How to Switch Part Ten: Expectations and Mindset

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By: switchtoamac at: 12:00 AM on August 6, 2008 | Comments (0)

Potential switchers need to realize that Mac OS X although similar in some respects to Windows, works differently. At the most basic level Mac OS X and Windows are similar in that they offer users a graphical user interface (GUI), point and click with a mouse, folders, windows, applications/programs to perform essential tasks, and the ability to connect to peripherals.

Mac OS X is different
At an operational level however, Mac OS X is very different from its Windows counterpart. Not only does it look different but it also operates and is architected differently. These key operational differences directly filter down to how the two operating systems interact with the user. Many first time Mac users complain that it feels foreign and unnatural because they don't know how to accomplish tasks, or use an application. This is simply a byproduct of having used Windows for so many years. New Mac users will have to go through a learning curve, there's no way around this fact.

Educate yourself
You need to educate yourself on how Mac OS X works and the terminology used. For example, you're not going to find things in the same place you would on Windows. As stated earlier, Mac OS X is architected differently and hence, the layout of the file system differs. On Mac OS X there's an 'Applications' folder where software programs reside. It is located at '/Volumes/Macintosh HD/Applications'. Thus, Mac OS X Applications are analogous to 'Programs' in the Windows world that reside in the 'C:\Programs Files' directory.

Expectations and Mindset
As you consider the switch it's important that you start by setting realistic expectations. You need to approach the process by telling yourself that Mac OS X is different. If you are willing to identify this critical mindset prerequisite, the switch and subsequent learning experience will be much easier. Failure to do so will likely result in frustration and doubts about switching. It boils down to approach, attitude, and a realization that it takes time to learn something new.

Try Mac OS X
The best way to shape your expectations and mindset is to get your hands dirty. In essence, you need to experience Mac OS X to see what it has to offer and more importantly, how it functions. Visit your local Apple retail store and take Mac OS X for a spin. They have several Macs on display for this purpose. Or ask someone you know if you can use their Mac. By getting some hands-on time, you'll begin to see how Mac OS X actually works. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Mac users are generally forthcoming with answers and advice. In the meantime visit the Guides and the previous nine guides in the How to Switch series.

If you're willing to put in the effort you too, like many others before you, may eventually classify yourself as a switcher!

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