Chapter 5. System Preferences

After figuring your way around the Mac’s interface, the next thing you’ll want to do is configure your system to suit your needs. The primary way to do this is with Mac OS X’s System Preferences application. By using the System Preferences and the panels within, you can configure and customize your system and how you interact with it. You can perform actions like set your Desktop image, configure your network settings (including those for your .Mac account), and manage user accounts if your system has more than one user.

This chapter covers the use of the System Preferences application and describes all the individual panes that Mac OS X ships with. It also explains how the application works, including ways to add panes of your own to its display.

Using System Preferences

The System Preferences application, as seen in Figure 5-1, contains many individual preference panels , each represented by its own icon in the application’s main display window.

The System Preferences application

Figure 5-1. The System Preferences application

To launch the System Preferences application, you can choose one of three ways:

  • Click on its icon in the Dock; the System Preferences icon is the one that looks like a light switch with a gray Apple logo next to it.

  • Select

    The System Preferences application

    System Preferences.

  • Double-click on its ...

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