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The Mac OS X Solutions Guidebook

I wrote the first OS X Guide back in April of 2001, and it ran about 12 pages; this version, at well over 70 pages, is basically completely new from the ground up. The Solutions Guidebook is not intended as a step-by-step primer for using OS X. To get the most from this guide, you should already have spent some time becoming familiar with the system. If you are brand new to using OS X, there are some links in the Online Resources section that provide excellent “getting started” advice. Read those, spend some time with your machine, and then revisit this guide.

In general, if you read a hint and it seems to be too difficult for your current level of OS X knowledge, mark it and return after you’re more comfortable with the system. No need rushing into a hint that you’re not fully ready to implement yet. Although 99% of the hints in this document are completely harmless, a few could potentially cause system damage if implemented incorrectly.

Which brings us to the World’s Largest Disclaimer ... what you do to your machine is solely your responsibility! Always make sure you have a good backup, and double-check what you’re about to do before it becomes what you can’t undo. I cannot guarantee the safety of anything you choose to implement from this guide, so make sure you’ve got a good backup before you start.

The hints and tips in this guidebook have not necessarily all been validated by others. To the best of my knowledge, these tips should work on systems running Mac OS X 10.1 or newer, US edition. No testing has been done on international versions of OS X, but most of this guide should apply with only mild changes (substituting your language for “English.lproj”, for example).

With that warning stated, most everything in this guidebook is in either in use on my own system or was tested there at some point, and I have not experienced any problems as a result of implementing any of these tips. But I do keep a very current backup at all times.

1. Introduction - Background on the guide and the author
2. OS X Overview - A high-level view of the structure and features of OS X
3. General Hints and Tricks - Non-program-specific suggestions and hints
4. The Finder - The secrets to making the most of the new Finder
5. The Dock - Love it or hate it, it’s an integral part of OS X - make the most of it!
6. Classic - Making old and new play nicely together
7. System Preferences - Key features of various system preference panels
8. Bundled Applications: Mail - Put the free mail program to good use
9. Bundled Applications: ProcessViewer - Use a GUI-based troubleshooting tool
10. Bundled Applications: Disk Copy - Work with, create, and write disk images
11. Bundled Applications: Disk Utility - Learn the disk maintenance tool
12. UNIX Overview - A glimpse at the core of OS X, along with a few favorite hints
13. Favorite Apps and Utils - A page of my favorite applications and utilities
14. Conclusion - Wrap up, acknowledgments, and technical info about the guide
Appendix A - Online Resources - URLs for referenced applications and general interest
Appendix B – Command Line vs. GUI – A listing of GUI alternatives to UNIX commands
Appendix C – Create Shared Folders with NetInfo Manager – A step-by-step tutorial

The Mac OS X Solutions Guidebook