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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Oct 19, 2006
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    A Switcher's Guide to Your New Mac.
    0) The Trash: Numbered Zero because I added it in after a lot of other things. The trash is located in the very far right of your dock (See below). it is used to eject things, delete things, etc. More on this later.

    1) Program Installation: Most programs will come with a file ending in ".dmg", which is short for "Disk Image." To install the program, you double-click this file, and it will be "Mounted" on your desktop. Open this up, then drag the icon representing the program to your "Applications" folder. You may need to open up a new finder to do this. After it is installed, you may get rid of the .dmg file, but first you need to "unmount" it.

    2) Unmounting/Ejecting a disk/DMG: .dmg files, flash drives, external hard drives, CDs, etc. are all mounted onto your system when they are used. Before these can be removed, thet must be "Ejected." For CDs and DVDs, all you need to do is hit the Eject key on your keyboard (Hold the F12 key until it ejects on a non-mac keyboard). Everything else, simply drag its icon from the dektop to the trash. (The trash icon will change to an eject icon) After doing this, it is safe to remove the device/dmg file.

    3) Un-Installing applications: For most programs, all you need to do is go into your applications folder, and drag its icon to the Trash. Some programs will store things elsewhere, so do a spotlight search (See below) to find anything extra it may have installed.

    4) Spotlight: Represented by a little magnifying glass in the upper left corner of your screen, this extremely handy little tool will allow you to search the common directories on your new Mac for whatever you enter. Simply click on it, and enter what you're looking for. The rest of its use is displayed on-screen for your benefit.

    5) The Dock: The bar at the bottom of the screen is known as your "Dock." it is where applications are "docked" for easy launch. To add an item, simply find its icon, and drag it to the dock, where you want it to be, in much the same fashion you earlier installed it to the Applications folder. To remove, simply drag it out, and it will poof out of existence (Give it a try, it really looks cool), to reorganize, simply drag & drop them around.

    6) System preferences: If you've ever used Windows, this is as close to the Control Panel as you're going to get. in this, you can change almost anything on your computer. For the most part, you should only need to use the top row of 7 icons, under the title of "Personal" but the others become more and more uneful as you get used to your new machine. Most things in here are quite standard, but a not of use: At the top of the window, you have "Show All" and a pair of arrows. The arrows are forwards & back, much like a browser, and the "Show All" button allows you to see every option, instead of just whtever you're working on.

    7) Apple Icon: Located in the upper-left of the screen, this is your basic system control center. From here, you can shut down, restart, or put your machine to sleep. In additon to these, you can open System preferences (You don't need to keep it in the dock, but I do anyways), change dock settings, or change your location. (Note that the location only affects network settings.)

    8) Basic Expose: Expose is one of the best features for OS X. It allows every window you have open, or just those from the active program, to shrink, and let you choose any one you want to use. The default controls are as such:
    F9: All windows are shrunk
    F10: All windows from the current program
    F11: Get rid of all windows.
    The first two are hard to explain, but give it a try, and you'll see what I mean. The last, is a lot easier. it takes every open window, and throws it to an edge, allowing you access to your desktop. You can open new wndows as you will, and until you either click one of the outside ones, or hit F11 again, the old ones will stay at the edge.

    9) Dashboard: Hit the F12 key. Go head, do it. There, you have opened the Dashboard, another unique feature. This is something that goes on-top of everything else, and contains numerous small programs, called "Widgets" that let you do small tasks, such as view the time, weather, translate thing, etc. To add widgets, click the + sign in the bottom left, then drag& drop the options now displayed. While this is open, every Widget has a little X in it's upper left corner. Click this to remove it. (Note: Tap F12 to open the dashboard, Hold F12 to eject a CD/DVD, if on a non-mac keyboard). It is normal for the widgets to take a bit to load when you first open Dashboard after turning on your Mac.

    10) Finder: Somehow, I almost forgot this! it is, above all, the heart of OS X. it is what allows you access to everything on your machine, including your desktop. It is impossible to close this, other than when shutting down, but you are free to close all the widnows you wish. The right pane is used to show the contents of the current folder, the left to allow quick access to various locations on your system. To add to these locations, it is as simple as drag-and-drop.

    11) iLife: A suite of applications that all work together, but do their own little tasks. These include iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb, GarageBand, iTunes, iCal, and Address Book. This is a program that you have to purchase, unless you get a new Mac, as it will come pre-installed. The interchangeability of these can be added to with other pgorams, such as Final Cut Express or Aperture. Since going into detail on each of these would make this a very cumbersome starters guide, and there are guides out there for these, I'm not going to go into detail on them.

    12) Maintenance Scripts: These are actually cronjobs (A Unix term, which you don't need to know) that run at about 3AM every day that help to keep your machine running smoothly. There is one that runs every day, one every week, and one every month. If you're like me, and don't keep your computer on all day, there are alternatives, such as MacJanitor (A third-party program) that allow you to do the same thing, but manually, whenever you choose to do so.

    13) File Compatibility: If you are going from Windows to Mac, or simply need to swap files between the two, then there shouldn't be much of a problem. Word, Excel, PDF, Image, etc. files are completely compatible between the two worlds. For a free alternative, simply download NeoOffice (http://www.neooffice.org), and install it (See #1). This will let you open any MS Office file, and is compatible with nearly every other word processor available.

