Mac Windows

7 Tips for Switching from Mac to Windows

Brad Jones 09-07-2015

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 4 Things About Windows That You'll Miss on a Mac Thinking about switching over to a Mac? It's easy to find faults with Windows. But are you aware of the things you'll miss? Read More , 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 Hey Windows User, Should You Switch To Linux or Mac? Did you ever consider switching from Windows to Linux or Mac? The quick answer: if you're on Windows, stay on Windows—and don't worry about upgrading just yet. Here's why. Read More . 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 Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of time. Master the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, keyboard tricks for specific programs, and a few other tips to speed up your work. Read More 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 Navigating Windows with Keyboard Shortcuts Alone You might know lots of keyboard shortcuts, but did you know you could get around Windows without your mouse? Here's how. Read More .

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.


Avast Free Antivirus

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 The Best PC Software for Your Windows Computer Want the best PC software for your Windows computer? Our massive list collects the best and safest programs for all needs. Read More can be a lifesaver if the worst should happen.

Avast is a free antivirus security suite The 5 Best Free Internet Security Software for Windows Need antivirus, anti-malware, and real-time security? Here are the best free internet security software for Windows. Read More 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 Switching From Windows To Mac? Ensure You Can Still Access Your Data! Whether you're trying to avoid Windows 8 or just considering something new, you might be thinking about switching to a Mac. One thing bothers you, though: can you keep your data? Read More 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 How To Open Strange File Types In Windows Computers know thousands of different file formats. Sometimes, both you and Windows are clueless as to how to open a strange file. Here is how you can figure out how to open those files. Read More 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 How to Reformat an External Hard Drive Without Losing Everything on It Worried about losing the data on your corrupt hard drive? Here's how to reformat the HDD so you can recover your data later. Read More .

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 5 Ways to Sync Music to Your iPhone Without iTunes Don't wrestle with iTunes to get music onto your iPhone, use one of these alternative methods and workarounds instead. Read More 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 6 More VLC Media Player Features You Must Try VLC is a media player more powerful than you might realize. Are you using it to its full potential? Here are some pointers. Read More .

Enjoy PC Gaming to the Full

Gaming on Mac OS X The Top 7 FPS Games for Mac OS X In the war between PC and console gaming, the former is just assumed to always be Windows. But what about Mac? Sure, there isn't a huge number of games available for Apple's desktop operating system,... Read More 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 5 Secrets Of The Steam Client That You Should Be Using Are you sure that you're getting the most out of your Steam client? If you aren't careful, there are some really useful features and tools that you could be looking over. Read More , 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 10 Indie Games So Good, You’ll Forget They’re Indie At All There may be times, however, where you want something different from the indie norm. A game that follows indie values, yet is made with the quality that top-shelf AAA games are known for. Titles like... Read More , 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 How To Make Windows Fonts Look Like Mac Fonts Eye candy is not a Windows forte. Modern UI (aka Metro) brought improvements, but still lacks in one important area: fonts. We show you how you can get beautiful font smoothing on Windows. Read More 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 Can You Really Save Money By Building A Green PC? Read More 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 Building A PC? How To Get The Best Deals On Parts Building your own computer and want to get the best deals? You need a strategy that can score red-hot sales before they sell out. My preferred method uses a multi-spectrum approach. Read More , 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.

Image credits: laptop via Shutterstock, modern laptop via Shutterstock, Finger pressing the keyboard by Radu Razvan via Shutterstock.comDeiby/Flickr

Related topics: Computer Maintenance, Data Backup, Install Software, iTunes, VLC Media Player.

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  1. diane
    March 31, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I was hardcore windows for a very long time and got a macbook pro 5 years ago. It was quite an adjustment but I got used to it. I don't like using it for business because Microsoft Office isn't quite the same on the mac as a pc. I spilled a little (and I mean a little) coffee on my macbook pro keyboard - a few letters are dead - Apple to replace $500 - that's crazy. I can buy a current pc for not much more. I switching back to pc but dreading that email isn't a simple import. Frustrated that Apple does tight architecture.

  2. Brad
    January 12, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I've been mac only since windows 97. I believe ios 8. Could have been 7. I've owned an iPhone currently own two iPads two mac minis two imacs and a MacBook Pro. (most of those are for my business). Never had a problem. Software is hundreds cheaper times the number of installs (every purchase can be installed on every clmputer) and my computers typically hit the 8 year mark before no longer being useful. But I'm switching/adding a PC today in fact. Why? Surface Pro 3 and One note. Also the LMS support Community built around windows. Mac simply has no answer to the combination. I won't sell the other systems. We'll see when they start dying. Might have many more PCs at my studio.

