Life-long PC/Windows user thinking of getting MBP - concerns about differences

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by NickH88, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. NickH88 macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2012
    I've used PCs/ Windows all of my life, but am thinking of getting a MacBook Pro. I'm concerned that the differences may be difficult to adjust to, though.

    1. PC laptop touchpad and pointing stick vs. Mac Trackpad

      I have become extremely proficient with a standard PC laptop touchpad. I also love the "pointing stick" mice that a few models have (see this if you're not sure what I'm talking about). I know the Mac's Trackpad is different; you push down anywhere on it to click instead of moving to an actual button. This click also sounds louder to me than a click on a PC touchpad mouse's buttons, and I feel that it may be annoying to hear repeatedly. I am used to often using 2 fingers with the PC touchpad (1 index finger for the actual touchpad and the other for the buttons), which doesn't really seem like a possibility on the MBP. I sometimes do tap the actual touchpad area to click, which fortunately, I've read is an option on the MBP touchpad.

      I'm also an avid right-clicker, and I know that to do so on the MBP, you must either hold the Command key as you click, or click with two fingers.

      I'm also used to scrolling on a PC touchpad (slide finger along right edge to scroll vertically; slide finger along bottom edge to scroll horizontally).

    2. Ctrl vs. Command

      I use Ctrl shortcuts constantly. I know I can do all the same things with the Command keys; however, they are in different locations on the keyboard, and I am used to quickly typing Ctrl+V, etc., without even looking at the keys.

    3. no equivalent of PC Delete key

      As you know, the PC Delete key allows you to delete text going forwards. There is no way to do that on a MBP (as far as I know). I actually use the PC Delete key quite often, both to delete text and to delete files, and although I can do the latter with the MBP Delete key, it's in the location that I'm used to Backspace being in (which obviously doesn't delete files).

    4. completely different OS

      This one should speak for itself. I know Windows and its native programs inside and out, while I have zero experience with (and little knowledge of) OS X and it's native programs.

      I know I can still have Windows via Boot Camp, but I have to imagine I will be using OS X the majority of the time.

    So, how difficult would the adjustment be for me? How disoriented would I be at first? How quickly do you think I would adapt?

    BTW, I don't want to use an external mouse and/or keyboard to alleviate issues 1-3.

  2. MadTester macrumors regular


    Mar 24, 2012
    In my honest opinion?... I think the best thing you can do is book an appointment in an applestore.. get one of the 'Genuis's to take you through and show you a few of the basics.... Also you have to assess what and why you're reasons are for wanting to 'convert'. (In my case I just got fed up with the blue screen of death and general bloatware of the endless stream of updates etc from microsoft.) I moved to mac after jumping from Windows XP. I love it. I use mine both in the work place (running Windows if/when needed on VM's) and at home.

    But refer to my first statement. Get to an apple store and just have a general fact finding mission and most of all .... have a play with the different machines/devices :D

    Oh also the delete function on a mac is the 'fn' key and 'backspace' key, not a huge problem....

  3. charlieegan3 macrumors 68020


    Feb 16, 2012
    1. the trackpad is really customizable - there are loads of options. I would head down to an apple store to test them all out. One you might be interested in is only tapping to click, rather than pushing the pad in. Apple trackpads are the best out there, you'll get along just fine.

    2. The cmd/ctrl thing does take a little getting used to but in the end you'll find that it's in a much less awkward place. I have my windows pc's customized to have the windows key as ctrl now. it's great.

    3. fn+bksp

    4. apple have some great videos on how to switch from PC to mac, i'd take a look at them on their site. Think they're called PC to Mac basics.

    Get a mac and you won't look back.

    (This is all my opinion and this is an Apple community, you're likely to get a Pro Mac Standpoint)

    Hope that helps. :)
  4. b0fh666 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2012
    dont`worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright

    used PCs all my life, got a mac this year, in a week or so you get used to the keyboard, even in windows.

    the trackpad on the mac is light-years better than anything I used on PCs, and OSX... well, I always hated windows to the point of using linux when possible, so I will refrain from commenting on that :D
  5. kylera macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    As MadTester puts it, it's often best to get a test drive with a Genius at an Apple Store. However, to break down your specific concerns:

    1. While Mac OS X sets the default to physically pressing the button, you can easily set the settings to tap to click. Also, the trackpad in OS X feels like a joy to use - very responsive and smooth IMO.

    As for right-clicking, there's a setting to double-tap for a right click.

    For scrolling, there's two-finger scrolling.

    Requesting CTRL vs CMD, this one may require some muscle rewiring, but it isn't a critical least, it wasn't when I had to use Windows exclusively for some time.

