Chapter 3. The Quick Guide to Snow Leopard

What You Need To Know About Mac OS X

Finding your way around Snow Leopard for the first time is exciting, but it is also easy to miss out on many cool new features, especially if you are new to Mac OS X or if you’ve been using an older version of the operating system. This chapter will get you up to speed on the basics of Mac OS X, with a special focus on what’s new in Snow Leopard. Topics covered include accounts, your Home folder, logging in and out of your Mac, and much more. The goal of this chapter is to familiarize you with the most important aspects of using Mac OS X so you can get the most out of Apple’s best operating system to date. The logical place to start is with the first thing you created when you installed or ran Mac OS X for the first time—your account.


Snow Leopard is the latest and greatest from Apple but the roots of the operating system go very far back, to the Unix operating system. Unix is a multiuser workstation and server operating system; because Mac OS X is based on Unix, it is also multiuser to its core. Even if no one but you ever touches your Mac, it is still helpful to understand user accounts, because you may need to deal with them someday. Consider these possible reasons:

  • As you will learn shortly, you may want to set up an unprivileged account for day-to-day use to limit your vulnerability to mistakes and malicious software.

  • If you ever need to run a demonstration on your Mac, you probably will want ...

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