Many artists and writers I know use Macs instead of Windows and have for their whole careers. I have always used Macs personally and for my consulting work, though I work on Windows almost daily for my clients, because Windows has the vast majority of the market share in home and business computers.
But over the last few years, Apple’s market share has been increasing, because more and more people have been moving from Windows to Macs. The move might be because of the all the Apple peripherals available, such as iPods and iPhones, or the near total lack of malware – trojans, viruses, etc. – that are common problems on Windows.
What if you use Windows and want to move to a Mac? The icons and folders and other “Desktop” aspects of a Mac will be familiar to Windows users. But the big question for many might be the difficulty in moving programs and files. How hard is it? Not very.
Photos and images – such as jpg and gif images – are a universal format and will transfer perfectly. Music and movies are easy, too: mp3 and aif files will move right into iTunes, Apple’s Quicktime movie player can play many formats of movie files, including wmv (Windows Media Player) files with a free component called Flip4Mac.
Email is slightly more complicated. If you use Web-based email, there’s no problem, as your email isn’t stored on your PC or Mac. If you use Outlook on Windows, there are different ways of bringing your email over to a Mac.
You can move your files from your account on your Windows PC with a USB drive, a CD or a direct network connection. BBelkin makes a special Move to a Mac cable, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
What about programs? Thousands of Windows programs and the major suites – like Microsoft Office and Adobe products – have Mac equivalents. That means that Photoshop files from Windows will easily move to Mac Photoshop, as will Word documents and Excel spreadsheets to Office for the Mac. Quicken, Quickbooks, Filemaker, too, all have Mac versions.
What about hardware like printers and scanners and cameras? OS X supports thousands devices, and while you can check the manufacturers website for OS X drivers, many printers and cameras work by just plugging them in.
If you have an old Windows program that has no Mac equivalent and you need to continue to use it, look into running Windows on your Mac by using virtualization software. To run Windows on a Mac, you’ll need the software – called VMWare, Parallels, Crossover or VirtualBox – and a licensed copy of Windows. Read more at an older article of mine: With OS X it’s possible to run Windows on a Mac.
If you’re thinking of switching, check Apple’s support Web site for everything you need to know to move from WIndows to a Mac.
And there’s a video at AllThingsDigital showing the most immediate differences you’ll find when moving to a Mac: Opening a Window on the Mac – The Mossberg Solution at AllThingsD. And David Pogue of The New York Times has a book out in The Missing Manual Series called: Amazon.com: Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition.