Making the Switch from Windows to a Mac - dummies

Making the Switch from Windows to a Mac

By Edward C. Baig

Okay, so you’re ready to defect and become a Mac user. But frankly, you’ve invested time and energy over the years in getting your Windows files and preferences just as you like them. The information you find here describes ways to replicate your Windows environment (within certain limits) on a new Mac.

Help from Apple

When you buy a new Mac at the Apple Store, and opt for the $99 One to One service, you can get a certified Mac technician, not so modestly known as a Genius, to transfer all your data.

Of course, you may be better off doing it yourself via the Migration Assistant by following the instructions found here.

Burning a disc

Because your Mac can read CDs or DVDs formatted for Windows (assuming that the machine has a built-in or connected optical drive), you can burn your important files to a disc and copy them to your Mac. You may not have to burn all your files to a disc, but a good place to start is the My Documents (XP) or Documents (Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10) folder on the Windows machine. This folder may very well include photos and videos.

External hard drives

You can exchange files on external USB or FireWire-based hard drives and USB thumb drives.

You can even use an iPod as an external drive by setting it up for disk use. Temporarily dump songs off the iPod to create more room (and add the music back later). Visit Apple Support for a detailed explanation.

Not all Windows PCs recognize external hard drives that have been formatted for a Mac.

Using an existing network

Another way to get files from Windows to a Mac is to use a network. Make sure that file sharing is turned on in Windows. Head to the HomeGroup (inside Control Panel) on an older Windows PC or Networking and Sharing Center on a Windows 10 machine.

Add your Mac to your wired or wireless network (if it’s not already part of it), and exchange files.

The KVM switch

If you just bought a Mac mini but are holding on to your Windows computer for a while, consider a KVM (keyboard–video–mouse) switch. This device uses USB to let the two machines share the monitor and various peripherals. You can get a two-port Belkin KVM switch with all the necessary cables priced between $20 and $30.