The iMac Home Folder - dummies

By Mark L. Chambers

On an iMac, each user account that you create within OS X Mavericks is actually a self-contained universe. For example, each user has a number of unique characteristics and folders devoted just to that person, and Mavericks keeps track of everything that a user changes or creates.

This unique universe includes a different system of folders for each user account on your system. The top-level folder uses the short name that Mavericks assigns when that user account is created. Naturally, the actual folder name is different for each person, so Mac techno-types typically refer to this folder as your Home folder.

Each account’s Home folder contains a set of subfolders, including

  • Movies

  • Music

  • Pictures

  • Downloads (for files you download via Safari and Mail attachments that you save to disk)

  • Sites (for web pages created by [or provided to] the user)

  • Documents (created by the user)

Although you can store your stuff at the root (top level) of your hard drive, that gaggle of files, folders, and aliases can get very crowded and confusing very quickly. So use your Home folder to hang out and store your stuff. Use it to make your computing life much easier!

Create subfolders within your Documents folder to organize your files and folders even further. For example, if you own a graphics business, you can create a subfolder in your Documents folder for every client you have so you can quickly and easily locate all the documents and files associated with that project.

Your Home folder is easy to reach because it appears in the Finder window Sidebar (on the left). One click of your Home folder, and all your stuff is within easy reach.

In addition to the Finder window Sidebar, you can reach your Home folder in other convenient ways:

  • From the Go menu: Choose Go→Home to display your Home folder immediately from the Finder window. Alternatively, you can press the Command key+Shift+H to accomplish the same thing.

  • From within Open and Save dialogs: The standard File Open and File Save dialogs displayed by Mavericks also include the same Home folder (and subfolder) icons as the Finder window Sidebar.

  • Within any new Finder window you open: If you like, you can set every Finder window that you open to open automatically within your Home folder.

    1. Choose Finder, Preferences and click the General button on the toolbar to display the dialog that you see in the following figure.

    2. Click the arrows at the right side of the New Finder Windows Show pop-up menu.

      A menu pops up (hence the name).

    3. Click your Home folder entry in the menu.

    4. Click the Close button at the top-left corner of the dialog.

      You’re set to go. From now on, every Finder window you open displays your Home folder as the starting location!

      Set Mavericks to open your Home folder within new Finder windows.
      Set Mavericks to open your Home folder within new Finder windows.

Here’s another reason to use your Home folder to store your stuff: Mavericks expects your stuff to be there when you migrate your files from an older Mac to a new Mac.