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Chapter 2. Managing Files and Folders > Opening and Viewing Disks

Opening and Viewing Disks

The desktop is the starting point to access every disk, folder, and file on your computer. When Finder Preferences are appropriately set to display desktop icons, the desktop displays several types of local, removable, and network drives. Drives and folders are represented by icons on the desktop. Each icon graphic represents a different type of disk. Disks are devices that store information used by the computer. The disk with the Mac OS X installed on it is called the startup disk, which is typically the hard disk inside your computer. The files related to Mac OS X are stored in the System folder on your startup disk. You should not move this folder or make any changes to its contents. Additional Mac OS X related files are stored in the Library folder, which stores system and application preference settings and files. Also on your startup disk is an Applications folder that contains the complete collection of Mac OS X programs on your computer. Lastly, the Users folder stores contents for individual user accounts on a shared computer. You double-click a disk icon, such as your hard disk or a removable disk, on the desktop to open a Finder window, displaying the contents of the disk. Once you open more than one drive or folder, you can use buttons on the toolbar to help you move quickly between folders.

Open and View Disks

If you want to view a disk, insert it in your drive.

The removable disk appears on the desktop (if set in Finder Preferences) along with your other drivers, such as your hard disk or a network disk.

Double-click the drive icon on the desktop to open it.


Press or click the Go menu, and then click Computer to display disks.

Double-click a folder icon in the Finder window to open it.

Click the Back or Forward buttons on the toolbar to return or move to a previously visited window.


Hold down A and click a window’s title bar to display a folder hierarchy menu.

When you’re done, click the Close button.


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