[Guide] From Windows to Mac OS X: A Beginner’s FAQ (Part 2)

In this article, I attempt to address more questions/annoyances for those who come from a Windows background. If you haven’t already read [Part 1], head over as it covers the more basic issues.

* What are some equivalents to common Windows applications?

– First Party
Bitlocker => Filevault 2
Command Prompt => Terminal
Device Manager = System Information
Disk Management => Disk Utility
Event Viewer => Console
Notepad/Wordpad => TextEdit
Outlook Express => Mail
Power Options => Energy Saver
Snipping Tool (for screenshots) => Grab
Task Manager => Activity Monitor
User Accounts => Users & Groups
Windows Backup => Time Machine
Windows Firewall => Security & Privacy Preferences
Windows Update => Software Update (or App Store Updates in 10.8)

– Third Party
Office 2010 => [Office 2011]
WinRAR/7Zip => [Keka] / [UnArchiver]

* How do I map network drives?

In Finder, select Go => Connect to Server (⌘K). From here, use either SMB:// AFP:// NFS:// or FTP://, depending on your protocol. Note that WebDAV is supported through HTTP://. This is assuming that network discovery hasn’t found available network drives in the sidebar. To make it stick after reboots, drag and drop the mapped drive into your Login Items (under Users and Groups).

* Why doesn’t the green button maximize the window?

In Windows, the maximise button acts accordingly and takes up the entire screen regardless. On OS X, the green button isn’t maximise, but rather ‘resize’ to a suitable size, depending on the content. In other words, it’s content-aware and will choose a size which it thinks is ideal. Sometimes this means full-screen, sometimes not. If you want to have absolute window size shortcuts, in addition to the split left/right functions, check out Spectacle (free).

* What’s the difference between Minimizing and Hiding windows?

Pressing the Yellow button (or ⌘M) will minimise the windows to the dock bar, with an animation. If it’s an open document in an application, it will minimise to the right side of the dock bar. If you use Hide (⌘H), there’s no animation and the window doesn’t show on the right side of the dock bar. Both of these will still show the application in the ⌘-Tab switcher or Expose. It’s not a huge difference, especially if you’re like me and use the ‘Minimise Windows to Application Icon’ which removes the clutter on the right side of the Dock bar.

* There’s shortcut keys for everything, how do I learn them quickly?

Check out [Cheatsheet] (Free). After installing, hold down ⌘ in any application and a list of all shortcuts will appear. Use shortcuts for maximum efficiency.

* How do I quickly switch between Icon / List/ Column / Coverflow view in Finder?

⌘1, ⌘2, ⌘3, ⌘4, respectively.

* My menu bar is getting cluttered with icons, how do I clean it up?

Check out [Bartender] (Free), you can choose to hide selected applications and behaviours.

* How do I access hidden functions and settings to tweak further?

Check out [TinkerTool] (Free) or Onyx (Free) for more options.

* How do I run other OS’s on my Mac?

Either through virtual environments, see [VMWare Fusion], [Parallels Desktop], or [Virtualbox]. Or [Boot Camp].

* Why do external drives sometimes show up on my Desktop and sometimes don’t?

Go to Finder Preferences (⌘,) and select which items show up.

* How do I check if my machine is still under warranty?

Apple Menu => About This Mac => More Info => Service => Check my coverage.

* Do I need to purchase Applecare?

If you’re purchasing a high-end, first-gen and/or long-term device, or one which is notoriously unserviceable or with extravagant servicing cost, then yes. For a base-model Macbook Air, probably not required.

* How do I free up space on my machine?

Especially relevant for SSD Mac’s, check out [Monolingual] (Free), which can remove unneeded libraries and languages from application packages. Alternatively, [CleanMyMac] or [CCleaner]. You can also look at moving large media libraries (ie. iTunes) to external volumes.

* What are the requirements to use Time Machine? What’s this about local backups?

Any external USB HDD can act as a Time Machine backup, it will automatically format to HFS. You can also partition these drives to limit the amount of space Time Machine uses (use Disk Utility). If Time Machine is switched on, the Mac will also make local snapshot backups while the external volume is not connected.

Time Machine will make hourly backups for the last 24 hours, daily backups for the last month, and weekly backups for every month before that. When it runs out of space, it will inform you and then remove the oldest backups first.

* What’s Filevault 2?

It’s full-disk encryption. Note that when enabling it, you can disable it on a per-user basis (if the user doesn’t want their information encrypted). The machine will now default to the recovery partition to boot for authentication before decrypting the main partition on the fly. All operations are performed in the background and with minimal impact on performance. See the official [Filevault 2] page for more information.

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One thought on “[Guide] From Windows to Mac OS X: A Beginner’s FAQ (Part 2)

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