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Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Second Edition by David Pogue

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Chapter 2. Organizing Your Stuff

The Mac OS X Folder Structure

If you’re used to older versions of the Mac OS, switching to Mac OS X means having to unlearn one deeply ingrained habit right away: double-clicking your hard drive icon to get started for the day.

If you do double-click that icon, you’ll find folders called Applications, Library, and Users—folders you didn’t put there. (If you upgraded an existing Mac to Mac OS X, you’ll also see all your original hard drive folders nestled among them.)

Most of these new folders aren’t very useful to you, the Mac’s human companion. They’re there for Mac OS X’s own use. Think of your main hard drive window as storage for the operating system itself, to be accessed only occasionally for administrative purposes. (No wonder that in early versions of Mac OS X, Apple didn’t put your hard drive icon on the desktop at all. The truth is, double-clicking it gains you very little.)

Your Home Folder

Instead of setting up your nest—your files, folders, aliases, and so on—in the hard drive window, from now on you’ll set it up in your Home folder. That’s a folder bearing your name (or whatever name you typed when you installed Mac OS X).

One way to find it is to double-click the Users folder, and then double-click the folder inside it that bears your name and looks like a house (see Figure 2-1). Here, at last, is the window that you’ll eventually fill with new folders, organize, back up, and so on.

Mac OS X is rife with shortcuts for opening this all-important ...

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