16 tips for Mac users who must use Windows

I was forced to use a Windows PC the other day. It was a shock, particularly because search engines generally generate tips for switching from Windows to Mac when queried on this. It made me suspect Mac users may sometimes need a little help when they use Windows because they can't get to a Mac. I assembled these short tips to help such temporary migrants:



Not so different, on your Mac you'll Control-click items to access commands or perform actions in the shortcut menu, on Windows you Right-click the mouse.

How to launch an app?

Use the Start menu and the taskbar to access programs (applications), folders and files.

Where's the Menu?

The application menu on OS X is in the same place as the Finder at the top of the display. On Windows the application menu sits at the top of the active application window -- flick through different windows and you'll see the contents of that menu change.

Where's my stuff

Mac users use Finder to track down their files and apps. On Windows Mac users should use Windows Explorer.

Where's my flash drive?

On a Mac you'll see external connected drives appear in a Finder window, on Windows you need to open File Explorer and use the My Computer (This PC on Windows 8) command to access various drives.

Quick launch

On Macs you can launch apps and return to active applications using the Dock. On Windows you need to use the Windows Quick Launch icons at the bottom of the screen in the Windows Task Bar.

How do I cycle through open apps?

Cycle through open apps: Alt-Tab

How do I quit?

You can quit Windows apps by clicking the red X at the upper right corner of the window you're in. You can quit unresponsive apps using Ctrl+Alt+Delete (but you probably knew that -- there's even songs about it).

Finder or File Manager

The My Computer dialog lets you access Windows File Manager which lets you access all the files on the drive, while Windows Control Panel is the equivalent of System Preferences.

How do I rename a file?

On Windows you Rename documents by clicking Rename this file in the File Tasks menu.

Keyboard confusion

Windows is the equivalent of Command on your Mac.

Alt is the equivalent of Option.

Backspace the equivalent of Delete.

Window control

Maximize windows using the button on the top right, but beware: unlike on a Mac the red button closes the application.

On a Mac you minimize a window using the yellow button in a window, it is very similar on Windows where you click the minimize box.

You can resize an application window by grabbing it at the side, rather than using the lower right corner (OS X).

Keyboard shortcuts

Show Desktop: Windows+M or Windows+D

Close current window; Ctrl+W

How do I cycle through open apps?

Cycle through open apps: Alt-Tab

How do I trash?

Pretty simple: just move unwanted files and folders to the Recycle Bin.

How do I quit?

You can quit Windows apps by clicking the red X at the upper right corner of the window you're in. Or get another Mac.

These short tips do not constitute a complete guide to help Mac users make temporary use of Windows. Some features may differ on some Windows installations. If you have additional helpful tips you'd like to add, please share them in comments below.

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