Meet the Macintosh!
Computer of choice for professionals of all types and
creative individuals in general, the combination of first-rate hardware
and Apple's MacOS makes other platforms obsolete. No need to worry
about viruses or hackers - nothing gets installed without your
permission and password. And don't be afraid to customize your Mac to
your liking; explore System Preferences (under Apple menu, top-left
corner of menubar) and set things up to suit your needs. For example:
The first icon under System Prefs - named "General" - has an option to
always show scroll bars, which will ensure scroll bars are always
available. System Prefs is where you can set your desktop picture (aka
wallpaper), set a screen saver, and setup a Time Machine backup drive.
These settings are System-wide; in addition, each and every application
(program) has its own set of preference settings.
Whether you're new to the Mac or new to computers in
general, you're guaranteed to find plenty of additional info
in the links below. It's helpful to
learn basic terminology and a grasp of certain metaphors,
like the Desktop (where you might keep things you're working on until
finished and filed away), the Finder (aka directory, where
every file has a name and icon), and the Dock (which contains one-click
shortcuts to frequently used apps/files).
Icons play an important part in identifying files and file types, too.
There are application icons,
document icons, sound and image icons (to name a few), and there
also folder icons used to group/contain and organize them. A little
time with links below will have you running like a pro.
Switching from PC to Mac?
Be prepared to ditch some old
habits and learn some new tricks. No more registry issues, no more
endless scans tying up CPU cycles, no need to fear your inbox, and yes,
you can now do simple things in a simple fashion (like dragging a JPEG
into an email). In fact, if you can think of an easier way to do almost
anything, give it a try - it'll probably work. And don't worry about
installing drivers for every device you attach to your Mac; try it
first, you may be surprised to learn there really is such a thing as
If you bought your Mac
at an Apple store, ask them about importing your PC files; they might
do it for you - but - they might put your data on iCloud, which may or
may not be okay with you. Ask questions if you're
not sure what having your stuff on iCloud will mean down the road, or
ask them to put your data on the internal drive instead (or a secondary drive) if you have any doubt.
You can always upload to iCloud later if you want; getting into iCloud
is easy, but getting out is not.
Don't be surprised if you have to replace
some of your programs with Mac versions. Most apps are
cross-platform these days, but some oldies are not, so ask about
critical apps, too. Welcome aboard!
tried several times to install a driver for my [gizmo], why won't it
We see a lot of .exe files downloaded on
Macs, but these require Microsoft Windows in order to execute and are
useless on a Macintosh. You may not need a driver; try connecting that
see if it doesn't work without installing anything. If you _do_ need a
some device, download it from manufacturer's web site and make sure to
select driver appropriate to your Mac Operating System.
A few words about
speaking) do one of three things:
How can I get a disk
out of my CD/DVD drive?
They blindly install software regardless of previous installations,
which can result in multiple copies.
They check for previously installed software and may replace existing
files with new ones being installed.
They might skip past existing files and only install those that might
be missing, which means a
corrupt file may not be replaced.
depends entirely on how installer was written, and there's no
way to know what it's doing unless installer was designed to notify you.
of this, it is often wise to delete (or uninstall) previous copies of
drivers/apps/software before reinstalling if trying to solve a problem.
Third-party updates usually modify existing software, upgrades may
replace the existing driver (and _should_ delete the old one).
installers will have an "Uninstall" option to make removal easy, and
will check for previous installations to avoid conflicts -
but many installers do not offer these functions. In addition, software
may already be included in your Operating System making additional
installations unnecessary (and possibly problematic).
And finally: Drivers on CDs included with off-the-shelf devices may already be
outdated at time of purchase. Check manufacturer's web site for updates
and current drivers that may be newer than what came in the box.
Holding the mouse button
down during the startup process (from off) should eject all removable
media before your desktop appears onscreen. Mini-discs get stuck and
won't make it to
the slot without some coaxing, so you might want
to see if gravity can help by tipping machine up with drive slot
downward. If these steps don't work, more
drastic measures might be required. Bring your machine to the shop and
we'll extract whatever may be stuck in it the hard way, if need be.
We've saved many an optical drive over the years.
email settings are correct. Why can't I send/receive email?
