I cant wrap my head around mac osx

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dcm426

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Life long windows user here. I've been using computers since the 90's. I have a windows 7 desktop as my daily driver. I bought myself a macbook a while back, because at work, we use custom software that refuses to boot on anything but the latest hardware and operating systems for security reasons. Mac osx or win 10 or later. Unfortunately I just cant use the macintosh. I can do basic tasks like opening and closing a window, but anything more complicated than that, I get lost and confused. I cant find my files without using the finder. My muscle memory has me clicking in all the wrong places. I cant customize the mac to be more usable for me. I dont like being forced to use the mac in a certain way which is dictated to me and is very uncomfortable for me. I cant wrap my head around the operating system at all. I dont think like a mac user. I really cant explain it better than that. I've tried watching tutorials on youtube. I've tried forcing myself to use the mac only for a month. But I find myself going back to the comforts of windows. My inability to learn the mac platform is putting my job at risk. What should I do to better learn the macintosh? I am not a technical user at all. I know microsoft office. I tried linux once and never again. I have an m1 macbook pro that I bought last christmas. If that helps.
 

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Dear dom426, I'm sure at 70 i would have similar issues swapping the Windows now but at least I had workplace experience with Windows. For you its the other way around with no previous experience with macOS.

I have to ask, why didn't you go the Windows 10 way? You did say that was an option.

Anyway, the Mac is what you have and really if you don't think you can cope with the differences and there are a lot, I perfectly understand.

Sadly, I don't think there is an easy answer to your question. Obviously there are lots of books and online tutorials but to become proficient on macOS in a short time is a big ask.
Most people start out with the basics and work their way up by asking questions of friends, forums (like this one) and web searching for specific topics, it sounds like you dont have time for that so rather than throwing away a perfectly good M1 what about running windows on it?

You can run Windows via Virtualisation (VM) on any silicon Mac. Here is a pretty comprehensive article on how to do this. How to Run Windows 11 on M1 Mac, for Free

OSX Daily have a lot of good instructional articles, the above being one of them. I'm sure there are others on this site with more experience with Dual Booting, Virtual Machines ect than me. Years ago I ran Linux on a MBP using the native Boot Camp utility but much has changed since then. You probably have more questions.

Let us know what you think.
 
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Your M1-based MacBook Pro is a recent, and still very valuable, machine. Sell it on CraigsList


and get yourself a Windows computer. You are obviously comfortable with Windows and not an adventurous spirit who can jump right in to a different OS and take the challenge of learning something new. That's not a pejorative; many folks get used to one thing over a long period of time and don't want to change.

Don't want to give up yet? Try these resources:

Macbook Pro Essentials (free)




A Complete Beginner's Guide to macOS: Get Started in Just 1 Hour (free)


Mac OS Monterey For Dummies ($23)

 
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I cant find my files without using the finder.
Just wanted to say that the Finder is how to find files. That is what it is designed for and is a key component of the system. So you got that right, in any event!
 
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Thanks Randy, that is a really handy, comprehensive list of resources which I have saved for future reference. (y)🙏

I'm afraid that I listed several different Web links, and for some reason they all ended up as the same link when the site made them hot.

If someone can show me how to list Web links as raw URL's, instead of them automatically turning into hot links, that would be very helpful.
 
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I cant find my files without using the finder.

I can help with that.

First, let's make sure that the icon for your internal hard drive is on the desktop. That tends to make everything easier. Do this:

- Click on your desktop to get into the Finder

- Choose File menu --> Preferences --> General tab --> and check the box to enable Hard Disks to be shown on the desktop.

Now, let's put your Documents folder in your dock (at the bottom of the screen) so that it is always instantly available.

- Navigate to your Documents folder by clicking on your internal hard drive's icon (which now shows up on your desktop thanks to the steps above) and double-click on it to open it.

- Find the Users folder and double-click on it to open it.

- Find the little house icon with your user name on it and double-click on it to open it.

- Now find the Documents folder and drag it into the right side of your dock.

Now, whenever you want to find a document, you can instantly find it in your Documents folder in the dock. (Of course, you are always free to save your documents wherever you want on your Mac. And you are always free to create a folder with a descriptive name anywhere you want to save special documents to make them easier to find.) Using the Documents folder to save documents to is just a convention to make things easier to find later. You aren't required to save all of your documents there.

You may want to do the same thing for the Applications folder.

I cant customize the mac to be more usable for me.

