Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!


macrumors member
Original poster
May 28, 2014
Coming back to Apple after ~35 years (since Apple IIe) - Most of my big files, photos,videos, documents etc, are on external HDDs in common (.jpg, .doc etc) format but I am left with a few questions.

I intend to install Firefox and Thunderbird on the new system (running El Capitan) and would like to bring over bookmarks, history, passwords, email set up and saved messages etc. Some of the mozilla advice on this is a little vague.

Will the Mac read my external files even though the HDD were formatted under Windows?

Is there a "Mac for Dummies" or similar that will help me up the learning curve ( like what is the Mac equivalent of "right click" or "ctl-alt-del"?)



macrumors 6502
Aug 10, 2014
I know Firefox keeps all of your bookmarks and other data synced now, so you just have to sign into your account on your new Mac and everything should be exactly the same. Not sure about Thunderbird as I haven't used it in almost 7 years.

As for your other questions, your Mac will read the external just fine if it was formatted as FAT32 or exFAT. If it is in NTFS, then you'll need to get a driver for your Mac to read it.

I'm sure there is a "Mac for Dummies", but with how often the OS changes now (yearly), those kinds of books are outdated before they even reach publication. I would suggest going to Apple's Support site and reading up on the User Guide for El Cap. They used to also have a switching to OS X guide for Windows users on there as well, I'm not sure if it's still there or not. And on OS X, a "right click" is still a "right click" even with a mouse that only has one button, it's contextual. "CTL-ALT-DEL" isn't the same, however, and in order to force close an app it's "Command-Option-Escape".


Sep 17, 2001
Wellington, New Zealand
It is important that you use thunderbird, and not mail.
Traditionally mail has issues for all but the last 2 point versions of any OS X.
i.e. 10.11.4 & 10.11.5 will be the last versions where mail is stable until about 8 to 10 months of the next OS X version.


macrumors regular
Aug 19, 2011
Actually, OS X can natively read NTFS volumes; a third-party driver such as Tuxera NTFS is only required for read/write access.

You can activate OS X's native NTFS driver to write access as well without paying anything...a simple Google will provide instructions. Been using it for some time without issue. I, however, would just use exFAT if you can.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.