If you haven't changed
any network/mail settings on your Mac, and email worked yesterday, it's
probably not your fault. Your service provider may be offline
temporarily; wait a day or so, and try again. If you
have a notebook, take it someplace where Wifi is available and try
it there. Or, you might try resetting modems and routers by removing
power to each for 30 seconds, thereby resetting them. Messing with
network settings is usually
a bad idea, and if they worked yesterday they should still work if they
haven't been changed.
I need an anti-virus program?
No. The vast majority of
Mac users today have never
encountered a real virus. Ever. Anti-virus software will only get in
the way, and bad ones can cause
trouble. You're free to download and install nasty stuff, but it won't
happen without your knowledge and participation. See our Security and
Protection page (left) for more.
course, if you're running Microsoft Windows on a Mac, all bets are off.
Windows on a Mac _does_ open the door to all that PC junk out there,
and you must run the same anti-virus, anti-spyware,
anti-adware utilities that are critical to keeping Windows running
I need to run Software Update (AppStore)?
Updates are almost always
a good thing; upgrades
can be another matter. So, updates yes, upgrades not necessarily. Some
upgrades have proven to be quite
unpopular, so you might ask around before you take the plunge.
Always make a proper
backup prior to applying updates, upgrades, installations, or making
changes. Reverting to a backup may be your only
option for recovery if something goes wrong.
does "Disk is almost full" mean?
It means you're about to run out of
space on your startup drive. If this happens and you ignore the
you'll soon notice your machine running slowly. Applications may quit
unexpectedly without room to work, and your computer may eventually
refuse to startup.
Some free space
is required for operation (minimum 10-15% of
a full drive can effectively prevent use of maintenance and
troubleshooting utilities, especially if FileVault is on. You
may need to replace your existing drive with a larger one - and if you
don't have a backup, now is the time to
set one up.
If you purchase a
new Mac thru an Apple Store, ask them about transferring your data for
you. Was a time when they offered free transfer from Mac or PC, but I
think those days are over and they now charge a fee. Doesn't hurt to
Migration options are largely
determined by OS version/age and connectivity. Transferring data from
late versions of OSX (on a functional Mac) to a brand-new Macintosh is
the easiest; your new machine will walk you thru the process the very
first time you start it up, and all you need is an ethernet cable in
most cases. Early OSX versions and older machines may be a little more
problematic. Networking may not be an option for some older Macs, and
early Systems will require additional considerations.
OS9 thru 10.5 are long obsolete and will be left behind in most cases,
but text files, audio files and JPEGs are usually good to go. If you
have critical data
that predates 2006, it might be too late to bring it along gracefully,
so we'll have
to make some special arrangements. Generally speaking, the older the
data/OS, the more complicated it becomes to bring it up-to-speed.
First step: Prepare your old Mac.
Test and verify your old
hard drive, make sure it is operational and its data structures and
directory are intact by running Disk Utility/First Aid; if errors
appear, they should be repaired before
attempting to transfer your data. (If you don't know how to do these
things, we'll be happy to do the transfer for you.) Now is a good time
to clean house, and here are a few suggestions:
Startup your old Mac -
the one you'll copy from - launch your mail app and delete old emails,
junk and spam, then empty trash in your email program. Open your web
browser and delete any unused/unwanted bookmarks, clear browser's
history, empty cookies and cache. (Shortcut: See Safari's "Reset"
under Safari menu.)
cleanup: Files on your desktop should be moved to appropriate folders
within your drive (Documents folder, Pictures, Music, etc.). Drag
unwanted items to the trash if you're certain you know what they are,
and get rid of as much debris as you like - this is s good time to
clean house. (Best to leave any and all Library folders alone, by the
way.) If you're not comfortable deleting stuff, maybe we can provide
some guidance. Once you're satisfied that you won't lose anything
empty the trash.
nCity performs data transfer or backup services for you, we do not delete anything. However, we
may create a folder to contain
desktop files, and move this into your hard drive for safe
keeping. We seldom empty the trash, but we are quite likely to
suggest that you do so.
Data Migration on first run of a new Mac.
process assumes that your old machine isn't truly ancient, that the
is operational, and that your old hard drive is fully functional. If
this is not the case, intermediate steps and/or additional hardware may
be necessary to extract your data. If all is good (and reasonably
current), continue with Migration process.
