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Smooth the Transition from PC to Mac

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Every year thousands of people make the switch from PC to Mac for its easy-to-use features; but the switch to Mac isn’t always easy, especially for those who grew up on a PC. Thankfully there are tons of tools available to help smooth the transition.

Apple has traditionally targeted a niche group of consumers for its Mac computers, including business users who work in mostly creative industries. Now, thanks to Web-based applications and the Mac's ability to run compatible versions of the Windows operating system as well as Microsoft suites such as Exchange and Office, the Mac has become an attractive option for business users of all types. In fact, while just about every other company was battling economic hardship last year, Apple had one of its best years ever, boasting a 38 percent increase in Mac computer sales alone.

If you’re thinking of switching to Mac, a great place to start is Apple Switch 101. It offers easy-to-read guides that walk you through the process of setting up your new Mac, adapting your old PC working habits, migrating your files, connecting peripherals, and learning how to use Apple software. More visual learners should check out Apple’s video tutorials, where you can watch free videos titled "The Anatomy of Mac"; "Windows on a Mac"; and "PC to Mac: the Basics." For more in-depth help at a price, you can check out Quick Start Your Mac ($29.95), a downloadable guide from MacVideoTraining.com that provides 50 training videos designed to help you master your Mac. Another option is It's About Time to Learn the Switch to Mac, which offers a step-by-step comparison showing you the windows environment and how it relates to the Mac environment. The best part is you can use this software and familiarize yourself with the Mac long before you ever make the switch. This software can be downloaded for $24.95 or purchased out of a box for $29.95.

Part of mastering your Mac is dealing with software formatting issues that will inevitably arise. Mac is compatible with a lot of PC software and there are a lot of third-party alternatives for some of the more popular PC functions that aren’t Mac friendly. For a list of Mac alternatives, check out Software for Switchers from SwitchingtoMac.com, which provides a helpful list of OS X software that “replaces” Windows software.

For users who need more than just one replacement application, especially businesses that demand PC-only software, there is virtualization software available that allows you to run Windows applications on your Mac and easily switch between the two operating systems. Examples of this are Apple’s Boot Camp, which comes standard in OS X Leopard ($129), and Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac and VMware Fusion. Both of these come with free trials and cost $80.

Before you make the switch to Mac, especially for business purposes, take an inventory of all the PC applications you currently use and determine which ones are compatible with both Windows and Mac and which ones will require additional software. From this you can determine whether you need a few replacement applications or you should invest in virtualization software.

Also, by moving your core business applications off your desktop and onto the Web you can keep things running smoothly as you make the switch. Working in the cloud also allows you to share files with customers and other users who are working with a PC.

If you’re converting an entire office to Mac, make the change gradually. Keep in mind that there’s going to be a learning curve; you don’t want to get stuck with an entire staff fumbling blindly on their new computers. Convert one department at a time and make the switch to Mac servers at the end. It’s very easy to run Mac computers on a Windows server, but it’s very difficult the other way around.

Thousands of people make the switch from PC to Mac every year. By planning ahead and spending a little time checking out the tutorials and guides available, you can make the switch easy and smooth.

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