Mac Switchers Guide V2.0 With Illustrations

Discussion in 'Apple and Mac OS X' started by Xirurg, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. Xirurg

    Xirurg ORLY???

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    Complied By Sam and Xirurg.
    ______________________________________________________
    Last updated: 17 May 2010

    This guide is for new switchers and those interested in switching to Mac. The Mac Switcher's Guide covers commonly asked questions by potential Mac users as well as new Mac switchers!

    Table of Contents:

    Common Switcher Questions
    Commonly Asked MacBook vs. MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro Questions
    New Mac Owners
    Windows on the Mac
    Troubleshooting



    Special Thanks to Colton, who helped me a lot, Super Mod Budding, and of course, our Super Mod Sam who wrote original "Mac Switcher's Guide", which helped hundreds of new users exploring Mac world and served as a foundation for this one!

    A lot of the following questions are common concerns often asked by users interested in switching to Mac.

    If I buy a Mac now, will it come with Snow Leopard?

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    Yes! If you order it from authorized reseller, it will either come with Snow Leopard pre-installed or with Snow Leopard update DVD and you will not need to reformat you Mac when you receive it. Snow Leopard will upgrade like a service pack, so you won’t lose you data or programs.


    I often hear people saying Mac OS X has no viruses. Is it true?

    Currently there are only a few viruses targeting Mac OS X and the chance that you will be harmed by one of them is very small. There is no need to purchase Anti-Virus software for Mac OS X. Using the OS X built-in firewall and performing regular system updates will keep you safe.

    If you still want to use Anti-Virus as a safety precaution, we suggest to try free antivirus scanner ClamXav.


    Do Macs come with bloatware?

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    Currently, all Macs come with the iLife 09 software suite (which consists of iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, iWeb, iDVD and GarageBand) and system applications. Unlike most consumer notebooks, there is no trail software installed on Macs. This means that some users won't have to perform a “clean install” after purchase.


    How do I launch applications in OS X? There's no Start Menu!

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    There are several ways to launch applications in OS X. The easiest, and most evident method is clicking on the application's icon on the Dock. Also, you can search for the application using Spotlight, or you can go to the Applications folder in Finder.

    To add applications to the Dock, open the Applications folder and drag the application's icon on to the Dock. Other icons will move to make room for the addition of the new icon. To delete an application off the dock, just drag the application's icon off the Dock.



    I notice there's no taskbar in Mac OS X. How would I shuffle through my open applications?


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    Exposé is excellent for shuffling through open windows and applications, and after a while you will probably find it even more useful than the Windows taskbar due to the live preview of all currently open windows.

    [​IMG]

    With Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, Exposé also works with the Dock. Simply click and hold an application icon, and all windows currently belonging to that application will be arranged in a grid. Another feature that will come with Snow Leopard is drag-and-drop feature within Exposé. Exposé is tuned to work with the new “muli-touch-trackpads”, making navigation through programs much easier and more user friendly.

    [​IMG]

    Another method is to you use Command+Tab to shuffle through all currently open applications, and Command+` to shuffle through all open windows belonging to the currently active application. Alternatively you can also click on the application's icon on the Dock.

    Also, there is a free application called QuickSilver which allows the launching of any application with a few simple keystrokes.

    [​IMG]

    If you want to recreate something similar to the Start Menu in OS X, you can drag any folder to the right side of the Dock (must be on the right side of the seperator), and it creates a Start Menu-like application and document launcher when clicked on.


    Do I need to defragment my disk drive in OS X?


    In short, no, the average user will not need to defragment their OS X hard drive. Please refer to this article from Apple for more information.

    I'm worried that a lot of the software I use doesn't have a Mac equivalent.

    The amount of Mac software has exploded dramatically in the past few years, and although it is still nowhere near the amount of applications available for the Windows Operating System, a large amount of daily applications you use will have a Mac equivalent. If you want to know if a particular application you use has a Mac equivalent, feel free to post a thread on the Apple forum asking about it!

    A little warning for CAD users: currently, CAD applications such as AutoCAD are not available for Mac OS X. However, rumors suggest that Autodesk will soon release a version of AutoCAD compatible for MacOS X.

