How to switch from Windows to Mac as smoothly as possible

“Are you planning to make the switch from a Windows PC to Mac over the holidays?” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet. “Not sure what you need to do?”

“I suggest making yourself familiar with OS X and whatever Mac you have in mind before making the switch,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “If you have an Apple Store nearby then the easiest way to do this is to go there and play with the systems and ask the Geniuses any questions you might have. Don’t be shy, they’ve heard all the questions before and there’s no such thing as a dumb question.”

“If you’re planning on moving your data across from your PC to the Mac then you need to familiarize yourself with the migration tools. Apple has comprehensive documentation on how to do this. I suggest you read this – and print it out if possible – before you begin to move your data. Pay careful attention to what and what isn’t moved,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “Alternatively, you can get an Apple Retail Store to do it for you.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good advice. Rely on your nearest Apple Retail Store if possible. If not, don’t stress out over it as almost everyone who makes the switch – it’s a dramatic upgrade, really – ends up much happier as a Mac user, whether they used an Apple Retail Store or not.

Plus, you can always “cheat” by virtualizing Windows for awhile via Parallels Desktop for Mac while you acclimate yourself to the Mac and see how awesome personal computing can be with best-in-class hardware, the world’s most advanced operating system, and stellar native apps!



  1. I switched in 2009 and haven’t looked back. I hadn’t digitized my CDs yet so I spent a week ripping my entire collection into iTunes.

    So much of what we do is web-based now that it’s really not necessary to migrate everything to a new computer. Depending on how much you have an how big your new HD is, it likely won’t even fit. This is a great occasion to start fresh and not clutter up your new Mac with old files which you can leave on an external HD.

    OSX restored my faith in computing. It made interacting with my computer a fun and enjoyable experience. I can’t fathom returning to Windows.

  2. Don’t forget to budget about $20 for a sledgehammer, a trash bag and a drip to the recycle center. After you get up the slope on OS X you’re going to want to smash the Windoze machine to little bits. As a developer, I’ve got to support Windoze as well as Mac. When I’m all done, it will be one of my great joys destroying all trace of Windows in my life.

  3. The single feature I missed from Windows was the snap-to feature introduced in Windows 7. Over the years I’ve changed which third-party app I use that supports it, as some of them stopped making updates. Right now I’m using an app called BetterTouchTool. I love snapping a window to the top and having it maximize, or snapping to the the sides to work with side by side, or just up in a corner if I want to work with a smaller window. That’s literally the only thing I missed, and still do, but at least I can do it on Mac too.

    1. Just goes to prove the “different strokes for different folks” maxim. That feature drives me nuts when I’m on Windows. Every time a windows maximizes because of a drag, I find myself exploring my rich Anglo-Saxon vocabulary.

  4. If you don’t have an Apple Store nearby, you can go to Best Buy. They added an Apple section a few years ago. They might not get the latest Apple Stuff as soon as an Apple Store, but it’s pretty good for a reseller. Besides, it’s only 10 minutes away while the Apple Store is an hour away. I prefer the Apple Store, but it’s an hour away. Besides, with Best Buy, you get Rewards points for every dollar you spend.

    1. There is nothing a Best Buy store can do for you other than selling you a Mac and sending you on your merry way. You can bring your old Windows computer and a new Mac (which needn’t have been bought at an Apple Store) to the Genius Bar and they will help you migrate the files. This is why the article. (And MDN) recommends the Apple Store.

  5. I recently had some issues upgrading to El Capitan. I made my I appointment to the Genius Bar trusting in someone certified by Apple being able to help me sort the problems out. No such luck. I wasted more than a couple of hours only to be informed that no Genius Bar attendant is qualified to sort software issues as far as the Mac goes. The guy that helped me was completely intimidated by the Terminal application. I will say this on his defense, he made a phone call reservation for me to have a more qualified person call me that evening. Long story short, I had already fixed the problem by the time the person called me. At the very least I got confirmation that what I had done was the proper way to sort the issue at had. Now I realized that someone at my level has little to gain from the Genius Bar at the local Apple store. Almost all the answers are already a browser search away.

    1. Hmmm, yes, the genius bar people are not your 150,000 $ tech people… But you can glean some great info from then.

      I had researched several problems that I was having and when I got in the of the Apple store talked to one of their front end people. “Hey, did you know about this feature….” and that tip made shore work of a major problem. We can’t know everything.

  6. 1) Install second drive (if only Apple allowed more Macs to do this easily). If you can’t, you have to suffer using Apple’s crappy new disc utility to partition your one disc drive.

