Pc Switcher to iMac - Unsure About File Structure

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by GovtLawyer, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. GovtLawyer macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008
    I just got my new 24" iMac, and within a few days I'll be making the switch. After reading countless forum messages and tutorials, I'm still a bit unclear about file structure (PC) vs folder structure (Mac).

    I know the finder will show me folders and sub folders, which seems similar to an explorer file structure. However, I'm not sure how I'd set some things up.

    For example: On my PC I have a folder for MY FILES and under it I have folders such as Photos (with sub folders) and Documents (with sub folders). I also have a folder for my pet photography business, which is called NYPetShots. Under that I have a folder for the Pet Photos (with sub folders for shoots etc.), another one for my Promotional Materials (which includes jpgs of flyers and postcards), another for Non-Photos (which includes documents and correspondence), and another for Web Stuff (which includes my web back-ups and Photos used for the web - also in some sub folders).

    I am not wedded to using the exact same structure. However, it would certainly make sense to me to keep it. What would it look like on the Mac? I will be importing my entire Lightroom Catalog into the Pictures folder, and that will include my business photos as well as my personal photos. However, they will keep logical structures and will have keywords. I assume there is a folder for documents; however, I have both personal and business, with sub categories in each. So, could I continue to use a folder just for my pet business, even though it consists of different types of files?

    Hope I made this clear.

    Thanks - Steven
  2. Osarkon macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2006
    Erm, from what I gather from your post, everything should be fine.

    The file structure is pretty much the same. You can have subfolders and everything you described just the same.
  3. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Every account has a home folder. Within that are a number of folders that are there by default. However, you do not have to use them although some applications will want to use them. You can add as many folders as you like into your Home folder.

    For instance, I do not use my Documents folder. Some apps have dumped stuff in there... I have my own Work in Progress and Archive folders as well as other folders that I stash stuff in. However, I will not delete any of the default folders.

    iTunes, for instance, keeps all the music in the Music folder by default. However, you can change that location from within iTunes to a different folder if you like.
  4. i.shaun macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2008
    Sounds like you just want to have folders/sub folders. There's no problem with that in OS X. You can even experiment with iPhoto and see how you like it, but I personally can't recommend iPhoto. I hate it lol.

    I have lots of sub folders organizing photos by categories (personal ones anyway, but I'm sure business ones can be managed just the same). What I like about OS X is Finder's Grid View.

    I can see about 6 columns. I click one folder, and it's contents are displayed in the next column. I can browse through it, and also go back to the parent folder or another one in that directory with ease. If I click another sub folder, it opens in the next available column. The columns can go on and on.

    The grid view isn't the only way either, I browse them quickly in Grid, but to quickly preview each picture, I click block view or whatever it's called. It shows me the thumbnails/icons of each file (in my case, pictures). I scroll through to find the picture I want, then open them.
  5. Bacong macrumors 68020


    Mar 7, 2009
    Westland, Michigan
    short answer: yes. nothing will change.

    Long answer: pictures!!






    As you can see, it is basically the same thing, same structure.
  6. GovtLawyer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008
    I Think I Got It

    Cool. So, If I drag my entire MYFILES folder, which has all sorts of sub folders, it will all go intact, and will show up in the various panes. I feel better already.

  7. Bacong macrumors 68020


    Mar 7, 2009
    Westland, Michigan
    No problem. I had no issues switching from PC to Mac, and I still own my Vista laptop and use it occasionally. It's really not a challenge...at least it wasn't for me.
  8. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    I had to search on Google how to shut Vista down after using my Mac and not using my Windows PC for a while, its really easy and relieving to forget Windows. :D
  9. automan98 macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2005
    "MY FILES" will become your user directory in the Finder. Look for the home icon. You can move all of your folder directories in the Pictures directory in your Home folder. You may want to bring these into iPhoto and let iPhoto manage them. You can create folder structures in the same way you did on the PC. Here's the difference between the PC and Mac approach. On the PC side you were provided with the option to store files anywhere on the C drive you wanted to. Sure there's a My Documents section, but not everyone uses that. On the Mac, there's a clear focus on utilizing the home directory of the user logged in. This can create some issues when sharing files between users on the same machine, but there are ways to work around that.
  10. OneBlueFire macrumors member


    Oct 12, 2008
    Manila, Philippines
    There is no tangible difference between the OSX and Windows Folder Structures. They're the same... Parent Folder -> Sub Folder(s) -> "Sub-Sub" Folders -> And so on...

