Draft:Using your MacBook Air

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About this article

This article links you to the many new feature, components, and training resources for your new MacBook Air.


There are many new changes to both platforms (i.e. PC and Mac) this year that have many implications for how we use our laptops in and outside the classroom. It is strongly recommended that you check out the article New laptop and tablet feature to best support you in the use of your devices, but also your students who may be on the other platform in your classes.

Big Changes

No network port

The MacBook Air is the first Apple laptop without a standard RJ45 network port. Our campus wireless network provides dependable and pervasive WiFi coverage. Those who still want a wired connection can use a Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter.

Thunderbolt port

Beginning in summer 2011, Apple began replacing the Mini DisplayPort port with a new Thunderbolt port. The port has the same shape as the Mini DisplayPort and accommodates any Mini DisplayPort adapter you may have purchased previously. For example, if you have a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter that you use to connect your current MacBook to a projector, this will work with your new MacBook Air. The benefits of Thunderbolt include an increased data transfer rate (10 Gb/sec) and the ability to connect high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices through a single port. For more information, consult Apple's Thunderbolt FAQ article.


  • WSU Additions is a space where you can add software to your MacBook Air. This article ( Click here for Installing Software From The Network) the process for accessing and loading additional speciality software.
  • On your new laptop you will see that the Creativity and Productivity programs (iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, etc) are now all apps you load from the Apple App Store or you can learn more and download these on to your new device by going to the Apple Creativity and Productivity Site.
  • Creating backups of Outlook content (i.e. email, calendar events, and contacts) is unnecessary unless you want to pull content off of your WSU Outlook Exchange account. This can be done by following this link(Click Here) to our Lynda.com content where they cover Outlook and backups very throughly.

Mavericks operating system

If you are already a MacBook user and have not upgraded to the new Mavericks version of OS X, this will be pre-installed on your new MacBook and does include a number of new features and functions. If this is your first Mac laptop, you will need to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the Mac operating system.

If that was not enough go and check out this content on Lynda.com (see directions for getting started with Lynda Campus below) to learn more about the New Features of the Mac OS X Mavericks or more indepth coverage in Mavericks: Essential Training with Nick Brazzi. Or go directly to the MacBook Air support page by clicking here

File Management

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

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VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Using the Cisco VPN client software, you can connect a WSU laptop or home computer to the WSU network from off campus. Check out the article on Virtual Private Networks at WSU .



Organizing and managing your data and software on the MacBook Air is done best by using the Finder. This tool is designed to allow you to organize, search, and manage your data more effectively. Click here to learn more about Finder.

Server Storage

Servers (i.e. network storage) is space that is very secure and backup in many ways that is not on your laptop. This space is where any sensitive student data or other financial information should be stored. If you have questions about this data please check out the Digital Security section below or go to this secure wiki onDigital Security]. To access your network storage you will need to activate Finter. Next (Step 1) click on the Connect to Server option and you will see a list (step 2) of servers to choose from.

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*Course1: site is space for web pages.

*Department: this is space accessible by anyone within your department or unit.

*Groups: this is space set up specially for different groups, teams, committees and is accessible to any employee serving in that group.

*User: personal space that accessible to you


As your new MacBook Air has less storage capacity than past Our OneDrive (see section below) is an approved cloud storage service that you will find useful for other types of data netowrk or server and should not have any student or financial information stored within a cloud storage.

Setup your Mac

Install printers

Setting-up WSU printers can be done by going to WSU_Additions within the programs menu. This article ( Click here to Setup Printers on a Mac) has a great video and detailed directions for setting up a WSU networked printer.

Trackpad Setup

One of the most frustrating parts of exchanging laptops is remembering the setting you had on your old laptop and how to configure these setting on your new laptop. This video below provides an excellent overview of the key settings on your new device. Remember, the folks at Apple are trying to make the touch components of your devices (i.e iPad, iPhone, iPod) as similar an experience as they can.

Lynda Campus

Need help with software, try Lynda online tutorials. With a Lynda account you will have access to over 2000 videos. Learn more about Lynda and how to create your profile by going here.

TLT Workshops

Workshops that would be helpful (Outlook, Office, and OneDrive) Signup for workshops by going to our signup page at https://mywsu.winona.edu/tlt/training/default.aspx

Digital Security

IT has a website that contains digital security information and policies that are pertinent to WSU employees. All employees should review and know the information on the Information Security site

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