    And of course, there is the ability to run Windows on your Mac now, for those applications that do not have a Mac equivalent. There are several ways to do so and the Windows on a Mac guide details them.


    I have a flash drive and a notebook mouse that I currently use. Will I be able to use them on a Mac?


    Almost all flash drives will work out-of-the-box with Mac OS X, as will most notebook mice. The same goes for keyboards and printers, etc. As long as it's not a product from an "unknown" manufacturer, Apple will most likely have drivers for it. Also, all Macs come with Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, so you can sync with all sorts of Bluetooth devices, such as mice and cellphones and more.


    Speaking of drivers, how come I don't really hear much about installing drivers on the Mac?


    Drivers do need to be installed in OS X, but rarely will you need to find the drivers yourself. The OS X Installation comes bundled with drivers for a wide selection of devices you could connect to your Mac, so mst devices are recognised immediately once connected. Granted, OS X doesn't have drivers for everything, but it is rare for you to find a device that isn't supported in OS X immediately.

    I hear that the printer drivers that come with Mac do not support all the functions of my printer!

    It is true that the default printer drivers that come with Mac OS X do not support all functionality for some printers. In those situations, some manufacturers of the printers (such as Epson) provide additional drivers for OS X. However, the HPIJS printer drivers for Mac OS X by the Linux Foundation provide much more coverage, both in terms of printer functionality as well as printer models, than the default printer drivers shipped with OS X.


    How well do the current Macs run Leopard? And will they have problems running the next OS X version, Snow Leopard?


    Historically, Mac OS X has very low system requirements for a modern GUI operating system (compared to Windows Vista, for example). All Intel Macs, and even the last generation of the PowerPC Macs run Mac OS X Leopard perfectly fine.

    Apple recently released new information about Snow Leopard. Here are the system requirements

    General requirements
    • Mac computer with an Intel processor
    • 1GB of memory
    • 5GB of free disk space
    • DVD drive for installation

    OpenCL
    • NVIDIA Geforce 8600M GT, GeForce 8800 GT, GeForce 8800 GTS, Geforce 9400M, GeForce 9600M GT, GeForce GT 120, GeForce GT 130.
    • ATI Radeon 4850, Radeon 4870

    64-bit support requires a Mac with a 64-bit processor.

    Sadly, with this update, Apple has removed support for the PowerPC architecture.


    Macs aren't good for gaming!!!


    This is true and false at the same time. Although most games are not designed to be run on the Mac OS X environment, the hardware found in modern Macs are quite capable. Current Macbooks and Revision-B Macbook Air use nVidia’s latest integrated GPU, the nVidia 9400m, which is currently the strongest in its class. In terms of benchmarks, the "white" Macbook and Macbook Air score around 1600 points in 3dMark 06, and the original Unibody Macbook and the 13” MacBook Pro's have nVidia m320 GPUs(those score around >3000). Both 15” and 17” inch MacBook Pros come with 2 “switchable” GPUs - the nVidia 320m and nVidia 330m GT. 330m GT is mid-range card, which scores close to 7000 points in 3dMark and is enough to play modern FPS games like Crysis on medium/high settings at a decent resolution.
    The key question would therefore be: “How do I play games on my Mac if they are designed for Windows only?” The best answer to that question would be to install Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp, which will allow you to run Microsoft Windows on your Mac just like any other Windows computer, giving you the ability to play your favorite games.
    However, if you are a hardcore gamer, you might want to reconsider getting a Mac and get Gaming notebook with more powerful GPU.
    More information on running Windows on your Mac can be found here.

    Macs don’t have mouse buttons!!!

    [​IMG]

    This is totally untrue. It is true that the latest Macbooks use new glass multi-touch-pads and do not have a dedicated mouse button. However, the entire trackpad is in fact one giant clickable button! You can “click” anywhere by tapping or pushing down on it! Also, you can adjust it’s right and left corners to act like right and left clicks. Furthermore, all Macbooks (all since their introduction in 2006) have multi-touch trackpads, so different button presses can be performed by touching the trackpad with a different number of fingers.

