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September 2022: Migrating from Mac to PC (Part1)

Welcome to PC

This is it; you’re making the jump from Mac* to PC, and you’ve got questions. This in-depth guide has everything you need to know about making the switch from Mac to Windows* PC. We’ve got you covered with guidance on converting and transferring your files as well as setting up your new experience. It’s simpler than you might think.

Apple ID, Meet Microsoft Account

Although not absolutely required in most circumstances, a Microsoft Account helps you get the most out of Windows* and your PC, enabling more secure access and a host of convenient features.

You may already have a Microsoft Account from a previous PC, a former account, or even from your Xbox*. If you don’t have one or want to set up a new account, do it early in the transition process. Doing so, and associating it with your Windows login, automatically sets up access to services such as OneDrive*, the Microsoft Store, Teams*, and Skype*. If you’re interested, you have quick and easy access to optional services like Microsoft* 365 or Xbox Game Pass.

And no, you don’t really need to say goodbye to Apple ID. Many of Apple’s iCloud*-based services can be accessed from Windows via the web or select built-in apps.

How to Transfer Files from Mac to Windows PC

Although Macs* and Windows* PCs use different file systems, most file types are cross-compatible between operating systems. It’s just a matter of moving the data to your new PC, and there are several ways to do it1.

Transfer Files Using an External Drive

An external storage device (external hard drive or USB flash drive) can be used to copy data between your Mac and your new PC. For the broadest compatibility, you can format that drive with the exFAT* file system, which both macOS* and Windows* can write to.

Before you format an external storage device, first back up any data on the device. If it’s not a brand-new drive, formatting it erases all existing files. Once that’s done, you can format the drive to exFAT in macOS or Windows.

Using Mac:

  1.           Launch the Disk Utility application and select the external drive as the source.
  2.           Choose Erase from the list of icons near the top of the window.
  3.           Name the drive as desired, use the Format drop-down menu to select exFAT, and click Erase.
  4.           Once the process is complete, the drive is mounted in Finder.
  5.           Use Finder to drag-and-drop files and data from your Mac to the external drive.
  6.           Connect the drive to your PC and launch File Explorer to access the drive.
  7.            You can now drag or copy your files from the external drive to your PC.

Using Windows:

  1.      Connect the drive to your PC and launch the Start Menu.
  2.      Type Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions.
  3.      Click the matching result to launch the Windows Disk Management utility.
  4.      Find your external drive listed in the lower half of the window.
  5.      Right-click on its primary partition and choose Format.
  6.      From the File System drop-down menu, select exFAT.
  7.      If desired, add a name for the drive in the Volume Label field and click OK.
  8.      Click OK on the popup window to confirm again and start the disk formatting process.
  9.      Once the process is complete, connect the drive to your Mac.
  10.      Use Finder to drag-and-drop files and data from your Mac to the external drive.
  11.      Connect the drive to your PC and launch File Explorer to access the drive.

You can now drag or copy your files from the external drive to your PC.

Note: Depending on the size of your external storage device, you may not be able to fit all your data onto the external drive at once. In this case, delete data from the external drive after it has been copied to your PC to clear space, and repeat the process as necessary.

Transfer Files Using a Cloud Service

You can use a cloud service if you don’t have many large files like videos. This option works best if you have an internet connection with fast upload speeds. Online file synchronization services such as OneDrive*, Dropbox*, or even iCloud* can sync your data from your Mac to your new PC.

1.    Make sure that the service is configured to sync the desired folders.

2.    Check that the syncing process is up to date.

3.    Then install the corresponding app on your new PC.

4.    Once you sign into your account, sync all the files over to the PC.

Transfer Files Using a Local Network

If both your Mac and your PC are on the same local network, you can use a network transfer to copy data between the two systems.

Starting on your Mac:

1.    Go to System Preferences > Sharing and check the box for File Sharing.

2.    In the Shared Folders section, click the plus icon.

3.    Add the folders that you want to copy.

4.    Repeat this process to add as many folders as desired.

5.    Make note of your Mac’s network address, which starts with smb://.

6.    Click Options to verify that the check box next to your username is checked. This step enables network transfers via the SMB protocol.

And now from your Windows PC:

1.    Click the Start button and type Run.

2.    Select the Run command to open the utility. In the text box, type two backslashes followed by your Mac’s network address.
Example: For network address smb://, enter \\ (note the change to backslash).

3.    Hit Enter to attempt the connection.

4.    When asked for a username and password, select More Choices > Use a Different Account.

5.    Enter your Mac account username and password and select OK. Your Mac username is the name of your Home folder in Finder.

