The Lite Side

The Windows User's Guide to Talking with a Mac User

- 2003.06.24

Do you have a touchy Mac-using fanatic down the hall who will launch into a diatribe against monopolies at the mention of Mr. Gates? We see them on a regular basis here at the Lite Side - and no, not always in the mirror - so we wrote this helpful guide to innocent PC-using drones - er, users, who wish to hold a civilized conversation with the Mac faithful without bringing down the wrath of Steve.

Print this out and put it in your pocket, because you never know when you'll need the Lite Side's

Guide for Windows Users Trying Not to Annoy Mac-Using Friends

When asking for assistance with your Windows machine...

...never assume that a Mac user can't help you with your Windows machine. Why do people switch to Mac? They're tired of fixing Windows. That doesn't mean they won't do it, though, if you ask nicely.
...always preface your request with "I know you don't like to work on Windows machines, but you know more than me/the tech guy/the secretary/the boss so I hope you can help me."

When seeking a spare floppy disk....

...never say, "Since you can't use floppies, can I have one of yours?"
...always say, "You have any of those obsolete floppy disks around that you don't need?"

When trying to set up TCP/IP to make a network, cable modem, or other connection work...

...never say, "This always worked on my Windows machine at home."
...always say, "It's just like the TCP/IP control panel on your Mac, so can I see your settings?"

When trying to find out if a USB peripheral such as a mouse is broken by plugging it in another machine...

...never say, "Do you know where there is a PC I can test this with?"
...always say, "Can you get this to work with your Mac? I'm trying to find out if it's a hardware or software problem."

When trying to open a mysterious but non-executable attachment...

...never say, "I think this was sent to me by a Mac user so I can't open it. Will you open it for me and email it back?"
...always say, "I can't open this file. Can you use your Mac to open it and send it back to me in a format I can use?"

When getting an attachment from a Mac user that doesn't have the standard three-letter extension...

...never say, "When are they going to fix Macs so they put the right extension on the file?"
...always say, "What program did you use for this file? I need to put the extension on it so I can open it by double-clicking."

When trying to recover from a virus attack that has crippled your computer...

...never say, "Did you lose any files because of the virus?"
...always say, "Can you scan this file for me to see if it is infected? I'm trying to clear my machine."

When using a Mac for whatever reason, even though your usual machine is a PC...

...never say, "How can you use the menu commands that are normally in a right-click? Can you even do that?"
...always say, "How do I get a contextual menu?"
...never say, "Why doesn't this computer have an alt-key?"
...always say, "Which key does what the alt-key does on a PC?"
...never say, "There isn't any key called the command key."
...always say, "Is the Apple key the same thing as the command key?"
...never say, "Where is the C: drive?"
...always say, "Where is the hard drive icon?"
...never say, "Where is the eject button?"
...always say, "How do I eject the disk/CD?"

With these helpful tips, hopefully you can preserve the peace in the office but still get the help you need from your friendly neighborhood Mac fanatic.

Good luck!

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