    Move everything as it is on your Windows machine. Here're a few tips to make thing easier for you.

    1. Keep all your personal files in your HOME DIRECTORY. That's the HOUSE icon on your Finder sidebar.

    2. Don't attempt to put anything personal in DEVELOPER, LIBRARY and SYSTEM unless you're an advanced user. Those folders contain files that keep your Mac running. Once you learn how to use your mac though, there may come times when you want to tinker with those folders for some reason or another, but most basic users should leave them alone.

    3. It's logical to put Photos in the PHOTOS folders and Documents in the DOCUMENTS folder and Music in the MUSIC folder. Just create sub-folders within them to suit your filing needs.

    4. The Sidebar (That's the pane on the left) is like a shortcut to stuff. You can add folders to it by simply dragging commonly used folders to it.

    You'll notice in the image that I've attached that I've personalized my Side Bar to contain folders that I need quick access to.

    You'll also notice that my PHOTOS folder has subfolders in it like Wallpapers, Stock Photos, etc...

    All the folders in your HOME FOLDER can contain as many subfolders as you like. =)

    Attached Files:

  11. GovtLawyer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008
    What About Drivers & Other Stuff?

    OK, now I understand the Home Folder and its best use. I also feel more comfortable about the file/folder structure.

    What about things like drivers? I have some older hardware which has updated drivers for Mac OS X on the website (a 4 year old, perfectly good Epson scanner) I looked on their site and they have an updated driver for OS X. I need that driver as it includes a scanning utility suite. So, I go to the site and download the Mac version. Where do I put it? On my PC I have a scan suite icon on my desktop. Is this an application? Perhaps! What about the driver for my older pen tablet or printer?

    I've already looked on the vendor's sites, and they all have updated drivers for Mac OS X.

    When I plug in the peripherals, I assume (could be wrong here) that Mac will look for suitable drivers. Should I download them before plugging in the peripheral? If so, to what location?

    I'm a very experienced (17 years) PC user. I'm a a nervous little child when it comes to this switch.
  12. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    OS X has a lot of peripheral drivers pre-installed, and will just use them automatically. It most cases, you don't need to do anything. Just plug and play. If something isn't working quite right, or you have functionality missing, you can download the driver from the vendor. It usually comes as a package installer that will take care of things nicely. Just run it and answer it's questions (like which drive to install on).
  13. GovtLawyer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008
    That's the point of my question. If the Mac driver is OK, but not quite the whole package (for example; if I decided to use an older mouse rather than the Mighty Mouse, Mac would recognize it as a mouse and I could use it. However, what about the advanced functions my 6 button optical mouse used? I'd need a specific driver for that). If I was prompted to choose a drive, which one would I choose?
  14. Bacong macrumors 68020


    Mar 7, 2009
    Westland, Michigan
    You'd choose the drive that OS X is installed on.
  15. HerbyGunther macrumors member

    Nov 24, 2007
    Yes, folder/subfolders are the same on Windows/OS X. At work we work together with mixed PC's and Macs and all work with the same folders and files without problems. Macs doesn't have drive letters though. It uses drive names.

    Keep in mind though that if you copy a folder to overwrite a folder, it replaces all files/structure within the destination folder of the source folder. If you have something in the destination which you do not have in the source, you will lose it.

