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Get FireFox. You may wish to install a firmware password and I highly recommend a laptop lock. It doesn't matter how strong the lock is as long as it works because the thieves don't know how strong/weak the lock is until they try to slash it. They are more likely to steal another.

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Well, it depends on your environment what kind of security settings you want to use. I like to have mine set to require a password to wake from sleep, and set a hotcorner to start the screensaver, so locking it with a password is as simple as moving the mouse into the corner. Perfect for when I want to go get something from the kitchen, but don't want someone just hopping on it. I don't need any kind of "real" security, so I have it set to auto-login, so if someone really wanted access, all they would have to do is hold down the power button, and start it back up. If you have higher security needs, disable auto-login.


Applications I suggest you install:

Firefox if you need the extensions that Chrome can't use. Otherwise, use Chrome. No matter what, get away from Safari.

I find that Path Finder is an excellent Finder replacement, although it might be a bit overwhelming if you're not already familiar with the Finder, since the differences wouldn't be so obvious, and the Finder is much simpler.

Quicksilver is my absolute favorite Mac application. Amazing for simple app launching, iTunes controlling, and more complex custom actions.

If you have a gmail account, I love using Google Notifier and the browser based gmail client rather than Mail. All your email accounts can be linked to one gmail account, and you can send/receive mail from each from within that one account in the gmail web client.

For .rar files, RAR Expander

For video playback, Mplayer OS X Extended. Backup have VLC, stay away from Quicktime.

I love Afloat, which lets you set the transparency of the window in many applications, the level at which it stays, etc. I use it to keep movies on top of all other windows so that I can browse the internet while watching a movie, but have the movie stay on top of the part of the browser window that it overlaps.

Growl is a good plugin that extends notification functionality.

The "secrets" pref pane unlocks many hidden options in OS X.

Drive Genius 2 is my favorite utility for partitioning, defragging, etc.


Other things that are useful if you use them:

Adium for MSN, AIM, Yahoo messaging.

iChat for occasional video chat over AIM (since Adium has no video chat), though I mostly use Skype.

NewsFire is my favorite RSS reader for OS X

Colloquy for IRC



Well, I'm sure there's more that I'm not thinking of. It might be helpful if you told us some things you want to be able to do/what you want to replace that you were used to in Windows?

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