Chapter 5. System Preferences

Out of the box, the Mac is a fantastic machine. Its graphical interface is clean and uncluttered, you can use it to accomplish tasks with a minimum of frustration, and everything performs exactly how you expect it to. That honeymoon lasts for somewhere between 10 seconds and a week. While everything is great at first, you’ll soon find yourself saying, “Man, it sure would be better if....” When this happens, your first stop should be System Preferences.

Apple knows that different people want different behaviors from their Macs. While Mountain Lion can’t possibly accommodate everything that everyone might want to do, most of the changes you’re likely to want to make are built right into Mountain Lion.

System Preferences, which you can get to by clicking the silver-framed gears icon in the Dock (unless you’ve removed it from the Dock, in which case you can find it in the Applications folder or the menu), is the place to make your Mac uniquely yours. But as you’ll see later in this chapter, you can also make some tweaks by going beyond System Preferences.

One thing that will inevitably happen while you’re adjusting your System Preferences is that you’ll make a change and later decide that it was a mistake. For example, say you adjust the time it takes for your Mac to go to sleep and later decide that Apple had it right out of the box. Fortunately, some preference ...

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