    For personal photos I can recommend iPhoto 09. I'm a professional user that have used programs like Aperture and Lightroom, but I love the simplicity and ease of use of iPhoto. If you import photos to iPhoto it stores all the data in a special folder in /user/pictures/iPhoto Library If you lose your original photos, you can still access it.

    For more advanced file management I can recommend Path Finder 5.

    Have fun with your Mac!
  16. Kronie macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2008
    Being a recent convert myself I was surprised how similar the two OS operate. The file structures and OS are the same. Windows has 'task manager' and OSX has 'Activity Monitor' Ect, Ect....
    Its kind of like Nikon and Canon. They both do the same thing but slightly differently.
    Macs are better, just like Canon!
  17. GovtLawyer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008

    My mistake. I meant which Folder. Is there a special place which OS X looks to for drivers?
  18. MistaBungle macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2005
    No. If it is something like a Scanner Suite, I imagine it will come with it's own application and that icon will be found in Applications. I would also imagine that it would come prepackaged in an installer and will take care of everything for you.

    And like said above, OS X is much more open and prepared for peripherals than that stained glass alternative.
  19. trevor k macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2009
  20. Xorro macrumors regular


    Dec 19, 2008
    I got caught out when 'installing' my printer on my Mac.

    I plugged in the USB cable and nothing happened, after checking everything I realised that the Mac had "just installed it", no fuss, no asking questions. lol. I only knew it was installed when I checked in system preferences.
    When you use windows you get used to balloons popping up telling you that it's installing something. :)
  21. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2007
    Balham, London
    Just plug your devices in and see how they operate. If you're not happy with them then have a look at the drivers.

    When downloading in Safari it'll download the file to the downloads folder. It'll probablyopen automatically but it it doesn't just click it. There will probably be a nice and easy installer that will take you through everything. Once you finished you may need to 'eject' the virtual disk if the installer came in A DMG image. You can then delete the DMG and everything will be installed.
  22. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    OS X software installations differ a bit from what you're used to in Windows.

    On Windows, when you download, say, a set of drivers or a new app, the file you will download is often an executable (.EXE) self-contained installer program, or a ZIP file which you unzip to reveal the installer. You download the installer file somewhere (anywhere, often saved on your Desktop or in My Documents), then run the installer program, and you can delete the installer when you're done.

    On OS X it's very similar except that the file you download is sometimes a ZIP file but most often a disk image file (.dmg extension). These will be downloaded by default into the "Downloads" folder in your home directory, and I think it's a stack on the right side of your dock by default so you can get quick access to it. You can, of course, save it anywhere you like.

    When you double-click a disk image file, it mounts as a "virtual disk drive" on your desktop. An icon that looks like a white disk drive shows up on your desktop. It behaves exactly as if you had plugged in a USB stick containing the same files. It will stay mounted on your desktop until you "eject" the image (drag it to the trash, hit Cmd-Y to "put away", or hit the little eject button in finder windows). (This is where things differ a bit from Windows, because you need to learn the additional concept that a disk image file, located anywhere on your hard drive, can be mounted and unmounted and behaves like a disk drive that's accessible from your desktop.)

    The contents of the disk image depends on what you downloaded, of course, but you'll usually either get an application or an "installer package". To install an application, just copy it to your hard drive (usual convention is to place it in your Applications folder). To uninstall the application later, just trash the file you copied! It's that easy. There's no "uninstall" command to look for, and no Add/Remove Programs.

    If the icon looks like a cardboard box and the extension is ".pkg" then it is an installer package. Double-click on it to run an installer "wizard" which is similar to what you see in Windows. The installer will put files wherever it needs to.

    Once you've finished installing a driver or app, you can unmount the disk image and either delete it or keep it somewhere for future reference. I like to keep a copy of all the installed disk images in a folder called "Installers", because over time I customize my Mac with utilities and add-ons, and this makes it easier to keep track of what's been installed and easy to re-install the same things on another machine.
  23. GovtLawyer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008
    Thank You NOTJUSTJAY

    That was a very helpful and informative answer. I appreciate it.

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