Extremely Novice Mac User - Basic help needed

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Mojo67821, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. Mojo67821 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2006
    Hi there everyone, this is my second post, and I have some very "newbie" questions about my MacBookPro (1.8, 1.5 gigs) that I just bought. Having been a windows user for pretty much my whole computer life, I'm finding Mac OS a bit confusing. Sometimes I feel like it's too controlling, or it's trying to do too much for me. Anyways, I have a few simple questions.

    How do I uninstall a program? I've just been finding it in the applications folder, and clicking "send to trash". However, I'm not entirely sure this is doing the trick, and I haven't been able to find any "uninstall program" window like you find in Windows control panel. I'm concerned that I don't want unused programs or extra files hanging around on my hard drive.

    Also, on installing files in general, I find that everytime I download and install a file, I end up with these extra files on my desktop. One is the .dmg, which I understand is the compressed download. And then (with firefox for example) I am getting what is an icon that looks just like my Macintosh HD drive icon, only it says FireFox. When i reboot my computer it's no longer there, until I open firefox and then it returns.

    What exactly is this icon? I assumed it was a program shortcut like in windows, but then as I said it disappears upon reboot. Plus why would I need that when it's on the dock? Also, whenever I download and install, it seems to move things around on my desktop, making it near impossible to keep my desktop in any sort of order.

    Not only that, but twice now when I've rebooted, Firefox has disappeared and I have had to reinstall it completely. Then after it's reinstalled it still has my favorites... strange indeed.

    I know these are newbie questions, but if I could get answers to these it would go a long way towards helping me understand this whole MacOSX thing. Thanks!

  2. eva01 macrumors 601


    Feb 22, 2005
    Gah! Plymouth
    Ok to uninstall programs all you have to do is delete the application, thats it. If you want to get indepth you can search for plist as well (preference list) but not necessary.

    DMG files contain the programs and they are somewhat like drives. However to truly install an application you need to open the DMG and then drag the program file to your Applications folder. Then eject the DMG and delete it (no need for it anymore) the reason it returns is because you have not copied the application to your applications folder.

    Also when you delete the DMG remember to delete the dock icon (just drag off dock and it will go *poof*) and then drag the application icon from the applications folder to the Dock so that it will match up correctly. (does that make sense?)

    The reason it still has your favorites is due to that plist file that i mentioned before.
  3. Mojo67821 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2006
    Very wierd... you crazy mac people :) Okay, I figured out the "dragging to the applications folder" thing. I just did it with Firefox and it seems to have worked. I am now running the program with out the firefox "drive" icon on my desktop.

    As far as uninstalling, the reason why i was concerned was because when you uninstall in windows, you get a message telling you that it's uninstalling the program and "deleting all related files". I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't simply deleting a shortcut by dragging an app in the app's folder to the trash can.

    So this sounds good... thanks for the help!
  4. eva01 macrumors 601


    Feb 22, 2005
    Gah! Plymouth
    Nope you are officially uninstalling the app. But if you really want you can spotlight for the app name and see if there are any related files (however i would advise against this until you are more accustomed to OS X)

    Also if firefox seems slow make sure that you have the Universal Binary for the program at not the PPC only version.

    And from what i can tell what is up of the mozilla site is a UB so no worries there
  5. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Dec 9, 2004
    Just to clarify, .dmg stands for "disk image." A disk image is what you would expect...the image of a disk. Basically, a virtual disk that works like a physical disk but is really just a file. The reason for this is that OS X programs are often installed by drag-n-drop, so it makes sense to package programs in their own little "hard drive." So you open the .dmg, do the drag-n-drop thing, then eject the disk image.

    And yeah, just trashing the app is all you need to do. If you're so motivated, you can also look in your Library/Preferences folder, and trash any related preferences there. It doesn't hurt anything to just leave them there, though, since they take up a trivial amount of space, and if you maybe want to re-install the app at some point, your preferences would still be there.

    As for this:

    Try going to the "View" menu and choosing "Show View Options." Then you get some options about how stuff is arranged on your desktop.

  6. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Mac OS X and other *nix systems are in general much better at keeping control of the location of application files than Windows, where you get files and shortcuts all over the place and cruft clogging up the registry (no registry in *nix) - hence the convenience of uninstallers and the Control Panel/Add and Remove Programs.

    If you open up Terminal (Applications/Utilities) you'll get a unix command shell. Type:
    cd /Applications
    You'll see a list of all the applications on your Mac, their name followed by .app. This is where all the application executable and resource files are, while you would likely have personal preferences in your own home directory. When you drag an app from Applications to Trash, what you are doing is really just deleting the .app directory from /Applications.

    The Mac system isn't flawless though. Even after deleting an app, you would most likely still have your preferences files lying around, but if you really want to, you can learn to delete them using Terminal as you learn more about OS X.

    If you like, you can explore the .app directories using "cd" ... e.g:
    cd iTunes.app
    Don't delete anything though by using the "rm" command.

    Some apps do more than just add an .app directory. For instance my Cisco VPN client did some funky directory renaming and kext (kernel extension) installation. Such programs do sometimes come with an uninstaller. Edit: oddly enough, the only application I have with its own uninstaller is Microsoft Office.
  7. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    Often, the hardest thing for windows users to give up is the mentality that they are an extention of the machine and must figure out what the computer wants them to do.

    You might find David Pogue's Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual helpful. You can get it at Amazon for $15.

    Best wishes
  8. Mojo67821 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2006
    Wow, that is the perfect way to put my experience with OSX so far.. like I said before, I feel like I don't have any control...however I'm slowly getting used to it... I will say however that it works better and faster than windows EVER has for me. My frustrations are based solely on inexperience with the OS right now.

    Thanks for all the help guys!
  9. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    Welcome to Mac-world, I hope you have a good stay :)
    I think you'll find these forums to be a good resource for you in your learning process as well.

  10. student_trap macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    welcome to macintosh! your in for a good time

    as far as apps go, drag them to the apps folder to install, drag them to the trash to uninstall (there are .plist files you could delete too, but i wouldn't bother). There are some apps that have an uninstaller, but these are few and far between, and you just follow the on screen instructions!
  11. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    Avoid NAV

    I'll pipe in with a suggestion to steer clear of Norton Antivirus, and instead seek out some of the free solutions that exist. ClamAV for example, seems to be a much smaller drain on system resources. A quick search on these forums should give you lots of options.

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