    Often people ask the following questions when deciding between the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

    I plan to do a lot of Photoshop. Will the MacBook and MacBook Air's integrated graphics card be enough?

    Adobe Photoshop actually is not graphics-intensive, it is CPU-intensive and RAM-intensive. However, the new Photohop CS4 has a feature called “GPU Acceleration”, which uses GOU for rendering. However, if you are not a power-user or don’t work with insanely large (100MB+) files, the nVidia 9400m will be more than capable.

    Note that GPU Acceleration cannot be enabled on Macs using Intel's integrated GPU (Intel GMA 950, X3100, etc).


    Do the older MacBooks have a backlit keyboard, like the new MacBook Pro?


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    The original base unibody Macbook (running 2.0Ghz CPU) and all white Macbooks and base unibody Macbook do not have a backlit keyboard. However, the more expensive original 2.4Ghz uMacbook and all Macbook Pros (both 13", 15", and 17") have backlit keyboards.



    I've heard of problems with the MacBook battery, and the palm rest turning discolored. Should I be worried?


    These issues were common in the very first batches of MacBooks released in 2006. Now, cases of discoloring palm rests and battery issues are rare. Apple has acknowledged both of these issues. If you notice severe discoloration, Apple will replace the casing for you; if your MacBook battery is not fixed with this firmware update, Apple will replace your battery.

    Note that you need not have to worry about these issues with the unibody Macbooks/MacBook Pros.


    How easy is it to install RAM or HDD on the MacBook and MacBook Pro?Will that void my warranty?

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    Installing more RAM on the MacBook and MacBook Pro is very simple and I believe that anyone can do it! Here are couple of DIY links.

    With introduction of new irremovable batteries, Apple changed the design of notebook so now to change RAM/HDD, you will need to remobe whole back panel. Don’t worry, since it as easy as unscrewing 10 screws ;)

    And no,that will NOT void your warranty!


    I heard that battery is not user replaceable on new MacBook Pro’s, is that true?


    [​IMG]

    Yes. Apple said that they have done that to save space and to fit bigger battery. This new battery can last up to 8 hours, which is excellent for 13” and 15” notebooks and incredible for the 17”. The downside is that you can no longer replace the battery yourself if it fails - you will have to take or send it to Apple or an Apple store to have it replaced for USD $179 should it be not covered under warranty. The good news is that Apple claims that the battery will last at least 5 years.

    I am confused with new auidio port on 13" MacBook Pro! Is it "In" or "Out"?

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    Well, it can be both "In" and "Out" (you select that in System Preferences). A similar solution is used on the iPhone. If you want to use speakers and microphone at the same time, you will have to get special adapter.


    I heard that Unibody MacBooks had awful screens! Is that the case with new 13" MacBook Pros?

    If bad screen was holding you to get a MacBook, I have a good news for you! Apple has finally put decent panels in new 13" MacBook Pros! According to Apple, new panels have 60% more color gamut than the previous 13" Macbook model. Here are couple of photos so you can see the difference:

    [​IMG]
    left:13" Macbook Pro (newer), right: 13" unibody Macbook (older)

    [​IMG]
    left: 13" unibody Macbook (older), right: 13" Macbook Pro (newer)

    Furthermore, Apple silently "updated" the screens on the original unibody MacBooks in mid-April, so they also have very acceptable screens.

    First of all, congratulations. Here's answers to some common questions asked by owners of new Macs.

    I just got my new Mac. What should I do right away?


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    1. Make sure you're getting what you paid for! In the Menu Bar, click the Apple icon and select "About This Mac". Check your processor, RAM and hard drive specifications to make sure your notebook is what you originally ordered. This in no way implies Apple deliberately ships the incorrect product to its customers, but mistakes can happen and it never hurts to be extra careful.

    2. Charge up the battery to 100%, and then calibrate it. For instructions on how to calibrate the battery, click here.

    3. While you're running down the battery to calibrate, you can customize your Mac to your liking in System Preferences. In the search box found in System Preferences, type in keywords to whatever you want to customize and the relevant sections will be highlighted automatically. For example, to enable right clicking by tapping the touchpad with two fingers, type "double click" in the System Preferences search box, and it will take you to the correct section!

