The place to learn about your Mac. Tips and tutorials for novices and experts.

OS X Tutorials


See How Much RAM is Installed in Your Mac

Do you know how much RAM is installed in your Mac? You should. RAM, or random access memory, stores the code and instructions for OS X and any applications open on your Mac. The more RAM you have, the more applications you can have open at once. Knowing how much RAM you have installed in your Mac is an important piece of information that could change how you use your computer.

Here's how to check how much RAM you have installed:

  1. From the Apple menu, select About This Mac. The window shown below appears.

Create a Keyboard Shortcut for any Menu Item

Keyboard shortcuts are an integral part of Mac OS X, but you may have noticed that not every menu item has one. This can pose a real problem for those of us who like to work fast and efficiently. To access menu items that don't have shortcuts, you'll have to use the mouse - a big annoyance that'll slow you down!

Fortunately, Mac OS X allows you to assign a keyboard shortcut to a menu item that doesn't have one. This tutorial shows you how. You can also use these instructions to modify an existing shortcut. It's a little trick that can make your life that much easier.

How to Minimize Windows in Slow Motion

Ready to learn a fun trick that has absolutely no practical value whatsoever? A trick that you can use to impress your friends and show off your Mac skills? Then you've come to the right tutorial! We're about to teach you how to minimize windows to the Dock in slow motion. In other words, we're going to take the default minimize window action and slow it way down by a factor of 100 or so.

Here's how to do it:

Change the Background of Finder Windows

Are you tired of seeing the boring white background of the Finder windows? Change it! You can spice up your Desktop by setting a folder's background to a picture or a solid color. Note that this only works when the layout of the folder's window is set to the icon view. You won't see the background if you view the items in the list, column, or cover flow views.

Setting a Solid Color Background

Here's how to change the background of a Finder window:

  1. Switch to the Finder. Open the folder you'd like to change.

How to Switch the Control and Command Keys

One of the most subtle differences between a Mac and a PC is also one of the biggest: the functionality of the control key on the keyboard. When you buy a Mac, you'll need to start using the command key instead of the control key. For example, instead of pressing Control-S to save and Control-C to copy like you did in Windows, you'll have to press Command-S and Command-C to do the same thing in OS X. All of the other available keyboard shortcuts are similarly affected.

Starting Applications Automatically at Login

Do you use the same applications, documents, AppleScripts, and Automator actions every day? Consider adding them as login items to start them automatically when you log in or turn on your Mac. It's a great timesaver. Follow these instructions and kiss manually opening applications goodbye!

How to Monitor Your Mac's Memory Usage

Imagine driving a vehicle with no gauges on the dashboard. You wouldn't know how fast the car was going, how much fuel it had left, or whether or not the engine was about to overheat. In short, you'd be driving blind - hoping, by chance, that everything would just work out okay.

How to Update Your Mac's Software

Updating Apple's software on your Mac is an important maintenance task that you should perform regularly. Using the latest versions of Mac OS X and Apple's applications can protect your Mac against malicious attacks, improve sluggish system performance, and fix bugs that can cause applications to randomly crash. This tutorial will show you how to automatically and manually update the Apple software on your computer.

Automatically Check for Apple Software Updates

How to Monitor Your Mac's Firewall Logs

If you're reading this article, you probably know that Mac OS X has a built-in firewall that should be turned on at all times. But how do you know that the firewall working, and how do you find out what's happening behind the scenes? To check, you need to access your Mac's firewall log - a file that contains a record of every event the firewall has processed.

Here's how to monitor your Mac's firewall logs:

  1. Verify that your Mac's firewall is turned on. For instructions, see How to Configure Your Mac's Firewall.

How to Install Windows 8 Using VMware Fusion

Maybe you've heard the buzz about Windows 8, the new operating system being developed by Microsoft. It's not for sale yet, but if you're feeling adventurous, you can install Windows 8 for free in a virtual machine on your Mac. Using a product called VMware Fusion (free trial, $49.99) is a great way to test Windows 8 in a sandboxed environment.

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