Ok, so I ordered my first Mac - Now... Enlighten me please!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MBPUnibody, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. MBPUnibody macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    Hey all!

    Right ok so after much deliberation in my mind I decided today to pay the 'Apple Tax' and bought a 2.66 MBP and kept everthing pretty much standard just configured the hard drive to ship with a 320GB @ 7200rpm...and signed up to the Apple Care because I don't plan on doing any DIY on this unibody baby... I am not a total noob when it comes to ICT I have built my own Windows based PC in the past...but when it comes to Apple's stuff I think it is best to leave them to it (unless it's a RAM upgrade or something very straightforward)

    Now ... what I like to do when I get a new machine (windows based) is clear all the disgusting fungus that it comes shipped with and essentially optimise the machine so it runs much better...defrag the HD...etc.

    So my question is what should I do to optimise this machine when I get it?

    Also what are the main recommended software packages that I don't know about and that I really should look into for the MAC?

    Oh and I know absolutely nothing about Apple software so I really need some serious enlightenment. And yes I am still flirting with the idea of popping a windows OS on the machine when I get it and pretend OS X does not exist... please save me!

    Another thing... when it comes to HDs...windows HDs are usually formatted as FAT32 or NTFS drives...but I believe I read somewhere that Mac HDs are in a totally different format...right?! So is there going to be issues with a Mac HD like with say a FAT32 HD (no file bigger than 4gB)...that I should know about?

    Thanks for reading and I really hope I can get some good advice here as I really feel like I'm walking in a very dark room with only a tiny LED for a lighbulb right now...
  2. Sneakz macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Congrats on your purchase. Mac OS X is formatted with Mac OS Format Extended, otherwise known as HFS+. It does support files over 4GB just like NTFS. If you want, you can do a clean install but seeing as Mac OS X doesn't contain bloatware, there isn't much of a point uses you don't want all the other languages or printer drivers installed.

    As for what to install, an office suite, either MSFT Office 2008, Open Office or iWork will do. Any other browsers you like you should install too. That's pretty much the basics. Any thing else would be whatever you need.

    Seeing as your coming from Windows, I doubt your going to be able to go cold turkey. So install Windows with boot camp, Parallels, VMware or a combo of the three.
  3. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I went Mac when they came out with the Mini, and I haven't looked back since. The biggest problem that I had was getting my email from Outlook express over to the Mac; I finally found a command-line utility (I forget what it was called but can find it if you need it) that converted each mailbox to a Mac-friendly format. I have installed Windows off and on over the years, but I have never really used it for anything. I have been able to find Mac alternatives for everything that I have needed so far.

    As for the HD formats yes, Mac is in a world of it's own with HFS+ that is not directly compatible with Windows (or anything else for that matter). However, mac can read/write FAT/FAT32 and can read NTFS formats, and with some help can also write to NTFS. From the Windows side you can get utilities that will allow you to read/write Mac disks. If you are connecting Mac and Windows machines over a network however, all of that is moot, and each OS will handle translations as necessary. And if you now have a Windows network Mac can see the network just fine.
  4. macDonalds macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2007
    No optimization needed. Apples don't come with the bloatware that PC manufactures do.

    I might have read it wrong but don't go 100% Windows on a Mac - that just seems so wasteful :) Yes, half the "Apple tax" is the design and build but believe me, the other half is running OSX.

    If it makes you feel any better - my small business is built around MS tools but OSX IS my main operating system. I use VMware Fusion to run Vista virtually off my boot camp partition. Sometimes I'll boot into Windows when I feel like gaming.
  5. uicandrew macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2006
  6. illegallydead macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2007
    Like others have said you do not have to go in and clean up the machine. It comes with OSX, iLife (iPhoto, iWeb, Garageband, etc.), and thats really about it. No extra crap.

    You will have no problems with the HD format. It is HFS+, and can handle 4+GB files w/o the slightest issue. It reads and writes and FAT32 drives you may plug into it, and will read NTFS too. If you want full read/write for NTFS, try something like Paragon NTFS for Mac OSX. With that there will be no issues with any drives you plug in and try to access.

    Having Boot Camp / Parallels etc. works wonderfully, it is defintiely something you may want to do. But do it after a while. Keep ONLY OSX on there for at least a week, and you will quickly grow to love it. After that you can put Windows on and use it for whatever certain things you may need that are 100% Windows-only.

    As for letting Apple do the work... If you paid more money for AppleCare, then go ahead and stick with it. They are great with there warranties and many times will replace/fix WHATEVER, no questions asked. I bricked 2 iPods in a row and they just handed me new ones. Can't go wrong with that.
    HDD and RAM, definitely do yourself, because I don't think they will do that for free...

    Other than that, have fun, and congrats!
  7. MBPUnibody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    Hey, thanks for that advice... I'm going to at least try cold turkey first!

    Ok I'm glad to hear they don't come with any major bloatware, I can live with a some extra langauges and printer drivers.

    So...like your iso files are like dmgs right?...but they are like totally executable files if you like click on them? You don't have to mount or burn them with some other software?

