PC 2 MAC Simple Advice to Make it Easier

I often find myself coaching PC users on how to use their brand new spanking Mac. It’s a phenomenon that’s happening more and more as these shiny metal machines infect the enterprise. The crossover from PC to Mac is pretty difficult. Here are some quick tips to ease the transition:

Secure that Puppy!

It amazes me how many users do not protect their new Mac with a basic level of security. I’d recommend the following simple steps:

  • Encrypt the drive — Macs offer great built-in encryption support so users can encrypt entire hard drives, removable drives or create an encrypted container for their most important files. It’s all built in, but few enable the Filevault feature on a Mac. It’s really simple to do and the Filevault feature can be found in the Systems Preferences of any Mac.
  • Add virus protection — most new Mac users assume that their OS X operating system does not need added virus protection. It’s an age-old debate but I would offer a word of caution. The argument most often put forward is a simple one of market economics: because Apple’s global market share is relatively small, criminals go after the bigger shoals of fish in the Windows world. But, as Macs become increasingly popular, they are now attracting malicious attacks. It’s better safe than sorry.

Alfred To the Rescue

One of the biggest challenges for novice users is navigating the file system and finding apps. I’d recommend bypassing such challenges by moving to Alfred NOW. With a couple of keystrokes, you can launch applications, do math, search the web, and even find files from one application. It is a life saver.

Window Placement with Divvy

Many people struggle with how a Mac handles windows. They spend minutes and then hours trying to get their screen to go to full screen, as it does on a PC. Well, there is a clever solution for this issue too. Divvy!

You can easily download this from the app store. To configure, just go to Systems Preferences and then Security and Privacy. Next you need to:

  1. Click the Privacy tab.
  2. Click the lock icon to make changes.
  3. Select Accessibility from the list.
  4. Check the box next to the Divvy app.

If you don’t see the app you’re trying to authorize, you can add them by using the [+] button or simply drag and drop the app from Finder to add it.

Locking the Screen

This is one of the biggest pains in the world as there is no little check box to lock the screen on a Mac. With Alfred you can just type “lock” and your screen will be locked. Or you can setup hot corners to lock your screensaver. Here’s how:

  • Go to System Preferences
  • Go to Desktop and Screen Saver
  • Toggle the button the “Screen Saver”
  • In the lower right hand go to “Hot Corners”
  • In “Hot Corners” select one of the corners and set it to “Start Screen Saver”. Then click OK.
  • Next, we need to go back to System Preferences (tip: you can do this by clicking on the grid icon in the upper right of the window)
  • Go to “Security and Privacy”
  • From there check the box to Require the screen saver and set it to “immediately”

OK, time to try it out. Move your mouse to the corner you set as the hot corner and you should get the screen saver and then a login prompt. Boom!

Backup Your Stuff

Always remember to backup your stuff. It’s a golden rule for any computer user, whether you’re on a PC or a Mac. Here are a couple of options for the Mac:

  • Time Machine — this is a solid way to backup your Mac. It is the built-in backup feature of OS X and you will need to invest in an external storage solution to complete your backup.
  • Dropbox — this is a great way to automatically sync anything you put in a single designated folder (the eponymous Dropbox) to the cloud and from there, to your other Mac, PC, and iOS devices.

I am sure there are tons more of innovative apps and solutions to get even the most Windows-entrenched user flying on a Mac. But isn’t that what Google is for? I hope this post has given you some simple guidance — it seems to be the guidance I end up giving nearly every time I encounter a novice Mac user. :-)

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