Why would you want to Migrate PC to Mac? If you have just purchased a new Mac and still have your old Windows PC sitting there full of data files, such as documents, emails, calendar events, photos and contact information, then this section is for you.
In this article I will be taking a look at a number of techniques intended to make migrating your Windows PC data easy and as trouble free as possible.
Each of the techniques that I will look at are listed below. You can either read the entire article for a complete overview, or click on the one that interests you below.
We will start with a look a migration tool written by Apple themselves, and included with Mac OS X. It is worth noting however that the Apple Migration Assistant existed in previous versions of Mac OS X but could only be used to migrate data from another Mac, not a Windows PC!
If you are still running an older version of Mac OS X, which many users are, then you will need to pick one of the alternative options listed above!
The two versions of OS X, Lion and Mountain Lion, both have the usual new features and useful utilities that make our daily lives easier.
One of these utilities is called the 'Migration Assistant'. This utility existed in Mac OS X Snow Leopard but could only migrate Mac to Mac, in other words if you purchased a new Mac then you could migrate your files and data across from your old Mac. In OS X you now get the added benefit of being able to migrate from your Windows PC.
It is very likely that your Windows PC is packed with data. This could take the form of data files like documents, photos and videos, you might have iTunes for Windows installed and as a result have libraries and settings. Events and Emails will exist in Calendars and Email clients.
Before you start migrating data it would be a good idea to know exactly what is going to get copied, and what is not! So lets have a look at what will get copied from your Windows PC to your new Mac.
The user account for the user logged in to the Windows PC during the migration process, will be recreated on your Mac. The new account will have the same username as before, but an important point to be aware of is that the password will not be copied.
When you log into your new account on the Mac, for the first time, you will be prompted for a new password.
All documents and PC data files will be copied across. There are two points worth noting though.
You will probably understand the first point already. But just in case you don't! Windows applications will only run on a Windows operating system. Mac OS X is a Unix based operating system and applications need to be written specifically for it - see out software section for more information.
The second point is caused by the first. If you have files from a specialist Windows application you will probably find that you cannot open them after they have been migrated to the Mac. It is possible that you can get a version of the same application but for the Mac.
Apples Migration Assistant is capable of transferring data from a number of Windows applications including;
It is worth noting that for Outlook, Outlook Express and Windows Mail that data can only be migrated for the user who is currently logged into the Windows PC.
The Migration Assistant can also copy contacts and calendars from Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Windows Contacts.
If you have iTunes for Windows installed then your iTunes library including music, photos, videos, apps and games for iOS devices, will be copied over.
Note: DVD rentals will not be copied.
If you a favourite web browser such as Internet Explorer, Safari, or FireFox then your favourite bookmarks and home page settings will be migrated to your Mac.
I think you will agree that Apples new Migration Assistant is a powerful tool, and will make it much easier for the new Mac user to migrate PC to Mac. We have put together a comprehensive tutorial which covers step-by-step how to migrate PC to Mac using the Windows Migration Assistant.
We have covered what we think is the easiest and cheapest option first. But like all tasks in the computing world there are other options available to you which are particularly useful if you aren't running OS X Lion.
The next part of our article takes a look at a couple of applications that are designed to do the same job.
Have you just purchased a new Mac? Do you still have your files and data on an old Windows PC? Then read this tutorial which explains how to migrate your PC data to your Mac.
Move2Mac is a Mac application that has been written by a company called Detto Technologies. The idea is very similar to the Apple Migration Assistant but it has some interesting features that may make it ideal to you.
Like the Migration Assistant, Move2Mac can cope with standard data files and folders. But it can also migrate Internet Explorer favourites and the home page setting.
But the best feature is that Move2Mac can migrate PC to Mac via ethernet, either wired or wireless, but also has support for an external hard drive.
Move2Mac sells for $39.95, but is only available through the Detto online store, either as a retail box shipped to your door, or as a direct download with the key being emailed to you. Unfortunately, it is not currently available from the Mac App Store.
Parallels are primarily known for their virtualisation products, including Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac. A superb piece of software that allows you install and run Windows in a virtual PC on your Mac.
Parallels Transporter is a piece of software written to help you migrate PC to Mac. It works very much like Move2Mac copying all of your Windows data files into folders on your Mac, but with an interesting new feature.
It also copies your Windows applications over to your Mac, creating a Parallels Virtual Machine ready to use with Parallels Desktop for Mac. An interesting idea!
Parallels Transporter is available from the Mac App Store, so unlike the Move2Mac software it is an instant download onto your Mac. Like all software for migrating PC to Mac you will also need to download a Windows application onto your Windows PC that performs the Windows side of the migration.
VMWare are another specialist in the field of Mac Virtual PC software, and develop the powerful VMWare Fusion application. The VMWare Converter Tool is a Windows application which runs on your old PC.
The screenshot below shows the opening screen.
The VMWare Converter Tool copies your entire Windows PC, creating a complete Windows Virtual PC which runs inside VMWare Fusion on your Mac. This means that you get a complete clone of your old Windows PC with all data, user accounts, and applications.
The tool can be downloaded from the VMWare website directly into your old PC, by clicking this link, and then following the on-screen instructions: http://www.vmware.com/products/converter
If you are a home user and your Windows PC has a relatively small number of files then you can migrate PC to Mac by hand. We discussed the locations of the files at the beginning of this article, so it is simply a matter of determining the method that we will use to perform the transfer.
In many ways modern operating systems make our lives easier. You see they are designed to be multi-user, allowing the data for individual users to be kept in one place, that is only accessible by the user who owns them. At home you might be the only user but the same rules apply.
Lets start by looking at a Windows 7 PC and seeing how it stores your data. The picture below shows a Windows 7 screenshot with the Windows Explorer open.
As you can see from the screenshot as a Windows user you get a set of standard folders that, in Windows 7, are known as libraries. The folders include Documents, Music, Pictures, and Video.
You also get folders for the Desktop and for Downloads. The function of these Libraries and Folders is pretty self explanatory and are unique to you, as the currently logged in user.
So now we understand where all of your data is. It is the contents of these folders that need to be migrated to your Mac. The problem is that these folders can, potentially, have thousands of files in them!
Switching our attention to your Mac computer we again find a multi-user operating system, and like Windows, as a single home user, you still have a user account. As a result you probably won't be surprised to know that Mac OS X also gives you a set of default folders for your data files.
The picture below is a screenshot of the new Finder in Mac OS X Lion. If you look at the left sidebar you will find an icon that looks like a house. This denotes what is known as your 'Home' directory and you will see that alongside it is your username, in this case 'jordan', the user name of my account.
If you click on the 'House' icon you will see a list of folders like those in the screenshot above. Now if you look closely you will find that the folders are named Documents, Downloads, Music, Movies, Desktop, Pictures, Public and Sites.
Now glance back up at the Windows screenshot and then again at the Mac OS X Finder and we suddenly realise that there is common naming. Both Windows and Mac OS X use a very similar structure for storing your data.
So now you can see why it is possible to migrate your old Windows data files across to your Mac.
What we need now are some tools that will do the job for us. Later we will explain how to do it manually, but it is time consuming and if a tool exists, then why not use it!
The easiest option is to copy all of the files from your Windows PC onto an external hard drive. Once all of your files are safely copied, remove the drive from the Windows PC and plug it into your Mac.
Now all you have to do is copy the files from the hard drive into the correct folder on your Mac. Job done!
If you prefer you could also zip all of the files and then copy the zip files into the right folder on your Mac, and then extract the files into the folder.
Of course you don't have to use an external hard drive. If your PC and Mac are networked then you create a network share and copy the files over.