Just tell us what you need to have more usable, and we would be happy to tell you how to customize things to make it so. :) The Macintosh interface is very customizable, and that customization is very easily accomplished.
 
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Dear dom426, I'm sure at 70 i would have similar issues swapping the Windows now but at least I had workplace experience with Windows. For you its the other way around with no previous experience with macOS.

I have to ask, why didn't you go the Windows 10 way? You did say that was an option.

Anyway, the Mac is what you have and really if you don't think you can cope with the differences and there are a lot, I perfectly understand.

Sadly, I don't think there is an easy answer to your question. Obviously there are lots of books and online tutorials but to become proficient on macOS in a short time is a big ask.
Most people start out with the basics and work their way up by asking questions of friends, forums (like this one) and web searching for specific topics, it sounds like you dont have time for that so rather than throwing away a perfectly good M1 what about running windows on it?

You can run Windows via Virtualisation (VM) on any silicon Mac. Here is a pretty comprehensive article on how to do this. How to Run Windows 11 on M1 Mac, for Free

OSX Daily have a lot of good instructional articles, the above being one of them. I'm sure there are others on this site with more experience with Dual Booting, Virtual Machines ect than me. Years ago I ran Linux on a MBP using the native Boot Camp utility but much has changed since then. You probably have more questions.

Let us know what you think.
I'm in my late 30's. And I am not technologically oriented. My first computer experience was with a macintosh 30 years ago and I hated it. I couldn't get it then and I cant get it now. It felt so confusing and contrived to me. The only reason I even learned how to use computers in the first place, was because of pc games like sim city 2000 and doom that the older kids hidden in file directories.

In my line of work appearance and perception are everything. It's brutal. I dont want to be the only loser with a dell or a thinkpad, if all my colleagues and clients are using a mac and expect me to be doing the same. It wasn't like that in my old job, because that was more results oriented work. Less 'image' required. And personally I hate modern windows with a passion. It's ugly and unusable.

I dont want to run windows on my mac. I want to learn macintosh. Because I need too.

Like I said I am not technologically inclined. I assembled a computer with my cousin before and that's about it. I have no idea how to fix anything software related if it breaks other than to reinstall.
Just wanted to say that the Finder is how to find files. That is what it is designed for and is a key component of the system. So you got that right, in any event!
I dont remember the exact names of the files most of the time. I navigate to my file folder manually and go from there. With windows it's very easy for me to get to my documents folder, with three clicks maximum and go from there. With mac and win 10 I have to type to search for the files every single time.

I can help with that.

First, let's make sure that the icon for your internal hard drive is on the desktop. That tends to make everything easier. Do this:

- Click on your desktop to get into the Finder

- Choose File menu --> Preferences --> General tab --> and check the box to enable Hard Disks to be shown on the desktop.

Now, let's put your Documents folder in your dock (at the bottom of the screen) so that it is always instantly available.

- Navigate to your Documents folder by clicking on your internal hard drive's icon (which now shows up on your desktop thanks to the steps above) and double-click on it to open it.

- Find the Users folder and double-click on it to open it.

- Find the little house icon with your user name on it and double-click on it to open it.

- Now find the Documents folder and drag it into the right side of your dock.

Now, whenever you want to find a document, you can instantly find it in your Documents folder in the dock. (Of course, you are always free to save your documents wherever you want on your Mac. And you are always free to create a folder with a descriptive name anywhere you want to save special documents to make them easier to find.) Using the Documents folder to save documents to is just a convention to make things easier to find later. You aren't required to save all of your documents there.

You may want to do the same thing for the Applications folder.



Just tell us what you need to have more usable, and we would be happy to tell you how to customize things to make it so. :) The Macintosh interface is very customizable, and that customization is very easily accomplished.
Thank you! But that's my point. It's way too complicated for me to figure out on my own. I'm afraid to mess with any settings on my mac, for fear of irreparably losing files or messing it up. I rarely use my windows computer to any great depth either. I just do word docs, powerpoint, excel, youtube and netflix. I dont even game anymore, because I've lost all interest.

What I need from my mac is to stop reminding me that it's a macintosh! Why cant it be like my iphone or pc and get out of my and let me do my work? I expect agnosticism and not narcissism from my tech. This is another reason why I didn't like macs the first time I used them. What I mean by getting in my way; is that every time I use my mac, it reminds me that I'm using a mac. I dont mean the logos or labeling of everything as 'this mac' or 'my mac.' I mean more work flow and user interface related issues. Which negatively impact my performance.

