Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Mavericks Edition (2014)

Part V. Appendixes

Appendix C. The “Where’d It Go?” Dictionary

If you’re switching to OS X from Windows, this appendix is for you. It’s an alphabetical listing of every common Windows function and where to find it in OS X. After all, an operating system is an operating system. The actual functions are pretty much the same—they’re just in different places.

About [this program]

About [this program]

To find out the version number of the program you’re using, don’t look in the Help menu. Instead, look in the application menu next to the  menu—the one that bears the name of the program you’re in. That’s where you find the About command for Macintosh programs.

Accessibility Options control panel

The special features that let you operate the computer even with impaired vision, hearing, or motor control are called Accessibility in Mavericks. They’re in System Preferences (see Chapter 16).

Active Desktop

The Mac never displays Web pages directly on the desktop—and knowing Apple, that’s probably a point of pride. But Dashboard (Chapter 4) keeps Internet data only a keystroke away.

Add Hardware control panel

The Mac requires no program for installing the driver for a new external gadget. The drivers for most printers, mice, keyboards, cameras, camcorders, and other accessories are preinstalled. If you plug something into the Mac and find that it doesn’t work immediately, just install the driver from the included CD (or the manufacturer’s Web site).

Add or Remove Programs

Here’s another one you just don’t need on the Macintosh. Installing a program onto the Mac is described in Chapter 4. Removing a program simply involves dragging its icon to the Trash. (For a clean sweep, inspect your Home→Library→Preferences and Library→Application Support folders to see if any preference files got left behind.)

All Programs

There’s no Programs menu built into OS X, like the one on the Windows Start menu. If you’d like one, drag your Applications folder into the end of the Dock. Now its icon is a tidy pop-up menu of every program on your machine.

Alt key

On the Mac, it’s the Option key, although the key usually says “Alt” on it, too. (In some countries, it says only Alt.) You can substitute Option for Alt in any keystroke in most popular programs. The Option key has a number of secondary features on the Mac, too: It hides the windows of one program when you click into another, and so on.

Automatic Update

The →Software Update command does exactly the same thing.

Backspace key

It’s in the same place on the Macintosh keyboard, but it’s called the Delete key.

Battery level

The battery-level graph () for your Mac laptop appears in the menu bar, rather than in the system tray. (If you don’t see it, open System Preferences→Energy Saver and turn it on.)


You’ll never have to update or even think about the ROM of your Macintosh (the approximate equivalent of the BIOS on the PC). It’s permanent and unchanging. The very similar firmware of your Macintosh does occasionally have to be updated in order to work with a new version of the Mac operating system or some dramatic new feature—once every four years, perhaps. You’ll be notified on the screen when the time comes.


The Briefcase is a Windows invention designed to help you keep your files in sync between a laptop and a desktop computer. You can use free services like Dropbox.com and SugarSync.com to achieve exactly the same result with your Mac. Or, if it’s your calendar, address book, or mail account that you want to sync, just use iCloud, as described in Chapter 10.


The Calculator program in OS X is almost identical to the one in Windows, except that it can also perform conversions (temperature, distance, currency, and so on) and features an editable “paper tape.” It sits in your Applications folder and is described in Chapter 18. (There’s a simpler Calculator in Dashboard, too; see the end of Chapter 4. And don’t forget that you can type quick math equations into the  Spotlight menu.)

Camera and Scanner Wizard

When you connect a digital camera or scanner to your Mac, iPhoto or Image Capture opens automatically and prepares to download the pictures automatically.

CDs and DVDs

To open the CD/DVD drawer, or, if you have a slot-loading drive, to spit out the disc that’s in it, hold down the  key on your Mac keyboard. If it’s an older Mac keyboard without a  key, you can eject a CD (or any other disc) by right-clicking (or two-finger clicking) its desktop icon and then choosing Eject from the shortcut menu. There are various other ways to eject a disc, but the point is that you never do so by pushing the Eject button on the disc drive itself.

Character Map

This Windows program helps you find out what keys you need to press to trigger trademark symbols, copyright symbols, and other special characters. The equivalent on the Mac is called the Character Viewer (Insert the proper typographical symbols).

Clean Install

The OS X installer can give you a fresh copy of the operating system, just as the Windows installer can. Instructions are in Appendix A.


The Mac’s Clipboard works much like the one in Windows. In the Finder, you can choose Edit→Show Clipboard to see whatever you most recently copied or cut.

