Saturday, April 14, 2018

Mac To Windows Part 8: Transfer Complete

Okay, here is the Short Version if you just joined us, and are looking for a smooth transition from Mac to Windows:
You will need these wares - 
* MaComfort (allows various Mac key combinations in Windows PLUS Spaces clone PLUS you can change the key assignments)
* Seer (simulate Apple's Quicklook or Preview feature)
Pretty much everything else is already there in Windows 10, you just need to find it.


As of now I have finally completed the move. The new machine is already much quieter than the Mac Pro, which is nice. If I went the whole way I could fit a 7980XE and beat anything Apple sells, and still have a very quiet black box, with plenty of upgrade potential. Downsides? Well, when I do huge copy operations it can get crappy and needs to be restarted . . . . but that is hardly a normal situation. Having finished the transfers, all is good.

There are still major differences or issues with Windows 10 as compared to OSX:
The main one is what I call loosely usability: For example, in OSX when you go to open a DAZ file you will get a preview of all files to help choice. There really isn’t anything like it in Windows: To open files in DAZ I must find an image of the file I want in my rendered images and then find the file based on the name of that image - and that is because I have named all images based on their origin file although they are in a different folder system. Yes, I’m sure some folks will store all renders with the originating file, but I didn’t because I wanted to be able to move them to another drive if things get cramped, and I don’t want to spend time sorting files.

The Icons
I have used folder icons for many years to quickly identify specific folders or mark certain folders as special in a folder full of them. On a Mac this is quick because you can (a) quickly open the info window for a file or folder and (b) freely copy and paste icons between folders - not so for Windows however. In Windows land there is a way to change a single folder icon but it takes a lot more steps and there is no copy and paste. I hoped that I could find a small app that would do this but so far no joy.

File Transfers and folder merges
This week I found RichCopy 4, which can swiftly merge folders and has lots of options, and is free. I thought that there was some way to merge folders with just a key held down while copying, but it seemed this was not true. . . . . and then I discovered how to merge properly in Explorer ( Explorer is the windows equivalent to Finder - well, sort of ) : If you are new to Windows 10 and want to merge folders there is a setting you need to find which turns on the merge dialog – for some unknown reason it is turned off by default in Win 10. Search for “File Explorer Options” and when it appears, go to the “View” tab. Uncheck the “Hide folder merge conflicts” item. This then gives you the option to merge by overwrite or just skip, and a checkbox for “do this for all the others”.

Having now migrated my DAZ/Poser content to a 2TB SSD, there only remains the odds and ends to clean up: another 1TB SSD needs to be fitted and all the odds and ends moved onto it – the usual stuff: photos, text, artworks, music.

I had underestimated the time it would take to transfer everything from one computer to the other.
Now I am doing it by ethernet cable as opposed to copying files to an external ExFat drive then re-copying to an internal drive as I did first, but even so it is sloooooooow. Currently it is telling me the next operation will take 14 hours . . . This is direct transfer from Mac to PC, please note.
I can’t get RichCopy to see drives on the connected Mac so it’s Explorer all the way. I am not sure it would make any difference anyway. Just be warned that transferring data between Operating Systems is slow. Veeery slow. I don't think it was any faster using a USB drive either.

Well shit. It just didn't want to behave for me. . . . . but after some head scratching and mucking about, I realised what was wrong. MaComfort has the whole “Spaces” thing covered: all I had to do was give it all the rght keyboard commands to make it work and bingo, Windows now has a proper multi - desktop system like Mac OSX.
Windows has one feature I still use: when your Apps (programs) are pinned to the taskbar, you can open or hop over to them by using CMD- (number) - of course, the numbers start from the left and can't go past 9 and 0 – still, ten major apps is plenty enough for me.
I have searched and could not find any key commands or information about how to use multiple desktops in Windows – you need (a) keys to move between desktops (b) keys to move apps between desktops (because it seems sometimes windows apps move without asking) and (c) the overview - but MaComfort has all of this covered.

There are other features that make MaComfort essential for me too: First, you can quit programs with CMD- Q (or another key if you want) – somehow while I have been away from Windows world, ALT-F, X has disappeared from the lexicon of being able to quit things. To be honest, this is an extra keypress compared to what I know but worse still, I find there are some apps that don't seem to have ANY key command to quit them – and shutting down the PC also has NO key command - but MaComfort has all of this fixed, and with your choice of key commands too.

