Apple makes the initial setup for Macs a breeze.
Just input your name, select a language, choose your internet connection, and you’re up and running.
But chances are you’re going to want to transfer your files, preferences, and applications to your shiny new Mac too.
That takes a bit more work.
We spoke to some computer gurus at our local computer repair shop and got their advice.
From the best preferences to useful apps, we compiled some great tips to get your new Mac in gear.
Apple's built in Migration Assistant program makes it easy to transfer files from your old Mac to your new one. It will automatically sync your files, preferences, and applications from your old machine. The downside is that it only works if both computers have a firewire port or are connected via ethernet to the same network.
If your computers are compatible, you'll need a firewire cable like this one to connect them.
Note: Migration Assistant automatically launches when you boot up your new Mac for the first time. You can transfer your files then, or wait until after you finish the initial set up process.
On both computers, open the finder, then your Applications folder. You'll find the Migration Assistant in the Utilities folder. Open it. On your old Mac, click continue and then select 'To another Mac' as your migration method.
A code will pop up that you can now input on your new Mac to sync the two computers. After inputing the code, click continue and you'll be able select which files and applications you want transferred to your new Mac. There's also an option to transfer settings such as network preferences and time zone. Since you're using firewire, the process will be super speedy.
Time Machine is Apple's utility that makes regular backups of all your files and applications to an external hard drive. If you currently use Time Machine to back up your Mac, everything you need to set up your new computer is automatically ready to go on your external hard drive.
On your new Mac, plug in your external hard drive and open the Migration Assistant. When prompted, select 'From a Time Machine backup or other disc.' You can now transfer everything from your most recent Time Machine backup to your new Mac.
If you're machines aren't compatible with Migration Assistant, or you don't use Time Machine, you can use an external hard drive to transfer your files and settings. The best way to do this is to drag your Home folder in the finder on to your external hard drive. The Home folder contains most of the files you'll need: music, photos, documents, etc. If you want to transfer your applications, you'll have to drag those in separately.
Once everything has transferred to your external hard drive, you can drag the files into your new Mac's Finder.
If you didn't regularly back up your old computer's data, shame on you. Redeem yourself by setting up Time Machine on your new Mac. Time Machine will work with any external hard drive and will allow you to restore your Mac to a previous date if you run into any serious problems or accidentally delete a file.
Plug in your external hard drive and launch Time Machine from the dock. Follow the simple on-screen prompts and your Mac will begin backing up. Make sure you always keep your external hard drive plugged in so you will have the latest backup in case something goes wrong.
Expose and Spaces are two built-in OS X tools that help you manage application windows and keep your screen organised. You can customise your settings under System Preferences.
You probably won't use all the applications that appear in the dock by default. You can drag the unnecessary ones into the waste basket to remove them. After you download some more applications, you can drag shortcuts of your favourites to the dock from the Finder.
The Finder is a useful tool for navigating files and applications stored on your PC. You can customise the left toolbar to provide shortcuts to the folders you access the most. Drag them into the 'Places' section of the Finder for easy access.
If you're looking for some Mac alternatives to your favourite PC applications, check these out:
Keynote, Numbers, Pages, and Mail are made by Apple as an alternative to Microsoft Office. VLC is a universal media player that can play any of your old Windows Media files. There's also Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac.
- Tweetdeck: Manages your Twitter account
- Vuze: Bit Torrent client for file sharing
- Dropbox: Store and sync files on the web
- Google Notifier: Get alerts for new Gmail messages and Google Calendar events
- Adium: Log in to every major instant message client client (AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, etc.)
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