How to Set Up Mountain Lion's Setup Assistant

Assuming that your Mountain Lion installation (or reinstallation) process goes well and your Mac restarts itself, the next thing you should see (and hear) is a short, colorful movie that ends by transforming into the first Setup Assistant screen (Apple Assistants such as this are like wizards in Windows, only smarter), fetchingly named Welcome.

To tiptoe through the Setup Assistant, follow these steps:

  1. When the Welcome screen appears, choose your country from the list by clicking it once, and then click the Continue button.

    If your country doesn’t appear in the list, select the Show All check box, which causes a bunch of additional countries to appear.

    After you click Continue, the Select Your Keyboard screen appears.

  2. Choose a keyboard layout from the list by clicking it once; then click Continue.

    If you’re an American (or want to use an American keyboard setup), click the U.S. listing. If you prefer a different country’s keyboard layout, select the Show All check box, and a bunch of additional countries’ keyboards (as well as a pair of Dvorak keyboard layouts) appear in the list. Choose the one you prefer by clicking it — and then click Continue.

    The Select a Wireless Network screen appears.

  3. Click the name of the wireless network you use to connect to the Internet; then click Continue.

    If you don’t see the network you want to use, click Rescan. If you don’t use a wireless network, click Other Network Setup, and then choose one of the available options, or choose My Computer Does Not Connect to the Internet. Click Continue.

    The Migration Assistant (also known as the Transfer Information to This Mac) screen appears.

  4. Choose to transfer data or not and then click Continue.

    If this is a brand-new Mac or you’re installing OS X Mountain Lion on a Mac and have another Mac or Time Machine backup disk nearby, you can transfer all of your important files and settings by following the on-screen instructions and connecting the new and old Macs via FireWire or Ethernet cable.

    The Enable Location Services screen appears.

  5. Select or deselect the Enable Location Services on This Mac check box and click Continue.

    If you want to allow your Mac and its apps to gather and use data indicating your approximate location, select the check box. If you don’t, deselect the check box. To learn more about Location Services, click the blue, “Learn More” link.

    The Enter Your Apple ID screen appears.

  6. If you have an Apple ID, type it (such as tcook@me.com) and your password in the appropriate fields, and then click Continue.

    To learn more about getting an Apple ID, click the blue, “Learn More” link. In a nutshell, it lets you make one-click purchases at the iTunes Store, iPhoto, or the Apple Store, and includes free iCloud membership.

    The Terms and Conditions screen appears.

  7. Read the Terms and Conditions and click Agree. A dialog confirms your agreement. Click Agree again.

    The Set Up iCloud screen appears.

  8. Select or deselect the Set Up iCloud On This Mac check box and click Continue.

    To learn more about iCloud, click the blue, “Learn More” link.

    The Use iCloud for Find My Mac screen appears.

  9. Select or deselect the Use iCloud for Find My Mac check box and click Continue. A dialog confirms your desire. Click the Allow button.

    To learn more about Find My Mac, click where it says “Learn More” in blue text.

    The Create Your Computer Account screen appears.

  10. Fill in the Full Name, Account Name (sometimes called Short Name), Password, and Verify Password fields, and then click Continue.

    This first account that you create will automatically have administrator privileges for this Mac. You can’t easily delete or change the name you choose for this account, so think it through before you click Continue.

    You can’t click the Continue button until you’ve filled in the first two fields. Because a password is optional, you can choose to leave both password fields blank if you like. If you do, your Mac warns you that without a password, your Mac won’t be secure. If that’s okay, click OK. If you change your mind and want to have a password, click Cancel.

    Click on the little picture next to your name if you want to choose a different picture or take a picture of yourself with your Mac’s built-in camera.

    If you choose to take a picture, click the Take Photo Snapshot button. When the picture appears, you can change its size by using the slider control directly below the image and/or move it around in the frame by clicking your face and dragging. If you’re not happy with this snapshot, click Retake a Video Snapshot. When you’re happy with it, click Continue.

    If you choose a select a picture from the picture library, click the picture you want to represent you — the butterfly, dog, parrot, flower, or whatever — and then click Continue.

    The Select Your Time Zone screen appears.

  11. Click the map to set this Mac’s time zone. Select the Set Time Automatically Using Current Location check box if you want your Mac to do that, or deselect it if you don’t. Click Continue.

    The Thank You screen appears. Click the Start Using Your Mac button to start using your Mac.

    The OS X Finder’s Desktop appears.

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