My biggest gripes with the mac platform are with the mac start bar itself. Especially with the start bar taking on the controls of the window/app in current use. Requiring me to navigate outside of said window, to access program controls. Which throws me off subconsciously. I cant tell you how many times I was working on a document on my mac and I accidentally clicked outside the window and then the start bar, only to not notice that the controls on the start bar had changed. It's a work flow and productivity killer. I'm legitimately slower on my mac doing simple word docs than on my pc. I know the start bar problems are a platform issue and pretty much unchangeable at this point in time. But I'm right handed too. It's such a quality of life improvement to have all the window controls on the right hand side like windows does. How do I do that on my mac? I mean how to move the red, yellow and green window buttons to the other side of the window?
 
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Just like anything we learn, repetition is key. If you are serious, you will learn the basics in time.

Why not make an appointment at your local Apple location? I just went to look and they even offer virtual courses now as well.

Today at Apple - Apple

And they still do the classes/courses at their Apple locations as well.
 

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Dom426, I really do sympathise, sounds like your workplace is a bit of a "pressure cooker" and it must be really difficult to learn new stuff when you're stressed out.
The old saying," a picture is worth a thousand words" is really true here. It sounds like you need to start from the basics and that is so difficult to convey in writing.
For starters you need to forget your old Windows terminology and start using the right names for the desktop elements or it will be even more difficult to follow written directions. The bar at the top of the screen you have called the "Start Bar" is called the Menu Bar because it displays the menus for the selected (active) window on the left and some fixed system menus on the right like the time and date. I understand what you are saying about this but it's only a "work and productivity killer" because you're not used to it (yet). Oh, and no, you cannot move it, whereas the bar at the bottom of the screen called the Dock, containing shortcuts can be moved to the sides of the screen. I could write a hunded words on this alone.
I suggest that other than a good beginners manual for macOS that maybe employing say, a Uni student to give you some lessons on the basics would save you a lot of time. Check out the notice board at any university and if necessary leave a "Wanted" post with contact info like a disposable email address.
 
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I understand your frustrations. I started using Windows when Windows 3.0 came out and DOS prior to that. I got into using Mac’s when I decided I was tired of having to deal with malware issues. To say I was extremely frustrated trying to switch to Mac OS from Windows …. well I get what you are saying.

I found I had to do what Rod suggested - change my mindset and change my vocabulary. It is kinda like learning a new language. It was tough for me and while it has been around ten years now, I still find myself slipping back to old ways.

I still have a Windows PC running W11 at work. I work in IT and I have a blend of Windows and Macs to deal with. I am slowly migrating my people over to Macs because they are more secure and easier to manage. There are people in my past that would tell you I use to claim I would never use an apple product. I felt Apple in their quest to make things idiot proof ended up making it too confining. It took learning a new “language” to get me to change my opinion.

Lisa
 
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My biggest gripes with the mac platform are with the mac start bar itself. Especially with the start bar taking on the controls of the window/app in current use. ...

Yes, it does that. I think that you'll find that that is surprisingly easy to get used to with a little use.

It's such a quality of life improvement to have all the window controls on the right hand side like windows does. How do I do that on my mac? I mean how to move the red, yellow and green window buttons to the other side of the window?

Nothing does that to my knowledge. There used to be "skins" that did that, but they disappeared years ago.

If it helps, there are keyboard shortcuts to do the same things.

- In System Preferences --> Dock --> enable "double-click a windows title bar to minimize"
This will allow you to double-click anywhere in the title bar to minimize the window.

- Shift - Command (⌘) - W will close an application window.

Lots and lots of keyboard shortcuts listed here:


However, the good news is that you can rearrange the icons in the menu bar to your heart's content:


And don't forget that the Mac's find function, Spotlight, is always available as the little magnifying glass icon in the upper right of the screen.

If there is anything else that you'd like to modify, or have explained, just let us know.
 

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There is a wealth of good suggestions here and I completely forgot that Apple stores offer tutorial sessions as well so maybe a beginners course if available would be a help too.
 

