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Old May 23, 2013, 11:23 AM   #1
JonL12345
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Coming from Windows - folder structure

I recently got my iMac and I am getting confused with the way the folder structure works.

On Windows, I can happily navigate by clicking on my C drive and go from there. It all makes sense to me. But on the mac, when I open finder, I just see a list of Favorites. What gives?

I mean, where do I navigate through my C drive? If I put something on the desktop, where is that actually stored? What is eject?

Thanks,

Jon
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Old May 23, 2013, 11:33 AM   #2
GGJstudios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonL12345 View Post
I recently got my iMac and I am getting confused with the way the folder structure works.

On Windows, I can happily navigate by clicking on my C drive and go from there. It all makes sense to me. But on the mac, when I open finder, I just see a list of Favorites. What gives?

I mean, where do I navigate through my C drive? If I put something on the desktop, where is that actually stored? What is eject?

Thanks,

Jon
OS X does not use drive letters like Windows does. To navigate to your internal drive, click on Macintosh HD.

The path to your desktop would be located at Macintosh HD/Users/your username/Desktop

This may be useful:
Helpful Information for Any Mac User
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Old May 23, 2013, 11:52 AM   #3
JonL12345
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When I open Finder, there is no such thing showing Macintosh HD. Good link though, thank you.
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Old May 23, 2013, 12:17 PM   #4
Julien
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When I open Finder, there is no such thing showing Macintosh HD. Good link though, thank you.
Go to Finder: Preferences and click on the General tab. Then select Hard Drives.
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Old May 23, 2013, 01:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JonL12345 View Post
On Windows, I can happily navigate by clicking on my C drive and go from there. It all makes sense to me. But on the mac, when I open finder, I just see a list of Favorites. What gives?
You can specify the default location for a new window in the Finder preferences.
Also in the preferences, you may find it helpful to add some items to the Sidebar, like "Jon's Mac" (the equivalent of "My Computer"). "Macintosh HD" is the equivalent of "C:".
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Old May 23, 2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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The favorites on the side of Finder are like the favorites on the side of Windows Explorer. By default, Finder hides a lot of the stuff that is system only and shouldn't be modified (unless you know what you're doing). All of your files should either go into the Desktop or Documents section under Favorites. Music (like iTunes) is in the Music section under Favorites. Movies (like iMovie projects) is in the Movies section under Favorites. And so forth. It is simple and compartmentalized. Anything on the desktop will show up in the Desktop section under Favorites. The desktop is basically a folder, just like in Windows.

Eject refers to ejecting hard drives, discs, SD cards, etc. Where do you see eject? It should be a key on the right upper hand corner of the keyboard. Looks like this: . You will see this icon next to hard drives, discs, SD cards, etc. in Finder. Clicking it is the same thing as right click, eject on Windows.
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Old May 23, 2013, 01:07 PM   #7
JonL12345
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I have downloaded apps, they appear on the desktop and you can right mouse click to "eject" them. When ejected, hey vanish. Seems a bit puzzling to me.
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Old May 23, 2013, 01:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonL12345 View Post
I recently got my iMac and I am getting confused with the way the folder structure works.

On Windows, I can happily navigate by clicking on my C drive and go from there. It all makes sense to me. But on the mac, when I open finder, I just see a list of Favorites. What gives?

I mean, where do I navigate through my C drive? If I put something on the desktop, where is that actually stored? What is eject?

Thanks,

Jon
This is without a doubt, after all these years something that makes me want to scream when I work on a Windows machine. On Mac OS X, anything that is stored on your Desktop is stored on your Desk-Top. As in, its right on the screen your looking at.

In Window's Desktop could mean your desktop visually, or it could mean something else.

Moral of the story.....learning your way around your Mac from Windows is going to be an issue of getting used to simplifyingthe process of doing things.
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Old May 23, 2013, 01:17 PM   #9
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In Window's Desktop could mean your desktop visually, or it could mean something else.
Really? Not my experience at all. Anything dragged to Desktop or to your Users/'name'/Desktop folder in Windows appears on your desktop - visually!

