Chapter 3. A Quick Guide to Mountain Lion

What You Need to Know About OS X

Finding your way around Mountain Lion for the first time is exciting, but it’s also easy to miss many of the cool new features, especially if you’re new to OS X or you’ve been using an older version of it. This chapter will get you up to speed on the basics of OS X, with a special focus on what’s new in Mountain Lion. It’ll familiarize you with the key aspects of OS X so you can get the most out of Apple’s best operating system to date.

User Accounts

The logical place to start is with the first thing you created when you installed or ran OS X for the first time: your account. Mountain Lion’s roots go all the way to Unix, a multiuser workstation and server operating system. Because OS X is based on Unix, it’s also multiuser to its core. Even if no one but you ever touches your Mac, it’s still helpful to understand user accounts, because you may need to deal with them someday.

Consider these situations:

  • As you’ll 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’ll probably want to create a separate account to run the demo to prevent interruptions from chat buddies, calendar reminders, and the like.

  • Even the most solitary Mac user eventually needs to let someone else use her Mac (a houseguest, a family member, or a TSA agent), and it’s so easy to set up a new user ...

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