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I can relate to dcm426's experience as well.
I tell people who come from a Windows environment to forget everything they learned using Windows - then on the Mac first try what seems to be logical; that often works.
Or use "right click" on a file or folder which also usually brings up the function one is looking for.
But I think in this case one has to go back to the basics - maybe a read through a book like this would help:
 

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dcm426

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Look guys, the problem is that I just dont think like a mac user. Terminology aside, things just dont click for me. I've used other apple products before and they were relatively easy for me to understand. Before I had an iphone I had a blackberry. I picked up the iphone mighty fast, because it was easy and intuitive. I had an ipod before that and it had just the scroll wheel which while limited serve it's purpose nicely. I also had an ipad but I never really liked it. Made no sense to me. I never liked touch screen gaming and it was easier for me to watch movies on my netbook, because it had a wide screen and I didn't need a kickstand. Personal gripes aside macintosh has a lot of usability issues too. As good as the gestures one the trackpad are. I much prefer a mouse, because it's physically more comfortable for me to rest my hand on a mouse, than to arch my fingers in an uncomfortable way to browse the web or do word docs.
 

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You've been given a lot of sage advice, but at the end of the day, if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Stick with what you know and are comfortable with.

One of the first things a lot of switchers do is to try to make something new behave like something old (and familiar). If they all behaved the same, they would be the same.

Each OS has it's own way of doing things, it's either good nor bad, it just is.

As someone who's used a variety of OS's from DOS, Xenix, Solaris, Linux, Windows (from 3.0 -> 10), macOS, I can move around and do the basic things in all of them. But I've figured out the efficient ways of doing what I need in my OS' of choice. In my case, that was Windows very briefly and Linux for a time and now macOS for the past 15 years.

What frustrates people who are learning something new is how easy that thing is to use from people who know how to use it.

I'd propose an alternate method. Start with the basics, use Finder to manage your files, Dock the start/close applications and then when you get stuck on doing a very specific action, ask about it on these and other Mac-related forums. Once you've figured that out, you're one step farther in your journey than you were before.

Do NOT attempt to become a Mac expert in short time, that's a recipe for failure. I am, by no means, an expert Mac user, but my Mac use fits my needs perfectly. There are many things I don't know about and don't wish to learn since I don't need to know about it. Conversely, there are many things that that I can do on my Mac that would confuse the next Mac user who is comfortable with their use/understanding.
 
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Look guys, the problem is that I just dont think like a mac user. Terminology aside, things just dont click for me. I've used other apple products before and they were relatively easy for me to understand. Before I had an iphone I had a blackberry. I picked up the iphone mighty fast, because it was easy and intuitive. I had an ipod before that and it had just the scroll wheel which while limited serve it's purpose nicely. I also had an ipad but I never really liked it. Made no sense to me. I never liked touch screen gaming and it was easier for me to watch movies on my netbook, because it had a wide screen and I didn't need a kickstand. Personal gripes aside macintosh has a lot of usability issues too. As good as the gestures one the trackpad are. I much prefer a mouse, because it's physically more comfortable for me to rest my hand on a mouse, than to arch my fingers in an uncomfortable way to browse the web or do word docs.

Soooo... use a mouse then. You can use any mouse you please. I use a Logitech MX Master myself, love it. I also use a 3rd party utility to customize the mouse buttons to my liking.
 
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I dont remember the exact names of the files most of the time. I navigate to my file folder manually and go from there. With windows it's very easy for me to get to my documents folder, with three clicks maximum and go from there. With mac and win 10 I have to type to search for the files every single time.

No you don't have to do all that. You are using it wrong. I mean LITERALLY using it wrong. You could and should be finding and getting to those files the same way you do in Windows. And I mean LITERALLY the same way. In a Finder window (which functionally is the same thing as Explorer), just add your Documents folder to the sidebar. It should be there already. If not, open the Finder preferences; click on the Sidebar tab up top; then put a checkmark in Documents. Done. Easy. Easier than Windows. Going forward, any time you need to get to your documents, just open up Finder; click on the Documents icon in the sidebar on the left. Boom. You can also add any folder you please to the sidebar for fast access. Just drag it into the sidebar.

You can also add your Documents folder (or ANY folder) to the Dock. Then it's always present and you can click that folder; get a popup; and then browse to what you want. You can customize how the icon looks by right-clicking on the folder in the Dock (folder vs stack) and change how the pop-up looks (grid vs list). I personally prefer a grid, with the icon set as a folder.

Thank you! But that's my point. It's way too complicated for me to figure out on my own. I'm afraid to mess with any settings on my mac, for fear of irreparably losing files or messing it up. I rarely use my windows computer to any great depth either. I just do word docs, powerpoint, excel, youtube and netflix. I dont even game anymore, because I've lost all interest.

