Switching to a Mac For Dummies
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Before you can use your Mac, you obviously have to start it up. And, of course, it's important to know the correct way to shut it down.

Starting up your Mac

Here’s the simple way to start up your Mac desktop computer — the way you’ll probably do it 99 percent of the time: Press the power button. Newer Macbook laptops start up automatically when you open their lids.

Depending on the type of Mac you have, the power button might be in back (Mac Mini and some iMacs), front (Mac Pro and some iMacs), or above the keyboard (on laptop models like the MacBook and MacBook Pro).

As soon as you press the power button, your Mac plays a musical chime to let you know that it’s starting up. Your computer displays a big gray Apple logo on the screen to let you know that the computer is working.

When you unpack your Mac and turn it on for the very first time, it will ask that you type your name and make up a password to create an account for using your Mac.

To guide you through the process of setting up a Mac for the first time, a special program called the Setup Assistant runs, and it asks for information, such as the current time zone, the current date, and whether you want to transfer files and programs from another Mac to your newer one. You also have to go through this procedure if you reinstall your operating system. Normally, you need to run through this initial procedure only once. The most important part of this initial procedure is remembering the password you chose because you’ll need this password to log into your account or install new software.

After the operating system loads, you can start using your computer to run other programs so you can write a letter, browse the internet, balance your checkbook, or play a game.

How to shut down your Mac

You can shut down your Mac if you won’t be using it for a while, or even perform a forced shutdown, which forces all running programs to shut down immediately. You have three ways to shut down your Mac:
  • Choose the Apple key→Shut Down. A dialog box appears, asking whether you’re sure you want to shut down. Click Cancel or Shut Down. (If you don’t click either option, your Mac will shut down automatically after a few minutes.)

  • Press Control+Eject (or press the power button). When a dialog box appears, click the Shut Down button.

  • Press and hold the power button to force your Mac to shut down. You can also force shutdown your Mac by pressing the Control+Option+Command+Eject keystroke combination.

Generally, a force shutdown is handy if your entire Mac suddenly freezes or hangs, making it unresponsive. If only a single program is freezing or acting flaky, you’re usually better off to force quit that single program instead of shutting down your entire computer. Avoid using a force shutdown if at all possible.

If you do nothing when you see the dialog box that asks, “Are you sure you want to shut down your computer now?” the machine will turn itself off in two minutes. If you want to shut down immediately, click the Shut Down button. If you’ve changed your mind, click Cancel.

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