Screen Sharing

The Screen Sharing app, now at version 1.3, gains several notable features useful for anyone for anyone who remotely administers Macs. This helps bring it up to speed with the Remote Desktop Connection features that Windows administrators like so much.

The first is the ability to switch between “observe” and “control” modes, depending on whether you want to control the Mac’s screen or simply look at what the remote user is doing. This has long been a feature of Apple Remote Desktop, but until the advent of the Mac App Store this was an enterprise-level product priced well out of reach of home users (and at $80, it still probably won’t find many fans outside the business crowd).

Second, and this is a feature so simple that I actually had to check my Snow Leopard install to make sure that I hadn’t missed it, Screen Sharing is now a full screen-capable app. This is especially useful if you’ve connected to a Mac with a higher screen resolution than yours - every pixel you can use for the remote connection makes navigating a bit easier.

Lastly and perhaps most interestingly, Screen Sharing in Lion now supports multiple simultaneous users to be logged into a Mac at once. This is unheard of in many client operating systems - similar functionality in Windows is only enabled in the server versions - and could enable OS X thin clients (at least in theory - the cost of Mac client computers and the inflexibility of thin clients would probably make such a solution more trouble than it was worth). It’s more likely that you’ll use it to log onto a Mac in some other area of the house without interrupting what its current user is doing, which is still plenty useful.

Boot Camp

The Boot Camp Assistant and its partitioning process work essentially the same way they did before, except that now all models download their Windows support software to external storage instead of using the OS install DVD (this was true of Snow Leopard on the 2010 MacBook Airs, though in my experience other models had trouble downloading the support files). The support file download in Lion is about 650MB, and worked fine on a variety of older and newer Macs.

The Boot Camp support software itself, now version 4.0, seems largely to be a driver update, and a pretty minor one at that - support for multitouch in Windows remains as basic as ever. Most notably, support for Windows XP has been completely removed - you may be able to get Vista working due to similar driver models, if you’re into it, but otherwise 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 is the way to go.

Also, I mentioned these things in the FileVault section but it can’t hurt to mention them again: while BootCamp can read standard HFS+ partitions, it can’t read FileVault-encrypted partitions, and since FileVault can only protect HFS+ volumes, any data stored on your Windows partition is unencrypted and easily accessible.

Migration assistant

As an advanced user, I generally prefer not to use OS X's built-in Migration Assistant to transfer files and programs from one Mac to another - I usually find that the program is actually too thorough in bringing over weird, old cruft from a longstanding OS install. To its credit, though, it does make it that much easier to get a new computer setup, especially for novice users. In Lion, the OS X version of the Migration Assistant app remains essentially unchanged from prior versions, so I want to focus mostly on the new Windows version of the tool.

Even though the Windows version of the Migration Assistant is new, in operation it is largely identical to the Mac version. You'll first need to install it on the Windows computer from which you'll be migrating - it's a small download from Apple, and takes just a few minutes to setup.

You'll need to make sure that both the Windows computer and your Mac are on the same network, since the Windows version of the Migration Assistant can only transfer files over a network. Once they're both connected, fire up the Migration Assistant on both machines. You'll have to click through a few screens and verify a confirmation number, and then you'll be asked what you want to bring over.

Of course, you won't be able to bring over any applications or system preferences, but because of underlying similarities in how user data is stored between Windows and OS X, it seems to work pretty well - the Migration Assistant will even attempt to find any non-standard files on the C: drive and try to move them over for you.

Once the data copies (which will take some time, depending on the speed of your network), you'll be asked to setup an account name - this will generally match whatever your Windows account name was, though you're free to rename things as you like.

OS X will now create the account, and you'll be prompted to give it a password the next time you login.


And that's really all there is to it. The bar for Windows-to-Mac switchers has been set that much lower.

Safari, iChat, TextEdit, Preview, QuickTime X Farewell, Core Duo: 64-bit in Lion


View All Comments

  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    $29 is indeed a solid improvement. However, given the Mac Store now being out there, their desktop OS should follow the formula of their mobile OS: Free to upgrade. These features are nice but I can't help shake the feeling that these are Service Packs (because they are). And with their "app" store available on the OS and the means of most of their cash inflow, it makes more sense to make this a free upgrade for everyone instead of a $29 upgrade. Reply
  • xype - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Service packs? Are you serious? Read up on the changes and try to come up with one service pack that changed as much.

    Some people…
  • danielkza - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    XP SP3 would be a good candidate, but yes, 10.7 is a bit beyond what one could reasonably call a Service Pack. Reply
  • Taft12 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    You're thinking of XP SP2, and if you have to go back 7 years to come up with a comparable "service pack", it's certainly fair to say OSX 10.7 is more than a service pack. Reply
  • AfroPhysics - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I fail to see how the age of the service pack matters. Xype asked for an example and qualified nothing. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Are we really going through the tired argument that every 10.x update to OS X is just a service pack and should be free? Then at what point should Apple try to recoup costs for OS development, because even if individual point updates are evolutionary, going from the original 10.0 to 10.7 has got to be a major change in anyones eyes. And the same questions could be raised about Windows NT 6.1 aka Windows 7 where the server version is bluntly labeled Windows 2008 R2 and Windows NT 6.0 aka Vista/2008 or Windows NT 5.1 aka XP and Windows NT 5.0 aka 2000.

    Besides, even if you discount the user facing changes, Lion has seem some major security infrastructure changes. Both the 32-bit and 64-bit kernel have been rewritten with full NX-bit and ALSR support as in place in Windows Vista/7 addressing the major security complaint Charlie Miller had with OS X. Application sandboxing frameworks are now available and soon to be mandatory for Lion apps in the Mac App Store which I believe is a security feature that even Windows isn't pushing yet. With the dropping of the Core Duo, the Lion has also be rewritten to make more use of SSSE3 instead of just SSE3 as pointed out by the Hackintosh community. Lion isn't just Snow Leopard with a few features added on top, but the entire OS has seem updates at a low level even if the user might not necessary see all the differences.
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    And about the App Store being a major source of income for Apple, Apple has consistently said they aim to run their stores as a break even venture.

    I'm not clear if the iTunes Store in the graphic in the above link includes the App Store, but at the very least as an example of Apple's digital store, the revenue stream really hasn't increased in the last 2 years. Apple's sales growth is clearly from their hardware, iPhone, iPad, and even Mac.
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    $1,634,000,000 in revenue from Other Music Related Products and Services (3)

    (3) Includes sales from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore in addition to sales of iPod services and Apple-branded and third-party iPod accessories

    I'd say their goal of a break even venture is not an accurate description of their stores. Hence the creation of the MAC Store. It sounds like a nice thought, but Apple is in business to make money and it seems their VERY good at it. Perhaps their projection analysis was a bit off.

    Hey, this is good news for the investors and I understand that they are a business. Lets not be too naive and just don't drink the cool-aid.
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Perhaps my finance terms are wrong, but I'd hope the Apps Store is taking in revenue. But if Apple should be offering some of their other products like OS X updates for free, shouldn't we be concerned with whether the App Store is making major profits, such that there is money to spare to pay for OS development? Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Revenue ≠ Profit

    They've paid billions to both developers, and music and video cotent owners. They've also spent money on the infrastructure to support their stores. I'm sure they're making a profit as all good for-profit companies should, but it's not the cash cow you've attempted to present here.

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