Switching from PC to Mac

macOS & Mac Apps

Hi, I will soon be picking up my very first Mac and have a couple of questions regarding the big switch from a pc.

1. My Files:
I have an external hard drive with all my documents, photos and videos backed up. This currently works with my pc. I have Mac drivers for it, so know I can connect it to my mac.
Can I directly transfer these files to my mac, or does the drive need reformatting first? (Yes, I have other places to temporarily store my files)

2. My videos:
They are mostly in WMA format. Is there an app which will play them? Or do I need to convert them first?

3. Mac Setup:
I am not ashamed to admit I know very little about the Mac. I will be working with VoiceOver. So far I have had one training session. I can use the finder, navigate the dock, navigate the menu and browse the internet. I also know how to turn it on and shut it down, but have never switched on a brand new one. I imagine basic setup will be similar to ios. Chose a language, input apple ID and connect to a WiFi Network. Are there any other really important things I need to make sure are switched on or off? Like a firewall? Please only mention the important things. The stuff that can be classed as personal preference I will figure out later.




Submitted by Thomas Byskov Dalgaard on Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hi Codee!

  1. Your files: Your files will be in good shape, if your harddrive is not formated as NTFS. If it is, I strongly advice you to reformatthe drive as XFAT. Then you can use it on both Windows- and Macs later on if you wish.

  2. Your videos: You do not need to convert them if you can use the VLC Media player as a video or audio player. I actually still prefer this over iTunes except for when I do hear Apple Music. :-)

  3. Setup of your Mac.

As I read your post, you are ready to rock the setup of the Mac. You will need to be aware of the following during setup:

A: When you are cerating your user, you can find a checkbox allowing you to use the same password as your iCloud account. I would strongly advice you to turn this off, you can create the same password just fine without using the iCloud option. The reason why I turned it off was so I could use automatic login on my macs.

B: You might uncheck a box regardinf filevault. Filevault lets your data be incrypted, but as a new user you can always do this later on should you wish to use it.

Hope this helps, and congrats on your new Mac. Hope you'll like it.

Best regards Thomas

Submitted by jack on Thursday, August 13, 2015

First of all, Thomas, you're saying Vlc doesn't play Apple Music files? I thought they made it work with the m4p files back in 2008 when m4p was the older itunes format. But it would make sense because itunes controls the Apple Music subscription. Anyway, a setting you will most definitely wanna configure. IN the finder, press command+3 to switch to column view. That will give you a nicer treeview rather than the icon view. Also in the verbosity seggings in voiceover utility, turn read numbers as... to words instead of digits. Also, in security and privacy, turn the setting off that requires a password after 5 minutes and after waking up your mac from sleep.

Submitted by Siobhan on Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hi. first off, awesome you're getting your Mac, I haven't seena pc in about three years. No, the mac isn't better. anyway file vault if you did use it, there is no speech just so you realize it if you reboot the Mac. Good luck I don't know much about the other two questions.

Submitted by Ekaj on Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hi Codee. I'm glad you're going to pick up your new Mac soon. My mom and I attended one training session at our Apple store location just after I acquired mine, and the session went great. But that's the only session I've attended to date, for reasons which I won't go into on here. Nothing at all to do with the trainer with whom we met, or anything like that. But anyway, I'd first like to say something about File Vault. I recently enabled it, and I've had absolutely no problems. It is true that there's no speech upon startup, but you can still turn VoiceOver on with command-F5. When you do this it will prompt you for your username and then password. The Tab key will not work in here, as I found out not long ago. So just hit Enter after each prompt, and if you've entered them correctly you should hear three beeps. This password field uses clicks to denote each character. Now to iTunes. I know you said you don't use it that much, but I've found the Column Browser seems to work better. I still haven't mastered everything in iTunes myself. The Column Browser is activated with Command-B, and is a toggle. I think it remains active though even if you quit iTunes and relaunch it. Good luck.

Submitted by Thomas Byskov Dalgaard on Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hi Jack!

Uhm, I don't think it can play the apple music files, but it will play m4a just fine and most of other file types I've come across. .

I myself prefer tabel mode in Finder because it doesn't load files and folders when you press up- or down arrowkey. That does a huge difference if you are using NAS-servers etc. so I changed to that instead of collumview.

JMO. Best regards Thomas

Submitted by Chelsea on Friday, August 14, 2015

Hi Codee. I, too, am a Mac lover and convert from 2012, so know where you are coming from.

As far as your drive, if it is formatted with NTFS your Mac will read the files fine. In order to write to the drive, though, I find a little utility called Paragon NTFS for Mac to be very useful. You pay for it once and it allows you to access all your external drives for windows, of which I have a few. When I got a new drive, I formatted it for mac in order to have a bootable backup and it works great. I was even able to partition it very easily with Disk Utility, but that's getting into the weeds a bit.


Submitted by Thomas Byskov Dalgaard on Saturday, August 15, 2015


I did that a few years ago as well, but I decided to go with XFAT instead. My reason why was that my Mac at that time did bad stuff to the drive I tried to scan with disk utility, and NTFS takes up a lot of space on the drive and you can scan the drive with other software that can handle XFAT. But sorry for making this topic a little technical. :-)

Best regards Thomas

Submitted by Maanling on Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hi guys

Thanks to all of you who took time to answer my questions.
2 weeks ago I picked up a 13 MacBook pro without retina. If I believe the system information, its a 2012 model. For all the techy people: 2.7ghz processor, 500gb hdd and 4gb ram. Mac osx Yosemite. I chose for the none retina version for 2 reasons. 1. There is a 200 euro price difference. 2. My eyes arent good enough to appreciate the difference anyway.

I had eyes to help me with setup, which was pretty easy. I indeed chose to turn off filevault. I only ever had one encrypted file on windows so chose to explore filevault after i learn more about the computer and how to use it. Am able to transfer to and from external hard drive without issues. I somehow managed to buy one thats both mac and window compatible.
So far, I can open all my photos and videos so i will soon find out if iMovie also supports the file formats my cameras use.

I really love the computer and just love that it all works seemlessly with my ios devices. I just need to stop thinking like a windows user. Most things on a mac require less button clicks and I keep looking for things that just dont exist. Lol.

Hopefully i will get voiceover training in a month or two.
I am looking forward to learning more.


Submitted by Liz on Sunday, August 30, 2015

Greetings Cody,

I switched to the mac several months ago.
I found Applevis podcasts extremely helpful.
the most difficult part was setting up my Internet accounts.
For me, it was completely worth it. If I can help, feel free to ask questions. :)


Submitted by Justin on Sunday, August 30, 2015

I talked to the tech guys when I got my hard drive replaced and they told me in exact words, don't use file vault. I will warn you, if you do, and you forget your password, then you cannot get back into your computer. Please be aware and cautious if you ever plan on using file vault.
Also if there is anything we can do, please feel free to post on here and we'll try to help. And yeah, I'm not using the retina displayed mac either, don't need it yet!