My mums first computer...!


macrumors 68010
Original poster
Oct 4, 2003
London, UK
I meant to post this earlier, but kept reading other bits of this ever-interesting section of the MR Forum!

I'm feeling my mum's about to take the plunge and buy her first computer... which is gonna be difficult...! She takes a long time to learn how to use computers, she's been trying for a long time - my late father tried for several years!

So I need some advice... I really wanna tell her to go get an iMac so it can be used as a family machine - she loves the look of it being all in one, "none of that clutter" as she puts it... (referring to all the peripherals she's used to seeing from our old Wintel boxes)

But, the problem comes with work - she's a nurse, and I'm not entirely sure what for, but she uses Windows at work. I think it's mainly Excel and a bit of Web Browsing...

I've been using macs for about 2 years now, and told many people "don't worry about X program; Y program works just the same/better on OS X!" but as soon as she mentioned it being different from windows, instead of launching into my usual banter, i went "oh yeah"...!

Do you guys think Virtual PC would work well enough on an iMac G5 (probably 1.6GHz) to tell her to go for it?

Also, how do I "teach" her to use a mac? She's picked up my powerbook/ibook before and started browsing the internet - tonight she wanted some train times and opening times for the tate britain - I pointed her in the right direction and she got them! This is a major step forward, but still - she seems all unnatural around computers... Maybe she'll be ok when she sits down infront of the iMac...?

Sorry to mumble on for so long, i'm pretty sure there's another burning issue with this thing, but I can't remember it! Anyhoo, discuss/advise please!!



macrumors 68020
Jul 6, 2003
Los Angeles
If she's just surfing the net and using Excel on Windows she can do that on a Mac. There's no need for VPC. Find out what apps she needs to use--anything at all common will be available for the Mac and should work just the same as she's used to.

VPC is okay if you've got your back the the wall and just have no other way of running Windows apps. It's the last resort. I wouldn't subject my mom to it.


macrumors 65816
Apr 13, 2004
New York
Just get Microsoft Office for mac. I took a class at school where we had to use word, excel and powerpoint. I used windows in the classroom, but when i got home i would continue working on my mac. Some of teh menues are a little different, but it's nothing extreme, everything is still very easy to use and in plain site. Especially with excel. Powerpoint was the only program that i needed to actually dig through to find stuff i needed. Don't worry about getting VPC, it will not work anyway. Use your money on microsoft office.


macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
Both of you will be great with an iMac, but I'd get the 1.8 Ghz model.

Don't forget about the Apple education discounts.

That alone will cover the expense of Microsoft Office ( academic )



macrumors G4
My mother was in the same position last year. Windows at work and a PC at home that she really didn't understand the security issue for and was dying. I'd describe her as seriously non-techy but quite capable of checking email, writing memos, basic spreadsheets and surfing web.

She got an iBook (now covets an iMac) and hasn't had any problems adjusting. The biggest things to tell her were where her Applications lived and stick a few extra on the Dock for her, and the concept of Preferences. She has Office on it and seems quite happy working at home on it or sending files back to work.

I don't think your Mum will notice a huge difference in how she works. Mine didn't - she just got on and did things. Interestingly, I rarely get calls about how to fix/change/do things on the iBook. I do still get calls from her at work about how to fix/change/do things in XP. And I'd say she uses them about equally.


macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2003
If she's managed this long without having a computer at home, it's not likely she needs to be compatible with the one she uses at work.

And all you need to do is remind her how often the one at work requires calls to the tech services guy and how seldom she will have to call someone to help her at home.

But why bother with the iMac, why not go for a nice iBook and then she has no "clutter" at all!

And if she needs any more convincing, tell her that if my 84 year old mother with her grade 3 education can use a Mac and keep up with all her email to numerous family and friends, a young, well-educated nurse can surely manage it :D :D

Take care, Margaret
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