In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg muses on the process of switching from Windows to Mac OS. All this, of course, has been stimulated by Apple’s new ad campaign, which encourages Windows users to take the Mac plunge.
Mossberg said that potential Mac converts need to take a look at how to transfer their digital lives from Windows to the Mac. He noted that the process takes “time and money” beyond what’s involved with buying a Mac. “But then, the same could be said about upgrading to a new Windows PC. It’s a little more difficult to cross platforms, but not much more,” he said.
Differentiating files and programs is important, and Windows users will have to replace key applications they can’t live without. Fortunately, Mossberg points out that “in most cases” the files that actually contain personal data — Word docs, Excel spreadsheets and so on — can be used immediately. He also points to Apple’s own Switch Web site as an important resource for instructions to do so.
Mossberg said the easiest way for Windows users to migrate their files to the Mac is to simply burn them onto a CD-R on their PC and then drag and drop them to the Mac. Zip disks, USB flash memory modules, and floppies will work too (presuming you’ve bought an external floppy drive for your Mac). Networking works too, “though these techniques can be tricky and complex.”
How to actually use the PC files on your Mac runs the gamut from easy to hard, said Mossberg. Office files, for example, open automatically. Quicken requires you to import PC files, and even then some parts must be recreated. All told, said Mossberg, new Mac converts may expect to take a couple of days to get everything working right.
“Transitioning to the Mac is easier than it seems, and doesn’t take much technical skill. Everyone isn’t a good candidate for the Mac, but for those who are, making the switch is entirely doable,” he said.