    4. Register your new Mac with Apple! Click here to register your Mac.

    5. Install your Software Updates! You can find Software Update in the Apple icon on the Menu Bar, or you can find it in Spotlight (just search Software Update).

    6. Calibrate your display! To learn more on how to calibrate your display, please refer to this link.

    7. Turn on your Firewall! The instructions on how to do so can be found here: Turning on the Firewall.



    This is so confusing! My old keyboard shortcuts don't work!


    [​IMG]

    Mac Switcher Rule #1: Keep an open mind. If you insist on doing everything the Windows way, you haven't really switched now, have you? After getting used to working the Mac way, you will most likely start to notice that it is actually more convenient than the Windows method.

    First of all, many of the Windows shortcuts are the same in OS X, just instead of holding down the Ctrl key with your little finger, you hold down the Command (Apple) key with your thumb.

    MacRumors has an excellent Keyboard Shortcuts guide found here. Also, this page by Apple is also very useful in learning how to do Windows tasks the Mac way.


    How do I install applications? Where's InstallShield?


    [​IMG]

    It is much simpler to install applications on OS X. First of all, Mac applications are commonly packaged as .dmg archives. To install these, open the .dmg archive by double clicking on it, and a "virtual drive" will mount on your desktop. A window will pop up in Finder with the icon of the application you're installing. To install, simply drag that icon into your Applications folder (or other folder of your choice), and its installed! Now, eject the "virtual drive" by dragging it into the trash can or pressing the corresponding Eject button in Finder, and you can delete the .dmg archive.

    Some larger applications, such as iTunes, come in .pkg installers. Launch the .pkg file, and an InstallShield-like installer will open. Simply follow the instructions shown on the Installer to install .pkg files.


    How do I uninstall applications?

    Uninstalling applications is as easy as dragging the application executable into the Trash. However, doing this may leave some preference files behind somewhere on the Mac. These files are absolutely harmless, but they take up hard drive space (a few kB). If you are bothered by this, you can use a free un-installer called AppDelete. This will uninstall the application and will also do a search across the Mac for files related to that application to delete. However, it is best to check through the files AppDelete believes is related to the application before emptying the Trash, as it may accidentally mark a critical file of similar name to be deleted.


    What's "Mac RAM"? Is there a difference?

    No, there is no difference between "Mac RAM" and normal RAM. You can buy any notebook RAM with the correct specifications, and it will work on the Mac notebook. To check what type and speed of RAM your Mac currently is using, open System Profiler and select the Memory section.


    How do I burn CDs and DVDs on my Mac?

    There are several ways; you can use Finder's built-in burning tool, or you can also use more powerful third party software that you can purchase, such as Disco and the much more powerful Toast Titanium. However, for most people that just burn CDs and DVDs for music or backup purposes, Finder should suffice.

    To learn more about how to burn files onto a CD or DVD with Finder, please refer to this article by Apple.


    Should I get AppleCare?


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    AppleCare extends the warranty and phone support on your Macintosh computer to three years. Given that notebooks are much more likely to have issues than desktops, as they are constantly moved around and are compacted more densely, in most cases, yes, you should get AppleCare for your Mac. With AppleCare, you can contact Apple at any time, for as many times as you wish with troubleshooting, questions regarding your Mac, and more.

    In terms of the actual AppleCare service, the customer support is excellent. Apple's customer service is known to be among the best in the industry, with helpful and knowledgeable staff and straight-forward troubleshooting.

    Also, if you decide to sell your Mac in the future, potential buyers will be more confident in purchasing your Mac if it has warranty for three years. Yes, the AppleCare warranty follows the Mac, not the user, so it is transferable.

    Do note that AppleCare is not ProCare. Should your Mac need to be sent off to Apple for repairs, the repair process might take up to 7 days under AppleCare. With ProCare, Apple will strive to complete the repairs in one day. Note that ProCare is Apple's premium warranty service, and therefore costs more than AppleCare.