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Moral of the story.....learning your way around your Mac from Windows is going to be an issue of getting used to simplifyingthe process of doing things.
Not necessarily. The User file structure is very similar. The whole Finder functionality is probably about the worst aspect of OS X, and, IMO, needs something like XtraFinder to make it work as it should.
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Old May 23, 2013, 01:24 PM   #10
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I have downloaded apps, they appear on the desktop and you can right mouse click to "eject" them. When ejected, hey vanish. Seems a bit puzzling to me.
Included in the link I posted earlier is a link to MacRumors Guides, which includes the following information:

Installing Applications in Mac OS X
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Old May 23, 2013, 02:15 PM   #11
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Really? Not my experience at all. Anything dragged to Desktop or to your Users/'name'/Desktop folder in Windows appears on your desktop - visually!
Its more general ie the idea that your desktop has other things/places NOT associated with desktop (networks etc)

Quote:
Not necessarily. The User file structure is very similar. The whole Finder functionality is probably about the worst aspect of OS X, and, IMO, needs something like XtraFinder to make it work as it should.
I couldn't disagree more. This is coming from somebody who's used PathFinder in the past. I agree that there are some thing that could be improved, but I think the idea of a computer "explorer" mask the fact that there's an unnecessary layer of complexity in how the user interacts with the file structure.

*its a bit like adding wizards to everything instead of simplifying where settings can files can be found/modified.
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Old May 23, 2013, 02:49 PM   #12
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I couldn't disagree more. This is coming from somebody who's used PathFinder in the past. I agree that there are some thing that could be improved, but I think the idea of a computer "explorer" mask the fact that there's an unnecessary layer of complexity in how the user interacts with the file structure.
Have you tried XtraFinder? It is an extension to finder not a separate app like PathFinder. Main features are adding tabs, and sort options to files/folders.
I have no idea what you mean by this 'unnecessary layer of complexity'. In what way?
Explorer? Finder? Just names to do almost the same thing.
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Old May 23, 2013, 03:11 PM   #13
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How about this.. open finder navigate to 'Go" at the very stop of your screen, under that menu you should see "Computer". Once you click that you will then see "Macintosh HD" click and drag that to the "Favorites" on the left hand side. Done!

I'd be happy to help with any other questions coming from someone who has only been using my MACs for about a year somethings were definitely different.
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Old May 23, 2013, 03:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonL12345 View Post
I have downloaded apps, they appear on the desktop and you can right mouse click to "eject" them. When ejected, hey vanish. Seems a bit puzzling to me.
Application installers are contained in a file with .dmg extension (stands for Apple Disk Image). To properly install them, you either drag the app icon inside a .dmg to the Applications section under Favorites or double click the installer inside a .dmg. Or you could install applications through the Mac App Store. It automatically does what I just outlined plus alerts you to updates for any/all app you installed through the Mac App Store.

Since .dmg files are "disk images" and discs in real life can be ejected, hence why you have the eject option. Think of them like the install discs you get with boxed software. You insert the install disc into your computer and copy the data (through a install wizard on Windows) to your computer so you don't need to insert the disc every time you want to use that application. After the installation process, you eject the install disc.
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Old May 23, 2013, 04:12 PM   #15
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Have you tried XtraFinder? It is an extension to finder not a separate app like PathFinder. Main features are adding tabs, and sort options to files/folders.
I have no idea what you mean by this 'unnecessary layer of complexity'. In what way?
Explorer? Finder? Just names to do almost the same thing.
Its the approach and implementation. I'm very familiar with xml tree data type structures but don't think its necessary to see the entire tree in the sidebar. Particular path's to files are useful, but not the entire tree.
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Old May 23, 2013, 06:44 PM   #16
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I have downloaded apps, they appear on the desktop and you can right mouse click to "eject" them. When ejected, hey vanish. Seems a bit puzzling to me.
You're ejecting a DMG (a wrapper) that holds the app your installing.

Yes, it can be daunting at first... you're just going to have to pay your dues like the rest of us ex-windows users.

And yes, file management is much better in Windows. Apple really wants its users to stay away from those things.
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Old May 24, 2013, 04:01 AM   #17
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Its the approach and implementation. I'm very familiar with xml tree data type structures but don't think its necessary to see the entire tree in the sidebar. Particular path's to files are useful, but not the entire tree.
You don't have to see the entire tree in the sidebar if you don't want to. Just click on the drive, for example, and, just like Finder, the contents are shown in the main window.
You only see the tree in the sidebar if you click on the '+', so there is an option there, which Finder doesn't have.
One big advantage of having the tree in the sidebar, is that it makes copying files by dragging from one folder to another very easy, whereas with the (non XtraFinder) Finder that is awkward. Try drag copying or moving a file from a Pictures subfolder to a subfolder within Documents in Finder. Not easy.
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Old May 24, 2013, 10:33 AM   #18
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And yes, file management is much better in Windows. Apple really wants its users to stay away from those things.
Gotta disagree here. File management in Windows is much more familiar to the general populous and people have already learned how to cope with its shortcomings, but that's not due to better design. Rather it's the ubiquity Windows.