    Also whats a good burning software? I use StarBurn in windows it's freeware but really good...I don't think you can get it for OS X though...

    Another thing I use a lot is notepad (or notepad++) what would you recommend for mac?

    I've been seeing all these .tar and unfamiliar file names for macs and I don't know what they are exactly are they like equivalents of compressed files for windows based machines like .zip .rar etc etc and so are there any recommendations for compression software for Mac?

    Lastly I've heard so many times people with Macs telling me they have no Viruses and all this talk and what not which I guess is true to a large extent... but any system can be hacked into right? So are there any Firewall recommendations / Anti Virus recommendations for the Mac?

    Before anyone starts saying that I am PC ...I'm not a PC I'm a human being that just happens to have grown up with Microsoft products and I just need some enlightenment!

    I'm also Mac noob because the keyboard shortcuts are different like ctrl - c doesnt copy right? Is there any website I can find out how to click and use the keyboard lol!
  8. MBPUnibody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    WOW before I hit submit on the last post some more people just joined the thread! Thanks guys , I'm just going to eat something then I'll reqad what everyone has posted... thanks again for all the very informative help so far!
  9. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Much of the capabilities of burning software are built-in already. If you need more, Toast (commercial) is good.

    For a basic text editor with many advanced features, TextWrangler is great (and free). I use its big brother BBEdit at work (basically the same plus support for revision control software like svn/cvs).

    Many keyboard shortcuts are almost identical between mac and pc. For instance, ctrl-c/ctrl-v (pc) for copy/paste become cmd-c/cmd-v (mac). To cycle through apps alt-tab (pc) becomes cmd-tab (mac); notice however on the mac that this cycles through APPS, not APP+WINDOWS. There are lists of keyboard shortcuts in the guides that were linked earlier.
  10. macDonalds macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2007
    If you want to do any programming in an editor - Google: TextMate.
  11. iMacDragon macrumors 68000


    Oct 18, 2008
    note, to cycle between windows of an app its command-` took me quite a while to discover that when I first got a mac.
  12. illegallydead macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2007
    DMG's are essentially at like a virtual disk, so yes, you could compare them to .iso's. .DMG is the most popular way to distribute applications on a mac.

    OSX itself is decent for rudimentary burning, if you want something really good go for Toast

    Textedit comes with OSX, it works about the same as Notepad. Other more advanced basic options are available.

    .Tar is not as popular as say .DMG, but it is out there. StuffIt Expander I believe comes with (or is integrated into) OSX, and it does fine with opening all those goodies (it is pretty painless, just double click the .tar, .zip, .dmg, .iso etc. and tell it where to expand to and it does it nice, quick, and easy.

    More or less there are no viruses. They will come though, as Apple's market share increases. I use the Firewall in my router, so I'm not up on any good software...

    No hating here (usually :rolleyes:)! The whole I am a PC / Mac thing is pretty silly...

    As someone said, a lot of them are just cmd+[whatever]. If you are having trouble, there are extensive lists that are just a Google away :D
  13. ElectroGhandi macrumors regular


    Jan 9, 2009
    Baltimore, MD
    There is no gruesome Windows-esque bloat on Mac OS X. Just power up, register, and go.

    DMGs are not executables, they are disk images that when opened, mount a virtual disk. The executables on Mac OS X are .pkg and their icon is an open box with yellow gel coming out haha.

    Data burning is built in to Mac OS X. Audio CDs can be burned in iTunes, or third party software. I use ExpressBurn and LiquidCD (neither work great and one might be better than the other sometimes, it's complicated).

    I recommend Switch for audio codec conversions, Paintbrush (MS Paint for Mac basically), GIMP (Open source Photoshop), Flip4Mac (to play WMA and WMV files in QuickTime), as well as iStat for your Dashboard.

    You do not need, nor should get, antivirus software. All it will do is slow you down.


    Have a good year!!
  14. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Or my favorite BBEdit. I looked at TextMate and didn't like it as much.
  15. w00t951 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    How about using the built-in TextEdit and see if that works? It was incredibly like using Microsoft Office.
  16. MBPUnibody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    Guys ... what can I say... totally awesome info from everyone...given me much to consider... I really don't feel like I'm alone in the dark anymore! If there is like a reputation thing in this forum, I will add to you all... and be sure when my Mac arrives I'm sure I'll have some more questions for all you Mac savvy pros... someone even told me I don't know if this is true or what but like Macbooks have something called an 'accelerometer' or something that like senses if the thing is being dropped and like freezes the hard-drive or something?...maybe this is crazy talk and I should google before typing every rumour I hear! haha! But like I said thank you all so much for your help guys.
  17. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    They do have a free-fall sensor and will brace themselves when dropped. I will reiterate what a previous poster said and will say this: do NOT get any virtual machine programs YET. Try OS X by itself for about a month or two, sans any Windows, and see how it works for you. Try out new mac software equivalents, and try as hard as you can to abandon their Windows counterparts. Then, if after a set period you think you still need a bit of Windows, install Windows in Bootcamp. Use it only when necessary. You will find that you will no longer need Windows at all! I did this, and have only needed a Windows computer for two purposes: downloading an update for my XBOX 360 and testing out presentations. If you still need it, then get VMware Fusion or Parallels (I recommend Fusion). Also, try to avoid Office for Mac if possible. 2008 is horrible, and 2004 is horribly slow. I use iWork 09, and it exports basic documents to office format perfectly, and if I really need to, I can print a PDF to show it to Windows users. (Note that I do have 2004 installed to preview documents. You could use your Windows license to test out documents before sending them to colleagues)
  18. dannomac macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2008
    Saskatoon, SK
    I understand you're coming from a Windows background. I came from a UNIX background, so I thought I could offer some enlightenment about things that aren't explained all that well already.