    And a little suggestion - get AppleCare from eBay to save hundred or 2… ;)



    I still want to learn a bit more about using OS X...any links?


    [​IMG]

    Of course! Here's Sam's "trademark" Switch 101 and Mac 101 links ;). These articles will help in understanding how to move from Windows to OS X. There are more recommended articles and you can find them in the Recommended Guides & Links section.



    Which applications should I use on my new Mac?


    Colton and I are currently making extended OS X compatible software list. It will be ready very soon! Until that is complete, I've just quickly highlighted some of the most common applications for Mac users. You can find more information about them in their individual websites:

    Quicksilver
    SMCFanControl
    iStat Pro (widget)
    Web browsers (Safari, Camino, Firefox, Shiira, OmniWeb, Opera, etc.)
    Mail applications (Apple Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, etc.)
    Office suites (NeoOffice, iWork, Microsoft Office for Mac, etc.)
    Video players (VLC, MPlayer OS X Extended, Flip4Mac Add-on for Quicktime)


    What type of maintenance do I need to conduct on OS X, and how often?

    Not much maintenance is required for Mac OS X. Defragmenting the disk isn't necessary, as are anti-virus scans. For now, most users will only need to Repair Disk Permissions (Disk Utility > Macintosh HD > Repair Disk Permissions) should they experience Kernel Panics or crashes, clear out internet caches, and maybe clean up their Desktop every now and then.

    [​IMG]

    Many switchers have admired Mac OS X for years, but know they cannot get away from Windows completely due of work restrictions or Windows-only software. Now that there are such convenient and widely accessible ways to run Windows on a Mac, more and more users are switching, or at least considering the switch to Mac.

    The guide to running Microsoft Windows on a Macintosh computer can be found here.
     
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  2. Xirurg

    Xirurg ORLY???

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    Often new switchers will run into problems with their new Mac, mostly because they're still not used to the way OS X operates. Here's a few common fixes to problems you may run into on your Mac.

    Ask your Mac!

    OS X has a built-in Help Viewer that is very helpful. In Spotlight, type "Help" and launch the Help Viewer. There are articles on troubleshooting, tutorials and guides for all sorts of OS X functions.

    Repair Disk Permissions

    [​IMG]

    Should you start experiencing kernel panicks or crashes in OS X, you can try repairing disk permissions. In Disk Utility (you can easily find this using Spotlight), select your OS X hard drive and click Repair Disk Permissions.



    Reset your PRAM


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    If you experience problems with some hardware devices in OS X, you can attempt to reset your parameter RAM. Turn on or restart your Mac, and immediately hold down Command+Option+P+R until you hear the OS X start-up sound a second time. For a more detailed explanation, please refer to this article.


    Deleting PList files


    Sometimes, applications or files don't respond due to a problem with its settings. Deleting the PList file will restore the application to its default settings, and may fix this problem. However, it is important that you consult with the community before running off to delete PLists; sometimes you may delete the wrong PList or it may not even be the PList causing the problem.

    Deleting the wrong PList will not damage your Mac, you will just have preferences for that particular application reset to default.

    PList files can be located in ~/Library/Preferences.


    Apple Hardware Test

    Should you believe there is a problem with the hardware on your Mac, the Apple Hardware Test could be run to perform a full system check of your Mac hardware. Please refer to this article on instructions for performing the test, and note that you will need to have a Mac OS X installation disc at hand.


    Ask Us!

    Before you resort to re-installing your Operating System or reformatting your hard drive or some other method for repairing Microsoft Windows Operating Systems, it may be wise of you to post a thread about your issue here on the Apple forum. You never know, we might be able to help!



    Re-install OS X


    If none of the previous fixes worked, and we weren't able to help you with the issue, you can always re-install OS X with original OS X Installation Discs that were bundled with your Mac. You can choose to install over the current installation so files are preserved, or you can choose to Erase and Install OS X, basically completely reformatting your Hard Drive.

    Note: If your previous OS X installation was an authorized computer for your iTunes tracks, remember to de-authorize the previous OS X install before re-installing OS X!



