It’s been… emotional

Contemplating dumping your old PC for a shiny new Mac? Read on, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

On Sunday, two weeks ago, I Tweeted that I was about to embark on a PC to Mac migration. I’d made the decision to mothball my five year old Dell PC and seven year old HP laptop in favour of a pair of sleek, shiny and undeniably sexy (for technology, for technology) beasts – an iMac desktop and a MacBook Air laptop. Yes, I’d finally bought the ‘once-you-go-Mac-you-won’t-go-back’ hype.

Here’s that Tweet in all its glorious prescience:

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This weekend I finally reached the point where I was prepared to put my old PC in a cupboard.  The process of moving from PC to Mac, including fixing everything that broke, recovering almost everything that disappeared, re-entering the things which disappeared but didn’t reappear, setting up new accounts, new synchronisations and a new email host, identifying and working around a plethora of ‘undocumented features’, listening to a succession of helpdesk representatives of variable skill levels and variable capacity for effective communication (including one  from Audible who actually fought on-screen in a shared session with me to do something I’d requested he stop doing), and peeling myself off the ceiling more than a few times… has taken the better part of 13 days.

I lost sleep. More than one night I found myself awake at 3am, scrawling notes on the thoughts I’d had in the dark on how I might backtrack, recover lost ground or retrieve lost files. I lost credibility with clients whose work became delayed and who I had to ask to re-send things they’d already sent me. It cost me, financially (not nearly as much as it could have, truth to say, thanks to a kind, understanding, generous and capable IT Consultant, who I wish to goodness I’d made the acquaintance of before I clicked the buttons which dispatched 14 years of work, documents, emails and photographs to hell in a handcart).

But this whole shambles has cost me most of all in peace of mind. My calm, orderly and professionally competent world has been in upheaval for two weeks. All the fundamental technical things I’ve taken for granted for years were thrown up in the air. And they’ve only just begun to come down again.

So in lieu of a proper post for the last two weeks, I present to you my seven sincerely serious caveat emptors of PC to Mac migration – just in case you’re contemplating taking this unholy step yourself.

  1. It would be prudent, before you begin, to find out if you’re up to this challenge. A full psychological assessment by a recognised professional would not be an indulgence too far. For any mental feebleness or emotional fragility will be exposed and then rubbed raw by the passage from Microsoftland to Appleville. Even most resolute and well-balanced mind can expect be shredded by the experience.
  2. When they tell you it’s easy to migrate from a PC to a Mac, do not believe them. Whoever they are, however significant they are in your life, however honest and trustworthy they have always proved themselves to be… they’re lying to you now.
  3. When they say, don’t worry, you can easily do it all yourself, they’re deceiving you. You will need professional help. Really. Unless you’re an actual Apple Technical Consultant… You. Will. Need. Help.
  4. If you make the mistake of engaging in debate at this point, they will tell you there’s a nifty little tool in the Apple toolbox, called Migration Assistant, that will do it all for you. Do not be fooled. Hidden beneath the apparent guilelessness of the Migration Assistant’s evil smiley faces is a whole crock full of trouble.
  5. However much it looks like Microsoft and Apple are playing nicely these days, this is but a façade. Office 365 on Mac has holes and delivers a few nasty little surprises. It’s nearly there, but not quite. If you have POP3 email accounts, Outlook will not be your friend. If you have archives of emails, old calendars or task lists with dozens of important items scheduled, anticipate some degree of carnage.
  6. Back up everything before you start. That’s just good housekeeping, but with this kind of adventure, it’s insanity to bypass this step.
  7. The best piece of advice though? Don’t do anything at all. Step away from that sexy white box. Just make the call. Get an Apple Technical Consultant on-board… before you break the seal.

I think I’ll be glad I did this – eventually. But for now, my overriding emotion is one of relief, that I got there in the end.  Normal service will be resumed.