How to Import Documents and Data from Windows to iMac OS X?


If you’re a classic Windows-to-Mac Switcher, you made a wise choice, especially if you’re interested in the creative applications within the iLife ’09 suite! Although you can choose to start your Apple computing life anew, you probably want to migrate some of your existing documents and files from that tired PC to your bright, shiny, new iMac.

Unfortunately, no Windows Migration Assistant exists within Mac OS X. However, if you’re moving from a Windows PC to an iMac, you can copy your files manually from a CD or DVD, from a USB Flash drive, or over a network. (Note, however, that the iMac doesn’t come with a floppy drive. And trust me, you wouldn’t want to use one to move anything that matters, anyway.)  

The Mac OS X Help system contains an entire subsection on specific tricks that you can use when switching from Windows to Mac, including how to connect to a Windows network and how to directly connect the two computers.  

Because Snow Leopard can’t run Windows programs directly (at least, not without extra software), moving applications like Paint Shop Pro won’t do you any good. In general, however, you can move documents, movies, photos, and music without a problem. I will illustrate what can be moved between Windows and Mac OS X as well as the application that you use in Snow Leopard to open those files and documents.  

If you don’t mind investing around $40, try using the Move2Mac software utility, which does most of the work of Migration Assistant for those switching from a Windows PC. From Detto Technologies, Move2Mac comes complete with a special USB-to- USB cable that connects your two computers for high-speed copying. With Move2Mac, you can choose what you want to transfer to your new iMac (use Table 2-1 as a guide), and the copying is done automatically for you. Plus, Move2Mac also transfers goodies like your home page and bookmarks from Internet Explorer, desktop backgrounds, and even your Address Book contacts and account settings from Outlook Express. Move2Mac makes switching much easier, and I can highly recommend it.  

With the Snow Leopard Boot Camp feature, you can actually create a full Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 system on your Intel iMac. Yup, Windows and Snow Leopard coexist peacefully on the same computer. However, you have to reboot your computer to use your iMac as a Windows system. This brings a whole new meaning to the term Switcher because some iMac owners are moving their stuff from Windows (running on their old PC) to . . . well, Windows (running on their new iMac) rather than Snow Leopard. If you do decide to create a Windows system on your iMac by using Boot Camp, the files and folders on your existing PC can be copied directly by using a good, old-fashioned Windows wizard.  

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