We fully support Macs at the IT Help Center.
Throughout our website you’ll find information about Mac computers and applications. Our consultants are familiar with Macs, we have Macs at every workstation in our office, and you should
feel free to contact us with any Mac questions you have.
This page outlines the basics of using a Mac at Boston University; please take a look around at the full site if you’d like to find out more.
Connecting your Mac to the BU Residential Network (ResNet)
In the BU residences, you connect via a wired Ethernet connection.
All computers in the residence halls must be registered via a program called NetReg. Happily, Macs are exempted from a secondary step that requires Windows users to run a virus and security scanning tool called BUVS.
In a room in the residence halls, you must use a wired Ethernet connection, but you have the option of using wireless when you are at many other locations throughout campus.
To access the secured wireless networking at BU, we recommend
- 802.1x networking: no additional software required; please follow our configuration instructions.
If you are running Windows on a Mac computer, even if only occasionally, please remember that you need to protect against Windows-based viruses.
Apple Mail comes on your Mac and it works nicely with BU’s mail system. Another good mail program for the Mac is Thunderbird, which you can download for free. You can also use BU’s web-based mail if you prefer. All these options are supported by the IT Help Center; visit our email support pages to learn how to set things up.
Safari is a great web browser which comes on your Mac. If you’d like another option, check out Firefox, which is free to download. It’s fine, and sometimes even a good idea, to have more than one browser installed on your Mac. Both are fully supported by the IT Help Center.
Connecting to Active Directory fileshares with the Mac
If you are in a department that uses Active Directory fileshares, please see our instructions, Connecting to Active Directory resources using Mac OS X.
X Windows on the Mac, or “How do I run SAS?”
In some classes, you may be asked to run SAS or another program that is installed on the ACS cluster. On PCs you use a site-licensed program called XWin-32 to do this. On Macs, you can instead use a free program called X11.
Microsoft Office on the Mac comes in two recent versions: Office 2008 and Office 2004. Office 2008 uses the same file format as Office 2007 for Windows; it also allows you to use the Save As command to save in a format that earlier versions can read.
If you use Excel, please note that Office 2008 does not support Visual Basic macros. If you rely on macros in your work, you may choose not to upgrade to 2008, or you may keep 2004 around for the times when you need to work with macros.
File compatibility with Windows machines
- Your Mac will generally be able to read Windows files and file formats as long as you have the appropriate applications installed (for example, Office 2008 will read a file saved in Windows Office 2007).
- If you are saving files on your Mac for a Windows user, make sure you use file extensions in the file name (for example, .doc at the end of a Word file name, or .xls at the end on an Excel file name) and use a file format that the person will be able to read.
Keynote and other Apple applications…
Many IT Help Center students and staff are able to answer questions on Keynote, and we offer a basic Keynote support page. If you have questions about other applications from Apple, please ask, and we will help if we are able.
Looking for more?
Please feel free to contact us if you do not find some Mac information that you need. If you’re interested in external sites, these may be of interest:
TUAW (“The Unofficial Apple WebLog”)
There’s a BU Mac Users Group called MacBU (unaffiliated with the IT Help Center) that may be of interest, as well.