First day on the Mac, by a Windows user

I got my MacBook and have spent a couple of hours with it. This if the most I’ve typed on it yet. The keyboard is very nice actually, and the whole thing just feels quality. However, I’m finding it rather frustrating to be honest, mainly because of the unfamiliarity. I’m quick on a Windows machine and have the keyboard shortcuts down pretty well – so much so that I don’t use the mouse that much if I can help it.

I get that command Q is the same as Alt F4, but what about Ctrl W? I can delete a word at a time using the alt key with backspace, rather than Ctrl as it is on Windows, but where’s the delete key? And how come Firefox didn’t show up in my regular user account after installing it on the admin account?

Part of the problem is that I don’t get to play on the Mac until the evening when I’m really too tired to be reading how-tos and manuals. I’m sure it will come in time. But, as this is my only Mac in a Windows world, I’m curious as to how frustrating it is going to be switching between them all day long with the keyboard shortcut issue. I haven’t tried doing anything really productive on the Mac; that’s not really what I got it for anyway, but it would be interesting to see how it works for heavy word processing, audio editing, etc. I guess I should start off by finding a site of info for switchers from Windows – anyone recommend anything?

It is a nice machine though. I also got a nice Timbuk2 bag for it.

I’m not sure about the glossy screen. It does reflect the light, but so far it hasn’t really been an issue.  

As I find with my iPod, it’s the little things that make Apple products nice. I went to plug in the magnetic power cord, which is a great thing in itself, but the thing that made me smile was that there was no right way round – downside up or upside down, it fits! And the button the battery that makes the lights come on to show how much charge is left is another example of the Apple goodness.

So, all in all, it’s a nice laptop, but there’s a curve. I’m pleased.


  1. Linolumixa says:

    Hello, new convert. I hope this will be the last OS you’ll ever use.

  2. Just FYI … two nights ago, I dreamed that I went and bought a Mac desktop. I’ve had PCs since before there were PCs so this is a very weird dream for me to have. I think you planted the seed for this weirdness … 😉 … hope it continues to amuse and confound and delight, your new acquisition! 

  3. David Chartier says:

    For most of your Windows > Mac keyboard shortcuts, the Apple/Command key (the one with a weird clover and Apple logo on it) will take the place of the Control key. In fact, you’ll find that Apple sticks to using Command for most of their shortcuts, and they’re a bit more reliable than their Windows equivalents. For example: ctrl-c/ctrl-v are copy/paste on Windows, but then there’s ctrl-w and ** alt-F4 ** for closing windows and apps? Try using cmd-w for closing almost any window (besides something like a Save dialog), and cmd-q for quitting all your apps.

    Also, Mac OS X is very permissions based, especially along the lines of accessing other users’ files and applications. Where did you install Firefox on the admin account? In the main root Applications folder, or somewhere else relative to the admin account, like the Desktop or somewhere in the Home folder? For a basic rule, put all your apps in the main Applications folder, and any user will be able to get at them there. I personally create a folder in my user’s Home folder called “Applications” and store all my apps there. This makes it really easy to back up all the extra apps I install, but they’re also still accessible (since I used the official ‘Applications’ name) to other users who log in and surf to /Users/myuser/Applications. Best of both worlds there for my uses.

    In terms of websites aimed directly at Windows switchers, I’ve honestly had a hard time finding them. I personally write for – The Unofficial Apple Weblog, and we try to cover everything; news, tips and other goodies for users both old and new. Often, if you google something like “mac switch site” you can find individual articles and posts that help switchers in your position, as opposed to entire sites devoted to the topic.

    I was in the same position you are about four years ago, but after I trudged through the initial learning curve, I fell in love and got rid of all my PCs – and now I write for an Apple site! You’ll probably run into a lot of Mac users like me who are eager to help, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially in forums and on blog posts.

    I hope this stuff helps, and welcome to the party.
    – David Chartier
    The Unofficial Apple Weblog

  4. David Chartier says:

    We just had this “From Windows to OS X” site submitted to us as a tip at TUAW. I quickly glanced through, and it might be worth a look; the author seems to go through a lot of the good basics of OS X and how they compare to Windows, without too much of the bashing.

  5. Thanks so much for all your tips and for keeping me in mind. I’m most grateful to you and will be sure to check out the site that you’ve linked to in your second comment. 


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