Command line

In OS X, the command line is alive and well—but it speaks Unix, not DOS. You get to it by opening Terminal; see Saving a report.

Control Panel

The Control Panel in OS X is called System Preferences, and you open it from your  menu. As in Windows, you can view these icons either by category or in a simple alphabetical list: Just choose either Organize by Categories or Organize Alphabetically from the View menu.

Copy, Cut, Paste

When you’re editing in a word processor or graphics program, the OS X Cut, Copy, and Paste commands work exactly as they do in Windows.

At the desktop, however, there are a few differences. You can indeed copy icons and paste them into a new window using the Copy and Paste commands—but cutting them out of a window, as you can in Windows, works slightly differently: After you’ve copied the icons from the first window, open the destination window. Then press the Option key, open the Edit menu, and choose Move Items Here.

Ctrl key

On the Macintosh, you generally substitute the ⌘ key in keystrokes that would involve the Ctrl key in Windows. In other words, the Save command is now ⌘-S instead of Ctrl-S, Open is ⌘-O instead of Ctrl-O, and so on.

Date and Time

To set your Mac’s calendar and clock, open Date & Time in System Preferences.

Delete Key (Forward Delete)

Most desktop Mac keyboards have a forward-delete key (labeled  or Del) exactly like the ones on PCs. On Mac laptops, and on Apple’s aluminum keyboards, you trigger the forward-delete function by pressing the Delete key while simultaneously pressing the Fn key.


The Macintosh desktop is pretty much the same idea as the Windows desktop, with a few key differences:

§  Disk icons show up on the Mac desktop as soon as they are inserted or connected. You don’t have to open a window to see their icons.

§  You change the desktop picture using the Desktop & Screen Saver panel of System Preferences.

§  The Trash is an icon in the Dock, not on the desktop.


Most people call them folders on the Mac.

Disk Defragmenter

There’s no such utility included with OS X; the system auto-defragments in the background. (A defragmenting program moves around the pieces of files on your hard drive in an effort to optimize their placement and speed of opening.)


Working with disks is very different on the Mac. Every disk inside, or attached to, a Macintosh can be represented on the screen by an icon. OS X does have something like the Computer or My Computer window (choose Go→Computer), but the icons there reflect only the disks currently inserted in your Mac. You’ll never see an icon for an empty drive, as you do on Windows, and there’s no such thing as drive letters (because the Mac refers to disks, not to drives—and calls them by name).

Mavericks doesn’t display icons for disks on the desktop, as earlier OS X versions did—but you can bring them back by choosing Finder→Preferences→General and turning on the checkboxes for different kinds of disks.

Display control panel

The functions of the Windows Display control panel lurk in the OS X System Preferences program—just not all in one place. You set up your desktop picture and screen saver using the Desktop & Screen Saver pane and adjust your monitor settings using the Displays pane. (OS X offers no equivalent to the Appearance tab in Windows, for changing the system-wide look of your computer.)

DLL files

The Macintosh equivalent of DLL files—shared libraries of programming code—are invisible and off limits. As a result, no Macintosh computer ever experiences DLL conflicts or out-of-date DLL files.

DOS prompt

There’s a command line in OS X, but it’s Unix, not DOS. For details, see Saving a report.


See Add or Remove Programs.

End Task dialog box

If some Macintosh program is hung or frozen, you escape it pretty much the same way you would in Windows: by forcing it to quit. To bring up the Force Quit dialog box, you press Option-⌘-Esc or choose →Force Quit.

Exiting programs

You can quit a program either by choosing Quit from the menu bearing its name (next to the  menu), or by right-clicking (or two-finger clicking) its Dock icon and then choosing Quit from the pop-up menu.


The Mac has its own “tree” view of the files and folders on your hard drive: list view. By expanding the “flippy triangles” of your folders, you build a hierarchy that shows you as much or as little detail as you like.

If you prefer the Explorer effect of clicking a folder in one pane to see its contents in the next, try column view instead. Both views are described in Chapter 2.


In OS X, there isn’t one single Favorites menu that lists both favorite Web sites and favorite icons. The Bookmarks menu of Safari, the Web browser, lists only Web sites, and the Sidebar at the desktop (Path Bar) lists only favorite files, folders, disks, and other icons.


Faxing is no longer built into OS X, but you can always buy a non-Apple fax modem and use the software that comes with it.

File Sharing

See Chapter 15 for an in-depth look at the Macintosh networking and file-sharing system.

