make this transition easier,” Boehret reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: An additional tool (US$10) that we’ve found is useful for some switchers is O2M from Little Machines which transfers Windows Outlook email, contacts, and calendar appointments from that old PC to your shiny new Mac. More info here.


  1. I can recommend O2M. I used it on the last PC to Mac switch I worked on and it worked great. I originally did the Outlook to Thunderbird to but certain mailboxes refused to import correctly. O2M did everything quickly and accurately and the $10 was a good price. Thumbs up!

  2. Or just use a network cable and transfer files both ways using the Mac’s built in Samba software.

    from Apple:

    Direct connect

    To move files by connecting your Mac directly to your PC:

    1. Connect your Mac to your PC using a standard Ethernet cable.
    2. Make sure that both computers are turned on.
    3. In the Finder on your Mac, choose Connect to Server from the Go menu to open the window.
    4. Type your PC’s network address in the Server Address text box using one of these formats:
    * smb://DNSname/ShareName
    * smb://IPaddress/ShareName
    5. Click Connect.
    6. Follow the onscreen instructions to enter your PC’s workgroup name, user name, password, and the volume or folder you wish to access.
    7. Your PC volume should appear on your Mac Desktop.
    8. Open the volume and drag and drop files directly from it to anywhere on your Mac.
    9. When finished, drag your PC volume to the Trash to unmount it.

  3. And if that PC is a standard Windows XP, in all likelyhood, C: drive will already be shared and you’ll see it when you go to ‘My Network’ on you Mac. It should be easy to recognise, as the icon looks like an old CRT monitor with a blue screen on death displayed on it (very cheeky from the Mac OS X development team…)

  4. I used Detto Technologies’ Move2Mac cable and software when I switched in 2007. I highly recommend it. It moved everything from the PC to its proper place on the iMac and automated the process, which would have taken much longer if done manually.

    The only hitch is you can use the Move2Mac cable just one time. If you have more than one PC to transfer, the Belkin Switch-to-Mac Cable may be a better buy, assuming it can be used more than once.

  5. One way to transfer Email, Contacts and Calendars is to get a trial MobileMe account. Sync PC to MobileMe, do your data cleanup, switch off PC sync and sync to Mac. Then either keep MobileMe or close the trial.

    I found this specially nice cos it meant I could use MobileMe to do the data cleanup in an intermediate place ready for the Mac.

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