The great debate between Mac and PC has been raging for decades and shows no signs of cooling any time soon. If you find yourself defecting from one side to the other, there are some things you’ll need to know to ensure the changes don’t get the better of you.
Both operating systems have their advocates and their detractors, but the truth is that there are advantages and disadvantages on either side. Use these tips, and you’ll see more of the former and less of the latter.
Use Ninite to Get Up and Running
It can be difficult to adjust to a completely different OS with a radically different set of software available for it. Figuring out alternatives for the tools you use on your Mac could take a lengthy period of research, but using Ninite can speed the process up significantly.
Ninite compiles a host of basic software into one easy-to-use installer. Everything it offers comes highly recommended, and you won’t be targeted by any toolbars or other hassle as you install it on your system. Best of all, the software and the service is free.
If nothing else, it’s enough to get you started with the basics. You’ll likely have to search out specialist software on your own, but if you’re looking for standards like messaging tools, image editing utilities, and media players, you’ll find it all quickly with Ninite.
Make Full Use of Shortcuts
One of the biggest challenges for anyone making the transition from Mac to Windows or vice versa is getting accustomed with keyboard shortcuts. Swapping out the Apple Key for the Control Key will ease you into the basics, but some system-specific functionality will take a little longer to really get used to.
The all-encompassing Windows shortcut guide is a great way of getting to grips with everything you need to know. It may take time to learn these button combinations, but it will be well worth it in the long run. When you’re up to speed, you’ll be able to navigate around your PC using shortcuts alone.
Take Security More Seriously
The myth of Macs somehow being immune to viruses and security exploits shouldn’t be given much credence, but Windows users have more risks to be aware of. With more PCs out there than Macs, unscrupulous software has a broader reach if it targets Windows users.
However, this doesn’t mean that anyone using a PC is going to be inundated with viruses the second they open their web browser. Sensible Internet usage can shield you from a great swathe of the threats, and a robust antivirus and anti-malware software package can be a lifesaver if the worst should happen.
Avast is a free antivirus package that will take care of the majority of issues you might run into. Keep it updated, and it will be ready and waiting in the undesirable situation that your system is targeted.
Conserve the Data From Your Old System
Moving from a Mac to a PC is enough of an upheaval, so don’t think everything on your old computer is being thrown out. Think of it like moving house—the building might change, but you still get to keep your stuff.
However, unlike moving house, that stuff may or may not be compatible with your new PC. Certain file types are commonplace across different operating systems, but others won’t be. The MakeUseOf guide to switching from Windows to OS X offers a wealth of information on what can and cannot come with you, although it focuses on crossovers going in the opposite direction.
The important thing is to educate yourself before you make the jump. If there is an obscure file type that’s critical to some aspect of your computer usage, find out whether it can be used on a PC ahead of time. Furthermore, if your Mac is being sold or disposed of, it’s worth making sure that any data on it is wiped before your do so.
Say Goodbye to iTunes
If you’re knee-deep in the Apple ecosystem, you likely use iTunes to transfer files between your Mac and an iOS device. The software package is a fine media player for Apple systems, but transferring to the Windows version might leave you a little disappointed. Historically, Mac software hasn’t made the transition to PCs very well, and iTunes is a prime example of that problem.
Windows users often find that iTunes is nowhere near as responsive as it is on a Mac, and additional software like Bonjour and Quicktime comes bundled with the installer. All in all, it’s not a particularly attractive package for the PC owner.
Thankfully, you can sync media between iOS devices and your PC without using iTunes. If you’re just looking for a Windows-friendly media player, you have plenty of choices that will fill that gap, but VLC remains something of an essential install thanks to its unparalleled breadth of functionality.
Enjoy PC Gaming to the Full
Gaming on Mac OS X has come a long way in recent years, but it still doesn’t offer anywhere near as broad a library as that of the PC. Thanks to Steam, you can catch up with whatever titles you missed over the course of your time with Apple, likely at hugely reduced rates compared to their original release.
You don’t necessarily need a high-spec computer to enjoy the latest indie titles, but if you have the horsepower, ports of popular console titles have never been more readily available than they are today. Plus, many genres are simply better suited to a PC interface than they are to dedicated gaming consoles, like FPSes, RTSes and MMOs.
Make Fonts Look More Familiar
As much as the Metro interface has refurbished Windows for modern audiences, the aesthetics of Mac OS X are far beyond what stock PCs can offer. Customizing your system’s look will make it more palatable and some smaller tweaks might end up making the biggest difference.
Macs and PCs render fonts differently, and if you’re moving from OS X to Windows then you might miss the smoothness that comes with text on an Apple computer. The difference is that Windows uses DirectWrite technology, whereas Macs and other devices use FreeType.
If the difference doesn’t both you, then you’re in the clear—but for many users, once you’ve seen the difference then you’ll never escape the eyesore. Thankfully, MakeUseOf published a guide on how to switch from DirectWrite to FreeType and making your text render as you remember it doing on OS X.
Bonus: Build Your Own System
One major advantage that a Desktop PC has over Mac systems is that, generally speaking, components can be swapped out freely. That means you can customize your computer to your exact specifications, and perhaps save a bit of money in the process.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line PC that has the horsepower to run video editing software without breaking a sweat, you can choose the components to make that a reality. Alternatively, you can build a budget system that has just enough under the hood to run a web browser and Office software.
Rather than having a few options to pick from, there’s really no end to the customization that a PC affords you. Even if you’re a complete novice with the hardware, you might find that after building your first PC, you never buy a stock system again.
Are you considering moving from Mac to PC? Have you made the switch recently? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below.