    14) External Drives: When it comes to hard drives, there are a couple of things you need to know: NTFS (The default Windows XP file system) is read-only on a Mac. Format it as Fat32, either through Windows, or through Mac's Disk utility. To do this, simply plug it in, open up Disk utility (Applications, in the "Utilities" folder), select the drive in the left pane, then choose the "Erase" tab to format it. Select the "MS-DOS File System" option, then click the "Erase" button. (Note: You may need to partition it first, which is done under the "Partition" tab. FAT32 can only go up to a 32GB partition, but more than one can be used on the same disk)
    ------

    If anyone has anything they think should be added, simply say so, and I will add it to the list.. Hopefully this list will help new switchers learn how to use their system

    (Random note: Wow, I was able to type all of this without making a single spelling mistake, before going through a spell-checker!)
    PC: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz, 2 GM RAM, Total 750 GB HDD, Windows Vista Business (For gaming), Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron (64-bit), Slackware 12 (For GTK# coding)
    Mac: 1.66GHz, 1GB RAM, 60GB HDD, Mini

  2. #2

    Carol247's Avatar
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    Slokunshialgo,
    This is a very helpful Mac guide for switchers. Thanks for keeping it simple yet including useful hints and shortcuts. Thumbs up!

  3. #3

    eric's Avatar
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    psst... i've got a huge f.a.q. in the works.

    odd that you would have posted this today, i just stared working on mine tonight (it's quite a bit larger already though).
    if i don't have something that's here, i'll add it and credit you.
    Please participate in our Member of the Month polls. Every vote counts! And remember to use the user reputation system!
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  4. #4

    fiveightandten's Avatar
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    Dec 31, 2006
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    Specs:
    Macbook Black 2.0GHz C2D- 120GB/2Gb * Mac Mini G4 1.42GHz- 80GB/512MB
    This is a lot of help. I'm saving my pennies for a MBP right now and this answers a lot of the questions that I had on my head, being a PC user.

    -Nick

  5. #5

    Kash's Avatar
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    I just bought The Missing Manual for Mac OS X Tiger and even though I've figured out most of the stuff on my own, it covers a lot of areas that I didn't want to venture without assistance. It's chock full of information and is written in a very easy to read format with lots of pictures.

    If a simple F.A.Q. doesn't provide enough information, or you simply want more reading, then I would highly suggest the Missing Manual for Tiger

  6. #6

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Maintenance scripts - so the computer is already set up to run these atuomatically?

    If all I do is just close the lid on my MBP when I'm done for the night, will they wake it up from sleep to run?

    Is that adequate - just installed MainMenu, but haven't run it yet. Good idea in conjunction, or not really needed.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Oct 19, 2006
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    Glad to know it's been helpful! And this wasn't intended to be an in-depth analysis of Mac OS X, but more of a quick guide for some of the basic things a new switcher would be wondering.

    And, if you didn't notice, I just finished adding another two items (Files and Hard Drives), because I somehow forgot them.
    PC: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz, 2 GM RAM, Total 750 GB HDD, Windows Vista Business (For gaming), Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron (64-bit), Slackware 12 (For GTK# coding)
    Mac: 1.66GHz, 1GB RAM, 60GB HDD, Mini

  8. #8


    Member Since
    Feb 24, 2007
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    You mention there should be no problems going to Word for Mac, but I can't email .doc files or open them from an ftp site (I can change to rtf to email, but it won't work for the ftp site). I found something here to try but it requires a right click. How do you right click on a Mac?

  9. #9
    MacHeadCase
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
    Maintenance scripts - so the computer is already set up to run these atuomatically?

    If all I do is just close the lid on my MBP when I'm done for the night, will they wake it up from sleep to run?

    Is that adequate - just installed MainMenu, but haven't run it yet. Good idea in conjunction, or not really needed.
    Bob, in order for those built-in scripts to run, the Mac needs to be awake. The scripts will not wake it up. Of course, you can always put the screen to sleep but the CPU needs to be running.

    I prefer to run the scripts manually using MainMenu.

  10. #10

    Kash's Avatar
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    Hey MCH, this thread is 5 months old. I would feel bad if bob didn't know how to right click by now

    June 2007
    July 2009

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Feb 24, 2007
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    Is there a better place to post my question about Word problems I'm having? I'm desperate for help, I am using my Mac for my business and I am now about to lose my second customer because I can't figure out these issues I'm having with .doc files. This is my second post (I am not bob) and I do not know how to right click (and I've been reading, reading, reading). I want to love my Mac but this new G5 is going in the CARPORT if it won't read .doc files.

  12. #12

    TheInvsbleMan's Avatar
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    well I don't know if this will help because I am not a Mac owner but to right click on a Mac I believe its just control click? might be command or option... try them all as I said I don't own a Mac yet

  13. #13


    Member Since
    Mar 11, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by shamankaloo View Post
    I do not know how to right click (and I've been reading, reading, reading). I want to love my Mac but this new G5 is going in the CARPORT if it won't read .doc files.
    Hold down the Control key as you click.

    Or go into the System Preferences from under the blue apple, choose Keyboard and Mouse, and from there set up the mouse to right-click.

  14. #14


    Member Since
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    Blackbook, 2GB RAM, 2.2Ghz, 160GB HD. 160GB Ipod Classic. 16GB iphone 3GS. Red 2G Shuffle.
    Fantastic - I'm picking up so many little tricks all the time and this post has helped bigtime. Thanks.

  15. #15

    getuptogetdown's Avatar
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    Apr 01, 2008
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    Specs:
    15" Matte Macbook Pro 2.5Ghz 4gb RAM 250gb HD, 60gb iPod Classic maxed, iPod shuffle
    So I see two programs that will help with maintainence programs: mainmenu and macjanitor....are these better to use instead of the mac one if I am going to be putting my mac to sleep at night? Does it matter if the mac just ran one and i run one shortly after if i didnt know one ran?? I am getting a brand new MBP...i dont know if features are different since this thread has been posted.

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