    As for getting used to OS X, I feel this is something you need to get used to. For the most part, things shouldn't be too much of a hassle unless you're looking for specific functions. However, given your post, you sound like someone who has been using a computer for more than just social media or email, so I feel you won't be too bad off.

    Worse comes to worst, provided you get your MBP at an Apple Store, you can always get a refund.
  6. Spikeywan macrumors 6502

    Dec 11, 2012
    Dunno, but I'm in the same boat. My rMBP should arrive today. Perhaps we can hold hands, and jump together?
  7. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    I have a Windows desktop and have used various different Window laptops at work. To answer your questions:

    1. PC laptop touchpad and pointing stick vs. Mac Trackpad

    Left click and right click can be done in 2 different ways on a Mac trackpad. You can either press down in the bottom left hand corner of the track pad for a left click and in the bottom right hand corner for a right click. Or as you mentioned you can do a single finger tap for a left or a 2 finger tap for a right. I use the tap to click functions myself and find these much better. I get irritated when using Windows laptops with the buttons, also more Windows touchpads are starting to mimic the Macs by having one big touchpad and no separate buttons.

    For scrolling you just slide 2 fingers up and down anywhere on the trackpad, I find this much less limiting than having to use a specific area on the side of the touchpad.

    General sensitivity on the Mac trackpads are much better, I tend to get frustrated using Windows touchpads and will usually plug a mouse in. Never feel the need to do this on my MBP for general usage and only use a mouse when doing fiddly work like photo editing. Most tech sites like anandtech tend to agree that the Mac trackpad is far superior to any of the Windows offerings.

    Plus there is a whole raft of other gestures that make the trackpad great to use such as 2 finger swipe left and right for going back and forward in the browser, swiping between full screen apps and spaces etc.

    2. Ctrl vs. Command

    Yes they are in different places, so initially will take a bit of getting used to, after a while it will come naturally.

    3. no equivalent of PC Delete key

    Fn+ Backspace as MadTester pointed out.

    4. completely different OS

    This will be the major learning curve. When I first started using OS X it was bit confusing as I was used to doing things in the Windows way. Thing like having all the app options in the Menu bar as opposed to the program Window itself took some getting used to, after a couple of months I started getting used to it and now it's completely natural and swap between using OS X and Windows with no difficulties.

    In terms of the available apps and comparisons with Windows, it depends on what you want to use your computer for. General usage like web browsing, music, video etc have their own equivalents and there are apps that can be found on both like Chrome, Firefox VLC etc.

    Office wise there is a Mac version, and iWork as Apple's alternative. All Adobe SW can be found on both although you don't need Reader as OS X supports pdf files natively.

    Gaming wise Windows is better. OS X has improved of late in this regard but is still fairly behind.

    Are there any specialised programs you use on Windows? Apple have some great support resources like switch 101 and Mac 101, plus this forum is a great resource and I certainly learn a lot of new info from here.

    Best thing to do as MadTester says is go have a play with some, and if possible get someone who knows them to show you all the different features so you can make an informed decision.

    Desktop wise I will always build my own, Notebook wise I will (unless something radically changes), buy a Mac.
  8. lightz39 macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2012
    1 - This is the BEST track pad out there. Large clickable surface and fluid gestures will make you hate your tiny windows track pad.

    2 - You can actually do a lot more as far as hot keys go with mac. You can make your own.

    3 - My delete key and backspace key are literally right beside each other. You'd get over it.

    4 - The biggest hurdle. Once you get used to the menu bar and how the os works you'll enjoy your self. Like others have said make an appointment or just go play with one at a store.
  9. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    1. Use a Mac trackpad for a little bit and you'll think all PC trackpads suck

    2. Shortcuts on macs are better IMO. Apple did it right by doing things like not having Copy be control-c (which should be used for abort/interrupting).

    3. You loose nothing by coming to a Mac. It's just a little different.

    4. Just forget how you would do something on a PC and instead try to do things in the most intuitive way possible. That's usually how it works on OSX.
  10. NickH88 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2012
    Thanks for all the replies!

    I'm aware of the tap-to-click option, which I would definitely enable. It still seems like the lack of separate buttons will take some adjusting, especially when I'm used to sometimes using 2 hands on the touchpad/buttons like I explained in the first post. Without separate buttons, is dragging while clicking (i.e. highlighting text) at all awkward?

    It's nice to hear that Fn + Delete provides the same "forward delete" functionality that I'm used to, but unfortunate that it requires 2 keys instead of just 1.

    I am an aspiring Film student, and a few of the classes at my college teach on Final Cut Pro. While it's not required that I have a Mac for them since there are on-campus labs, it is highly recommended. On top of that, I understand that Macs are generally superior for video editing, which is really the main area of Film that interests me, and I know FCP is the software of choice for many professionals.

    That's really the reason... were it not for that, I'd just stick with PCs, especially since they have some exclusive features that I like.