Floppy disks

Floppy drives on Macs disappeared in about 1998. It’s much more efficient to transfer files between machines using an Ethernet cable or improvised wireless network (Chapter 15), a CD or DVD that you burned (Chapter 9), or email (Chapter 11).

Folder Options

The Folder Options control panel in Windows is a collection of unrelated settings that boil down to this:

§  General tab. Exactly as in Windows, it’s up to you whether or not double-clicking a folder opens up a second window—or just changes what’s in the first one. On the Mac, you make these changes using the Finder→Preferences command. There you’ll find the option called “Always open folders in a new window.”

§  View tab. Most of the options here don’t exist on the Mac. For example, system files are always hidden on the Mac; you can’t opt to make them visible (at least not with the built-in controls). You can, however, choose whether you want to see the file name extensions in your desktop windows (like .doc and .html). Choose Finder→Preferences→Advanced, and turn “Show all file extensions” on or off.

§  File Types tab. Just as in Windows, you can reassign certain document types so that double-clicking opens them up in the program of your choice. But on the Mac, you can reassign either a whole class of files at once, as in Windows, or one file at a time. To do it, you use the Get Info window, as described on Customizing Spotlight.

§  Offline files. There’s no equivalent feature on the Mac.


The Mac and Windows PCs both use TrueType, PostScript, and OpenType fonts. (In fact, your Mac can even use the exact font files you had in Windows.) On the Mac, however, there are actually three different folders that can contain them. A complete discussion is in Chapter 9.

Help and Support

At the desktop, choose Help→Mac Help. In other programs, the Help command is generally at the right end of your menus, exactly as in Windows.


The Mac can’t hibernate at all, as modern PCs do, cutting all power but remembering what programs and documents you had open for a faster restart later. Sleep mode is the closest it gets; see Standby mode.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft has abandoned the Mac version of Internet Explorer. Apple would prefer, of course, that you try Safari, its own Web browser, but many a power user prefers Firefox or Chrome, which are nearly identical to the Windows version.

Internet Options

On the Mac, you find the options for your Web browser by choosing Safari→Preferences.


They don’t exist on the Mac.


This interpreter of tiny Web page programs is alive and well in OS X. Java programs run fine in all Mac Web browsers.

Keyboard control panel

You can make exactly the same kinds of settings—and more—on the Keyboard & Mouse pane of System Preferences.

Logging in

The multiple-accounts feature of OS X is extremely similar to that of Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and 8/8.1. In each case, you can, if you wish, create a requirement to log in with a name and password before using the computer. This arrangement keeps separate the documents, email, and settings of each person who uses the computer. Chapter 14 tells all.

Mail control panel

OS X comes with its own email program (described in Chapter 11); all of its settings are contained within the program.

Maximize button

On the Mac, clicking the Zoom button (the green button in the upper-left corner of a window) does something like the Maximize button in Windows: It makes your window larger. On the Mac, however, clicking the zoom button never makes the window expand to fill the entire screen. Instead, the window grows—or shrinks—precisely enough to enclose its contents.

Of course, if you see the  button in the upper-right corner of your window, you can do even better: You can take that program into Full Screen mode, where every last pixel of screen space is put to work displaying your document.


On the Macintosh, there’s only one menu bar, always at the very top of the screen. The menus change depending on the program and the window you’re using, but the point is that the menu bar is no longer inside each window you open.


Just because you don’t see the little underlines in the menus doesn’t mean you can’t operate all the menus from the keyboard, as in Windows. See Reassigning all documents of one type for details.

Minimize button

You can minimize a OS X window to the Dock, just the way you would minimize a Windows window to the taskbar. You do so by double-clicking its title bar, pressing ⌘-M, choosing Window→Minimize Window, or clicking the yellow Minimize button at the top left of a window. (Restore the window by clicking its icon in the Dock.)

Mouse control panel

The equivalent settings can be found in the Mouse panel of System Preferences.

(My) Computer

The Mac’s Computer window is very similar (choose Go→Computer), in that it shows the icons of all disks (hard drive, CD, and so on). On the other hand, it shows only the disks that are actually inserted or connected. (See Disks.)

(My) Documents, (My) Pictures, (My) Music

The equivalent buckets for your everyday documents, music files, and pictures are the Documents, Pictures, and Music folders in your Home folder.

