Introduction to Mac OS X

March 19, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Why stick with one computer type just because you’ve been using it for years?  The Apple Mac is an increasingly popular alternative to Windows PCs, one which comes in notebook and desktop models. With a popular and easy-to-learn user interface, Mac OS X is the operating system equivalent of a piece of IKEA furniture.

Now naturally there is a difference in price between Windows PCs and Apple Macs – you’re looking at anything upwards of $200 for a comparable device – and Macs are less easy to repair than a typical PC. However there is something very satisfying about having a versatile and usable computer that looks as friendly as a TV.

If you’re deciding whether or not to buy a Mac, you should be thinking about trying one out at your local Apple Store or recognised dealer. While you’re there you should try one of these easy to remember procedures just to see how easy it is to perform basic tasks with your Mac!

Change Background

Unlike Windows, Mac OS X comes with a wide variety of desktop backgrounds that can be easily set in just a few steps.

There are two ways to access the Desktop & Screensaver settings – either via the System Preferences icon on the dock or by right clicking an empty area of the desktop and selecting Change Desktop Background.

Various image options are available, split into folders for Nature, Plants, Abstract, Patterns, etc., and these can be set with a single click. If you’re prone to getting bored, just check the Change picture box, and select a timing option for OS X to change your image over. The default choice is to get a new image every 30 minutes.

Alter Dock Settings

By default the Mac OS X Dock is pretty compact, however this can be altered to be both larger and more responsive to mouseovers and clicks.

The Dock displays all of the vital areas of the operating system that you might to access, with vital applications like the Safari browser and the Finder listed.

To alter the Dock, go to System Preferences > Dock and begin by altering the size of the toolbar by adjusting the slider. Note that you can also apply Magnification – also adjustable with a slider – to each item on the Dock as you mouseover, and even change its position on the screen.

Access the Finder

The final basic task that you should be aware of is the use of the Finder.

This tool is the Mac equivalent of Windows Explorer, and can be used to browse and find files and folders on your Mac (as the name suggests). By default the Finder is always active, and can be found by left-clicking an empty portion of your Mac desktop to switch from the application you are currently using.

Using the Finder you can access common locations on your computer such as a list of your installed Applications and available Mac utilities, as well as using the tool to connect to networks and by going to File > New Finder Window you can open a window from where you can browse your hard disk drive, access any attached storage and use the search tool in the top right corner of the Window.

Many people believe that using a Mac is easier than using a PC – over the next few weeks we will be seeing just how true that is!

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