Mac Equivalents of PC Programs

I get asked a lot by people “where is this thing I used to have” when people have switched from a Windows computer to an Apple. This article is just a quick write up to show people the equivalent or similar software between the two systems.

  1. Task Manager: In windows this is the program you go to when you need to end a task when its no longer responding. In windows you can access it by pressing ctrl + alt + delete on your keyboard or right clicking on the task bar and clicking on “Task Manager”. On a Mac you’ve got basically the same tool its just called something different – “Activity Monitor” you can access it by going to Finder > Applications > Utilities >Activity Monitor. If you just need to force close an app and don’t need the other features of activity monitor you can simply press Command + Option + Escape
  2. The “Start Menu” & Search: From Windows Vista onwards we’ve had search available in the start menu. On a Mac we have a magnifying glass in the top right of the screen known as “Spotlight” to use it, simply click on the magnifying glass then type in whatever you are searching for. As for the start menu, on a Mac you don’t really have a menu you’ve got the dock – the colourful pictures along the bottom of your screen. If you still can’t find a certain app you think you have you’ll need to go into Mac’s equivalent of Windows Explorer. More on that next
  3. Windows Explorer: This one tends to confuse a lot of people for some reason, probably because everyone got so used to clicking “Computer” or “My Computer” – on a Mac your file explorer is referred to as “Finder” it’s the first application in your dock that looks like a strange smiling face. If you click on this you’ll notice you can now navigate your files. Here’s another trick though if you want to go to a specific path where you know a file exists press command + shift + g and you can specify the folder you would like to open.
  4. Control Panel: On a Mac your equivalent of  “Control Panel” is System Preferences. You can access it via the Utilities folder in Applications, you can use spotlight to find it – or you can press the option key and certain function keys to bring up specific System Preference windows (for example try Option + F2 (Increase Brightness) – another thing that confuses people here is the lack of an “Apply” button – once you change settings they apply. The only time they won’t is if you haven’t clicked the padlock to allow changes first (this is in the bottom left of certain preference windows in case you haven’t noticed it)
  5. Command Prompt: Some people, especially computer technicians still like to have access to a command based or terminal system for running certain commands. On a Mac this program is called “Terminal” again you can find this in the Utilities folder or use spotlight to find it. Keep in mind though that commands you may have been used to in Windows command prompt don’t necessarily translate to Mac Terminal. For example, if you want a directory listing you’ll have to type “ls” instead of “dir”. If you’re familiar with Linux commands you’ll probably recognise that terminal responds to nearly all linux commands.

This is really just scratching the surface an mainly focused on things that are installed out of the box on each system. If you have a question about an equivalent app for either system leave a comment below!

 


Posted in Apple, OSX, Windows


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