(My) Network Places

On the Mac, the “network neighborhood” is almost always on the screen: It’s the Sidebar, the panel at the left side of every Finder window. All the Macs and PCs on your network are always listed here, in the Shared category (unless you turned this feature off in Finder→Preferences, of course).

Network Neighborhood

See the previous entry.


Chapter 18 documents the new Notes app, which is far more powerful than the Notepad of old.

Phone and Modem Options control panel

To find the modem settings for your Mac, see the free appendix to this book, “Setting Up a Dial-Up Connection,” available on the “Missing CD” page at www.missingmanuals.com.

Power Options

To control when your Mac goes to sleep and (if it’s a laptop) how much power it uses, use the Energy Saver pane of System Preferences (Chapter 16).

Printer Sharing

To share a USB inkjet printer with other Macs on the network, open the Sharing pane of System Preferences on the Mac with the printer. Turn on Printer Sharing.

To use the shared printer from across the network, open the document you want to print, choose File→Print, and choose the name of the shared printer from the first pop-up menu.

Printers and Faxes

For a list of your printers, open the Print & Scan pane of System Preferences (Chapter 16). Faxing is no longer built into OS X.

PrntScrn key

You capture pictures of your Mac screen by pressing Shift-⌘-3 (for a full-screen grab) or Shift-⌘-4 (to grab a selected portion of the screen). There are many options available; see RealPlayer.

Program Files folder

The Applications folder (Go→Applications) is like the Program Files folder in Windows—except that you’re not discouraged from opening it and double-clicking things. On the Macintosh, every program bears its true name; Microsoft Word, for example, is called Microsoft Word, not WINWORD.EXE.

Properties dialog box

You can call up something very similar for any icon (file, folder, program, disk, printer) by highlighting its icon and then choosing File→Get Info. But objects in Macintosh programs generally don’t contain Properties dialog boxes.

Recycle Bin

OS X has a Trash icon at the end of the Dock. In general, it works exactly like the Windows Recycle Bin—and why not, since the Macintosh Trash was Microsoft’s inspiration?—but there are a couple of differences. The Macintosh never automatically empties it, for example. That job is up to you: The simplest way is to right-click it, or two-finger click it, and then choose Empty Trash from the shortcut menu.

The Mac never bothers you with an “Are you sure?” message when you throw something into the Trash, either. The Mac interrupts you for permission only when you choose File→Empty Trash. And you can even turn that confirmation off, if you like (in Finder→Preferences).

To put icons into the Trash, drag them there, or highlight them and then press ⌘-Delete.

Regional and Language Options control panel

The equivalent is the Language & Region panel of System Preferences.


There is no registry. Let the celebration begin!

Run command

The Mac’s command line is Terminal (Saving a report).

Safe Mode

You can press the Shift key during startup to suppress the loading of certain software libraries, but OS X’s “safe mode” isn’t quite as massively stripped down as Windows’ Safe Mode.


Just like Windows, the Mac automatically scans and, if necessary, repairs its hard drive every time your machine starts up. To run such a check on command, open Disk Utility (located in the Applications→Utilities folder), click the name of your hard drive, and then click the First Aid tab.

Scheduled Tasks

To schedule a task to take place unattended, use the launchd Unix command in Terminal (Saving a report), or one of the scheduling programs listed at www.versiontracker.com.

Scrap files

On the Mac, they’re called clipping files, and they’re even more widely compatible. You create them the same way: Drag some highlighted text, or a graphic, out of a program’s window and onto the desktop. There it becomes an independent clipping file that you can drag back in—to the same window or a different one.

Screen saver

The Mac’s screen savers are impressive. Open System Preferences and click the Desktop & Screen Saver icon.


In OS X, you have the ultimate file-searching tool: Spotlight (Chapter 3). Get psyched!

To find Web sites, use the Google search box at the top of the Safari browser.

Shortcut menus

They work exactly the same as they do in Windows. You produce a shortcut menu by right-clicking (or two-finger clicking, or Control-clicking) things like icons, list items, and so on.


On the Mac, they’re known as aliases. See Other.

Sounds and Audio Devices

Open System Preferences; click the Sound icon. You may also want to explore the Audio MIDI Setup program in Applications→Utilities.

Speech control panel

The Mac’s center for speech recognition and text-to-speech is the Dictation & Speech panel of System Preferences. As Chapter 5 makes clear, the Mac can read aloud any text in any program, and it also lets you speak to type.

