Converting from Windows PC to Mac

I became a Mac user in 2004. If you had told me, a few months prior to that, that I would buy a Macintosh, I would have said you are nuts, there’s simply no way. I had been a windows user since Windows 286 (that was even before Windows 3.1) and was quite computer literate. I had no major qualm about my computers, and could always troubleshoot them and maintain them in good shape and safe from viruses or malware. I didn’t adore Microsoft software, but I knew I didn’t have much of a choice and I used them efficiently.

But then I started my PhD program and needed a new laptop to carry around with me to the library and eventually to the archives. I already had a laptop and a desktop but my laptop was rather heavy and I needed something considerably lighter. I had my eye on a Dell Latitude. My basic requirements were size and connectivity:

  • it had to be a 12″ laptop
  • it had to connect to the internet in every way available (built-in wireless, cable, & modem)

And decent speed would help, of course. But it also had to be under a certain amount. At the time (2004), none of Dell’s laptops came standard with wireless internet. It was an extra. Also, the standard configuration left a bit to be desired, so I’d have to add a bit more memory and HD space, which brought the price of its 12″ laptop up considerably. A friend suggested a Mac. I wasn’t sure. I had used a Mac once during my undergrad years and found it clumsy and non-intuitive. The friend insisted that the new operating system was much better. Mac fanatics had always annoyed me and I had refused to get into the whole iPod bandwagon. But I respected this friend’s opinion and decided to at least do some research on compatibility (I’d still have a Windows PC desktop, after all). Most of what I do on the computer is basically limited to the Internet, word processing, some spreadsheets, powerpoint, web & print design, and graphic work. All those things worked well cross-platform. I spent a couple of months visiting a 12″ Powerbook at the UofT Computer shop. It was sleek, small, powerfull, and it had all I wanted. Plus, with a student discount, it would cost me much less than the Dell I had considered previously.

I took the plunge. The first couple of weeks were awkward but then a whole new world opened. I had no idea everything I did on a computer could be THAT much simpler. My experience was pretty similar to that of this guy. Slowly, I stopped using my desktop. It wasn’t much fun anymore to use a system that didn’t have Exposé. So I got rid of it. Alan also enjoyed playing with my computer and as he got more and more involved with music recording, he found out that a lot of people in the music industry relied on Macs. So he too made the switch. Then I slowly got deeper into it as I moved from Mac versions of software developed for Windows (such as MS Office & Endnote/ProCite) to software that were available only for Macs (like Mellel, Pages, Keynote, Bookends, DevonThink Pro, Adium, etc).

That little 12″ Powerbook is still my trusty main computer. After upgrading its memory & HD this past year, it’s back at being as good as new. I usually have about 10-15 programs running and at least 10 tabs open on Firefox at a time. I love the fact that my 4 year-old machine can handle that without noticeably slowing down. I also love that I don’t need an anti-virus. But I won’t bore you with all of the pro-Mac chants…

I don’t really know why I’m saying all of this. I guess after reading he experience of Greg Wilson, the guy cited above, who switched to a Mac after 20 years as a happy Windows PC user, I wanted to share my own conversion story. I was raised as a Catholic after all. Do check the last link; it is worth it.

Author: guerson

Food-obsessed historian and knitter.

6 thoughts on “Converting from Windows PC to Mac”

  1. I got my iMac last year because I was starting at Cambrian’s Graphic Design course, it’s the best computer I’ve ever had hands down. I still have it as a dual system because at the time I needed windows for work, but I barely load it anymore… Even my boyfriend got converted, he’s already told me that he’s thinking of buying a Macbook once he’s done with his current laptop.

    I’m thinking of upgrading to the Leopard now, I’ll just wait and see if works OK at Cambrian’s Mac Lab (they’re switching systems this month), then I’ll see if it’s worth the trade.

  2. Eu ainda terei que continuar usando o Windows porque alguns aplicativos que uso para trabalhar (Framemaker, por exemplo) não rodam no Mac.

  3. Alex left out the fact that I swore and cursed when I first made the switch over. I had been using Microsoft from their very beginnings. My career was spent developing computer models to analyze real time problems and I think I was fairly proficient at it. Needless to say, after I became used to the Mac I loved it. I keep prodding Alex to buy a fully blown Mac Pro one day.
    Who knows, but I do love my Mac (and ipods)

  4. I bought my first Mac back on August 2006 and I just love it.

    I really don’t have any need for windows on my machine.

    For those who need to run a software that only runs on windows you may want to take a look at the following:

    BootCamp (this will allow you to choose if you run windows or MAC OS X on your mac)
    Parallel Desktops (this is a virtual machine that will allow you to run windows side by side with MAC OS X).
    VMWARE FUsion (this is another virtual machine that will also allow you to run windows side by side with MAC OS X).

    I love that my Mac allows me to run powerful applications to handle my photography and video collection and at the same time I can just open a terminal window and run some of my geek stuff like ruby on rails.

    best wishes,
    Marcelo Pinheiro

  5. Marcelo,

    I simply love the fact that I have a four-year old machine that can run the latest software without a glitch. I often have many “heavy” software running – like Photoshop, InDesign, Bridge, plus a couple of wordprocessors, databases, firefox with a dozen tabs open – at the same time and the machine works fine. That’s the way I work best – multitasking – and although I could do it on my windows machine, more often than not it would cause the computer to crash or become too sluggish.

    When the new Intel machines came out many people were happy that macs would now be able to run Windows natively. Honestly, I haven’t needed it once in these 4 years… I had a couple softwares for which mac versions were not available; I simply found a better mac equivalent for them.

    Thanks for the comment,


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