The very first time you startup a new Macintosh, importing data is
merely one step in machine's initial setup process. Setup screens will
walk you thru importing your data from an older Mac (including accounts
and network settings) and it couldn't be easier. If you skipped this
import step, then you have created a new user admin account during
initial setup of the new machine, and a second acc't will be created on
import - which might complicate things a bit, but it can be sorted out
later. Important thing is to know and remember those passwords.
data AFTER first run
your Applications -> Utilities folder is the
Migration Assistant app (right). Launching Migration Assistant will
initiate the process outlined above and
take you step-by-step thru importing your old admin account, apps,
files and network settings from your old machine to your new Macintosh.
Migration Assistant varies considerably between OS versions it shipped
with, so the process is difficult to describe without knowing exact OS
version in use. Regardless, it is designed to be as easy as possible
and presents instructions for each step along the way, including
network or connection options to get started. In some cases, Migration
Assistant must be launched on _both_ machines, but usually the Mac on
receiving end is in charge of the process.
Data migration is a fairly common service we provide to our clients,
and we are equipped to handle transfers from even the oldest of vintage
you can run Windows on a Mac.
There may still be a few
situations where some key database or software
requires a version of Windows to operate. We can help with the
Mac side of your machine, and we can enlist additional assistance for
the PC side if necessary, but experience has shown that running Windows
on a Mac - while possible - can be costly in terms of time and trouble.
We strongly recommend picking up a cheap PC to run that
Windows app and using the Mac for everything else. That said...
Best way (at the moment) for running Windows apps on a Mac may be to create a "virtual
machine" solution using VMWare's Fusion
Desktop product. Apple's own Boot Camp
(free, included with the MacOS) creates a logical partition on your
drive that allows you to switch between platforms. These utilities all
have one thing in common, and it's a potential deal-killer: You _must_
have a licensed copy of Windows with a valid registration key. Add that
expense to virtual machine software and you'll already be paying for a
cheap PC with Windows installed.
The other major problem with running
Windows on a Mac is the fact that Microsoft Windows brings all of its
virus and malware vulnerabilities with it. You will have to
update, use and maintain all
those anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware programs that are
mandatory for Windows users when running Windows on a Mac.
apps (Windows and Mac)
may be able to read/write their own file types on both Mac and PC, but
don't count on it. Most
apps have two versions - one for Windows, another for Mac - and whether
each can import
their own files from the other platform is the question.
There's almost always a way, but finding the easiest may require some
research. There are also notable
exceptions: Some popular bookkeeping and spreadsheet apps are
problematic, and some of these cannot even read their own files from a
previous version, let alone import data between platforms. Best to
check version upgrade and OS requirements for critical
apps you use, and check file import/export options between versions and
platforms. This info should be available online at program's web site.
The modern version of many apps these days is the online model, where
you pay a monthly fee for access to the program on the internet -
rather than purchase and install the app onto your computer. This
approach may get around compatibility and update issues, as long as you are running the latest OS
version and have sufficient internet bandwidth (speed). Before
you commit to such an arrangement, we recommend exploring other apps
and options that do not depend on internet access.
Best choice: Make a
who say they only use email and internet should jettison everything
Microsoft and replace MS apps with those from Apple. Export your docs,
photos, addresses, emails and bookmarks to
a backup, then import these to appropriate Mac applications (which is
than you may think). There are plenty of apps available for
Macintosh to replace whatever software you might currently use, many of
which are included with the MacOS.
If you must run a
particular program under Windows, consider taking everything else off
your old PC and dedicating that
machine exclusively to running your critical Windows software. Import
your data to your Mac and use the Mac for online ops, communications
For more info:
security and the MacOS
encryption and the more severe security tools.)
users haven't had to worry much about security issues, so having to
deal with login accounts and passwords and such has been something of a
hassle. Apple's OSX has a surprising amount of passive
security built in, and almost all security measures are optional and/or
automatic, making it easy to ignore security issues entirely.
