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  1. #1

    TuxThePenguin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts
    6
    Question Newbie going to switch soon, need some guidance
    This is my first time posting here, so sorry if I broke any rules or am in the wrong section. Also, sorry for the long post

    I've finally decided to make the switch from Windows to Mac. All my life I've use Windows (and some Linux), but short of playing with them in stores I've never really actually USED a Mac. I did some searching and figured this would be the best place to come to for advice.

    Making the switch: Obviously I am going to need to backup and copy my information. The issue here is half my funds for the shiny new 27" iMac is going to come from selling my current computer, and the files won't be available when I actually use the Mac. So my question is this - would it be possible for me to use an external HDD formatted with NTFS to backup my files now, then copy them into my iMac when the time finally comes?

    Summary: can OS X read (write isn't necessary) NTFS drives?

    Backing up: Assuming my first question is a yes, it's time for round two. Could I reformat the drive with whatever Mac uses after copying everything, then use it as a backup hard drive? More importantly, does OS X come with, or is there software available (preferably free, but under $20 max) that can be used to periodically backup everything to the drive?

    Lastly, and most important - any tips for a first time Mac user? From what I've gathered, I would much rather be using a Mac than a Windows box, seeing as how most of what I do is media related (video/picture editing) and I'm a sucker for shiny.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    louishen's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location
    London
    Posts
    8,968
    Specs:
    Mac Mini Core i7 2012 | White 2009 MacBook 2 Ghz | 733 Mhz G4 Quicksilver
    1. OSX can read NTFS drives just fine, so no problems there.

    2. OSX comes with Time Machine, an incremental back-up app, but you will have to reformat the drive to the native mac HFS format to use the drive with Time Machine
    Apple - Mac OS X - What is Mac OS X - Time Machine

    3. You will find all the help you need at the switchers hangout, beginning with this sticky thread
    http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/swi...-software.html
    Member of the Month September 2008 & August 2012 | Found advice useful? use the rep system

  3. #3

    jtdolphins's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 12, 2008
    Posts
    58
    Specs:
    10.5.8 Black Macbook 2.4 GHz C2D 2 GB RAM 250 GB HD
    I have had my mac for about a year. You will be up and running in no time, but its the little things that I am still finding that just makes me glad I switched.

    I spent time watching the Mac 101 and Switch 101 videos at Apple, which I found helpful. I watched them before and after I got my mac. I think there was another set somewhere, but I don't see them now.

    Learn Expose and Spaces. I took me awhile to understand them. At first I didn't really like them, but that was a lack of understanding. I love them now. I find them very useful for work.

    I can't remember what they are called, but the downloads and the documents folder on the Dock that expand are great. I can't believe it took me a year to get using them. I also launch a lot of stuff with just spotlight.

    One thing I need to do is spend more time with utilities. I just haven't needed to because I haven't had any problems in over a year

    I love time machine for the ease of back ups. I also started using Carbon Copy Cloner so I would have a bootable back up. Being the computer I use for work, I wanted something I could boot.

    I will be switching my parents to a mac later this year.

  4. #4


    Member Since
    Jan 27, 2007
    Location
    *Brisvegas*
    Posts
    5,658
    Specs:
    17 inch 2 GHz C2D imac (5,1) with 3GB DDR2 RAM, X1600 (128MB memory) GPU - OSX 10.6.3
    any tips for a first time Mac user?
    1. Onyx
    Titanium Software
    Get the version for the version of OS X you wll be running. And real the documentation for the app well.

    2. Mactracker
    mactracker.dreamhosters.com
    Specification database of every Apple Macintosh model. From 1984 to the present. And updated often with the new releases. So when anyone asks you a specific question about your mac hardware you will have the answer in this app.

    3. The missing manual series
    The missing manual for: snow leopard, iwork, whatever else Mac related. My point is if you ever want a how to Macbook, look into the "Missing manual" series. They are some of the best how to books for Macs out there.

    4. Apple - Mac OS X - Windows Compatibility - How Mac works with PCs
    Apple - Support - Boot Camp
    If ever you want to put windows onto your new Macintosh. These 2 links are very good reading in how this process done.

    5. Apple - Mac OS X - What is Mac OS X - Time Machine
    As the above has said but I am going to repeat the above's wise words on this cause it is something well worth looking into.
    And also this link is well worth reading too.
    http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/swi...s-backups.html

    6. Do not use antivirus on your Mac. The OS X part of it. There is no need as there is no OS X viruses only some user initiated trogans that can be easily avoided. SO inshort on your OS X partition - avoid antivirus software like the plague.
    But on your windows partition, treat that exactly as you would your old PC as it has the same vulnerabilities. But nothing will jump to the OS X side. Windows viruses stay on the windows side.

    7. On the whole defragging is not needed on OS X. Some people defrag their OS X with the idefrag app. But for 99.9% of users it's just a very lengthy process for a result so minute you will not even notice it. This is because on the whole OS X is resistant to file fragmentation.
    But like the above the windows partition will fragment in the same way your old PC did.

    If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Apr 09, 2009
    Location
    Ithaca NY
    Posts
    2,073
    Specs:
    13 inch alMacBook 2GHz C2D 4G DDR3, 1.25GHz G4 eMac
    Quote Originally Posted by jtdolphins View Post
    I have had my mac for about a year. You will be up and running in no time, but its the little things that I am still finding that just makes me glad I switched.

