Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Mac OS X

Mac OS X Basics

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

The Finder

The biggest changes to Mac OS X user experience come in the shape of the new Finder. These changes are not trivial, so the next chapter will focus on working within the Finder. For now, let's just take a look at a general overview of the Finder and its capabilities.

Missing Features

The Finder is still your workbench for navigating your hard drive, launching applications, and moving and modifying files. It keeps many of the same features you've grown accustomed to but, sadly, has lost a few that you might have relied on:

  • Pop-up Windows—The dock can simulate pop-up folders, but for the time being, pop-up windows are a thing of the past.

  • Spring Loaded Folders—In Mac OS 8 and 9, you could drag an item over a folder, wait a few seconds, and the folder would open, allowing you to continue dragging. This is entirely absent from Mac OS X. Likewise, the capability to examine the contents of a folder by single-clicking, and then click-holding, does not work.

  • Finder Labels—In a seeming oversight, Apple has included the capability to display labels within the list view of the initial 10.0, but there was no way to set labels in the new system. This feature has been dropped in 10.1.

  • Put Away—The Put Away command could previously be used to return a file that you've temporarily moved back to its original destination. The Undo menu largely replaces this, but unlike the older command, Undo will work only if you haven't moved any other files or folders after moving the original file.

  • Preferences—Everyone let out a collective sigh. The Finder has lost many of the preferences that we've relied on to create a truly personalized and usable work environment. No longer can you change list fonts, icon fonts, grid spacing, or other necessities. Although I'm sure that it's just a matter of time before these features return, if you've ever used them in Mac OS 8 or 9, you will miss them!

  • Desktop Trash—The trash can still works much the same way it always has, but it is no longer located on the desktop. No more dragging it wherever you'd like. It is now firmly fixed in the Mac OS X Dock. It's possible, however, to create a desktop link to the trash can by using BSD commands.

  • Desktop Printers—Desktop printers are completely gone and show no signs of coming back. Much of the same functionality is available in the Print Center utility, but this does not offer the same convenience as the desktop printer implementation.

  • Limited Contextual Menus—Contextual menus still exist, but they have very little functionality under Mac OS X.

The good news is that although there are things missing, a great deal of functionality has been added to the Finder. As I've already mentioned, much of the next chapter will be devoted to working with the Finder and the Dock, so we'll get down to details later.

Modes of Operation

Mac OS X introduces two modes of operation within the Finder. You'll recognize the first mode immediately. Shown in Figure 3.14, the toolbar-less Finder works just the way you've grown accustomed to.

Figure 3.14 The toolbar-less mode works in the same fashion as older versions of the Mac operating system.

From here, you can double-click folders to open them or applications and documents to launch them. You can drag icons to customize the arrangement of the windows, and so on. For all intents and purposes, aside from the laundry list of missing features, this mode of Finder use is identical to its earlier incarnations.

One minor change, which you won't notice unless you look for it, is that unlike the previous Finder, you don't have to double-click a folder or a disk icon to make a new file navigation window. Using the key combination Command+N, you can create a new Finder window at any time. This window starts at the Computer level of the file navigation tree, and shows all available mounted media. Additionally, the Finder window that is created will default to the toolbar mode of operation, which works a bit differently from what you're accustomed to.

NOTE

As you sit pounding your keyboard trying to make a new folder by pressing Command+N, you'll notice that your screen is quickly filling up with new Finder windows—not new folders. In Mac OS X, creating a new folder is accomplished by pressing Shift+Command+N.

It boggles my mind to think that Apple believes I need more windows on my screen more often than I need a new folder. Maybe it's just me, but this is one of the more annoying changes you'll need to get used to. Of course, because other applications use Command+N to create a new document, maybe this is just me.

A toolbar version of the Finder window, displayed in Figure 3.15, can be created either by using Command+N within the finder, or by using the toolbar button in the upper-right corner of the Finder window. This button will allow you to quickly toggle between the toolbar and toolbar-less modes.

Although it might seem that the addition of a toolbar is only a visual change, the Finder also modifies how you navigate from folder to folder within this style of window.

Normally, you click on a folder and it opens a new window. This is how the Macintosh operating system has worked since 1984. If you have an application that is buried ten folders deep, you'll probably end up with ten open folders on your screen before you can launch it. The toolbar mode of the Finder changes that.

Figure 3.15 The toolbar version of the Finder window offers some surprises.

When the toolbar is present, double-clicking a folder will not open a new window. Instead, it will refresh the current window with the item you just clicked. In the upper-right corner of the toolbar is a back arrow—click it to return to the folder you just came from. Using this technique, you can dig many levels deep into the file system, and then quickly back out by using the arrow.

An obvious problem with this method of navigation is that you don't have access to multiple levels of the file system at once. This is where the toolbar can come in handy to eliminate the need for multiple open windows. You can add commonly used folders and applications to the toolbar itself and instantly drag documents from the current Finder window into them.

NOTE

Although the toolbar mode of the Finder window, by default, has only one window open at a time, you can use the Finder preferences to force a new window to be created each time a folder is double-clicked. The toolbar loses some of its functionality in this mode because the bar's Back button is no longer active.

NOTE

In another seemingly bizarre choice, Apple allows the single-window mode to operate only when the toolbar is visible (thus, my references to them as toolbar and toolbar-less modes). It certainly seems that having a single window mode would be useful within the toolbar-less mode, but alas, it is not to be.

The toolbar, single-window mode of operation is definitely unusual to most Mac users, but Windows and Linux (KDE/GNOME) already have similar features in their operating systems. If you don't like this new style of navigation, you can continue to work with files in the same way as always. Toggling between these two Finder styles is as simple as clicking a button.

TIP

To quickly toggle from toolbar mode to toolbar-less mode, hold down Command while double-clicking a folder to open it.

Delayed Reaction

There is a problem in the Mac OS X operating system that warrants its own subheading: delayed updates in the Finder. Users expect that when they start to download a file or decompress an archive, it will immediately appear in the location where it was stored. In Mac OS X, this is occasionally not the case. Both the desktop and Finder windows can take several seconds (or minutes!) to show items that have been created by programs other than the Finder.

Often this can be solved just by closing and opening the window where the item should appear, or by clicking on the desktop background. In some cases, it might require logging in and out before the items show up. Mac OS X 10.1 has largely resolved this issue, but you might still experience delays at times.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020