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Part VI: Appendixes > Problems That Aren't Problems

B.1. Problems That Aren't Problems

Before you panic, accept the possibility that whatever is frustrating you is a Mac OS X difference, not a Mac OS X problem. Plenty of "problems" turn out simply to be quirks of the way Mac OS X works. For example:

  • My System Preferences controls are dimmed. As noted in Chapter 8, many of Mac OS X's control panels are off-limits to standard account holders. That is, only people with Administrator accounts are allowed to make changes, as indicated by the padlock icon at the lower-left corner of such panels.

  • I can't log in! I'm in an endless login loop! If the standard Login screen never seems to appear, it's because somebody has turned on the automatic login feature described on Section 11.3. The Login screen won't appear, giving you a chance to sign in with your own account, until somebody either turns off automatic login or chooses →Log Out.

  • I can't move or open a folder. Like it or not, Mac OS X is Unix, and Unix has a very strict sense of who, among the people who share a Mac over time, owns certain files and folders. For starters, people who don't have Administrator accounts aren't allowed to move, or even open, certain important folders. Section 11.2 has much more on this topic.

  • My hard drive is filled with weird-looking files. If you inspect your Mac OS X computer from across the network, you may well be appalled: Its main hard drive window is filled with icons called mach, mach.sym, and mach_kernel that you've never seen when seated at your Mac in person. These are only a few of the thousands of Unix files that constitute Mac OS X—and are generally hidden from view. You can usually see them only from across the network or from Terminal. Ignore them.


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