Some Mac questions from a switcher.


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 22, 2007
I’m finally about to make the swath to Mac (I would have done I sooner by my PC is only a few years old and I wanted to get some more use out of it).

So I’ve been using Mac’s on and off since 2001, although far more over the last year, so while I’m used to them, I’m not used to the more admin specific issues, so here goes:

Is there a Mac equivalent of Window’s DOS and/or “Start > Run” ?
I know there is Terminal, but how does this relate to the above? What is it used for and what should I be aware of if and when using it (I don’t want to do something which damages the computer).

Add/remove programs?
If I understand right, some applications install (via an install screen when you open the dmg and click on the file), while others are just dragged into the applications folder. Removing an application is done by simply deleting it from the application folder. Is this the case? And is there an add/remove-like list where I can see everything installed on my computer, or would that just be as simple as looking in the application folder?

Anything equivalent to this (aside from force close) where I can see what is running (in the background) and system performance?

Windows on a Mac
When running XP on Macs, is the Mac system susceptible to viruses? Can they sneak in via Windows?

Finally, Mac performance after being running for days.
This is specifically regarding the internet. I’m currently running XP with 2GB RAM and I tend to have multiple Firefox windows open (approx three or four) and often have anywhere between five to thirty tabs within each browser window from multiple web pages I’m visiting (say, Facebook,, BBC News, a forum, some articles, whatever, etc). This usually runs fine, but sometimes, usually a few days (I often just hibernate or lock my computer and leave any web pages I'm currently reading running) I can experience quite bad slow downs when surfing; it still works, just sometimes very slowly, and closing tabs usually doesn’t help, so it seems like it may be the fact the computer/application has been constantly running, which a restart quickly resolved. My question is: how does/would the generally iMac handle this? I’m planning on getting the first of the two 24” iMac systems.



Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
New England
The one word answer doesn't cut it for this one.

Basically, it all depends on how you are planning to run Windows what your exposure will be.

Are you planning to run Windows for games? productivity software? In Boot Camp? In Parallels/VMWare? etc...

Each of those have their own risks.

In general a Windows virus won't propagate to OS X, but you may incur some data loss, but only if you allow it.



macrumors 6502a
Oct 31, 2004
That there big London
Is there a Mac equivalent of Window’s DOS and/or “Start > Run” ?
Terminal gets you into Darwin, which OS X's implementation of UNIX. It's incredibly powerful, but unless you're a UNIX-head or just curious, you'll probably never need to go near it.

There's no equivalent of Start > Run as such. You can launch apps from the terminal if you really want to. And if you know the name of what you want to run but can't be bothered looking for it in the Finder or Dock, just type its name into Spotlight.

Add/remove programs?
You understand right.

To see what's installed, just look in the applications folder. You can actually put your applications anywhere, but the most sensible place in the applications folder. To uninstall, just delete the application. There's no registry or shared .dll files to worry about. Apps may scatter a few files in other parts of your hard drive, but it's generally done very neatly and logically. I don't bother with AppZapper because I know where to look.

On the rare occasion a program stops responding, Option+Cmd+Esc will let you force-quit any running program, or re-launch the finder. The offending program will normally be killed without impacting anything else. If you just want a detailed list of what's running and what's eating your resource, use the Activity Monitor utility.

Finally, Mac performance after being running for days.
OS X will run for days... weeks... months without requiring a reboot and without loosing any performance. Yes, really.



macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
Redondo Beach, California
I’m finally about to make the swath to Mac ...
How to know what's installed? There is no definitive list. For example you could write you own app for example try a file with "echo Hello World" in it, set execute permission and place it in some random folder. Now you have a "hello word" app that does not appear in any list. You could construct a list by searing. There are a few ways to do that. But the Mac ships with maybe 600 programs installed, no kiding. Most you will never use or even know about. For most practical purposes however you can look in "about this mac" or the apps folder. And draging them to trash works well enough except in a few odd cases

Start > Run. terminal is about as close as it gets.
How to avoid messing stuff up? #1 rule is NEVER run from an admin account. Then the worst you could do is mess up your own data files. But of course they'd be backed up with Time Machine.

Even if a Windows virus lands on a Mac it couldn't do anything but take up a few bytes of disk space. Don't worry

Firefox is Firefox. It runs about the same on a Mac as it does on Linux or Windows. Maybe Safari will work better for you. I don't think this is a mac issue. It's a browser issue.


macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2007
Bristol, England
Is there a Mac equivalent of Window’s DOS and/or “Start > Run” ?
Terminal is a command line interface, like DOS. THe command structure is similar, but the actual commands are very different, with the exception of the "cd" command, but commands are usually in the syntax: verb parameters object

Add/remove programs?
All apps that you install should go in /Applications, so just look there. There is no need for add/remove, so apple doesn't provide it, however you can seek out the preference files etc with app-zapper. But they are small and don't affect things like the registry does.

Activity monitor.
Or if you want to use terminal "top" for monitoring processes, and "kill PID" for killing processes.

Windows on a Mac

Finally, Mac performance after being running for days.
Perfect. UNIX was designed to run on always on servers. The kernel and user applications are kept very seperate. And it's very stable. It will run for years without a reboot if you manage it right. There may be a few programs that start to slow down, safari is guilty of this, restart the app and it clears itself.
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