If automatic login is on
(System Prefs > Users and Groups > Login Options), you'll be able
login altogether, which is fine for desktop machines in secure
locations - not a good idea on notebooks and portable devices. The other drawback to
auto login is that people tend to forget their passwords if not written
What's in a word?
programs and magic plug-in gizmos that retrieve secret codes are the
stuff of fiction - it only happens in
Hollywood. Modern algorithms can encrypt a password right out of
existence, and a lost password can effectively stop you in your tracks.
We cannot "recover" a lost password, or "reset" your password. If we
could, password protection
would be worthless.
Your login password is used to startup your Mac, install software and
make changes. You may have set a separate password for keychain
operations (tho it isn't necessary or even helpful). If
encryption is turned on, it might use yet another password (again,
unnecessary), then there is your email password, AppleID password, and
probably a myriad of online passwords for various accounts and web
It helps to make a hard
copy of all passwords - especially those which are rarely used - along with your email,
network settings. Create a text file somewhere on your computer and
print it out, or write your passwords down on paper - just be sure to
store such personal info in a secure location and remember where it is.
You will probably need your password
your machine winds up here at the shop, too, so record those
passwords (please!). Some day you'll be really glad you did.
Is security all that necessary?
You've always had to have passwords for email, discussion groups,
online accounts, and now you really should have one for your login
accounts, too. If you share your machine with anyone - your spouse,
kids, friends, anyone - you should each have your own login account and
password; it's easy to setup and will prevent multiple users from
getting in each others way.
Passwords are also essential to protect portable devices that might go
missing. Notebooks, iPhones, iPads, anything that contains personal
data of any kind should be password or fingerprint protected. The new
facial recognition approach is, by nature, problematic and may prove to
NOTE - An obscure
legal fact regarding password protection: A password, passcode or
passphrase is considered protected information and thus requires a
court order to obtain. Fingerprints or facial recognition is not
considered "information" and is not protected.
Passwords exist because
there will always be that nasty element among us, and because privacy
is a valued (if vanishing) commodity. Security and self-defense are
rights, and both have become increasingly important over the years. The
stakes are high, and security measures have become a necessity of life.
What happens if I lose my password?
give up, take
your best guess: Try upper case, lower case, spaces, no spaces, every
possible password and combination you can think of. If you have to,
make a list of possibilities and go down the list checking off the ones
you've tried. If you find it, be sure to write it down somewhere safe.
Otherwise, there isn't much to do except start over from
So..... don't lose those passwords!
are determined by available ports and protocols, and by OS version on
Best choice is Wifi or
Ethernet which allows multiple Macs to share files,
printer and internet connection. Cat5 Ethernet cables are readily
available, and a quick, small network is easy to setup on modern Macs:
and wireless networks
ethernet cables between machines (or connect thru router).
File Sharing on each Mac (if not already set).
under Network or Sharing in the Finder's sidebar for connected
For a small office
network (LAN) of reasonably current Macs, use ethernet cable and/or
AirPort (aka Wifi) to connect machines to a central router or gateway
in a star configuration. Number of router ports dictates maximum number
of hardwired machines. Wireless
routers use a variety of protocols depending on age. Oldest is 802.11b, then comes 802.11g, then 802.11n, etc. Most wireless routers
are backwards-compatible with previous standards, however there is a
catch: The entire network will down shift to lowest protocol in use. In
other words, the machine running oldest (slowest) protocol sets the
standard for all.
Simple 2-Mac crossover network
If a crossover cable is
required - which isn't likely - it can be made from a normal ethernet
cable. Macs automatically detect and adjust, but old 10 to 100Base-T
machines, including older PCs, may require a
crossover cable to enable networking. Look closely at the illustration
(right) and you'll
see that all four orange and green wires are reversed in a crossover
cable, as compared to
a normal ethernet cable (above). To make a crossover cable: Cut the
RJ-45 connector off at one end, rearrange the wires as shown, and
install/crimp a new RJ-45 connector.
Other network options
machines may be connected using Firewire, Thunderbolt or Lightning
cables (and adapters as necessary). Machine booted in Target Disk Mode
will appear as an external drive on the host machine.
else fails, you may be reduced to this, the oldest "networking"
technique of all: Write files to removable media (flash drive, CD, DVD,
etc.), then walk it over to
second machine and connect to read/copy files. Simple and quick if an
actual network is not required.