• Comments on AKB2000020: Mac Guide for Windows Users Wanting to Switch

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    Purchasing a Mac
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    • #2170664

      A big thank you to Nathan Parker on his really elaborated series of posts.

      For the last couple of years I was looking into switching (back) to a Mac…

      Over the years I have owned an Apple II, Apple IIC, Apple IIGS and did some publishing work on a Lisa.

      My work at a bank made me develop application for the first DOS IBM compatible PCs, so I had to switch at home as well.

      So, When Windows 10 was out and me using Windows 7, it was easy and the right time to switch to a Mac, or so I thought.

      At first I was looking for hardware support  (3 X 3TB HDDs, AIO Laser printer, streaming video, audio.. to a streamer…printing to a wi-fi printer…)

      ALL the storage devices needed NTFS read/write support. This could have been sorted by buying Paragon app.

      The second were applications. I checked one by one for similar functioning apps but failed to find some very important, to me, apps.

      As dual boot with Windows is not an option, I upgraded to a new Windows 10 laptop 🙁

      I will be looking the  years ahead (not many left:-) for new options to switch.


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      • #2170671

        Paragon NTFS for Mac comes free with Seagate external HDDs. I use it all the time.
        And you wouldn’t believe how well Parallels Desktop runs all versions of Windows on Macs. I do some really weird things with that setup – run diving scoring with Daktronics console and scoreboard (try USB to DB9 RS232 adapter to the console from a Win VM)

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        • #2170934

          And you wouldn’t believe how well Parallels Desktop runs all versions of Windows on Macs

          If I need Paralles for Windows what the point in buying a Mac ?

          • #2170961

            I just run Macs now for every-day use. But how could I support Windows Users on AskWoody without the Windows VMs of multiple versions of Windows (XP, Win7, Win8.1, Win10 1803, 1809, 1903, 1909 (Win10 changes as it progresses(?) ). Certainly don’t have room for that many PCs.

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            • #2325025

              While I am using Windows 10 Pro at home to access my office computer and also using Office 365.  I maintain it by using this site and searching for options for repairs and updates.

              OTOH it would be much easier for my wife to use another type of computer since she only needs it for viewing our accounts, paying bills, viewing videos.  I see where you have reviewed MACs.  We are looking for an option that not does require user maintenance.  Possibly a Chromebook (with sufficient Google updates), a Linux Computer, IPad or a MAC.  In your opinion, which of these would be the lowest maintenance/highest quality option?  Thanks.

            • #2325027

              In terms of low-maintenance, Chromebook or iPad is going to be your best option, Chromebook more like a traditional notebook and iPad more like a tablet, although iPads now can run a Smart Keyboard/Trackpad.

              For what it’s worth, I moved my mother from a Mac to an iPad years ago since all she does is online shopping, reading news, and watching videos, and she’s loved it and never looked back.

              Your wife would probably love an iPad.

              Nathan Parker

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    • #2170774

      If new Macs are too expensive for you, mention should be made of buying a used one. That was my path from Windows to Mac. I got a High Sierra imac for $350. Not the cutting edge, but it got me out of the Windows circus.

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    • #2170822

      Thanks to PK and Nathan for the very helpful work they are doing with the Mac KB thread.

      I would like to add to Nathan’s description of the Mac’s “Preview”, part of the core of Mac applications usually preinstalled, that is not just something for looking at images in the JPEG, PNG, etc. formats, or looking at a PDF file contents, but also has some pretty useful editing features for cropping images by “lassoing” them; for exporting, let’s say, a PNG file image to another file in the GIF format (*), that results in an image file considerably smaller without appreciable loss of resolution; to decrease the resolution in terms of pixels per horizontal and vertical line, etc. etc. I use it a lot and find it quite sufficient for many of my needs, such as making presentations illustrated with pictures pasted in from image files small enough to result, in turn, in a PPTx file sufficiently small to be emailed as an attachment to a message without it being stripped or even having the email blocked.

      (*) To get the full set of file formats to chose for the exported image, one needs to keep a finger pressing firmly on the “option” key when selecting the format. Only in this way one can get to see and choose GIF and other formats that, otherwise, do not get shown in the scroll up menu. (For some reason having to do with some arcane copyright issue, I think, neither Apple nor MS favor GIF and try to keep it out of sight as much as possible but, if one tries hard enough to find it, it is there.)

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

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    • #2171117

      I was surprised to see that WineBottler wasn’t mentioned (https://winebottler.kronenberg.org/). WineBottler is basically a compiled version of Wine that is designed to be newbie-friendly and easy to use, so you don’t have to compile Wine yourself.

      As of February 2020 it does not support macOS Catalina, but the developer is working on it.

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    • #2171152

      Thank you very much for this comprehensive guide.

      I am in a slow, unintentional migration away from WinX. I’m taking an ‘ecosystem’ approach to the migration. I figure I can go Apple, Android, or Linux. This guide makes it very clear how to go the Apple way.

      My wife has an iPhone 11, an iPad (2019), and an Android tablet. She (and I) are very accustomed word processing in Word – not New Word (2007 and newer), but Classic Word (2003). I’m curious what you might recommend to complete my wife’s migration away from WinX and associated hardware while maintaining our computing customs.