    However, the Film program at my college is extremely selective, and I won't even have a chance at getting in it until Fall 2014, so I may need to take classes elsewhere, which might not use FCP, making it unnecessary for me to "convert."

    By "double-tap," do you mean 2 taps in quick succession, or 2 fingers? If it's the former, and if I have tap-to-click enabled, how can I differentiate that from a "double-tap" that's intended to be a standard double-click (i.e. to open an icon)?

    Yup, I'm currently a Computer Science student (though as I mentioned above, I want to switch to Film).

    I had no idea you could do this... I think this would be the setting for me!

    As far as I know, the only programs that I use that are unavailable on Mac (or don't have a Mac equivalent, like Windows' NotePad and OS X's TextEdit) are some user-created programs and a few IDEs, the latter of which should be easy to find similar Mac replacements for.

    I'll have to look into this.

    Is this a hotkey setting that you made?
  11. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    I have mine set to 3 finger drag, so you use 3 fingers to highlight an area or move a file/folder/window about. I find this way easier than using 2 hands.

    That would be 2 taps in quick succession. Like on a windows PC one tap highlights, second opens.

    As long as they are not graphically intensive like games, then running Windows within a VM using SW like Parallels or VM Fusion will do you fine. Especially if you have a SSD. Windows 7 runs as well as if it is native on mine using Parallels and you have the choice of running the Windows apps in coherence mode (VM Fusion), has something similar where Windows apps open as though they are Mac apps, or you can have it full screen and swipe between Windows and OS X. I do this on mine and do IT training, confuses the hell out of my delegates the first time they see it as they are used to PCs :)
  12. NickH88, Dec 13, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012

    NickH88 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2012
    The whole thing with different numbers of fingers having different effects would definitely take some getting used to (not to mention learning all the different techniques). I just use my index finger on PC touchpads.

    So does that "PC" type of double-clicking not exist in OS X? Do you not open icons by double-clicking them?

    None of them are graphically intensive, but one of the user-created programs that I frequently use is a memory hogger and is known to run very slowly in VMs. I'm planning on installing Windows via Boot Camp though.
  13. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
  14. NickH88 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2012
    In that case, if I have the "double-tap is right-click" option enabled, how do I differentiate a double-tap that is intended to be a standard double-click (to open an icon, etc.) from one that is intended to be a right-click?
  15. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    No, its actually extremely convenient and ergonomic: you simply press the touchpad with one finger (I use the index finger or the thumb) while dragging/selection with another one (I use the middle finger).

    BTW, I now vastly prefer the CMD+key combinations to the Windows Ctl+key combinations, simply because the CMD key can be operated with the thumb while Ctl must be pressed with the pinky. Usually, the pinky is over the keys Q, A, while the thumb is already very close to the CMD key, which means that I can press and hold the CMD key without changing my hand position over the keyboard.

    One killer feature of OS X for me is the ability to scroll in a window without actually having it in focus. That is, you can type in one form while scrolling a background window at the same time. Makes working with databases/lists/looking up data so much quicker.


    Its not double-tap is right click, its two finger tap (simultaneously tapping with two fingers - its awkward at first, but you'll learn to love it). A double tap is just like a regular mouse double-click, you quickly tap two times with a single finger.
  16. Justinhub2003 macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2012
    Cincinnati Oh

    Trackpad: Once you use an Apple Trackpad you will never be able to use anything else again because its that good.

    And if you dont like the click sound, just turn on tap to click where you just touch the trackpad to click.

    And I too was a avid right clicker when I came from Windows, and I 100% percent believe that 2 finger right click is the most natural way to right click. For example, I scroll with 2 finger down a web page, navigate with one finger to the link I want and touch or press 2 fingers to right click and open in a new tab, all with out lifting my hand from the trackpad or barely moving it.

    And 2 finger scroll is the most natural easy to use way of scrolling. I absolutely love it. Its like butter smooth too.

    Seriously, your hesitation should not be the trackpad, its not the best in the business for no reason.

    Basically everything you do you will get used to on a Mac and find it to be more natural and much better. I refuse to use a Windows OEM trackpad, I'd rather just grab a mouse. There all so terribkle
  17. dontpannic macrumors 6502


    May 16, 2011
    Orpington, Kent, UK
    Don't worry - I went through the same.

    1. PC laptop touchpad and pointing stick vs. Mac Trackpad

      The Mac trackpad is by far the best trackpad you'll ever use. The clicking and right clicking is no problem at all. The entire trackpad is clickable (without needing to tap) so you can just rest two fingers on the trackpad and click down. It's very easy to get used to. I'm quick with Windows and Mac trackpads now.
    2. Ctrl vs. Command

      This one does take some getting used to, I'm still getting used to it, same with Ctrl/Cmd/Option etc...