The one thing Windows 10 just doesn't seem to be able to do that OSX has is to remember the desktops and program windows between startups. I can now get close since I can assign a major app to a numbered desktop and open it with a keypress, but it does not remember what it was doing before shutdown.

I went one step further: I got a new Power Supply. This is a “platinum” quality unit that has ALL of the cables plugging into the box. This is partly so that I can get custom cables made later (if I go that far). This is also part of my attempts to make the machine as quiet as possible as it has the feature that until it hits over about 40% load the fan will not even spin up.
As a side effect, it is longer than the original unit so I had to remove the drive cage for HDDs in the case to make it easier to plug in the cables – but this is a good thing: I have 3 SSDs and don't need HDDS any more, and this will improve airflow too. The only hiccup in progress here is the the case only had mountings for two SSDs – so I had to invent a mount somewhere – it's not critical since this is a desktop and SSDs can't be damaged by rattling around in the case but then I am a neatnik and loose things can cause trouble later on.

Okay, that worked fine: made an SSD mount from some plastic scrap and superglued it to the case, fitted new PSU and all is good . . . . . . . . except the DVD drive doesn't work. No idea why, only just got the power adapter for it hooked up, but I (foolishly) assumed that it would just work.
So what do I find? The drive doesn't even pull the DVDs in (It's a slotloader, only one that fits the case). Time to check the cables and plugs.
I bought Windows DVD player for $22.45 from MS to get it working. Well, it DOES work, it's just a little fickle – I'll probably learn how it works with practice. Actually I hardly need or use DVDs these days anyway- but sometimes the only way to get old data or device drivers is to have one.

Well there it is. It works well enough, it is very quiet, and it also doesn't generate the amount of heat the old computer does. I can swap out bits and mess with it any way I like, but I would not claim it was cheaper than the Mac since there really isn't any direct comparison: the parts were personally chosen and there is no single model that would come with this combination of parts on sale.
I still find myself looking to the top right corner of the screen for the time and using Mac key combinations but I'll get over that. The Mac Pro is now up on eBay for sale and I have solved all problems with running everything on Windows. There are definitely nice Mac OSX apps that I miss but nothing essential. I still have a lot of tidying up to do but that was due anyway: every yer or two you should consolidate or wipe all those files of stuff that collect.

The Mac Pro is now on eBay and all I need do now is box it up once someone buys it. 

Bye, Mac.


"What about the New Mac Pro . . . . . . . . aren't you going to buy one of those?"

I can't resist adding a few words about what Apple is doing with their hardware. First, Apple will probably never use Nvidia GPUs again – nothing they make at the moment supports them yet the Windows world is completely dominated by them.
Yes, this was one of the reasons I switched to Windows but not the only one.

Will Apple bring out a new Mac Pro in the recently pushed back timeframe of 2019? I suspect not – they just released OSX 10.13 with support for Thunderbolt 3 cabled external GPU boxes. Of course, in typical Apple fashion this only supports AMD cards, not Nvidia.

What is the iMac Pro with an external GPU box but an otherwise named “New Mac Pro”? Using Thunderbolt enclosures for more storage, I suspect that Apple expects all those “Pro” users to be happy without the added trouble of making a new “Mac Pro” to replace the Cheesegrater Mac Pro that was at least basically flexible like a regular Pee Cee.
It seems clear to me that Apple does not want to make computers that you open (and add or change parts of) ever again: they want you to buy a new one and never, ever open the box. Buy more external boxes, cable them together, no need to do any hardware changes inside the box, riiiight?

My theory is that Apple will probably not be making a new Mac Pro at all until either they can make their own CPU chips for it or the iMac Pro gets so old that they need to replace it, as in five years plus into the future . . . . Why increase their product range unnecessarily in an area that is not a major profit centre? More phones in different colours, Yeah! More Macs? Naah, not enough monero.

All this hints to me that Apple may be moving away from compatibility with the rest of the world's systems again and I have already run into that in the past: I'll be happy not to deal with that again. Apple already has made some questionable tech decisions and I expect more in future (Touchbar anyone? or how about laptops with no touch screens? $200 stylus? All those missing ports on the new Macbooks? Dumping the magsafe power connector?) - but then it's not just about what we, the customers want - it's also about business, patents and secretive future plans. 

Bye for now, lots to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment