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

On Windows I used to... Tap [backspace]/[delete]

Full-sized Mac keyboards have [backspace] and [delete] keys in the places you'd expect them. On laptops, or when using the Apple Wireless Keyboard, you can do a forward-delete by holding the [fn] Function key and tapping [backspace].

On Windows I used to... Move files to the Recycle Bin

Move files to the Trash in your Dock, or tap Command+[delete].

On Windows I used to... Make shortcuts

On a Mac, shortcuts are called Aliases. You can create them simply by right-clicking on a file. You'll see the little black Alias arrow appear at your cursor, and you can now drop the Alias wherever you like.

On Windows I used to... Find stuff in Windows Explorer

Instead, use the Finder to navigate through your files and folders.

On Windows I used to... Use Properties to find out about a file

You can get bucketloads of information about a file by selecting it and either right-clicking or going to the File menu and choosing Get Info.

On Windows I used to... Rename files by clicking Rename this file in the File Tasks menu

You rename files in Mac OS X either by selecting a file then tapping [Enter], or by selecting it, pausing, then clicking on the filename. (Do the two clicks too close together, though, and the Mac will think you meant to double-click and open the file!)

On Windows I used to... Set default applications to open certain types of files

Annoyingly, there's no equivalent to Windows' Set Program Access and Defaults on the Mac. You define the default web browser and email client, confusingly, from within the preferences of the Mac's standard apps –Safari and Mail – and use the Get Info window to change default applications for other files. Select a PDF, say, right-click and pick Get Info. Then from the Open with menu, pick which application you want to use to open it, then click Change All to ensure all PDFs open with the application you defined.

On Windows I used to... Eject CDs and DVDs

Macs don't have eject buttons on their slot-loading or concealed optical disc drives. You eject CDs and DVDs either by tapping the eject key at the top right of your keyboard, by dragging them to the Trash in your Dock, or by clicking the eject button next to them in a Finder window's Sidebar.

On Windows I used to... Safely remove hardware

With the exception of external storage devices, you don't need to 'safely remove hardware' on a Mac. With external disks, just make sure you eject them – as for CDs and DVDs, except you don't use the eject key on the keyboard –before you unplug them.

On Windows I used to... Switch between running applications

[Alt]+[Tab] cycles through open apps under Windows; Command+[Tab] does the same thing on a Mac, even giving you the opportunity to hide and quit apps by tabbing over them then tapping [H] and [Q] respectively while keeping the Command key held down.

Have applications close automatically when I closed the last window

Applications on a Mac stay running even if they have no windows open. You have to quit each one manually from the application menu, or simply tap Command+[Q].

On Windows I used to... Use Windows Messenger to chat

The Mac's built-in IM client, iChat, uses a different system to Windows Messenger – the AIM protocol. If your friends use that too, you can simply launch iChat and chat away. Alternatively, you can download Microsoft Messenger for the Mac from Microsoft's site – it's also installed by default with the Mac version of Office.Or you could use the excellent, free multi-protocol IM client Adium to chat to folks regardless of whether they're using AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Jabber or many others.

On Windows I used to... Use Device Manager

Go to the Apple menu, select About this Mac, then click the More Info button. This launches the System Profiler app from your Utilities folder.

On Windows I used to... Add or Remove Programs

There's no unified way to uninstall apps on a Mac, unfortunately. You could try third-party software such as AppZapper but the most reliable method is to check the support options for each application.


First published in Switch to Mac, by MacFormat

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