Questions from a Windows user

marty1990

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 25, 2011
395
13
England
Okay, so I've just bought a MacBook pro 13". So far so good. However, I'm a little concerned... you see... I'm a messer. I always played around with XP, Vista, and 7, and went into system files and stuff and played around with things.

However, I'm absolutely terrified about doing this with OS X, especially accidentally. I was fiddling around with the sidebar with Finder, and enabled the Mac HDD option, so I could go into it. I was curious... and opened it, then crapped myself in case I was to accidentally move stuff around, thus breaking the OS. I quickly came out of there and disabled that option, but now I've got it into my head I've done something, lol. I wouldn't have just by enabling the HDD side option would I? I only did it because I transferred my music from my Windows machine on to here, but wanted to make sure the music I transferred was only located in the Music folder and nowhere else. I want to keep this machine tidy.

But yeah, is it hard to do what I've said, to actually mess up the OS? Also, I'm concerned with uninstalling. I mean, I remove the application, and place it in the trash, but apparently you're meant to clear out other files leftover, but I don't want to in case I break something. :/

Is it okay leaving those leftover files?

THANKS.
 

w00t951

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2009
1,831
6
Pittsburgh, PA
Okay, so I've just bought a MacBook pro 13". So far so good. However, I'm a little concerned... you see... I'm a messer. I always played around with XP, Vista, and 7, and went into system files and stuff and played around with things.

However, I'm absolutely terrified about doing this with OS X, especially accidentally. I was fiddling around with the sidebar with Finder, and enabled the Mac HDD option, so I could go into it. I was curious... and opened it, then crapped myself in case I was to accidentally move stuff around, thus breaking the OS. I quickly came out of there and disabled that option, but now I've got it into my head I've done something, lol. I wouldn't have just by enabling the HDD side option would I? I only did it because I transferred my music from my Windows machine on to here, but wanted to make sure the music I transferred was only located in the Music folder and nowhere else. I want to keep this machine tidy.

But yeah, is it hard to do what I've said, to actually mess up the OS? Also, I'm concerned with uninstalling. I mean, I remove the application, and place it in the trash, but apparently you're meant to clear out other files leftover, but I don't want to in case I break something. :/

Is it okay leaving those leftover files?

THANKS.
1) To mess up OS X, you would have to touch something critical in the "System" or "Library" folders of your HDD. Lots of files in there are just application extensions and miscellaneous files from applications, but some of them are OS critical. Stay out of those files and you'll be fine.

2) Those leftover files are rarely larger than a few KB in size. If you really want to delete them (I like a clean HDD) I recommend going to the Library folder that is now hidden in Lion. Activate a Finder window, then press "option". Whilst holding option, open the menu tab called "Go". You should see "Library" with no shortcuts next to it. In Library, navigate to "Application Support". You will see some folders that are identifiable to belong to a certain application. If, for instance, you delete VLC Media Player, you can delete the folder called "org.videolan.vlc" and delete most of the "leftover files" that pollute your HDD.

3) If you've heard of programs like CCleaner for Windows, there is an alternative for OS X. It's called Onyx, and you can find it here. Be warned: Don't change things unless you know what they do. I recommend perusing the Onyx help guide and looking at online forums to see what you should be doing in this powerful program. You can also make changes to OS X that Apple has hidden from normal people, such as lock the Dock icons or select a moving background.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
787
Okay, so I've just bought a MacBook pro 13". So far so good. However, I'm a little concerned... you see... I'm a messer. I always played around with XP, Vista, and 7, and went into system files and stuff and played around with things.
That's one of the advantages of Mac OS X: you don't have to do that anymore.
However, I'm absolutely terrified about doing this with OS X, especially accidentally. I was fiddling around with the sidebar with Finder, and enabled the Mac HDD option, so I could go into it.
The sidebar is a collection of aliases (shortcuts), so adding your Mac HD there isn't dangerous. Just be careful what files you delete or move, especially those in the System or Library folders.
Also, I'm concerned with uninstalling. I mean, I remove the application, and place it in the trash, but apparently you're meant to clear out other files leftover, but I don't want to in case I break something. :/

Is it okay leaving those leftover files?
In most cases, simply dragging an app to the Trash is sufficient to uninstall it. Yes, that will leave behind plist files, caches, and other app-related files. They won't affect your Mac; only take up disk space. The most effective method for complete app removal is manual deletion:

Also, this may be useful: Helpful Information for Any Mac User
 

Mojo1

macrumors 65816
Jul 26, 2011
1,236
13
There are also relatively inexpensive programs for Macs that automatically delete all files associated with software that is trashed. I use Hazel, which asks if I really want to delete the associated files before completing the task.