What I need from my mac is to stop reminding me that it's a macintosh! Why cant it be like my iphone or pc and get out of my and let me do my work? I expect agnosticism and not narcissism from my tech. This is another reason why I didn't like macs the first time I used them. What I mean by getting in my way; is that every time I use my mac, it reminds me that I'm using a mac. I dont mean the logos or labeling of everything as 'this mac' or 'my mac.' I mean more work flow and user interface related issues. Which negatively impact my performance.

I have no idea what any of this means. "Get out of your way"? "Let you do your work?" "Stop reminding you it's a Mac?" To be blunt.... this is nonsense. Look man, I was a long time Windows user, going back to Windows 3.1 and was an early adopter of Windows 95 through XP. I was about as expert as anyone in using them, and BUILDING PCs also. I first bought a Mac on a lark 19 years ago and adapted quickly. Loved it, never looked back. The only thing getting in the way here is you. You need to change your mindset and quite frankly your attitude if you want to adapt and learn to use a Mac. I'm not saying you'll ever grow to LOVE it, but you have convinced yourself that it's different and bad as a consequence and aren't really TRYING to adapt. And you don't really have to adapt all that much. Really you don't. As I've already pointed out.. don't like the trackpad? Then use a mouse. Start looking for documents in your documents folder the same way you would in Windows. SAME!

My biggest gripes with the mac platform are with the mac start bar itself. Especially with the start bar taking on the controls of the window/app in current use. Requiring me to navigate outside of said window, to access program controls. Which throws me off subconsciously. I cant tell you how many times I was working on a document on my mac and I accidentally clicked outside the window and then the start bar, only to not notice that the controls on the start bar had changed. It's a work flow and productivity killer. I'm legitimately slower on my mac doing simple word docs than on my pc. I know the start bar problems are a platform issue and pretty much unchangeable at this point in time. But I'm right handed too. It's such a quality of life improvement to have all the window controls on the right hand side like windows does. How do I do that on my mac? I mean how to move the red, yellow and green window buttons to the other side of the window?

First off, there is no thing called the Start Bar. You must be referring to the Menu Bar that persists up top. That LITERALLY is one of the great things about the macOS UI. That bar needs to be there to host icons for various apps and system controls that reside in that bar, so why not save some space and host the menus for apps as you switch between them also? Seriously, you gain some screen space back by not needing yet another row in the apps to have the menu items. As for the stoplight buttons... well I kinda have to agree with you on that. That was one of my beefs early on. I still dislike it, but I got used to it. Honestly, I never use them because I'm more of a keyboard shortcuts aficionado. But seriously... stop GRIPING and start ASKING how to make your tasks easier. Be more open minded and you'll be more successful at learning this.
 

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In a Finder window (which functionally is the same thing as Explorer), just add your Documents folder to the sidebar. It should be there already.

Absolutely so, LIAB. But it can be just as easy - or let's just say here's another way - to make Finder always open Documents as soon as you click on it.:);)

@dcm426 - this is how to access your Documents every time you click on the Finder icon - which never strays from its position, far left within the Dock.

Do this: Click on Finder just to open it. The look up to the very top menu bar, far left where you see the Apple icon . Immediately to its right is the word "Finder". Click on it. From the drop down choose Preferences (it's the second choice).

S1.jpg

This is what you'll see. Make sure "General" is highlighted, as in my pic above. At the bottom you'll see: New Finder windows show:

Use the up/down arrows to see your choices. Choose Documents, as in the pic.

From now on, every time you open Finder, it will open up in DOCUMENTS.

(The other options shown on my pic with Ticks against them can either be ignored or chosen as you wish. Much less important for the moment; but dead easy to understand what they mean. Basically do you want Hard disks, External disks, CDs, DVDs etc to appear on the Desktop? Leave these alone if you feel intimidated. The important choice is the "New finder windows show Documents"(y))

Good luck.

Ian
 
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Stick with it. For most of my professional life, ever since the first IBM pc came on the scene in fact, I was a PC user /developer and then a (pc) network manager for many years. I held off moving to macs for far too long and now when i am asked to help a Windows user I'm soooooo frustrated because everything is so much harder and takes so much longer on a pc. Yes, the mac was a PITA for a few weeks when I switched but I'd never go back now.
 
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