    Last Resort


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    As a last resort, its time to call AppleCare or consult with the Geniuses at a local Apple Store.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2015
  3. jackluo923

    jackluo923 Notebook Virtuoso

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    Might want to mention some more side effects from using Windows on Macbook/Pro in bootcamp.
    -CPU temperature can/will reach around 70 degrees celsius and it is very uncomfortable to use it on your lap.
    -Windows drivers for Macbook are not properly written by apple thus some of the functionailty of touchpad, GPU, CPU, and some components on the motherboard might be compromised. E.g. touchpad support on Windows is not as smooth as in OSX due to driver issues.
    -It is highly recommended to use SMCfancontroll to manually control the fan speed to keep the laptop within reasonable and comfortable temperature range. Though, the tradeoff for this is much noiser fan.

    This will give some heads for people who are using Windows in Bootcamp.

    For those people who are using Windows in Virtual machines.
    -Performance is compromised. Expect around 10-20% performance loss in CPU performance and as much as 80% in non-accelerated GPU performance. E.g. It's highly unlikely to play very demanding games in virtual machines.
     
  4. Xirurg

    Xirurg ORLY???

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  5. KernalPanic

    KernalPanic White Knight

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    I REALLY wish people would stop telling mac users they do not need protection because macs are immune to viruses.
    Macs are NOT immune to viruses or malware and especially not to hack attempts.

    There are indeed LESS viruses for macs than PCs... but most of the ones out there are nasty and most mac users are caught unaware due to the sense of invulnerability people keep giving them.

    Unlike PCs, old mac viruses tend to get mac users because users have no protection installed. We just had to clean not one but two macs last week while both users incredulously claimed "it can't be a virus, macs don't get viruses!"

    Web-based malware works just as well on macs as PCs and in some cases better if you haven't gotten rid of the nightmare that is Safari.

    This is not a mac bashing session... and has nothing to do with the viability of a mac... it has to do with bad computing practices being kept alive due to giving people a false sense of security.
    If there is software, there can be malware.
    If you have enough users, there WILL be malware.
    I don't care if you are a mac user or a PC user, or both... use protection and be safe. Your data and your computer are worth it.
     
  6. Xirurg

    Xirurg ORLY???

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  7. Budding

    Budding Notebook Virtuoso

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    Don't make me close this thread. But seriously, although there are viruses and malware for OS X out there, pretty much none of the Mac users ever get infected. I have been using my Mac for many years now and have never once had a problem with malware or viruses, and none of my friends who use Macs have ever reported a problem either.

    I'm sure that if you work for a large company and your main task is to repair computers, you will come across even the rarest of cases. But it is a definite fact that the chances of your Mac getting infected by some adware or trojan is significantly less than your Windows box.
     
  8. HLdan

    HLdan Notebook Virtuoso

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    Xirurg's thread is geared towards newbies that are leaving the Windows world of computers to join the Mac community. Many people that have never tried a Macintosh computer will have questions, concerns and issues and this whole thread is about teaching people so they will understand how to use the system so they don't get confused. It's not about focusing on problems, his thread wouldn't be very effective.
     
  9. Xirurg

    Xirurg ORLY???

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  10. KernalPanic

    KernalPanic White Knight

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    As a guide for new users switching, don't you think that being safe is wiser than not being safe?
    Why would you NOT use antivirus and anti-malware on a mac?
    Macs are NOT immune to viruses and malware from experience.

    The ONLY time antivirus and anti-malware is probably not required is if the computer in question has no network connection, doesn't use removeable storage, and doesn't connect to the internet at all.

    Macs and PCs have much more in common than either side would like to admit. I'd like to stem the tide of mac users thinking they are invulnerable as it has been counter-productive here at work.
    This marketing point is harmful and is a major weakness and quite frankly, good computing practices are universal.

    Just because something hasn't been fully exploited yet does not mean it won't be.

    Wearing the new "brand X" tennis shoes does not mean you cannot be struck by lightning, and just because it hasn't happened to you yet does not mean it cannot happen. Even wearing such shoes I advise using the standard methods to protect yourself from not being struck as well.

    Why would you close a overall helpful thread over a post advising a little safer security approach from an industry professional?
     
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