WinXP to OS X Switch Notes

My wife has just switched her WinXP system to OS X (both on a Mac Mini), and here are some of the tools that helped along the way:

  • Abee is a free utility which helps migrate from Microsoft Outlook Contacts CSV Export to OS X Address Book. You map the CSV fields to their new counterparts and it works like a charm.
  • This article explains how to copy an iTunes configuration and library between computer systems. Since iTunes 9, there’s no need to fiddle with XML file contents, so well done Apple for making this software portable.
  • Logitech has a driver for the cordless keyboard in use. Although it helps set up the special function keys (music playback control, etc) the keyboard map is still a mess.
  • To fix the keyboard map, KeyRemap4MacBook came to the rescue. It fixes all the UK keyboard layout niggles on the Mac, and even knows about VMware.
  • For Windows XP within VMware, with a UK keyboard, the best setup seems to be to have a United Kingdom locale with a US keyboard layout. KeyRemap4MacBook then fixes things to (mostly) work. Phew, that keyboard stuff was harder work than it ought to have been.
  • The favicon-only favourites (aka bookmarks) bar in Internet Explorer is a nice feature, missing from Google Chrome. Thankfully Iconized Bookmarks Popup is a pretty good replacement (avoid the Bookmarks Bar, still beta). I had to set the horizontal and vertical spacing manually.

I’m pleased to say all the software and hardware we need works sufficiently well on OS X. We still run MS Money on Windows in VMware, but we could switch to Quicken Essentials for Mac. I bought iMovie to replace the previous film editing software (a mediocre freebie bundled with the camera). Address Book is better than Outlook, and iTunes and Microsoft Office are, natively, just as good. I hope her Google Chrome experience to be better than Internet Explorer; we’ll have to wait and see :-)

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