      Thanks again,


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    • #2171306

      This is excellent work.  I was perfectly satisfied with my Win 7 PC, but faced with the prospect of having to move to Win 10 and most likely a new PC as well, I decided a few months ago that a Mac made sense for me.  I’ve spent this time researching how to do this and that on a Mac and watched many, many youtube videos.  They can be a great source on how to set up and operate a Mac.  Last weekend I finally made the move and bought an iMac from the Apple Store.  These last few days have been stressful as I began using a Magic Mouse and Apple Key Board for the first time and looking up this and that.  PK Cano’s tutorial is a good rear view mirror look at what I have been trying to learn on my own.  So far, I really like the Mac and it’s been a great brain exercise.  If you want a Mac…go for it.  I think you’ll like it.

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      • #2171314

        I did some Topics on some very basic Mac setups in the MacOS Forum maybe a couple of years ago. If you go to the very end of the page list and work backward, there is info on how to set up Finder close to Windows Explorer, and info on non-Mac apps that you are familiar with you can add (FireFox, ThunderBird, Libre Office VLC Player, etc).

        And Nathan Parker has added a world of recent Topics since then.

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    • #2171717

      Wow!  Thank you @parkernathan !

      This is one of the best startup guides I’ve ever seen targeted specifically to Windows users curious about switching to modern Apple OS products.

      How about a section on integrating Mac’s into a Windows AD network with full seamless access to corporate file shares and plotters/printers?  😀

      And for folks in the Engineering and Architecture fields, AutoDesk now has a native AutoCAD (and Maya) application.  Sadly no Revit . . . yet.


      ~ Group "Weekend" ~

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    • #2172095

      Readers Digest online magazine has a recent article about Mac laptops that may be of interest for newcomers considering switching to Mac (?)  The article has lots of pictures with short brief descriptions.  Maybe this might be helpful for some ?

      15 Things You Didn’t Know Your Mac Laptop Could Do


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    • #2173446

      Thanks everyone for the comments!

      I forgot to mention Paragon NTFS. It is an excellent app for those who need NTFS Support (that’d be good to add to the guide).

      I mentioned WINE but forgot to mention WINEBottler. I’ve had issues getting it to package apps on a test Mac I worked on, but I could be “doing it wrong”. I can run more tests.

      Apple used to have a Mac Integration Basics guide for AD users. It seems the last one they released was for Sierra, so it’s a bit dated:


      I could review it and prepare something similar a little more updated, but in the meantime, that might help.

      Nathan Parker

    • #2381960

      Reading the guide before purchase of Mac mini. Great info! Thank you!!

      Question on this https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/2000020-mac-guide-for-windows-users-wanting-to-switch-p-3/#post-2170221

      The one difference is Apple does not allow one to sign into a Mac using an Apple ID, so logging into a Mac will use a separate user account password from one’s Apple ID.

      This says:

      Sign in with your Apple ID: Your Apple ID consists of an email address and a password. It’s the account you use for everything you do with Apple—including using the App Store, Apple TV app, Apple Book Store, iCloud, Messages, and more. Sign in with the same Apple ID to use any Apple service, on any device—whether it’s your computer, iOS device, iPadOS device, or Apple Watch. It’s best to have your own Apple ID and not share it. If you don’t already have an Apple ID, you can create one during setup (it’s free). See Apple Account on Mac.

      Which seems to contradict the statement from the guide. I’m confused. Do I logon with the same Apple id as I use on iOS devices or create a separate user account? Donna

      • #2381979

        Your Apple ID works to log in to Apple Services on any Apple device.
        I do not use iDrive (equivalent of Win OneDrive or Google’s GoogleDrive) as storage for my personal data (Docs, pics, music, etc.) But I do use iCloud (free 5GB storage) to sync my contacts, calendar, etc between my Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Macs). Because what I store on iCloud is very small (no docs, pics, music or videos, etc), I have 4.1GB or that 5GB still unused in spite of the fact that I have 6 assorted Macs and MacBooks, an iPhone and iPad.

        The Apple ID and password are NOT the individual device ID and password. When I want to use the App Store, I log in to the App Store with my Apple ID.  When I complete my transactions, I log out of the App Store. My iCloud sync logs in to iCloud with my Apple ID on startup, but it is only necessary if I want the sync across devices to be current.  But the login to each of my devices is local.

        It works sorta like Windows Local ID and a Microsoft ID. You can log into a Win PC with a Local ID and only log in with the MS ID when you want to use specific Services (MS Store, MS365, MS Gaming, etc). But I feel Apple is much less aggressive when it comes to forcing a 24/7 login for everything and grabbing all your data than MS is..

        • #2382001

          Ok now I understand thank you!  It’s the logon for the device vs. the Apple ID.

    • #2393701

      Thank you for a great guide, very useful and informative.
      I do have one question, if I was to purchase a Mac, what specs would you recommend?
      I know a Windows machine needs a higher CPU, ram, and storage, but for a macOS machine, what would you recommend?
      This would be a general use computer, ie. Internet, Video watching, using apps like Sketchup and Excel.
      Would the new M1 CPU be recommended?

      • #2393718

        I bought an M1 Mac Mini (16GB Ram, 1T SSD) about three months ago. It does everything I need including running a Parallels VM with an ARM-based OS.

        The thing you have to remember is that M1 is ARM-based, not x86 64-bit. Be sure the programs you want to run are capable. With Rosetta, you can run some apps, but not all. I am running FireFox ARM, WaterFox (Rosetta needed), Thunderbird, Adobe Reader, Calibre, Trend Micro, VLC Player, Libre Office, Parallels Desktop.
        There is a thread in the MacOS Forum on M1 compatible apps.

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