Sometimes you want to retain the files when you are simply upgrading an application and you don't want to lose preference files, etc.

I would suggest that you reign-in your tendency to "mess around" with the operating system until you have a better idea of what you are doing... and why. OS X is not to be confused with any Windows version... These days it is rare to have a need to access the Library folders, even if you are a so-called "power user." I have had to do it a few times since getting a new MBP with Lion, but I had reasons for doing so and I know what I am doing.

As a new Mac owner I highly recommend David Pogue's excellent "Missing Manual" series. Get the book for your OS; the Lion book is due out in December.

Pogue also has a "Missing Manual" for people switching from Windows to Macs, but if you have already moved over all your old files and are working on the Mac you probably don't need it... The book does spell-out the differences between Windows and Macs, but much of the book has the same info as the OS-specific MM edition.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
787
There are also relatively inexpensive programs for Macs that automatically delete all files associated with software that is trashed. I use Hazel, which asks if I really want to delete the associated files before completing the task.
In most cases, app removal software such as Hazel doesn't do a thorough job of finding and removing files/folders related to deleted apps. For more information, read this.
 

marty1990

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 25, 2011
395
13
England
Okay, I just re-enabled what I actually did through the Finder preferences, and all I did was enable the Mac HDD, then click on it. I didn't open up any of the system or library folders, so am guessing I've not done anything to harm it. I'm a bit paranoid with it at the moment, and am being overly careful with it because I absolutely love my Mac, and don't want to mess it up after having two days.

I reckon I'll leave the extra files left over from installations till I'm more proficient with the OS and know what am doing more so.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
787
Okay, I just re-enabled what I actually did through the Finder preferences, and all I did was enable the Mac HDD, then click on it. I didn't open up any of the system or library folders, so am guessing I've not done anything to harm it. I'm a bit paranoid with it at the moment, and am being overly careful with it because I absolutely love my Mac, and don't want to mess it up after having two days.

I reckon I'll leave the extra files left over from installations till I'm more proficient with the OS and know what am doing more so.
You don't need to be paranoid about it. Just think before you delete anything, and check the Trash before you empty it, to make sure you haven't deleted anything you need. Other than that, read the links provided in this thread and enjoy your Mac!
 

marty1990

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 25, 2011
395
13
England
You don't need to be paranoid about it. Just think before you delete anything, and check the Trash before you empty it, to make sure you haven't deleted anything you need. Other than that, read the links provided in this thread and enjoy your Mac!
Lol, easier said that done! But yeah, I guess if I'm sensible it'll be fine. I always check my trash before I clear it, and so far I've only deleted a couple of applications, and folders that were related to my music from my external HDD, and then other random mp3's that I didn't want anymore. Nothing other than that, so I'm guessing I'm good!

Thanks for the help!
 

Steve's Barber

macrumors 6502a
Jul 5, 2011
773
0
I'm a little concerned... you see... I'm a messer. I always played around with XP, Vista, and 7, and went into system files and stuff and played around with things.
Was once a long time windows "tweaker" myself. With OSX I don't do that crap anymore.

Once I finally "let go" of my tendencies to control things "under the hood" life got much easier. (e.g., I used to fight iTunes because it reorganized all my media but found it does a much better job than I ever did).

Now I even stay out of the finder as much as I can.
 

monkeybagel

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2011
1,135
47
United States
With OS X, the Terminal is there for you to issue almost any UNIX command. You can also install MacPorts, which allows you to run many UNIX programs in OS X.
 

iThinkergoiMac

macrumors 68030
Jan 20, 2010
2,664
4
Terra
Generally, if you're about to move something critical, OS X will ask you to authorize the action (and by that, I mean actually autorize, ie enter your password, not just hit another OK button a la Vista). I am quite familiar with how the Library folders are structured because I've poked around in there quite a bit. Feel free to browse, just don't touch and you'll be fine.

I wouldn't stay away from using the Finder, how else are you going to organize your files?
 
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