Making the move from Windows to Mac

I finally got my company to give me a MacBook Pro instead of a Windows machine and I’m actually finding it pretty hard to make the transition. For example:

  • Office is significantly lacking, with key features missing
  • Outlook (with Exchange) is limited
  • Filepaths are a pain (e.g. a colleague sends me a Windows path to a shared drive location and I want to locate it on a Mac)
  • Windows virtual machine doesn’t work the same through a Mac, for example the keyboard shortcuts are off when doing it through a Mac

There are many others I’m sure! Has anyone else made the transition? Did you encounter the same things? How did you resolve them?


Whenever I need to use software that works ‘better’ on Windows than macOS, I launch it in a Windows 10 VM under Parallels.


1 Like

It is simple to solve this problem. Just open finder and hit CMD+Opt+P (⌘+⌥+P). It will start showing file path. You can also access it by going to the “View” menu of finder.

I feel for you. I’ve noticed the first three items on your list. But they don’t affect my work all that much from day to day, so I don’t mind the tradeoff. Sounds like they’re more prevalent for you. If I were in your shoes, I’d probably switch back. Which is probably kind of lousy advice so soon after you won your struggle to get a Mac.

If your problem with files on the shared drive involves the useless links that Windows users send to you in email, you can probably write an AppleScript that will make that easier. I’ve done that in the past. I put the script in an Automator service that I could get to by right-clicking on the link in Outlook. That would open the file for me. But we’ve moved away from using our shared drive as much as we used to, so my script has fallen into disrepair.

Somewhat rhetorically speaking: I can only wonder what the other side of the story is … What is by comparison so compelling that you insisted on macOS rather than Windows in the first place?

In any case, at the points where you are experiencing clashes, you will have to find alternative apps or change your workflow.

FWIW, I have great success using a virtual machine (Parallels) with Windows.


I switched as soon as the intel Macs came out. I work for a company which is heavily microsoft in the tools we use and we also produce software which runs on windows. So having windows is always a requirement.

On the topic of Exchange:
In the past few years our IT management has slowly pushed things into the 21st century (we had to as we grew) and we have eschewed quite a few of the tethers we once had that held us back to Outlook for windows.

I now find myself with a very short list of things that I absolutely must do in Windows, no work around possible. People in other departments may have more (I believe a big sticking point is sharepoint calendars in outlook). I have been fortunate enough to eschew outlook for windows completely - which is very good once your mailbox grows into the 10’s of gigabytes - if not you will have two offline mailboxes on your SSD - one for outlook for mac and one for outlook for windows. Outlook for web is very nice these days, even the plugins are all there.

Another is updating an offline sheet from an external datasource in Excel. That doesn’t seem possible in Excel for Mac.

So Parallels remains part of my workflow and I can’t see me being relieved of windows completely, but every year, I seem to be able to sever another cord to it.

1 Like

Like others here, I also use Office through Parallels. Excel in particular has many key features missing and I cannot make do with the features available in the Mac version. Thankfully, Parallels is excellent and launches up in less than 10 seconds for me (including loading Excel), so it is not a big problem.

Office for Windows and Office for Mac are more like cousins than twins, so do not expect the same functionality. I am not a power user using Office, so when I switched to Mac years ago I just switched to using the Mac apps Pages, Numbers, Mail, etc. Those apps are not as sophisticated as Office, but they can get the job done.

Learning a Mac is not hard, it is just a matter of learning some new skills. It is more like an American moving to England. We speak the same language, but use different terms and we drive on the other side of the road and use different road signs. You just need to figure out some things that are different to get use to it. You have to stop thinking like a Windows user and think like a Mac user, which makes for a quicker transition. Most of us used Windows a crutch for too long when in transition, which makes the transition take longer.

I was a DOS/Windows user and computer builder for 20 years before switching to Mac. I find Mac to be a much better OS than Windows and I have no desire to return to Windows. There are tons of Mac Apps and are superior to Windows apps too.


Good points here. Actively list out the things that irk you on the Mac and then google their equivalents or best practices on the Mac. There are tons of snippets out there that will head you in the right direction and soon the neurons will be rewired. I have ignored windows for 10 years and barely get by when I am in there, I am sure there are many enhancements to usability and productivity that have happened there. The platforms do frequently borrow ideas from each other!

I have moved many MS Outlook devotees to a combination of 3 apps:

Apple (standard mail app that comes with macOS)
BusyCal for Calendars
BusyContacts for Contacts

It might sound counterproductive to have to use 3 different apps what MS Outlook does by itself. But the UI and stability is in my opinion much nicer.

Then there is the problem that when the MS Outlook database becomes big (25GB) that is will become slow and unstable. There is no repair option other then delete and start again.

File Path:
Change the setting in Finder:
Finder > View : Show Pathbar

While at it:

  • Finder > Preferences > Advanced: “Keep folders on top: In windows when sorting by name”
  • Finder > Preferences > Sidebar: Check all the boxes
  • Finder > Preferences > General: Check all the boxes

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

At my last employer, where I was for 9 years before retiring, I wanted to use a Mac for documentation – both creating and maintaining a library. So I sneaked in my own Mac mini. I told my manager and he OKed it as long as I backed up my work to the company server, which I did with a Chronsync task that ran every day during lunch hour.

Following the “when in Rome” philosophy, all the software that would run best (or at all) on Windows was done with the Windows machine while the Mac handled everything else (an American restaurant in Rome?). I also ran a Linux VM on the Windows box. The HP Workstation on the left was connected to the left-most monitor and the Northgate keyboard and a Dell mouse. The center and rightmost monitors were connected to the mac Mini in the far corner, connected to the Apple keyboard and mouse.

Anything I wrote I distributed in PDF format, and I rarely had to use Word. I only used Excel for statistical calculations. Microsoft Office was not installed on the Mac. I don’t recall ever having any problems accessing shared resources on the Mac. The Windows box would auto-mount the resources to corporate assigned drive letters, so I just found out where they were and connected directly on the Mac. For some reason, I had no problems with using Mail and Calendar with our exchange server.

1 Like

Thanks - the issue is only Outlook seems to have the ability to access the internal room booking system, so it kinda locks me in.

See if the web version lets you book rooms.

1 Like

How in the world did that hp tower never fell off your desk? :slight_smile:

Only when it stalled and needed to reboot :crazy_face:

There were plenty of days when I wished it would have.