To access the System Preferences window,
Click on the Apple menu, then System Preferences...
Click on an icon to change those preferences then click on the Show All button on the toolbar to go back to the original screen.
Under this section of the preferences, you can change the look and feel of your Mac. These settings can be saved for each individual who logs onto your computer.
Click on Desktop & Screen Saver to change your desktop background. Just point and click on any of the preset pictures or choose one of your own.
Screen savers help prevent images from being burned into your monitor. OSX comes with one of the best screen savers around. Pick from one of the preprogrammed savers or choose random to cycle through them all.
The Dock contains quick access to programs, files, and folders. Change its position, magnification, size, etc., under the Dock preferences.
Changes made here affect all users of the computer. The Hardware section is where you can set up and change what happens when you put in a CD or DVD, manage the color settings (very important for graphic artists), adjust the screen resolution, and more. Help preserve not only the environment but also the life of your Mac under Energy Savings. If your Mac is not in use, you can put it to “sleep”.
Changes made here also affect all users of the computer. This is where you can set up how your Mac interacts with the Internet and other networks.
The Sharing folder is where you set up your Mac for file sharing. Users will be able to access your Mac from the Network option on the Go menu.
Most of the other settings should probably be left to advanced users.
The most common area of access under the System section is Accounts. Here's where you can open up the settings for your account and changes things like your password and, if necessary, your picture. You can also create new accounts so other people can log into your Mac with their own settings.
Another popular panel is Software Updates where you can tell your Mac how often you want it to check for updates.
What shows here varies from computer to computer but includes any third party software you 've installed (or had installed). Many Macs will (hopefully) show “Norton” here at CWU to indicate they have the Norton antivirus software installed.
Page last updated 01/04/12. Send questions or comments to email@example.com.