Switching from Mac to PC?

Welcome to the PC world! You might have noticed that your new laptop is conspicuously missing the familiar Mac logo. Maybe you are excited about your new companion, maybe you feel like the enemy has invaded your world. Regardless of your opinion on the switch, the laptops are here to stay. With that in mind, there are a few things that will help as you begin to work on the new platform.

Although there are many other differences between the Mac and the PC operating systems, those are the ones I had to work hardest to get used to when I initially switched. If you have any more tips or tricks, please add them to the comment section. Happy computing!

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Switching from Mac to PC – The Basics

 1. There is no dock in Windows.
Instead, all programs can be accessed through the green “Start” button at the bottom left corner of the screen. Click on Start –> All Programs –> and then choose the program you want. All Microsoft Office programs are listed under “Microsoft Office.” Once a program has been opened, it will appear in the Task Bar, a colored band across the bottom of the screen. Clicking on the name of a program will bring it up on the screen.

2. The shortcut keys are different.
On a PC, instead of using the CMD key, use the CTRL key. ALT on a PC is the same as Option on a Mac. Common shortcuts on a PC include:
CTRL-ALT-DELETE allows you to bring up the task manager and choose to force quit a program that has frozen
CTRL-C = Copy
CTRL-V = Paste
CTRL-X = Cut
CTRL-Tab = Switch between programs
Fn-F8 = switch between showing your computer screen, the projector, or both
Other common shortcuts can be found here: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/EHS/prod/general/ergo/PDFs/PC_KEYBOARD_SHORTCUTS.pdf

3. Different methods for searching.
When you wanted to find something on a Mac, you used the Spotlight. Nested in the upper right corner of the screen, one click, some typing, and all your results appeared for you, organized by file type. Windows, as you might have expected, does something a little different. Search is no longer at the top right of the screen; rather, it is located in the Start Menu. A click on the magnifying glass brings up the search window. Although you can customize your search for a specific type of file (ppt, word document, picture, video, etc.), the easiest way to find what you are looking for is to choose “All Files and Folders.” Then type in your search term, and Windows goes to work. You may get more results that way, but you will be sure to find what you need.

4. Menu bars work differently.
The bars across the top of the screen that allow you to tell the program what you want it to do function differently on a Mac vs. a PC. On a Mac, the bar across the top changes according to what program you are working in. If you are typing a document, the bar will be the one associated with your word processor. Windows, on the other hand, attaches a menu bar to each individual program. The verdict? On your new Windows laptop, look at the top of the current window for the menu bar, not necessarily at the top of the screen.

5. Maximizing vs. Zooming
On your Mac, there are three buttons in the top right corner of the window which control the space you have to work within. On PC, the buttons are on the right side on the top. The x closes the window, the _ sends it to the taskbar at the bottom but keeps it available (you can get it back by clicking on it), and the button in the middle toggles it between a state that fills the entire screen and a smaller size that allows you to see other windows and the desktop open behind it.




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