A Windows user’s first four days with a Mac

On Friday, I received my iMac, bringing me back to the world of the Mac OS for the first time in about eight years. The iMac is not my main rig — I still use a “Wintel” PC running Windows XP for work — it’s a replacement for my home computer (though I eventually hope to expand its use beyond pictures, movies, and World of Warcraft).

So, what’s the initial reaction from a guy who was very entrenched into Windows, but has a solid Mac history?

  • What’s up with the mouse movement? One of the first things I do on any computer I use is turn the mouse speed up all the way. I want the slightest flick of my wrist to shoot the cursor across the screen. Doing this on a Mac made it, well, not as zippy as I’d prefer. Apparently, plenty of people agree, and the fix to the problem is to use some freeware hacks or shareware software (SteerMouse did the job for me).
  • I miss my keyboard shortcuts. Yes, you can do a lot with the Mac keyboard, but I do almost everything with the PC keyboard. I’ve since learned you can press Control-F2 to open the Mac menu for keyboard navigation, but I miss the ability to TAB between fields in web browsers (there is a fix) and the underlined letters that show which keys you can press to activate menu options (somewhat of a workaround).
  • Installing software on a Mac is glorious. I can’t believe how easy they make it. No surprises and no issues.
  • I plugged in my USB devices and they worked immediately — my external USB drive, my digital camcorder, my digital camera, and my photo printer. That never happened on a PC.
  • iMovie is everything that Windows Movie Maker is not.
  • FolderShare works as well on a Mac as it does on a PC — and it made transferring dozens of gigabytes of pictures and movies disturbingly simple.
  • I had to manually turn on the right-click feature on my single-button MightyMouse. That should be on by default.
  • World of Warcraft stopped working after I adjusted some parental controls and firewall settings — apparently an unintended side effect acknowledged by Blizzard — and required a reinstall. Fortunately, reinstall only took me about 30 minutes, about the time it takes to queue up and play one battleground instance.

I’m enjoying the Mac experience so far. It’s definitely something to get used to. My fingers still stumble on the Mac keyboard a bit, and there are some things I miss from Windows-land.

0 thoughts on “A Windows user’s first four days with a Mac

  • Yeah, it’s getting to be “that time” for me as well.

    I’m seriously debating a Mac investment. If their support and quality is anything like the iPod. They have a buyer.

  • My biggest Mac gripe so far: mouse movement. It’s taking way too long for me to find the settings I’m happy with — something I never had a problem with Macs back in the day, and something I don’t have a problem with in Windows. Then again, I am a bit uncommon in my expected mouse behavior…

  • Yeah the mouse movement takes a little tweaking. When I first switched I was definitely expecting the cursor to move across the screen faster.

    Once you tweak the mouse preferences, it works fine.

  • Parallels is very similar as well.

    VMs and bootcamp are all nice, but does it make as much sense to buy a Mac when you do 75% of your work in Windows?

    All that being said I’m very happy with all things about the Mac except two: the keyboard and mouse. They suck. It’s a shame that I buy a computer like this and then must buy an aftermarket keyboard/mouse. Sure, they look nice and fancy, but they are simply not as functional as other keyboards I’ve used.

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