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Chapter 1. Working with Your Mac > The Macintosh Desktop (DR)

The Macintosh Desktop (DR)

Whether you're running a brand-new Mac with the latest version of Mac OS X installed or you're using an older Mac with Mac OS 8.0, you see the same basic thing when you start up your Mac—the famed Macintosh Desktop. Macs use the desktop metaphor to provide a familiar setting—a desk, essentially—for Mac users to command their machines. At its heart, the Macintosh Desktop works a lot like a desk in the real world. It has a space in which you open folders and work with documents and storage areas where you can organize your documents in folders. You can also use those storage areas to hold other devices that help you do your work, such as a calculator, a spreadsheet, or even a CD player.

On the Macintosh, a specialized program called the Finder creates the Desktop. The Finder is so named because it helps you find and work with your files—but that's not all it does. Besides maintaining a place for you to do your work, the Finder opens folders (showing you what's inside), launches the right program when you open a file, and lets you organize your workspace by moving things around. The Finder also manages windows and can even send a few commands to the system software—for example, telling it to shut down.


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