Mac OS X 101 - Using a Mac

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Mac OS X is not only one of the most modern operating systems on the market, but it is also one of the most secure and stable OS platforms that one can choose.  The core of Mac OS X relies on Darwin, the UNIX-based foundation that does the work behind the scenes.
Two Interfaces
Mac OS X has two interfaces, the beautiful and intuitive Aqua graphical user interface (GUI) and the command-line. Most users will rarely need to use the UNIX command line to access the UNIX underpinnings (Darwin / BSD Unix). Advanced users such as system administrators and people familiar with UNIX will likely use the command line to accomplish tasks, write scripts, monitor or view log files, make configuration changes, and so on.  The command line is a very powerful way to accomplish tasks in Mac OS X and other UNIX operating system variants.

As stated above, most users will interface with Aqua, the advanced and elegant GUI.  Aqua implements intuitive and easy to use features that help make computing an enjoyable experience.  Windows switchers will feel comfortable with Aqua as it functions similarly to Windows.  Note there is a learning curve so be patient.
Keyboard and Mouse
There are numerous ways to perform things in Mac OS X.  One can use the keyboard, the mouse, or on some models the Multi-touch trackpad.  All can be used in conjunction to perform simple and advanced actions.

Take your time and don't get frustrated
When you first start to use OS X you may get confused and perhaps a bit frustrated.  I know that happened to me the first few times I used OS X. With each passing day, you'll begin to feel more comfortable and you'll know exactly how to get things done within a few short weeks. Don't immediately jump to the conclusion that OS X is difficult.  Just ask yourself the following questions:

  • How long have you used Windows?
  • Did it take you weeks or years to learn Windows?
Over time, you'll learn to understand and appreciate OS X.  The guides are here to help you. so be sure to visit the Guides Archive for a complete list of guides.  Good luck!
  • February 26, 2009 - content revision
  • July 13, 2008 - content revision 
Created: 7:51 PM on Dec 17, 2006
By: switchtoamac