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SWITCHING FROM A PC TO A MAC At SMITH: A NEW USER'S STORY

I just switched from a PC to a Mac, but I wasn't expecting to have to make any adjustments! So here I sit with my shiny new Mac - now what?

Someone showed me the power button on the lower back of the computer, so at least I know how to turn it on. I feel encouraged when I see the beautiful screen with its vivid colors.  Macs have a backlit screen with an enormous number of pixels, so it's even sharper than an HD TV.

How do I log in?

I know I have a username and password that are specific to this Mac , so I'll enter those now to bring up the Desktop.

Where are my documents?

The screen sure is pretty, but where are my documents? Aha - I see a folder called Documentson my Desktop, which I can use just like the "My Documents" folder on my Windows computer.

Where is "My Computer"?

I used to use the "My Computer" icon on my PC desktop to navigate to all my folders and files, but there isn't any "My Computer" icon on my Mac. Let me see - if I double-click on the hard drive icon in the upper right corner of my Desktop, I can open the Finder and use it to navigate to all my folders and files.

Where is my H: drive?


Okay, so the Mac name for the H: drive is the Home drive, but how do I access the files on my Home drive using my new Mac? 

I'm told that this requires a few steps, but only the first time - so here goes:

  1. Click on the Go menu. 
  2. Select Connect to Server
  3. Choose a server from the list or enter the name of your server if it isn't there. For example, faculty would enter: facserve.smith.edu
  4. Click OK. Now enter your Novell username and password.
  5. When a new icon appears on your Desktop, double-click on it to open it.
  6. In the directory window, navigate to your HOME location on the server, then to the personal folder with your username on it.

To avoid repeating these steps every time I want to get to my Home drive, I can drag my new Home drive icon to the Dock (see below to find out what that is.) After that, whenever I want to access my Home drive files, I can just click on the icon on my Dock and log in. 

What is the Dock?

The Dock is the fancy bar at the bottom of my screen where I can "dock" my most frequently used software applications. I can add a new application by dragging its icon onto the Dock, or remove any icon by dragging it off the Dock. (This does not affect the actual application.)

The Dock has the secondary job of displaying icons for any applications that are open but minimized. These always appear at the right end of the Dock.  And one more thing - I can click on the icon for any open application to make it the "active" application.

What kinds of external drives can I use?

I’m told I can still use the external drives I'm used to, like my USB flash drive; I just plug it into the USB port in the back. An icon will show up on my Desktop and I can double-click on it to get to my files. 

The external hard drive that I used to back up my files, to transport really large files, and for extra storage will work well via the Firewire port located on the back. I can copy files onto the Desktop simply by dragging them.  If I want, I can drag them into folders that I create either on the Desktop or in the Documents folder on the Desktop. 

Does the Trash work the same way?

Trash is still Trash.  I can delete icons, files, or folders by dragging them to the Trash on the right end of the Dock.  I can empty the trash by clicking on the Trash icon, or by going to the Apple menu and selecting Empty Trash.

Where is the Control Panel?

I used to be able to change the settings for my display, keyboard, and lots of other system components using the Control Panel on my PC. I find I can do the same on my Mac by going to the Apple menu and choosing System Preferences.

(By the way, it was a little surprising to discover that the Apple symbol at the upper left corner of the screen is actually a menu, but now that I know it's there, it's very handy.)


Where can I get answers to my other questions?

There's a lot more to tell, of course, but it's easy to learn more about the similarities and differences between a Mac and a PC. I got a lot of good information from the following brief tutorials on the Apple website:

http://www.apple.com/findouthow/mac/#pctomac

http://www.apple.com/support/switch101

http://www.smith.edu/its/tara/macintosh.html

I feel ready to get started with my new Mac now, but if I have any more questions, I'll call the User Support Center at x4487.

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Copyright © 2014 Smith College Information Technology Services  |  Stoddard Hall 11  |  Northampton, MA 01063
413.585.4487  |  Questions or comments?  Send us email
 |  Last updated January 10, 2013

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