Tips to Make Switching to a New OS a Little Less Painful

Tips to Make Switching to a New OS a Little Less Painful

Joelle Alcaidinho
Oct 19, 2011

Switching to a new operating system is often not a fun time. The habits and shortcuts that have helped you to become super productive over the years vanish overnight and it is like you are a computer newbie all over again. This switch can be especially frustrating if your patience for technology is not terribly high and if your previous exposure to this new OS was scant to none before the move.

Tips to help make any new OS switch as painless as possible

  1. Get Acquainted With Settings: Whether you are on Linux, OS X, or Windows, there is a place where you can find many operating system settings, this could be called Control Panel or System Preferences, and it should be the first place you go to on your new OS. Look through these settings and understand the new names for what certain controls are called. To help make this easier, if given the option, switch from an icon based view to text based, it will make finding the equivalent settings much easier.

  2. Adjust Your Trackpad or Get a Mouse: If one of your big hurdles is navigating around your new laptop, try adjusting the trackpad settings. Depending on the OS, you might be able to get the trackpad to work almost exactly like your old one which will mean you will stop right clicking when you mean to left click. If your new hardware and new OS does not let you change things to a more familiar place, try using a mouse at least for a little while. Learning a new OS is frustrating enough and you don't want to add additional frustration in the form of trying to simply browse the internet.

  3. Familiar Applications: One thing that is so lovely about this wonderful world we live in is that some favourite applications are available for multiple platforms. Unlike in the past when leaving an OS meant leaving your favourite applications, often you can have your new OS and your old application friends as well. Do a little research to find out what programs are available for your new OS and download away! Note- this is especially helpful when it comes to internet browsers and note syncing software like Evernote.

  4. Shortcut Mapping: Just as you had to learn the keyboard shortcuts of your old OS, you now have to learn the new ones. Make this task a little easier on yourself by writing them down on a piece of paper that is easily referenced or by buying and displaying some art that highlights them.

  5. Look It Up: There is no shame in searching the internet for an answer as to how something on your new OS works. Often the websites of the OS makers are very helpful and some even have video tutorials. Of course social media can also be helpful, although the advice from your uncle might not be as helpful as the advice from the maker of your OS.

  6. Take a Class: If navigating your new OS is something you still find painful and confusing try attending a class on it and/or ask a friend who is familiar with both your new and old OS for some help. It can be very helpful sitting with someone and spelling out exactly what it is you used to do with your old OS and what you would like to do with your new one and have them show you how it's done.

  7. Be Patient: Learning a new OS after decades of using another is often not a trip in the park. Be patient with yourself and know that things will get easier. You probably did not become a Mac/Linux/Windows genius overnight so don't expect the same thing when it comes to a new OS. Yes, some switches are probably easier to make than others (especially when the switch was by choice), but do your best and keep on keeping on. Who knows, after some time you might even grow to prefer your new OS to your old one.

What are some of your tips for switching to a new OS?

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