Newbie Questions!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by alangrehan, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. alangrehan macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2008
    Hi there,

    I'm new here and have a few questions.

    I am a PC user! But.. I have had nothing but trouble with every PC I've ever owned. Two of my mates have gone mac and vowed never to go back and I'm thinking of doing the same. I have a pretty high end PC and thinking that I could go for a mac mini and keep my monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse, external USB 250GB HD, and speaker system but I have some queries and I would be very grateful if anyone could help.

    1. My external hard disk is essentially just media. It has a Music folder and a photo folder which I have organised in a very particular fashion. Can I just plug this hard drive straight into a new mac and start using the media in itunes and iphoto without reformatting or reorganising etc?

    2. Will my Microsoft wireless keyboard work or are the special keys on a mac keyboard I need

    3. Will the Mouse work properly as I have seen that mac mouses only seem to have one button.

    4. Does the Airport wireless connect to my (netgear) router seemlessly or do I have to have an airport base station.

    Thanks in advance

  2. superleccy macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2004
    That there big London
    1. First, it depends of the format of your external disk. If it's NTFS, the Mac should be able to read it, but won't write to it (this is Microsoft's fault for using a proprietary file system). If it's FAT32, then you'll be fine. If you aren't bothered about PC compatibility, then the best format to use is Mac OS X Extended (Journalled), aka HFS+. But that means re-formatting which may not be practical for you.

    For your Photos, iPhoto will insist on organising and managing your photo library for you. Drag and drop all your photos into the iPhoto window (probably best to do it a few at a time) and let it copy them into its own mystical labyrinthine file structure. From then on, only access your photos via iPhoto. You can still see your photos in the Finder, but they'll be nonsensically arranged.

    For your music, iTunes lets you choose whether it or you manages your folders. People who are happy with iTunes are usually the ones who let iTunes do the organising. Unlike iPhoto, it does arrange the files quite sensibly on your HD (Artist > Album > ## Title.mp3)

    I know it seems uncomfortable, coming from a PC world, letting applications like iTunes and iPhoto manage your files. But give it a go; relinquish control... you may be pleasantly surprised.

    For each, you can specify the location of your iTunes/iPhoto library. This can be the external HD if you wish.

    Dunno how big your library is, but can you get a Mini with an HD big enough for all your stuff? Then you can use the external HD for Time Machine once you are confident that everything has copied over how you like it.

    2. It will work, but you'll have to get used to the mapping of apple-specific keys. Personally I'd get a proper Apple keyboard. If it's a Microsoft bluetooth keyboard, you'd have to find the right driver... and dunno about that, sorry.

    3. Your mouse will work fine. The latest Apple Mouse - the "Mighty Mouse" is actually a multi-button mouse cunningly disguised as a one-button mouse. I love it but it's not to everyone's taste.

    4. Should be fine.

    HTH - GL

    PS: If your PC is 'high end' and you can afford it, consider an iMac and eBay your monitor when you've finished the switch. You're more likely to be satisfied. iMacs have better graphics capabilities and much bigger hard drives.
  3. alangrehan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2008
    That's great...

    I'm nearly sure that my external drive is FAT 32 (I'll make sure when I go home) so I can just plug in a go hopefully!

    thanks for all the answers!

  4. skybolt macrumors 6502a

    Feb 20, 2005
    Nashville, TN, USA
    superleccy is right about iPhoto -- I agree wholeheartedly! I would go one step further, though. When importing your photos into iPhoto, do them one folder at a time to preserve the organization you have. It is possible, even easy, to import all at one time, but any organization you have will be lost. One folder at a time takes a bit of time depending on how many there are, but you will be rewarded in that you will not have to reorganize them all again.

    I also agree with his/her thoughts about letting the software work for you. The Windows way is to micro-manage, the mac way is to let the apps make your life easy and simple!

    Good luck, and welcome!
  5. superleccy macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2004
    That there big London
    Yup... good idea.
  6. Mark Morb macrumors regular

    Mark Morb

    Dec 19, 2007
    Can the import of photos be done over WiFi from my PC (NTFS Formatted)??
  7. alangrehan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2008
    Thank you all... Very helpful stuff!!

    My PC problems center around the fact that it won't run for longer than 2 hours without overheating.... Then won't work again for up to 24 hours... It's out of warranty now but has had replacement motherboard, Power supplies and coolers added to no avail....

    Can a mac be left on indefinitely? Do you guys generally leave the mac on through the night and is the safe / power efficient....

    Also can I view (not necessarily edit) word files, excel sheets, pdfs etc on an imac straight out of the box??


  8. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Yep, you should be able to leave your mini on all the time. However, I put my mac in sleep mode when I'm not using it. It wakes up instantly when I need it, and saves on power.

    You can view all those things, and you can EDIT basic word files using TextEdit. If you buy iWork or Microsoft office, you can edit both Word and Excel files from your PC. Editing PDFs requires Adobe Acrobat Professional. Or you can download Neooffice for free and edit MS Office files.

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