Let's look at the Windows file-system. Libraries, my home folder, "My Computer", Network, and control panel all show up when I go to my desktop directory. Yet those things are not actually located in my desktop file-path, but rather my home folder. In fact, from the desktop I can click my home folder and what greets me? I link back to my desktop folder! Navigating to the desktop at the top of the left hand file-tree doesn't even produce a file-system address at all!

Shared network drives have both a shared network name and local drive name. People at my company always give out the local mapped drive name to a server we are both trying to access which breaks it.

Just try to make Windows Explorer open to a specific directory on launch. Oh my god.

In Windows Explorer you can't even get a directory path to "Computer" when it's open either.

I concede that downloading a "drive" (dmg) to install a program is somewhat wonky, but not really any more wonky than downloading an executable to do the same.
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Old May 24, 2013, 12:22 PM   #19
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Try drag copying or moving a file from a Pictures subfolder to a subfolder within Documents in Finder. Not easy.
I open a new window (cmd-N in Finder).
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Old May 24, 2013, 01:04 PM   #20
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Also coming from a PC then consider getting reference book Switching to a Mac - Mountain Lion Edition (10.8.x). Believe it or not this is a very easy to read, reference and David Pogue puts a little humor in it. Just using as reference (in's got a great glossary/index) book would answer most of your OS X questions.
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Old May 24, 2013, 01:26 PM   #21
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I open a new window (cmd-N in Finder).
Of course, but it's messy and shouldn't be necessary.
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Old May 24, 2013, 01:43 PM   #22
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Gotta disagree here. File management in Windows is much more familiar to the general populous and people have already learned how to cope with its shortcomings, but that's not due to better design. Rather it's the ubiquity Windows.

Let's look at the Windows file-system. Libraries, my home folder, "My Computer", Network, and control panel all show up when I go to my desktop directory. Yet those things are not actually located in my desktop file-path, but rather my home folder. In fact, from the desktop I can click my home folder and what greets me? I link back to my desktop folder! Navigating to the desktop at the top of the left hand file-tree doesn't even produce a file-system address at all!
This is one of those weird Windows quirks - whether or not you see a path depends on where you came from to get there. Try going to Computer then your C drive, then Users, then your user name, then Desktop - Windows obligingly shows the path then.
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Shared network drives have both a shared network name and local drive name. People at my company always give out the local mapped drive name to a server we are both trying to access which breaks it.

Just try to make Windows Explorer open to a specific directory on launch. Oh my god.

In Windows Explorer you can't even get a directory path to "Computer" when it's open either.
Yet another example of weird quirks of Windows. In the case of network drives, this is partly due to drive letters and partly due to Windows not making up its mind about how to display things. Computer is another special case: It's not a "folder" on the file system at all, but instead a "magic place". If you poke around in the Windows registry, you'll find an entry for Computer there, with some cryptic identifier associated with it. These things are known as GUIDs (globally unique identifiers), and are used in many parts of Windows. Control Panel is yet another example of a GUID being used to "map" a virtual location to the file system.
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I concede that downloading a "drive" (dmg) to install a program is somewhat wonky, but not really any more wonky than downloading an executable to do the same.
Virtual disks (DMG files) are wonky, yes - especially for newbies - but they're more self-contained than the way Windows handles installing new programs.
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Old May 24, 2013, 02:15 PM   #23
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Of course, but it's messy and shouldn't be necessary.
How is it messy? Close the window when done.

Use the new window as a temporary view to a specific place in the file system.
It doesn't have to be a permanent fixture on one's desktop.
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Old May 24, 2013, 06:12 PM   #24
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There is a point in not going below your own home directory - people who go mucking around from the root level of the boot drive tend to create an unbootable system.

I came from a *NIX environment before the days of DOS and different file systems never bothered me. I prefer the Mac file system over Windows any day.
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