Key for Switch to Apple - 03  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , , ,


To make the most of your Mac, you should know a few things about how its hard disk is organized. Double-click on the drive's icon in the upper right-hand corner of the desktop, and let's look at what's there.

Applications. This folder is equivalent to the Program Files folder on a Windows PC. In the Finder, you can always go straight to your Applications folder by pressing Cmd-A (that's a capital A—Cmd-Shift-a) or by choosing Go | Applications from the menu bar. While we're here, let me tell you something nice about applications on a Mac: They're usually self-contained, meaning that you can simply drag and drop an application to a new location and it will run—there's no Windows-like Registry into which it can spread its tentacles, so you usually don't need a special installer program. Obviously, you will never exploit this knowledge to copy programs illegally. Similarly, simply deleting the application's icon tends to neatly uninstall the program.

Library. This is where the system and various applications store information that they need—things such as fonts and Internet plug-ins (applications that your Web browser runs automatically so that it can play video files and display PDFs). Until you've learned a lot more, keep out!

System. This is, as you'd expect, where the operating system lives. Again, keep out.

Users. Okay, now we're home: Users is the equivalent of the Documents and Settings folder on a Windows XP PC. Each person with an account on your Mac will have a folder under Users; that folder is called your home directory. This is the folder you want to back up; it's what makes your Mac yours. Double-click on it and here are some things you'll see:

Desktop, Documents, and Downloads. No tricks here. The Desktop is your desktop, Documents is the default for saving documents, and Downloads is where Safari will default to saving anything you download.

Likewise, Movies, Music, and Pictures are just what they sound like. The Music folder probably contains your iTunes music files (unless you've told iTunes not to store music there). It also contains a file called "iTunes Library," which doesn't actually contain any music—it's just a database of the songs that your copy of iTunes knows about.

Library. This is your library rather than the system's. One thing you'll find here is your bookmarks: If you use Safari, they're in a folder called Safari under the filename Bookmarks.plist. Firefox users will need to drill down through the Application Support folder (or search for a file called bookmarks). You'll also find a Library folder called Preferences, which is where your applications will generally store any preference settings you make. Peek in the Preferences folder and you'll see that most of the preference files have the extension .plist, which stands for "property list." There are third-party utilities you can use to edit these files directly, but you'll probably never need to.

The important thing is to know where they are so you can copy them to another Mac if you copy one of your applications to another Mac. Also, if one of your applications starts crashing or freezing, try deleting its preference file—it may have become corrupted. The next time you run the application, a new preference file (set back to the application's defaults) will be created automatically. Note the naming scheme for the preference files: For the sake of organization, they're named like Web sites in reverse, so, for example, your preference file for Photoshop (whose vendor is Adobe) is com.adobe.Photoshop.plist.

Public contains a folder called Drop Box, where other users on your Mac can drop files for you without being able to see what else is in the folder.

Sites is where you might want to store local files for any Web sites you create. Up to you.

That's the lay of the land to begin with. Presumably, you'll be creating lots of new folders in your home directory. And the quickest way to do so is by navigating where you want to go, then pressing Cmd-N (that's a capital N) to make a new folder. (story Link)

This entry was posted on Apr 27, 2009 at 2:16 AM and is filed under , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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