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Migrating from PC

Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I've been considering using the Mac for awhile, but don't know where to begin on it as far as utilities.  I've been a PC tech for years, and I know all the in's and out's of the hardware/software.  Can anyone point me towards a tutorial, or a comparison chart, that would show equivalent procedures such as (windows features listed):
  - System Properties
  - Device Manager
  - Event Viewer
  - Command (although I believe OS X has Unix Terminal capability)
  - User Profiles
  - Security Permissions
  - Control Panel

I know there are probably not exact equivalents, but any direction you could give would be nice.
Watch Question

Well, I'll start the ball rolling:

  - System Properties
    System Profiler (formerly Apple System Profiler), available by clicking the More Info button in the About This Mac dialog box (which is the top item in the Apple menu), or by opening the app directly from /Applications/Utilities/ to use Unix nomenclature. If you're just interested in OS version, chip, speed and memory, the About This Mac dialog has that info.

  - Device Manager
    I don't think there's a direct equivalent of this on the Mac (anyone?) - closest would be the lists provided by the System Profiler above.

  - Event Viewer
    If this is a list of running applications and processes, Activity Viewer is the beast you want - also in /Applications/Utilities/. If you're after a log viewer, the Console app (in the same place) is the one you want.

  - Command (although I believe OS X has Unix Terminal capability)
    Yes, the Unix command line is a click or two away with the Terminal application - once again, in /Applications/Utilities/.

  - User Profiles
    Basic stuff is in the Accounts System Preferences pane (see below in Control Panels) - whether a user is admin or not, password control, limitations on non-admin users if set, the currently logged in user's startup items, and the behaviuours of the login window (list of users vs entry fields, auto-login, visibility of restart and shut down buttons, etc.)
    More Unixy-type stuff can be done from the command line, or from NetInfo Manager (in /Applications/Utilities/) - but be careful as mucking up your NetInfo database can lead to an unbootable machine.

  - Security Permissions
    Either click on the item and Get Info from the file menu in the Finder (the Finder is Apple's file browser/app launcher. Sort of like the old Program Manager and File Manager rolled into one) to examine and/or change the Ownership and Permissions, or do it from the command line.

  - Control Panel
    Closest equivalent is the System Preferences, available in /Applications/ and from the Apple menu (and in the Dock by default, although many people drag it off the Dock so it doesn't get too cluttered. Individual preference icons are called panes, and ones which relate to the machine as a whole can be locked down, requiring an admin password to change. Personal-user-level prefs remain unlocked.

There are also many third party apps which you can download or buy which provide more functionality in these areas.

Hope that's of use - let me know if you need anything covered in more detail.


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Oh, and there are also books which cover the Mac from a Windows-user's perspective, but they may be at a level below your level of experience.


Andrew DuffyTechnical Services Coordinator
A couple of notes on macassist's excellent summary:

- Device Manager: As said, the System Profiler will provide a 'device browsing' function, but nothing else. The features that are 'missing' therefore are the ability to disable a device, roll back, uninstall and update drivers, and adjust memory resources. The last item is irrelevant, but I would say driver management can be a bit of a mess in OS X, as manufacturers don't always (or hardly ever do) provide a proper uninstaller utility for their drivers.

- Event Viewer: The OS X Console isn't anywhere near as user-friendly as the Windows Event Viewer, and can often be difficult to interpret. Takes some getting used to but is a powerful tool.

Most of the principles are the same though.
There are lots of good web sites, but I've found O'Reilly's Mac site http://www.macdevcenter.com/ particularly helpful from a knowledge viewpoint.  It has many good papers and articles on the many aspects of OS X, including drilling down to the highly-technical.  I've found this site to be very helpful.
For the Event Viewer:

Open Terminal
Type: top

You can sort it by basically any column that you like.

More Info type: man top
Andrew DuffyTechnical Services Coordinator

Not quite - top gives real-time process information, a la Windows Task Manager, but not system events.
in-effect, you are correct, that was the last one I read before I put that there and I didn't review before posting...


Thanks for the help, it looks like I'll be able to make the transition relatively smoothly.  I increased the points and split them to make it fair for all your efforts.
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