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Chapter 16. Managing System Services and... > Locating the Mac OS X Configuration ...

Locating the Mac OS X Configuration Files

Locating Mac OS X configuration files and figuring out what can be put in them can sometimes be a bit of an adventure. It's difficult to determine the correct information to provide for some items in this chapter. Many configuration options and files that exist in Mac OS X are not actually intended for you to use in the Mac OS X client version. These parts of the configuration system are actually managed by tools provided only (for the moment, at least) by Mac OS X Server. It's possible to diddle around with them, and to do some interesting things, but Mac OS X doesn't provide the tools or the information to do a complete job of documentation or configuration. We'll do our best to provide you with up-to-the-minute information on what's been discovered to be tweakable in the system as of when this book hits the shelves. Do check online information sources such as http://www.macosxunleashed.com/ and http://www.macosxhints.com/, and understand that it seems clear that Apple doesn't intend for the user to ever understand or modify some of these things.

Preference Locations

Unlike previous versions of Mac OS, which kept almost all its preferences in the Preferences folder of the System folder, Mac OS X keeps its preferences in several different locations. Primarily these are the /etc/ folder, the NetInfo database, the /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ folder and the ~/Library/Preferences/ folders. Many preferences that affect the running of the system, such as what network services are started, the machine name, and global information that does not change from login to login, are kept in the /etc/ folder or its subfolders or in /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/. Other preferences of this nature are kept in the NetInfo database. Preferences that affect individual user configuration are primarily kept in files stored in ~/Library/Preferences/.


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