6.    Once the shared folders window pops up, drag your data from the Mac to the PC.

Note: The transfer speed can vary depending on your network and the connection strength of each device. To help ensure superior performance, use wired Ethernet or the latest compatible Wi-Fi version. For Wi-Fi networks, position both PC and Mac devices close to the Wi-Fi router.

Where to Put Your Files on Windows PC

Like macOS, Windows user account offers default folders such as Documents, Pictures, Music, and Videos. While optional, using these folders helps keep your data organized, accessible, and safe, since most backup and online syncing services protect these folders by default.

The File Explorer sidebar includes shortcuts to these folders, and you can always navigate directly to them via your account’s user folder at C:\Users\[user]\. As you copy files to your new PC, you can move documents, MP3s, and images to their appropriate folders.

How to Transfer Documents from Mac to Windows PC

If you use Microsoft Office* for Mac*, all your documents, worksheets, and presentations are already compatible with Office for Windows*. However, if you have files in Apple’s iWork* format (Pages, Numbers, Keynote), you must convert those files to an Office-compatible format. You can convert files easily on your Mac or the web via iCloud*.

How to Convert iWork Files to Microsoft Office Files

To view your iWork Pages*, Numbers*, and Keynote* files in Microsoft Office Word*, Excel*, and PowerPoint*, you need to convert them.

On your Mac:

1.    Open your files in the corresponding iWork app and select File > Export To.

2.    Select the applicable Office format (for example, Pages to Word). You may also select a compatible format such as plain text, EPUB, or PDF.

3.    Once converted, copy the files over to your PC as described previously.

Or from iCloud:

1.    If your documents are on iCloud, you can convert your iWork files over the internet.

2.    Log in to your account at and select the iWork apps.

3.    Select the desired file to open it.

4.    Click the wrench icon from the toolbar at the top of the document.

5.    Select Download a Copy and the option to convert the file to the applicable Office format.

How to Transfer Bookmarks from Mac to Windows PC

Depending on the browser you use, transferring bookmarks is quick and easy. You can instantly sync your bookmarks to your PC from Edge*, Chrome*, or Firefox*: install the same browser and sign into the same account you used on your Mac.

If you used Safari*, you can manually export bookmarks to an HTML file that can be imported by almost any other browser.

1.    Launch Safari on your Mac and select File > Export Bookmarks.

2.    In the popup window, choose a save location for your exported bookmarks and then click Save.

3.    Copy this HTML file to your PC using one of the file transfer methods.

4.    Follow the instructions for your preferred web browser on how to import bookmarks.

Edge: Select Settings and More (three dots) > Settings > Import or Export > Import from File.

Chrome: Select More (three dots) > Bookmarks > Import Bookmarks and Settings.

Firefox: Select Menu (three lines) > Bookmarks > Manage Bookmarks > Import Bookmarks from HTML.

How to Transfer Email from Mac to Windows PC

There’s no transition to worry about if you’re already using a web-based email service such as or Gmail. Simply log into your account via your preferred browser in Windows.

The transition is still easy with the Apple Mail* app with a POP account or IMAP account; the built-in Windows Mail* app can handle the same accounts. Check with your email account provider for the appropriate settings and server addresses. For common web services such as Yahoo Mail* or even iCloud*, the Windows Mail app can automatically configure your account with just your email address and password.

How to Transfer Music from Mac to Windows PC

All your favorite music streaming services3 - Spotify*, Pandora*, TIDAL*, and many more—are available on Windows. If you have a collection of locally saved music files, you can play them locally with Microsoft Groove*. You can also add your files to OneDrive and access your music from other PCs, the web, and your Xbox console.

And if you’re an Apple Music* or iTunes* user, you can stick with the fully-supported iTunes for Windows*. You can even copy an entire iTunes library to Windows.

How to Transfer iTunes Library from Mac to Windows PC

In recent versions of macOS, the music portion of iTunes now exists in a separate Music* app. Whether you use iTunes or the Music app, the steps for copying the library to iTunes for Windows are nearly identical. By default, your iTunes music is stored in the Music folder of your User folder, and it’s best to consolidate your music files here before moving the library.

Starting from your Mac:

1.    Launch iTunes or the Music app and select File > Library > Organize Library.

2.    Check the box for Consolidate Files and click OK.

3.    Wait for the consolidation process complete. It may take a while depending on your library’s size and location.

4.    Use Finder to navigate to User > Music.

5.    Copy the folder to your PC using one of the data transfer methods described earlier.

Watch out for Part ii 

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