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It’s all very well for Apple’s "Switch" ads to woo Windows users. But once that Mac is on the desk, switchers face transferring files and settings from an old PC to the new Mac – a job that entails moving or copying hundreds or thousands of files into specific new locations. Detto’s Move2Mac is a satisfying, efficient tool that can save that weekend of fiddling – but it doesn’t bring over everything.
The box contains two key components: a hybrid Mac-Windows CD and a proprietary USB cable. The process begins on the PC: specify exactly which files, folders, and settings you want brought over to Mac OS X (version 10.2 or later required), and then run the Mac version of the program, connecting the cable when prompted. Stand back as your stuff is copied into the correct places on the Mac. The speed isn’t bad; one gigabyte of data takes about 15 or 20 minutes to copy.
Some of what Move2Mac does is pretty obvious – it copies the contents of a PC’s My Pictures, My Documents, and My Music folders into a Home folder’s Pictures, Documents, and Music folders, respectively. You don’t need Move2Mac to do this – especially if you have a network, which allows you to use OS X 10.2’s built-in Windows file-sharing feature. But, the kit also moves files and settings that would be tedious to move by hand, including Internet Explorer Favorites, email account settings, dial-up Internet settings, email address books (from Outlook Express for Windows only), and even desktop pictures.
The one disappointment is that Move2Mac doesn’t move actual email messages to the Mac. This is a grisly task, considering the notorious mailbox-format incompatibility of various Mac and PC email programs. However, Move2Mac does come with detailed instructions for performing this migration if you use Outlook or Outlook Express for Windows. (You use Netscape 7, included on the CD, to import email folders and attachments from Outlook or Outlook Express. Then open them in Netscape for Macintosh. From there, you export them to OS X’s Mail program, or – with the help of an AppleScript – Microsoft Entourage.)
Remember, too, that Move2Mac will not convert files from PC to Mac format. However, most documents don’t require conversion.
Move2Mac is an unusual program because it’s meant to be used only once. Even so, it is a persuasive money-for-time proposition. You could do its work manually, but you’d need to have a network, expert knowledge of where files go in each operating system, and hours for copying files and retyping settings. For most people, the cost is a small price to pay for the assistance of this automated computer consultant.