    I spent time watching the Mac 101 and Switch 101 videos at Apple, which I found helpful. I watched them before and after I got my mac. I think there was another set somewhere, but I don't see them now.

    Learn Expose and Spaces. I took me awhile to understand them. At first I didn't really like them, but that was a lack of understanding. I love them now. I find them very useful for work.

    I can't remember what they are called, but the downloads and the documents folder on the Dock that expand are great. I can't believe it took me a year to get using them. I also launch a lot of stuff with just spotlight.

    One thing I need to do is spend more time with utilities. I just haven't needed to because I haven't had any problems in over a year

    I love time machine for the ease of back ups. I also started using Carbon Copy Cloner so I would have a bootable back up. Being the computer I use for work, I wanted something I could boot.

    I will be switching my parents to a mac later this year.
    Those things on the dock for docs and downloads are "stacks." The Downloads stack I kept, after customizing the icon. I still haven't gotten too into it. It's a handy feature, but I don't really use it much.

    I pretty much missed out on Leopard. I only owned a machine running Leopard for 3 months before Snow Leopard came out. My dad had Leopard on the machines I'd use, I had it on my Power Mac G5 for the 5 minutes before the logic board fried. But yea, being a year back into things in the world of modern OSes... I love it. Still expanding my uses for all of the various features. Stacks is one I just don't have much use for considering I don't deal with an incredibly high volume of content.

  6. #6

    TuxThePenguin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts
    6
    Thanks so much for the tips guys, you've helped a lot

    I have another question - financially, it's going to be another month or two until I can afford the iMac I want (without a job right now ) so should I still pick one up when I have the funds? Or would it be better to wait until the next model is shipped and snatch that one instead?

    Thanks again!

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Apr 09, 2009
    Location
    Ithaca NY
    Posts
    2,073
    Specs:
    13 inch alMacBook 2GHz C2D 4G DDR3, 1.25GHz G4 eMac
    Which 27 inch were you going for? Because the i5 and i7 models are still amazingly ridiculous machines.

  8. #8

    TuxThePenguin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts
    6
    Darkest - probably the i5 or i7 models, seeing as how they both come with the HD4850. I'd only save $100 if I went with the C2D model and same same chip, and I get much more performance with the higher processors.

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Apr 09, 2009
    Location
    Ithaca NY
    Posts
    2,073
    Specs:
    13 inch alMacBook 2GHz C2D 4G DDR3, 1.25GHz G4 eMac
    Yea, I wouldn't hesitate to buy them.

  10. #10

    Chef_eam's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 12, 2009
    Location
    Midland,Tx
    Posts
    357
    Specs:
    iMac 27" 2.66GHz i5, 1TB HDD, 12GB RAM, OS X 10.7.3, iPod Classic 160GB,iPad 1 64GB Wi-fi, iPhone 4S
    I bought an i5 in February, and this thing is a screaming beast compared to my old C2D PC. I do some 3D scene rendering, and the quad definitely makes a difference.

  11. #11

    TuxThePenguin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts
    6
    Thanks again for the responses!

    Another question - if I buy my iMac with 4GB RAM (2x 2GB), could I upgrade it to 8GB with another 4GB kit? It seems possible seeing as how you can have 8GB in the form of 4 RAM sticks, but that is waaaaaay to expensive at the moment.

    Thanks

  12. #12

    TechieJustin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 16, 2008
    Location
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    298
    Specs:
    Macbook Pro 15"
    Regarding NTFS compatibility; there is an open source utility to read and write NTFS drives called NYFS-3g.
    I use it and it works very well. If all you have to do is read NTFS drives, you won't need NTFS-3g.

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/catacombae/files/NTFS-3G%20for%20Mac%20OS%20X/2010.1.16/ntfs-3g-2010.1.16-macosx.dmg/download

  13. #13

    toMACsh's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,185
    Specs:
    Mac Mini (Late 2014) 2.6GHz Intel Core i5 Memory: 8GB 1600MHz DDR3
    Quote Originally Posted by TuxThePenguin View Post
    - if I buy my iMac with 4GB RAM (2x 2GB), could I upgrade it to 8GB with another 4GB kit? It seems possible seeing as how you can have 8GB in the form of 4 RAM sticks, but that is waaaaaay to expensive at the moment.
    Pretty sure that's a yes. Confirm with Apple when you buy, but then buy the RAM later from somewhere else (OWC? online) because Apple charges much more for it. Of course, that means installing it yourself, but there are folks here who can "talk" you through it.

  14. #14


    Member Since
    Jan 27, 2007
    Location
    *Brisvegas*
    Posts
    5,658
    Specs:
    17 inch 2 GHz C2D imac (5,1) with 3GB DDR2 RAM, X1600 (128MB memory) GPU - OSX 10.6.3
    iMac (Mid 2007) and later: Installing or replacing memory
    iMac (Early 2006), (Mid 2006), (Late 2006): Installing and replacing memory (RAM)

    Just follow the instructions and pictures on the Apple website. That shows you how easy it is to install ram in your imac.

    And this page tells you which memory to buy for which imac.
    iMac: Memory specifications and upgrades

  15. #15


    Member Since
    Mar 21, 2010
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    15
    Specs:
    IMAC 27" IPhone 4 IPad 2
    The manual that come with your Imac has step by step instructions on installing ram with pictures. That makes it much easier for guys like me!!

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