  3. Terry Sargent
    January 8, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Terry Sargent

    I read all of these comments and they are very enlightening,however, having been an Engineer and used,built,repaired both makes of systems over the years my opinion is very simple. Macs have always had a very user friendly GUI making them comfortable to get used to. The drawback to Macs are multi fold, they are VERY expensive for what you get. They are NOT the build quality most people seem to think(told to think),repairs and failures of major components is very common and very expensive to get fixed,generally not by the owner but at Apple(planned that way). Limited software for many professional areas and expensive if available. Most Macs lag far behind PC's in component upgrades, for example Macs used DDR2 ram long after PC's switched to DDR3, Macbook and Macbook Pro's LCD screens lagged years behind PC's who offed full High Def LCD's looooong before Macs and even then you had to pay a premium to upgrade. Don't get me wrong here I love Macs I just know them better than most. PC's on the other hand offer up-gradable systems, for example a CPU can be replaced(upgraded) since it is not soldered on the Motherboard like Macbooks are. A Business class PC is of a superior build quality since businesses will not tolerate failures well. HP,Lenovo and DELL offer superior warranties,usually three years, for free, whereas Apple makes you pay a premium for extra coverage. I recently had HP completely rebuild a Laptop under warranty in my HOME for free,it was 21/2 years old,think Apple would do that? It is my opinion that you must choose the system you like regardless and live with what you get. I have run Parallels on a Mac and although it is getting better over time it is still not the combination of choice, it requires a very powerful mac to make it work efficiently. Apple limits what you can use in Bootcamp so in most cases an older Mac will likely only be able to use Windows 7 which is already in End of Life mode at Microsoft. I equate the Apple product line to Harley Davidson motorcycles, both have done a masterful job of advertising making people believe what they wanted them to think while giving them an over priced product of marginal quality. A real clue about true quality is what businesses generally use - PC's, they are cost effective,reliable,up-gradable, trade in-able when newer models are available, excellent free warranty system and much much more software. I still own both because regardless of what I have said here I still love Macs and perhaps that is what most Mac owners feel and are willing to pay for...enjoy what you got.

  4. Anonymous
    July 16, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    I have been a loyal user of PC for a long time until the Mac designers introduce Intel processors in the MacBook Pro. With a program like Paralells or VMWARE FUSION you can have the best of bot worlds : Work with PC programs in an mix interface with the advantages of the Apple's Hardware system, which is and have been superior to the PC's design since the beginning of the personal computers.

    If you are a Windows fan and need a better hardware, use a Macbook Pro or a desktop AIO equivalent like an Imac or if you are a Mac fan, now you can have access to use Windows programs in a Window machine in your Mac or integrated both operating systems integrated in the mac interface with "Coherence Mode" with Paralell ....

    • Anonymous
      July 17, 2015 at 12:31 am

      But the hardware of windows desktops has way more customisation features, you can upgrade individual parts really easily. For $1000, you can get a windows desktop with twice the power of a $1500 iMac, and if you want OS X you can always Hackintosh it (although that's far more complicated than Paralells/Bootcamp). Sure, Macs look good, but there are heaps of really awesome looking cases for desktop that have much more functionality. Mac keyboards and mice are crap, too. IMO, there's no point getting a mac desktop, the laptops are some of the best out there though. Still, if I wanted windows I'd get a windows laptop.
      Disclaimer: I have both a gaming pc and a retina mbp, and use both equally.

  5. Anonymous
    July 15, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Well, Win10 is due to be released soon, so articles like this promoting the brand seems the expected thing to see in blogs everywhere. Whether the whole premise makes sense at all given that Mac users are generally that because they've been informed of a superior OS that might cost a bit but will give them significantly better satisfaction overall is debatable.

    PC users generally don't choose Windows (like they choose OSX or Linux), they default to it.

  6. Anonymous
    July 14, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Who is this article for? People go from Windoze to Mac, not Mac to WIndoze.

    • mark
      January 29, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Not this user. Ready to dump my Mac, I'm sick and tired of the quirkiness that is everything Apple. It may satisfy hipsters seeking iconoclastic status at every turn but ultimately, I find it frustratingly impractical for all the reasons mentioned here.
      Oh, and their mouse is shite.

  7. Anonymous
    July 14, 2015 at 4:25 am

    A prerequisite for switching from Mac to PC?

    A full frontal lobotomy.

    I'd conservatively estimate over 90% of my computing problems were due to using Windows. If I had to move from a Mac, I'd build my own Linux box and be happy.

  8. Anonymous
    July 9, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    I'm built my own system and it's running OSX. So much for that point.