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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Replacing a loved one's Windows XP box with a Mac Mini

If you want to replace a Windows XP computer with a Mac Mini, especially at this date, you need to keep several things in mind:

1. Keyboards and mice: The Windows XP box probably uses PS/2 connectors for the keyboard and mouse. The Mac Mini only has USB connectors. If you want to use your old keyboard and mouse with a Mac mini, you need a USB to PS/2 adaptor. They look like the photo above, a USB plug on a cable from one end, two PS/2 jacks coming from the other.

You can easily spend $25.00 on this and that's at Best Buy. You can get them at Staples and other large chain office supply stores. Fry's Electronics has the best price of $15 or less.

Remember you want a USB to PS/2 Adaptor. The best brand is Belkin or SIIG.

2. Monitor: If you still intend to use a CRT monitor with the Mac Mini, you'll need a special adaptor, the mini-port to VGA adaptor. That's only available at the Apple Store. At the mall. Which is a zoo!

If you have a HD TV, you can use that as the monitor, as the Mac Mini comes with an HD TV port. Now you'll need a cable!

If you or the loved one you're buying for upgraded to a flat-screen monitor, it should have a DVI input. The Mac Mini already comes with a HD TV to DVI adaptor.

3. Printer: If you or your loved one has a color printer, it probably connects to the computer with a USB cable if you purchased it since 2000. No problems there.

Older laser printers probably have a parallel printer port, which connects to the computer with a thick cable and a plug that's 2" wide. That won't work with a Mac Mini.

If you don't know what kind of printer they have, ask at an appropriate time. If you don't know, 5 $20 bills are always a good solution.

As for software, use the Google. You could also buy them a copy of The Missing Manual-Snow Leopard edition by David Pogue. It's in the computer section of Borders or Barnes & Noble.

You can e-mail me at It's the e-mail address by my picture.

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