    .tar files are UNIX style archive files (it stands for Tape ARchive, used when backup tapes were common). Sort of the UNIX equivalent to .zip, though Mac OS supports that as well. You'll mostly see .tar files from projects that started as UNIX or Linux projects and then ported their apps to Mac.

    .dmgs are Disk iMaGe files. They can be created by Disk Utility, which comes with Mac OS. They're usually used to distribute Mac native software. Mac OS can read ISOs as well, but the OS doesn't come with tools to make them.

    As for text editors, I like vim. It comes with OS X as a command line program. If you're a programmer you should get yourself familiar with that :). And for disc burning software.. I've never needed any more than Disk Utility, but sometimes I need to create an ISO, and I use mkisofs for that. It's a UNIX utility, but is easy to acquire for OS X.
  19. MBPUnibody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    Some more really good info thanks again guys... I think my main concern is that I type something catastrophically disasterous in the terminal... I like to use the windows command line to run like netstat and stuff but I dunno I just have this feeling that I'll be using the terminal a lot more for stuff in OS X.

    One more thing is there any way of telling that a particular file type will not run on OS X by looking at the extension? Like in windows we know that these dmg files will be going nowhere...so I take it .exe files will be going nowhere in OS X then... so any .exe programs I'm using I should really try to find Mac alternatives before resorting to running Windows on the machine...or will some .exe programs run in which case should I try and install them first... or will that harm the machine?
  20. CMelton macrumors regular


    Dec 8, 2008
    London, UK
    .exe files won't run at all. I'd advise trying to find an alternative - its very likely that there is a program that does what you want but written for mac. just google it.

    You could try running it in crossover but I've not much experience with that so I can't give you much info on that I'm sorry (google again though! lol).

    If you reeeeaaaaaaallllly want windows use boot camp for any windows programs you must have. I do this and its perfect. I spend 99% of my time in os x and 1% in windows to use little things like tunebite or a couple of games.
  21. illegallydead macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2007
    Terminal is great. It lets you do some of the things that you take for granted in windows that Mac hides away so as to keep things "simple" for the average user.
    As for anything catastrophic: you kinda have to try really hard to do that. If you are worried though, get an external hard drive and use Time Machine, OSX's backup utility. It will keep backups, and is extremely easy to restore from in case you completely crash something in an epic fashion :)

    And as people have said, about the only thing that for sure WILL NOT WORK are .exe files. Other than that, most all file formats are pretty compatible, and if not, there is usually a 3rd party app to make them compatible.
  22. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    I'd suggest subscribing to a few magazines for the first year... MacLife and Macworld are a couple of examples... They'll give you some reading material, and there are often some article that uncover tips and tricks, as well as apps you might find really useful. Just by using OSX for awhile, you'll discover things as you stumble across them, and the whole experience should be fun, and interesting. Some things will be a bit confusing, but more often than not things will just be simpler. You'll find more good apps than you might have been led to believe. I switched back from Windows a year and a half ago, and thought for sure I'd install Windows via VMWare Fusion or Parallels. I had so many apps (Photoshop, Office 2000, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, etc..) which I've now managed to live without in the meantime. I discovered Crossover, which runs Office 2000 perfectly without installing Windows, as well as a growing list of Windows programs. Even with that, I have weaned myself away just because I'm looking forward, not backwards. Sometime when you're ready, you'll just let all the previous connections go.

    As you work with OSX, always come back here to post questions about things you don't get at first. Someone will know the answer, or can steer you to user guides. Use the Apple site as a resource too. And get Firefox 3 as well as checking out all the open source software, like OpenOffice or NeoOffice.

    As someone mentioned, get an external hd, format it for Mac OS extended (journaled) and set it up with Time Machine for backups.
  23. MBPUnibody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    Hey All,

    Thanks again for all the advice so far and the magazine suggestion.

    Ok so the order has been dispatched so I hope to get it soon...

    The thing is I think there are some programs I need to run in a windows environment (there simply are no Mac alternatives unfortunately).

    With this in mind I'm not sure which Windows OS runs best on the Mac system... I really don't want to spend a lot of money on MS products anymore so I'm really looking for a cost effective solution here!

    Should I be looking at Vista or XP (I've looked at prices for vista home premium 32bit + sp1 and XP with sp3 and I have not found much difference in the UK...)

    Thanks again guys for your help
  24. spork183 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    subscribe to a podcast or two. You get ideas you'd never think to ask. Kinda along the lines of the magazine, but free...
  25. MBPUnibody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009

Share This Page