Some questions about folder structure in OS X

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Sceneshifter, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. Sceneshifter macrumors 6502


    Jun 14, 2007

    Having used windows forever, I know everything by heart from it, and where most of the files are stored etc.. However, in OS X I find myself without much knowledge concerning this. Can someone guide me a little bit, like a very rough guide (doesn't have to be much really, just to get an idea) about the folder structure on 'Macintosh HD' ?

    Also, for example, I have an application called Logic Pro (Logic Studio) which seems to store files in various folders on Macintosh HD, I'm not sure anymore which ones but for example it would store some stuff in 'c:/HD/applications/Logic/blablabla and then some other stuff in c:/HD/application support/blablabla

    Know what I mean? Why does it do this? It's not easier to store everything in one folder?

  2. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    There's a folder called Applications off of the root. This is where programs are generally installed to.

    All of your stuff should be in a "home" folder called /Users/username (where username is your username). Downloads is where you downloads go, Documents for your documents, etc. The Library folder in your home folder should have a subfolder called Application Support, and that's where applications store data pertaining to you (i.e. your user settings for that application).
  3. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    The vast majority of applications store all of their data in one of two locations. Most of the program and all its necessary files go in "HD/Users/~/Applications" where ~ is your home directory. Any extra, support files go in your "HD/Users/~/Library/Application Support/" and these are usually user-specific files that aren't as essential to the running of the program. Very often, this consists of a .plist file, which saves your preferences in that application, and maybe one or two other similar preference files. Usually, everything in your "/Application Support" folder is very small in size and negligible compared to the important parts of the program stores in "/Applications." You can safely delete programs by just dragging the icon from "/Applications" to the trash, but the .plist in "/Application Support" will remain--this is in case you decide to reinstall it later, all your preferences will be saved (and since it's usually very small, it's save to leave there), but if you don't plan on that and just want everything to be clean, you can safely delete those, too.

    Also note that the .app icon you see as the application in "/Applications" is actually a special type of folder that starts the application when you double click. If you really want to see what's inside it, right click on the icon and choose "Show Package Contents..." but try not to mess with whatever's in there. You may have already figured that out.

    That's how it is for most OS X applications, which is really a lot cleaner than Windows does it. Just about every single Windows program needs an installer and sends files to all random parts of a your computer. In OS X? Everything will be in one of two locations.

    But there are a few exceptions. There are indeed some programs that require an installer in OS X. They're usually big programs like XCode or something like that, and these will insert a few files they need in some other locations around your hard drive, but these aren't as common.

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