    2) Install Boot Camp if you don’t have it already.

    3) Install Windows 7 on new drive or partition

    4) work and play

    If the above doesn’t work for you, then indeed Crossover, Parallels, and so forth are all available to allow you to run your critical Windows software on a Mac.

    It’s embarrassing that this many years after the Intel transition, Apple hasn’t put more effort into bringing developers over to the Mac platform — or funding new development partners to create new professional quality programs for the Mac. The vast majority of the world still runs Windows software because they have to, not because they want to. The market is there for Apple to serve, with immense profit potential. Cook needs to stop taking it easy skimming profits with his iOS app store and start doing some real development work.

  7. After migrating two thirds of our community centre’s public-access IT suite to Mac earlier this year and I intend on fully transitioning the whole system to Macs by the middle of next year.

    I recently moved the two office computers over to a couple of 27″ iMacs. Migration Assistant made everything a breeze: the only sticking points were MS Publisher and the office payroll. The former was addressed by deploying Swift Publisher 4 and Printworks, and once the annual license on IRIS payroll expires the middle of next year, we’ll switch to Sage One.

    Unfortunately, I still can’t fully wean them off MS: I can probably get them to slowly move to Pages but the accounts still need Excel. Still, the overall impression from the office staff has been incredibly positive, so much so that the nursery that is an adjunct to the centre has been eyeing the Macs enviously and demanding Macs for themselves.

    I see another fundraising project in the works…


    1. Word and Excel are miles ahead of Pages and Numbers, and it looks like they always will be. Accept it and move on. Thankfully MS allows Mac users to buy or to rent Mac-native Office.

      The amateur office software that Apple offers just doesn’t have the features that any self-respecting business needs. It’s an embarrassment to Apple’s software ability, in my opinion.

      1. It’s true that Word and Excel have many more features than Pages and Numbers, but most casual users who are not trained to use M$ products find them clumsy and overbearing. Why not simplify and get the job done quickly and leave the training videos behind?

        1. Apple has truly lost its mojo if it can’t offer the same or better functionality as the competitors while still being intuitive to understand. Remember, Excel was written for the Mac before it was offered for Windows.

          This is coming from a user who hates the MS ribbon with a passion. But given the choice of office suites, Apple has for many years now given inadequate attention to its software. I can, and do, happily pay for well written, productive software. Apple instead wants everyone to try its decimated freebie ware, just hope that people get hooked into saving all their personal documents on iCloud, and get the subscriptions rolling.

          It doesn’t work for me. iCloud is so hobbling that it makes the new iWork inefficient at best. This last major round of updates turned me off completely. I was so hoping that iWork ’09 would just get the updates that everyone asked of Apple for years. Instead desktop productivity has been killed at the altar of iCloud. What Apple doesn’t understand is that casual users don’t need cloud computing. Nobody does spreadsheets on iPhones. Much of the data developed in a spreadsheet is proprietary and people like to keep that in a secure manner, not blasted around to every mobile device they own. Many people need a solid spreadsheet and word documenting program, and Apple delivers neither, at any price.

          You’d think that with all the money Apple has, it could continue to refine its programs over time. It could offer Basic and Pro versions even. Instead Apple killed Aperture and iPhoto and replaced them both with inferior Quasimodo-ware.

          That is why I fear for the future of the Mac. If Apple keeps dumbing down the software functionality and hiding things under ugly interfaces, then people will stop switching to Macs altogether.

          I don’t know of a single business I’ve worked in in over a decade that has successfully been able to rid itself of Windows Machines. Invariably, there is always something important that the Mac can’t do, or those few critical Windows programs that never made it to the Mac platform. Cook seems completely oblivious to this glaring issue.

  8. Oh, if only it was as simple to switch back. Now that Apple has abandoned Aperture, my key piece of software, I see no real reason to stay on the Apple platform. All Aperture’s replacements work better on PC’s and while they aren’t necessarily elegant, I can live with MS Office applications. But having solely used OS X, iOS, ATV etc from as far back as 2001, much of my data is locked up in Apple-only software. To get data back out is usually tedious and only partially successful, or in some cases impossible. Once locked into the Apple ecosystem it’s very difficult to get back out.

    And please don’t label me a troll, I’m anything but. However, when Apple dumped the word Computer from its name, it signaled a slide away from computing leadership and an apparently inexorable slide toward consumer electronics. That is fine by me and it’s keeping many people happy and making Apple a mint, which is good too. However Apple has abandoned high end computing and high end professional software and some of us need to move on. Just how to extricate oneself from the Apple ecosystem is the tricky bit.

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