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Summary:

So you finally convinced your friends and family to retire their PC in favor of a Mac with a Christmas gift. Now, you have to deal with being the training wheels for a new operating system. Here’s how to ease their transition.

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So you finally convinced your friends and family to retire their PC in favor of a Mac with a Christmas gift. Now, you have to deal with being the training wheels for a new operating system. You can avoid some of the hassles that go along with that, and ease the transition for new Mac users with these simple steps.

1. Create a “My Documents alias, and other shortcuts on the desktop

Steve Jobs wanted your desktop to remain as uncluttered as possible, but PC users are used to seeing key items there. Putting an alias to the Documents folder on the desktop and renaming it My Documents is a good idea during their adjustment period. The same goes for commonly used applications like Mail, Safari, etc. Once they get used to using the OS X Dock, they can ditch their desktop shortcut crutches.

2. Modify Finder Preferences to show key items on the desktop

New Mac users may find Lion’s tendency to keep things hidden unsettling. Go to the Finder Preferences and make sure to check that all items show on the desktop, including hard drives and mounted CDs. Also set New Finder windows to open in the user’s home folder or documents, rather than the new, somewhat confusing “All files” view.

3. Change how scrolling works

New Mac users may find the “natural” scroll behavior well, unnatural. Head over to the Trackpad System Preference pane and uncheck “natural scroll direction” so that scrolling works the way most Windows users expect it to.

4. Disable Restore

Also in System Preferences, go over General and uncheck “Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps.” Windows users won’t be used to Lion’s tendency to put everything back just the way you left it every time you quit and re-open an app.

5. Move the Bookmarks in Lion to the Bookmarks menu

The Lion Migration Wizard puts the Bookmarks imported from the PC into the Bookmarks tab, but not the menu. If you chose to setup your gift recipient’s new Mac using their old Windows machine, you’ll see folders on the side that say “Migrated From…” and list their PC’s installed browsers. You’ll want to drag the items from those folders to the Bookmarks Menu. For previous Internet Explorer users, items in the Links folder should be put in the Bookmarks Bar, and for those used to Firefox, put items from the Bookmarks Toolbar in the Bookmarks Bar.

While these tips won’t prevent new user questions entirely, they will make sure that people new to Macs start their experience with a minimum of frustration. And if the call volume is still too much to handle, gently remind the new Mac owners in your life that Apple’s tech support over the phone is some of the best in the industry.

  1. Very weak tips, I would not follow them. If migrating from Win to Mac is “frustrating” (sic), just tell your friends or family to take it easy. Everything’s new needs some time to get used to.

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  2. I’m definitely not a fan of “how to make your new Mac more like your old PC” articles. A “Here’s how it works on Mac” article would make much more sense. Having migrated many family and friends to Mac, I can say it was not that hard for any of them to figure out.

    Later on could you please send out directions on how to remap the keyboard to be more like a PC and include a downloadable windows key sticker.

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  3. Unmitigated nonsense. Assuming someone has made the decision to switch to OS-X, what possible excuse is there for attempting to mimic WIN-OS? It’s hard to imagine how such users will ultimately learn the Mac system after they have crippled it to look like an MS-PC. An article explaining on how and why OS-X is different and offering tips on “how to do “x” on a Mac” would be useful but not these retrograde suggestions.

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  4. Definitely i would not disable Restore to make the experience “more pleasant”: disabling it makes the experience just worst!

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  5. Ridiculous. Beginning to end, utter nonsense. Following this advice will help no one.

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  6. I appreciate the feedback. These tips are on option for those that have trouble with the transition. They certainly aren’t required. If they get it from day 1…awesome! Pick the ones that might help or none at all.

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    1. But if they don’t get it in the first place, then I guess you have to write a article to change it back. If there learning, just let them learn the Mac. The way it was intended.

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  7. Thanks for the tips. Take one point and run with it, or don’t take anything and simply move on.

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  8. Did you poor nasty commenters get some bad mince pie yesterday or what? there, there, you’ll feel better soon!

    Actually, tips 1&2 are very sensible, I do this on every Mac I set up, for newbies and vets alike. Tidy. #3 gets discussed with each end user, I encourage them to “go natural” if they already have an iPad or iPhone. 4&5 – well, personal preference, I guess. I don’t see great confusion either way.

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  9. I agree with many of the comments here. the whole point of moving to Mac is to move to Mac, not make it look like windows. You guys can do better.

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  10. I think the tips are actually quite handy. Making the switch is scary enough, and most people don’t have time to sit and figure out a new OS, so tips like this are actually meant to smooth the process. They aren’t meant to be final configuration, just simply an in-between configuration (and frankly one that I’ve stuck with as a 10 year + mac user.

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    1. They better figure it out. Soon you will see more macs than pc’s.

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