Scott Rouse, over at the My First Mac web site, has put together a really nice run down of the System Prefrenece Pane.
“Your Mac’s System Preferences program is “command central” for your machine. Similar to the Control Panel in Microsoft Windows, System Preferences allow you set your Mac’s clock, add a printer, share files with other computers, change the look of your windows, and accomplish many, many other tasks.
Getting to System Preferences
The System Preferences application resides in your Applications folder. You can always browse in the Finder to locate it, but there is a shortcut. From the Apple menu in the top left of your screen, you can choose “System Preferences…” at any time.
Finding What You Need
Most of the preference “panes” are named in a way so that their contents are obvious. By default, the panes are organized by category, but you can have them organized alphabetically by choosing “Organize Alphabetically” from the View menu.
Just click on one of the icons to open the corresponding pane. If you need help finding a particular pane, try using the search box in the upper-right corner of the window. Begin typing the name of a function you might be searching for. As you continue typing, your Mac will highlight some of the preference panes that may be of assistance to you. It puts a brighter, more defined highlight around what it feels is the best choice.
So What Do They Mean and Which Ones Really Matter?
Below I have briefly described each System Preference Pane and listed them in order of importance. Some deserve your thorough investigation and some you can just set once and not look back.
Where I felt like it would be helpful, I’ve also thrown in a tip related to the preference. If you have particular questions about individual settings, please leave a comment, and I’m sure you’ll see some great responses.”
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