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Moving Contacts and Calendars

Moving files isn't too painful. But moving contacts, calendars, and email can be harder.

For one thing, it depends on which program you are using to store this data. For email, some Windows XP users use Outlook, and others use Outlook Express, a completely different program. Others use a third-party email program. In Windows Vista, Outlook Express was replaced by Windows Mail. But it is pretty much the same thing.

A similar thing happened with Windows Address Book. That's what it was called in Windows XP, but Windows Vista has Windows Contacts instead.

Moving Contacts

Fortunately, thanks to standards, it is easy to move your Windows address book contacts over to your Mac. The first thing you want to do is to find Address Book or Windows Contacts and run it.

You should then see a list of all of your contacts. The goal is to get these over to your Mac. How to do this varies depending on whether you are using Address Book in Windows XP or Windows Contacts in Vista.

You can move your contacts from Windows XP to Mac by using these steps:

  1. Connect your flash drive to your Windows machine.
  2. Create a new folder on your flash drive. Name it "My Contacts" or something similar.
  3. Have that folder open in a window, and the Address Book window next to it, as shown in Figure 8.2.
    Figure 8.2

    Figure 8.2 This Windows XP address book shows two contacts that are about to be dragged to the Contacts folder created on a flash drive.

  4. Then select all of your contacts and drag and drop them into the folder. This creates a whole bunch of files with a .vcf file extension. This stands for vCard file. This is a standard way of transporting contact information from one device to another.
  5. Now remove the flash drive from the PC and bring it over to your Mac and plug it in.
  6. Launch the Address Book. Select the group All Contacts.
  7. In the Finder, find the "My Contacts" folder and select all the .vcf files in it.
  8. Drag and drop all of the .vcf files from the Finder window into the Name column of the Mac Address Book.

It's as easy as that. You now have new Address Book entries for every .vcf file you brought over from Windows.

Now if you are using Windows Vista, steps 1 and 2 are the same, as are steps 5 through 8.

But in order to get vCard files out of Windows Contacts, you need to use the Export button located at the top of the window. It will ask you to select a folder to save all the vCard files to—it then dumps each contact into its own file. So select the folder you created in step 2.

Moving Your Calendar

Windows XP didn't come with a standard calendar program, though users of Outlook have a calendar. Windows Vista has Windows Calendar.

With events in Windows Calendar, you can employ a similar strategy as with Windows Contacts or Windows Address Book. Simply select File, Export and you will get a .ics file, which is a standard calendar format. Make sure you haven't selected any events in the calendar, as you may then only get those events in the export. Otherwise, you should get everything.

Then take that .ics file and move it to your Mac.

Strangely enough, you cannot use File, Import to bring in the .ics file. But you can simply drag and drop that .ics file onto your iCal window and all of the events will appear in your new calendar.

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