Standby mode

On the Mac, it’s called Sleep, but it’s the same idea. You make a Mac laptop sleep by closing the lid. You make a Mac desktop sleep by choosing →Sleep, or just walking away; the Mac goes to sleep on its own, according to the settings in the Energy Saver pane of System Preferences.

Start menu

There’s no Start menu in OS X. Instead, you stash the icons of the programs, documents, and folders you use frequently onto the Dock at the edge of the screen, or into the Places section of the Sidebar at the left edge of every Finder window.

Exactly as with the Start menu, you can rearrange these icons (drag them horizontally) or remove the ones you don’t use often (drag them away from the Dock and then release). To add new icons of your own, just drag them into place (applications go to the left of the Dock’s divider line, documents and folders to the right).

StartUp folder

To make programs launch automatically at startup, include them in the list of Login Items in the System Preferences→Accounts pane.

System control panel

The Mac has no central equivalent of the System window on a Windows PC. But its functions have analogs here:

§  General tab. To find out your OS X version number and the amount of memory on your Mac, choose →About This Mac.

§  Computer Name tab. Open System Preferences, click Sharing, and edit your computer’s network name here.

§  Hardware tab. The closest thing the Mac has to the Device Manager is System Profiler (in your Applications→Utilities folder).

§  Advanced tab. In OS X, you can’t easily adjust your virtual memory, processor scheduling, or user profile information.

§  System Restore tab. OS X’s Time Machine feature is like System Restore on steroids; see Chapter 5.

§  Automatic Updates tab. Choose →Software Updates.

§  Remote tab. OS X offers remote control in the form of Screen Sharing, described in Chapter 15.

System Tray

The OS X equivalent of the system tray (also called the notification area) is the row of menulets at the upper-right corner of your screen.


OS X doesn’t have a taskbar, but it does have something very close: the Dock (Chapter 2). Open programs are indicated by a small, shiny dot beneath their icons in the Dock. If you hold down your cursor on one of these icons (or right-click it, or two-finger click it), you get a pop-up list of the open windows in that program, exactly as in Windows.

On the other hand, some conventions never die. Much as in Windows, you cycle through the various open Mac programs by holding down the ⌘ key and pressing Tab repeatedly.

Taskbar and Start Menu control panel

To configure your Dock (the equivalent of the taskbar and the Start menu), choose →Dock→Dock Preferences, or click the Dock icon in System Preferences.

“Three-fingered salute”

Instead of pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete to jettison a stuck program on the Mac, you press Option-⌘-Esc. A Force Quit dialog box appears. Click the program you want to toss, click Force Quit, confirm your choice, and then relaunch the program to get on with your day.


Small, yellow identifying balloons pop up on the Mac almost as often as they do in Windows. Just point to a toolbar icon or truncated file name without clicking. (There’s no way to turn these labels off.)

Tweak UI

The closest equivalent for this free, downloadable, but unsupported Microsoft utility for tweaking the look of your PC is TinkerTool for OS X.

User Accounts control panel

Like Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and 7/8, OS X was designed from Square One to be a multiuser operating system, keeping each person’s files, mail, and settings separate. You set up and manage these accounts in System Preferences→Accounts (Chapter 14).

Windows (or WINNT) folder

OS X’s operating system resides in a folder simply called System, which sits in your main hard drive window. Exactly as in recent Windows versions, you’re forbidden to add, remove, or change anything inside. Also as in Windows, most of it is invisible anyway.

Windows logo key

The Mac has no equivalent for the  key on most PC keyboards.

Windows Media Player

The Mac comes with individual programs for playing multimedia files:

§  QuickTime Player (QuickTime Player) to play back movies and sounds.

§  iTunes (iTunes: The Digital Jukebox) to play CDs, Internet radio, MP3 files, and other audio files. (As a bonus, unlike Windows XP, iTunes can even create MP3 files.)

§  DVD Player (DVD Movies) for playing DVDs. This program is in the Applications folder.

Windows Media Player is, however, available in an aging Macintosh version, paradoxical though that may sound. You can download it from www.microsoft.com/mac.

Windows Messenger

OS X’s instant-messaging, audioconferencing and videoconferencing software is called Messages, and it’s described in Chapter 13.


The TextEdit program (in the Applications folder) is a word processor along the lines of WordPad. It can even open and save Word files, as WordPad can.

.zip files

.zip files exist on the Mac, too, and you create them almost the same way: Right-click (or two-finger click) a file or folder and choose Compress from the shortcut menu.