Getting Started with OS X Mountain Lion
If you've never used OS X before, you'll need to learn the basics about getting around the desktop. In this lesson, you'll learn about the Dock, menu bar, opening files and apps, Launchpad, and multi-touch gestures. If you're familiar with earlier versions of OS X, you'll probably find that the Mountain Lion's interface will be fairly easy to learn.
Watch the video to learn the basics of using Mountain Lion.
The screen you see when your computer has finished starting up is called the desktop. The OS X Mountain Lion desktop includes a desktop background (or wallpaper), the Dock, and the menu bar. You can open files or applications from the Dock or Launchpad. You can also display files, folders, and shortcuts on the desktop background area.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about the OS X desktop.
The Notification Center displays an alert when you've received an update. It can be customized to let you know of upcoming appointments, tweets, news, and other real-time events. It remains hidden until you click its icon in the top-right corner.
The Notification Center was introduced in Mountain Lion and is not available in earlier versions of OS X.
When you click the magnifying glass icon, it will open Spotlight. Spotlight allows you to find a file or application by typing the name (or just part of the name).
On the right side of the menu bar, you will see the date and time, along with shortcuts you can click to adjust settings like sound volume.
The menu bar will contain different menu options depending on which program you're using. In this example, the active program is Finder.
In the top-left corner of the screen is the Apple icon, which you can click to access your System Preferences, recent documents, and more. You can also use it to shut down your computer.
The desktop background, or wallpaper, allows you to personalize your computer. You can either choose a built-in background or use one of your own images.
You can keep folders, files, and shortcuts on the desktop so they'll be easily accessible.
When you delete a file, it is moved to the Trash. This allows you to recover the file if you change your mind. To permanently delete a file, you'll need to empty the Trash.
The Dock can contain shortcuts to applications, files, and folders. If you have multiple programs open, you can use the Dock to quickly switch between them.
Launchpad allows you to see a list of all of your applications. It is designed to make it easier to find and organize your applications.
Launchpad was introduced in OS X Lion, and it is not available in earlier versions of OS X.
When you double-click a folder, it will open in a specialized program called Finder. This lets you navigate to the specific file or folder you want.