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March 21, 2017

Microsoft makes the Mac-to-Surface data migration easier with its free new tool

by John_A

Why it matters to you

For Mac owners eyeing a Surface from Microsoft, the company now provides an easy way to move their data and settings over to the new device.

Mac owners wanting to purchase one of Microsoft’s Surface devices now have a tool to make the data migration quick and painless. Called the Mac to Surface Assistant (DMG file), it’s freely available for moving everything over to a Surface device spanning pictures to applications to locally stored files synced with Creative Cloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox.

The latest Surface-branded devices from Microsoft are the Surface Book “with Performance Base” ($1,300 starting), the Surface Pro 4 ($700 starting), and the Surface Studio all-in-one PC ($3,000 starting). Prior to offering the new migration tool, Microsoft provided lengthy, step-by-step instructions on how to move photos, files, and mail from a Mac to its family of Surface-branded products.

More: With Windows 10 Creators Update around the corner, Microsoft keeps fixing bugs

Microsoft’s new tool is the company’s latest move to lure customers away from Apple. In addition to targeting designers and architects with the new Surface Studio all-in-one PC in October, the company also dished out a $650 trade-in discount to Mac owners to apply toward a new Surface device. Microsoft even provides a dedicated website for Apple customers who are considering a move to the Surface family.

According to Microsoft, its Surface products work great with Apple’s devices and services. The site provides a FAQ to answer questions such as syncing an iPhone to a new Surface device, where to find the migrated applications, how to use keyboard shortcuts, where to find the system settings, and more. Microsoft even talks about all the concern regarding Windows-based machines catching a nasty virus.

“Your Surface comes with Windows Defender and Windows Firewall to help protect you from malware, so you don’t need to purchase antivirus software,” the company states. “Windows Defender uses real-time protection to scan everything you download or run on your PC.”

The website introduces Windows 10 to long-time Mac users as well. The tour starts with creating a Microsoft Account, checking out the desktop and Start Menu, and learning how to get around Microsoft’s latest operating system. There are quick instructions on how to use the Surface Pen, too, followed by a detailed manual right here.

However, getting customers to jump the Apple ship may be an impossible feat. The malware-based issue surrounding Windows-based PCs is just one example, but Apple’s MacOS has also served as the main platform for Adobe’s Illustrator and Photoshop programs since the late 1980s and early 1990s. While these are currently offered for Windows along with other utilities in Adobe’s Creative Suite portfolio, Mac devices seemingly serve as “home base” for many designers and architects.

Regardless of the Windows versus MacOS debate, there are customers who may be considering a Surface device, and the new tool should make the migration process an easy move. The tool scans the Mac device and provides a simple checklist for transferring select data and settings. It requires an external drive that is larger in capacity than the storage unit used for the Mac.

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