There is a very specific organizational structure to the files and folders on your Mac. Before you set up your own folders, it's important to learn the organization that is set up by default. Explore the Applications folder, where all of the programs on your computer are stored, and the home folder, where you can store all of your personal files, including your documents, music, and pictures.
- [Instructor] In this video, we will look at how the specific files and folders are organized on your storage drive. Before you make your own folders and your own organization, it's very important to understand the folder structure that already exists in macOS, and as much as possible, work within that established organization. So let's start by opening up a Finder window. And I want to start at a place known as the root. To get there, I'll go to the Go menu up at the top, and I want to click on Computer. And this takes me to the base level of my folder organization, it's like standing in front of a filing cabinet before opening it up.
You should see your main hard drive, maybe something about the local network, and if you have additional storage drives, like an external hard drive or a USB memory stick, those will be listed here as well. I want to open up my main hard drive, so I'll double-click on that. There are other ways to get to the Macintosh HD. You could use this shortcut over here on the sidebar on the left, or you could double-click on your hard drive on the desktop. Either way, this is the contents of my hard drive.
And in this case, I see four folders. You may see more, but you should at least see these four. Every file and folder on your hard drive is inside of one of these folders. And I want you to understand what they are and which of them you should be working with. Now first, Library and System are very easy. Most users have no reason to ever open up these folders, and I include myself in this. Library and System contain files essential to how macOS works, but there's nothing here for most users to work with directly.
In fact, moving or deleting files in one of these folders can cause serious problems with your computer. So we're going to leave those alone. Now the Applications folder is where the applications or programs on your computer are stored. This is very important to you, but we're gonna save that for a different video. That leaves us with the Users folder. If you watch the movie in this course on setting up multiple user accounts, this folder relates directly to that. Let's open it up, I'll double-click on it.
Here you will find a folder with your name on it, or an abbreviation of your name. This is your home folder, this is where all of your personal files should be stored. Documents, pictures, music, everything that belongs to you, except for your applications, of course, will be in this folder. If you have an external hard drive or a USB memory stick or something like that, you can certainly feel free to store files there as well, but for your files on your main hard drive, this is your stuff.
Now if you have more than one user account set up on your computer, each user will have their own home folder, and you cannot see inside another user's home folder without their password. See how useful user accounts can be? All right, so let's open up my home folder. I'll double-click on that, and what I see here are the default folders that are set up by the computer inside of each home folder. These subfolders are pre-made for the different types of files that you might have. Now you do not have to use these folders, but using them keeps things much cleaner.
And lots of applications will assume that your pictures are in your Pictures folder, your documents are in your Documents folder, your music is in the Music folder, and so on. So if I open up my Documents folder, you can see that I have several folders that I created or copied to my Documents folder. I actually did this when I downloaded and moved the exercise files into this folder. And I can go back to my home folder by clicking on the Back button up here in the top left. And don't worry if the view changes as you switch from one folder to another.
Some folders have different default views set, and most folders will remember the view that you set the last time you were in that specific folder. And of course, you can always go up here at the top and change the view for the current folder that you're in. Now one thing I like to have turned on in Finder to help me understand this folder structure is the Path Bar. For that we go to the View menu, and we hit Show Path Bar, which enables that bar down here at the bottom of the window. So I can see the path I took to get to the folder that I'm in now.
We went to the Macintosh hard drive, into the Users folder, into my home folder, and that's where we are now. Remember, you can always see the name of the folder that you're currently in up here at the top of the window. So I strongly encourage you to use the home folder as it is intended, to store and organize your files. When you learn how to create new folders, it's almost always better to create those folders inside of your home folder, or inside of one of these subfolders in your home folder. This is an important organizational guideline, and it helps keep your files tied to your user account.
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