Moving my data from Windows to Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by NeilHD, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. NeilHD macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2014
    Hi all,

    Whilst I have a Macbook Pro and an Macbook Air around my house (along with several iPads, iPhones, Apple TVs, Airport Expresses...) my main desktop has always been a homebuilt Windows box. However, with the launch of the new Mac Mini I've decided to take the plunge - so I ordered a 2012 quad-core mini from the refurb store ;)

    I've never really gotten along with iTunes as I prefer to organise stuff myself, so I could do with some advice on migrating it all over.

    Currently I have folders:


    These contain, unsuprisingly, my music and movies. The music library is fairly large (about 80Gb), hardly any of it bought on iTunes. It's mostly organised into c:\music\<artist>\<album>\<tracks> but not all of it has any further subdirectories underneath <artist>.

    Movies are just all in there I think, although there may be some that have been dragged and moved into iTunes that may have copied into the iTunes folder itself.

    What's the best approach to move these onto the Mac? I don't particularly care about preserving playlists (only have a couple). Should I just copy the entire folder over, then get them to import and move properly into iTunes? Are there advantages/disadvantages to doing that? Will I lose my hierarchy? Would it be hard to copy/move the music off again in the future if it's all handled by iTunes?

    What about downloaded Apps? Not all are still available in the App store (Cartoon HD for example...)

    Also - photos. They are all stored in date-named subfolders under c:\photos. I usually use Picasa to view them (they are imported from the camera by my own custom software that I guess I'll have to bin now). How does iPhoto go about organising things? There are tens of thousands of photos in there. Can I just point iPhoto to that folder and get it to import? And is that a meta-import or a physical move? And then - crucially - could new photos go into the same folder to keep them together? How would it name them? Again, would I lose my hierarchy?

    Final question - my iPhones. Will they object to being plugged into a new computer and want to wipe/restore themselves? That would be very annoying indeed... (Cartoon HD again....!)

    Sorry for the vague questions - I hope someone can share some tips and experiences.
  2. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    Can you take the drive(s) out of the PC?

    If so, you could get a USB3/SATA docking station, put the bare drive(s) into it, connect it to the Mac, and access the files that way.

    If you don't know what a dock is, go to and enter "usb3 sata dock" into the search box. You'll get many hits. These things are relatively cheap, most around the $25+/- range.

    If you decide to use an external drive for file storage on the Mac, I would recommend that you use ONLY HFS+ format for the drives -- in other words, DON'T use a "PC" formatting scheme. Things will work out better that way...
  3. NeilHD thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2014
    I do have a SATA/USB dock actually, but I'll be leaving the old PC running at least for a while so don't want to pull it out.

    It's not so much about physically moving the files over (I'm sure I can do that over a network share or by copying to an external drive), but more what happens to them on the Mac.

    By doing some further reading it seems I might have to let iTunes organise and consolidate everything on the PC first. I'm not amazingly keen on doing that but it might not be the end of the world.

    Still not convinced about iPhoto... I may stick with Picasa on the Mac, too.

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