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Chapter 1. ✓ Start Here > The Nickel Tour of Mac OS X

The Nickel Tour of Mac OS X

Switch on your Mac. The first thing you will notice—apart from the musical chime that tells you the system is starting up—is that unlike Windows, Mac OS X is graphical from the very first moment the computer begins to boot. A gray screen with the Apple logo signifies the first phase of booting, in which Mac OS X examines the computer and its devices, makes sure that they're all in working order, and prepares to start. After this phase is complete, the Mac OS X logo screen appears with a progress bar, along with informative statements about which parts of the operating system are being started. Finally, depending on whether you have enabled automatic login or not, you will either be presented with the Login Window or be taken directly to the Desktop of your account.

▸ KEY TERMS

Boot— The process of starting up your computer. The term comes from the early tongue-in-cheek concept of the computer “pulling itself up by its own bootstraps.”

Login or Log in— Mac OS X is a multiuser operating system. This means that each person (or user) can start a session with the computer with personalized settings and security privileges. Starting one of these sessions is known as logging in, and the window from which you begin a session (by picking a username from a list and typing in a password) is the Login Window.



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