The Saga of Switching

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ready2switch, May 21, 2009.

  1. ready2switch macrumors 6502


    Apr 7, 2006
    So I finally got (forced) my husband to make the switch to Mac.

    Two weeks ago he complained that his 2.5 year old Dell laptop would turn off if it was unplugged. Sure enough, his battery had died completely. So I scour the Dell site and finally find what I think will be a compatible battery for the low, low price of $170. I place the order and receive confirmation that the delivery will be a week from the next Tuesday--10 days. Not unreasonable.

    Fast-forward to the middle of the next week. I hear bellowing from my husband, which can only mean he needs tech support and needs it now. I enter the room to find his laptop frozen on the "Welcome" screen. After booting into "Safe Mode" and making sure that we have an up-to-date backup (and after a couple of days searching for the installation disks), I try a repair of the OS. Doesn't work. So now I try a reinstall of the OS. It works. Kind of.

    I soon find out that the "Drivers and Utilities" disk that came with the laptop does not have all of the drivers needed for the laptop. Now surely some of this can be expected. But why does a reinstall of Windows render the ethernet port useless? Why can the laptop not understand what the wireless card is. The inclusion of these things seem basic to me.

    At this point I have had enough. I had talked to my husband previously about switching to a Mac for his next computer, and after him seeing the trouble I was having in restoring his laptop (again, I might add), he agreed.

    Last night I bought him a unibody al-Macbook. I installed Office, Adium, Gimp, VLC, Flip4Mac, and SMC Fan Control. I installed drivers for our printer and made sure all the apps I installed, as well as iTunes, had been updated. Migrated all of his itunes music off of our external drive. I did all of this while helping make dinner. He was up and running in about an hour.

    My reason for making this post isn't only to paint a possibly unfair comparison between the labor needed for Windows versus Mac. I also want to share my (eventual) success in migrating his old emails onto his new Macbook.

    As I said I was working with a completely crashed Windows laptop. When I did my reinstall I chose not to format the hard drive, but instead install "another" operating system. I did this just to ensure that all the data files were intact. (Had the "repair" option worked as it did in the past, the following would have been essential the same.) I also finally found the driver for the ethernet port, so I was connected to the internet.

    First, I downloaded a trial version of Office 2007 onto the pc. This is good for 60 days. Open Outlook and let it do all of it's initial launching things. I set up the email account as if I was going to use it, but I never provided a password, as I didn't want it pulling emails off the server (if there were any). At this point you should be able to select "Open Outlook Data File" from the File menu. Old Outlook data are saved in hidden folders in the "c: documents and settings/user/local settings/application data/microsoft/outlook/Outlook.pst". These are the data files that you can open. They will create additional mailboxes in the sidebar of the outlook program.

    Second, I downloaded Thunderbird (the free mozilla mail app) to the pc and created the email account as if I was going to use it. Again, I didn't provide a password because I didn't want to retrieve any new emails. Thunderbird has an import feature under its Tools menu. I used this to transfer the email message data from Outlook to Thunderbird on the pc, and in the process this changes the file type.

    Next, I found the email data from Thunderbird, which is located in "c: documents and settings/user/application data/thunderbird/profile/<randomcharacterstring>/mail". Please note that this application data folder is NOT the one in the "local settings" folder. This was not an omission.

    Then I copied the mail folder from this location onto a memory stick.

    Next I installed Thunderbird on the Macbook. Once again I created the email account as if I were going to use it, still not providing a password so as not to actually receive new emails. Once the email account was set up, I quit Thunderbird.

    Finally, I replaced the "Mail" folder on the Macbook, located at "user/library/Thunderbird/.../Mail" with the "Mail" folder I had on my memory stick from the pc. It was a simple drag, drop, and replace.

    Relaunch Thunderbird on the Macbook, and all of the old emails are there. I end my saga there, as my husband wants to sort through the emails and not import them all into Entourage at this time. It was quite a relief to get this to work, and I will stress that you must create an email account in all of the above program installations for this to work. I hope this will help others who are working with a barely-living pc and might not have access to Office.

    I'd also like to add that a few hours before I purchased the Macbook I received an email from Dell regarding the battery order. It had been delayed once, and the email stated that it was being delayed yet again. My permission was needed to continue with the order or it would be cancelled. This was the final straw before the actual switch...and also a sign that it was the correct decision. :p
  2. patrick0brien macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

    Well, let us know how it goes!

    In my experience, it's not as easy to learn a Mac through PC glasses as the other way as one has to un-learn things.

    I think we can expect a little learning-curve bellowing. We're here to help him.

    ... actually, encourage him to sign up here!
  3. portent macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2004
    Your husband is a lucky son of a gun, does he know that?
  4. rich.smith macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2008
    Your husband is very lucky and will be happy with the switch. I switched my wife a few months ago. She loves her iMac. I love not having to deal with Windows.

    Regarding the e-mail gymnastics - have you considered using IMAP? You would have been able to avoid all of the pain. I have setup gmail accounts to pull mail from other accounts. I use gmail's IMAP option to get mail to my Mac using mac mail. I can access my mail via the web using gmail's excellent web interface. Searching in gmail is also great. Finally gmail's spam filtering works great.

    I use one gmail account for personal e-mail and one for work e-mail. Give it a try.
  5. RandomKamikaze macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    Damn! He has got it made. Lucky SOB. Hopefully he'll appreciate the new MacBook and will start to have a more positive computing experience

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