    3. no equivalent of PC Delete key

      Function + backspace does the same thing as delete both in Word Processors and file management. Again, takes a little getting used to, but is easy to remember.

    4. completely different OS

      You'll be fine. OSX is very easy to get the hang of. The included applications are far better than the Windows equivalent, multiple desktops, Mission Control, and gestures make it a lot easier to work with.

      I had Parallels installed for a while, now removed. I just don't need Windows day to day any more.
  18. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    1) The only issue I have with a macbook's trackpad is that it seems physically impossible to do a right-click-drag in excel (for when you want to quickly fill in cells with a series of values). Otherwise, I find it a vastly superior experience compared to windows laptop trackpads. Seriously, how does one screw up a trackpad so bad that the cursor jumps randomly all over the screen when I am typing? :mad:

    2) I didn't have issues adapting, and using cmd actually makes more sense because some of OSX's shortcuts involve you pressing cmd+shift+some other key simultaneously. As mentioned earlier, I am also more comfortable pressing the cmd key with a physically stronger thumb, than a weaker and less mobile pinky.

    3) I rarely need a delete key. Usually, I just select the text I need to remove, or simply place my cursor behind the words instead of in front. For deleting files, just shift+select the relevant files, then right-click->delete, or drag them to trash.

    4) OSX does have its share of little quirks and peculiarities (it is often faster to launch app directly from finder, for example), but otherwise, it isn't that different from Windows, and I am pretty sure you will pick it up in no time, just like me.:)
  19. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    Now I'm confused, you cannot select double tap to right click, you either click in the bottom right hand corner of the track pad or depending on how you have it set tap with 2 fingers.

    Double tap works in the same ways as Windows which is what I thought you were asking.
  20. sostoobad macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2011
    I am a computer dunce compare to most of these guys on this board, and if I can make a mac work...anybody can....seriously it is pretty smooth, and wave bye bye to all the hassles with windows that drove me nuts. Plus you can have windows on your mac too.

    If you buy it at an Apple store, I highly recommend paying the extra 99.00 for the one to one program, check it out, it is a value.:apple:
  21. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    1. You'll wonder how you ever got along with the crappy touchpads PC's have, I can attest to that.

    2. Move your finger 2 spots over, it's quite easy to get used to it, really.

    3. There is, it's just a two-key gesture: cmd+backspace.

    4. Not completely different, I wouldn't go as far as saying that.
  22. ultra7k macrumors 6502


    Nov 9, 2012
    OP I was in more or less the same situation as you, until I made the jump last month, granted I was going from mega gaming desktop to 13" cMBP, though I have had a laptop in the past.

    1. Trackpad, as has been mentioned above is amazing. It really is everything it's cut out to be.

    2. I've used PC/Win/DOS all my life. I still use windows at work... Ctrl + this that and the other thing. I made the switch to OSX last month, and after about 2 weeks of using my MBP I found myself defaulting to where the CMD key should be at work on my PC. It just feels more natural.

    3. Just use the short cut since you don't want an external keyboard. I will say that one thing I don't like about OSX (maybe this is changeable, I don't know) but in Windows I frequently used the END key to get to the end of a line. In OSX this just takes you to the bottom of the page.

    4. It took all of about...2 days to feel at home in OSX. It's a lot less cluttered and much smoother. I installed win7 via bootcamp to play the odd game, but everytime I boot into windows now I just cringe just doesn't look as nice as OSX. It really doesn't.

    If you are tech savvy and it seems like you are, I can't see it taking you more than 2 days to get fully accustomed to OSX. At first it can be a little overwhelming because of the changes from Win to OSX, but it doesn't last for very long.

    The only reason I would go back to PC, is because sometimes I get the itch to build one, and I would only do that if there were some game I wanted to play that wasn't available to me through console/OSX/bootcamp (due to hardware requirements)...All in all, I think I am done with Windows as an operating system, especially considering how Win8 is.
  23. treyjustice macrumors 65816


    Jun 14, 2009
    It was an easy switch for me. Can I ask why you are switching though? Are you unhappy with Windows?
  24. tejota1911 macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2006
    I was in the same boat about 6 years ago. I made the switch and haven't looked back. Now, I wouldn't use a Windows laptop if it was free. I say quit worrying and buy the thing already. You'll be happy you did!
  25. angelsguardian macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2012
    North East Scotland
    I came back to the fold after nearly 20 years of PC this year. Now I have an MBP, my wife uses a Macbook, the study has an iMac that also serves iTunes to 2 ATV3's and they're all linked by an Airport Extreme. Oh and an iPad too. We're sold lol! As many others have said go to an Apple store and have a play. We've not found anything we can't do but if you do there's always Parallels to run Windows, better than some PC's.

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