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Could mac users help me out with a ridiculously basic question re downloads and applications please?

(11 Posts)
Beachcomber Thu 24-Sep-09 14:16:53

I have a Mac ibook that I only really use for the internet, emails, etc so I'm pretty rubbish at using it and can't seem to figure my way around it.

I need to install a couple of bits on it for a new job.

First I wanted to install an antivirus but DH tells me that macs don't generally need one, is this really true? Thought I'd install one anyway as might as well so have downloaded Avast.

Then I downloaded a Firefox tool bax addition thingy which allows you to quickly disable Javascript.

I can see both these downloads in my downloads list and they are on my screen. When I try to open them I'm told that I need to choose an application. When I click Ok on this info I get sent to my list of applications in Finder. So far so good.

However when I select an application nothing happens, I click on it but the 'open' button down the bottom doesn't work. The 'cancel' button is lit up and I can click on that but that's all.

Have tried 'Help' and a bit of googling to see if I can figure out what is going on but to no avail.

So, pretty please if anyone can shed some light I'd be most grateful. I know plenty people say that Macs are easier to use than PC but I find mine really hard to figure out.

Thanks in advance for any help......

Beachcomber Thu 24-Sep-09 15:02:18

Ok have figured out the Firefox add on by customizing the tool bar.

Still in the dark about avast/applications though.

dingdong3 Thu 24-Sep-09 15:11:00

My DH also says that you don't need anti virus on an apple. We certainly don't have anything on ours and have had no problems at all in the year we've owned it...our windows was a nightmare before...
Downside is that the mac doesn't let you install some packages that you can download on a windows model - mainly to protect your machine. Can't remember the music download thing we had on our windows but we now use spotify on the apple.

BadgersPaws Thu 24-Sep-09 17:04:22

You don't get viruses on Macs, yet...

What sort of things are you trying to download and install? Many things won't install not because of a security issue but because they're Windows based applications.

Avast anti-virus is an example of that, it's for a Windows PC and not for a Mac. You'll download avast-home-setup.exe and when you double click on it it asks for you to choose an application to open it with.

Some web sites are reasonably intelligent and when you ask to download an application it will automatically give you either the Windows or the Mac version.

When downloading something check that you're downloading the Mac version for the right version of your Operating System.

Beachcomber Thu 24-Sep-09 21:45:51

Aha! hadn't thought of the Mac/Windows thing. I think that is the reason why I'm not able to open downloads.

OK thank you very much.

Also much appreciate info about viruses as have been unable to install antivirus.

BadgersPaws Thu 24-Sep-09 22:09:03

It depends on what you're trying to download. Movies, photos and other such things should work fine. For applications, such as anti-virus, you need to make sure that they're Mac compatible.

If you want to give any examples of things you think should work but won't I can let you know what's going on.

Beachcomber Thu 24-Sep-09 22:31:53

Thank you BadgersPaws you are most helpful.

The main thing that hasn't worked was avast anti virus and it would seem that it is not Mac compatible.

Also downloaded Web Developer for Firefox and was unable to open that. I got round that by customizing the tool bar directly from the basic Firefox tool bar and that worked fine.

Haven't had a problem with photos, etc.

I think I'm just being dim and hadn't thought about compatibility.

funkyanna37 Mon 28-Sep-09 22:33:16

one of the best bits about mac - no need for antivirus stuff constantly slowing you down and having to do lots of updates!!!

WebDude Tue 29-Sep-09 01:03:03

But they're probably not totally immune. The more popular the system, the more likely they are to become targets for nasties, so while you shouldn't get paranoid, you should also not be complacent!

Some years ago (in Toronto, Canada) a virus was accidentally copied onto a Mac from which the master of a new game was being written. Was duplicated and out to shops before it was found to have a virus on the distributed software disc/floppy (sorry, a while ago).

I've not owned a Mac in the years between first use in 1989 and getting a second hand iMac off Ebay, but have monitored developments (and a friend since 95 is a keen owner so we often discuss new features etc)

BadgersPaws Tue 29-Sep-09 10:27:19

At the moment there are no viruses for OS X based Macs, not one.

However WedDude's right, in theory they're not totally immune but when one does happen it'll be big news.

It's not just about the Mac being less popular, from top to bottom it's a more secure system than any version of Windows.

Popularity alone does not make a system a target for viruses. Microsoft's Web Server software has had the most security holes and vulnerabilities, yet it's not the most popular. Microsoft have not taken security as seriously as other companies, a fact they admitted and started to amend with Vista. Lots of new features were dropped from that in order to focus on security.

So when it comes to viruses Mac OS X is not only currently safe but is likely to remain considerably safer than Windows for many years to come.

It's simply not worth wasting time and money on Mac anti-virus software.

However what you will get are Trojans and Malware. If you can be tricked in to downloading a malicious piece of software and then give it the administrators password when it runs then it could do pretty much anything...

Even then though the Mac is less vulnerable then Windows given is architecture.

WebDude Tue 29-Sep-09 15:34:39

I did put probably and it wasn't meant to be alarmist, but just to remind people not to exclude any chance of it happening.

I use linux and have used Berkeley Unix for a few years, so know the underlying system is likely to be tough, but hardly anything is completely immune (you can have a safe system, if it's never connected to anything and just used for a range of 'non-net' apps, of course).

As for Trojans and Malware, I'd be far more concerned about alternatives to 'phishing' such as one where a person using Facebook gets a message (from a 'friend' - actually an account that has been hacked) saying something like 'Saw a funny video of you at <web address>' and when visiting that site, there's a confirmation of a video but 'you must be a registered user to see videos here'...

User 'registers' and possibly uses same e-mail address and password as used elsewhere... that info is fed in as a new victim for whatever the site owners are up to... ID theft, sending viruses etc to friends of the victim, changing passwords on any accounts the victim has created...

Once the mail address and password are held, (password changed by 'robber') any other accoutns one has can be vulnerable, even if passwords are different, as the 'robber' just needs to ask for a password reminder. Clearly if one has sent personal details (CV for a job, NI number, etc) then other facilities may be vulnerable.

It's clearly not limited to Mac users, but anyone could be conned if they use Facebook, Bebo, etc, etc. Was a BBC reporter who (sheepishly) admitted to having it happen to him.

Just glad that my circle of friends is small, and I don't use Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc, in my own name, but what I do have is with a pseudonym, so any message sent would be addressing the pseudonym and easily identified as being from some con artist.

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