The hub of Mac customization is System Preferences, the modern-day successor to the Control Panel (Windows) or the ancient Control Panels (previous Mac systems). Some of its panels are extremely important, because their settings determine whether or not you can connect to a network or go online to exchange email. Others handle the more cosmetic aspects of customizing OS X.
This chapter guides you through the entire System Preferences program, panel by panel.
Only a system administrator (Activating the screen saver) can change settings that affect everyone who shares a certain machine: most of its Network settings, Energy Saver settings, and so on. If you see a bunch of controls that are dimmed and unavailable, now you know why.
A tiny in the lower-left corner of a panel is the other telltale sign. If you, a nonadministrator, would like to edit some settings, then call an administrator over to your Mac and ask him to click the , input his password, and supervise your tweaks.