The Mac is ready to run out of the box, but you need to adjust anything with as many capabilities as Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to the peculiarities of your equipment, software, environment, and, yes, personal preferences. You use the System Preferences window to do this customization work.
Mac OS X has 26 system preferences you can adjust. And each system preference has multiple settings within it, so you can make hundreds of customization decisions. That's a lot, and attests to the Mac OS's flexibility, but don't worry about facing so many options. You can adjust system preferences at any time, choosing which you want to adjust — and leaving alone the ones you don't want change.
There are several other Mac OS preferences you can adjust that are not found in the System Preferences window. You can adjust what displays in the Finder windows, as well as adjust the access permissions and other attributes of your Mac's drives, both of which are covered later in this chapter. You can also adjust the fonts available to your applications, as explained in Chapter 22, plus you can add and remove applications from the Dock, as explained in Chapter 2.
To change system preferences, you open the System Preferences application by choosing