Your first day with a new Mac: the get-started guide for Windows users

Update: some keyboard characters corrected:

Just got a new Mac for Christmas and feeling a little bewildered?

Fear not - Switch to Mac, brought to you by our colleagues over on MacFormat magazine, shows new Mac users how to move comfortably from the familiarity of Windows.

Below are 20 common tasks that PC owners perform without thinking about, and their equivalents on a Mac - just as easy!

On Windows I used to... Do a right-click

There's a myth that Macs can't right-click. Nonsense! Since before the days of Mac OS X, Macs have had the ability to use two-button mice to bring up the kind of contextual menu you're used to in Windows, and you can happily plug a two-button scrollwheel mouse into a Mac and start using it without installing any drivers. Even without that add-on mouse, it's easy to do a right-click. If you have an iMac that comes with Apple's Mighty Mouse, or add a Mighty Mouse to any other Mac, you can simply use your middle finger to click to the right of the scrollwheel. Check that side is configured for Secondary Click in the Keyboard & Mouse pane of System Preferences. The same pane configures how you right-click on notebooks, and if you have an old Mac that really only does have one button, simply hold down the Control key and do a normal click.

On Windows I used to... Use [control] for keyboard shortcuts

The Command key replaces the [control] key as the main modifier for keyboard shortcuts. [control]+[C] becomes Command+[C], and so on. Hold down Alt and type a number to get special characters. You can either use the Character Palette – enable it from the Input Menu tab of the International pane of System Preferences – or learn the easy-to-remember shortcuts. For accents, type the shortcut for the accent then the letter you want to be accented.

For example, á is Alt+[E], à is Alt +['], â is Alt +[I], ä is Alt +[U], ã is Alt +[N], and ß is Alt +[S].

On Windows I used to... Configure my PC with Control Panel

System Preferences –accessible from the Apple menu at the top left of your Mac's screen –does the same thing.

On Windows I used to... Use the Start menu

There's no direct equivalent to the Start menu when you're on a Mac. You'll find everything you're used to finding there in one of a few places. The Dock, at the bottom of your screen, holds your favourite applications, and most other stuff. Recent documents, applications and servers, system preferences, log off and shut down options are all to be found in the Apple menu. Printers and faxes are in System Preferences. And the Help and Support equivalents are in the Help menu – always the last menu in the menu bar at the top of the screen.

On Windows I used to... Defrag my hard disk

Usually, you don't have to do this on a Mac. See for more information.

On Windows I used to... Use [control]+[alt]+[delete] to quit unresponsive programs

Command+Alt+[Esc] calls up the Force Quit window, which lets you pick an application to force to shut down. Those that your Mac knows are misbehaving are usually highlighted in red.

On Windows I used to... Use [control]+[alt]+[delete] to check processes and system resources

The Activity Monitor, found in Applications > Utilities, provides an overview of what resources are being used on your system, and gives you more granular information about which processes are doing what. If you know what you're doing, you can use standard Unix commands in Terminal (Applications > Utilities) to kill specific processes using their PID.