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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

OS 10.5 - Newbie Help

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So... Recently got my mac... Love it won't go back. Switching from windows I have one question. When i download something like VLC or MSN it downloads and then on the desk top a Volume is displayed. So now i used VLC and I play a file or something and then I'm done with it. So I figure ok I can eject this volume. I've put a shortcut on my dock or whatever that is called. Then i go and I want to open VLC so I click on the short cut and it is gone and I can't find it anywhere... So I guess my question is as follows:

How the **** does OS X work. When i download something do i have to keep the volume up on my desk top and active in order to ever have access to it and if i eject it do i have to redownload the whole thing over again?
Very confusing. Can i keep my desk top clean and get the volume off of the desk top?
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The applications you are downloading are mainly .dmg files. They contain the actual application, help files and plugins. If you want to install an App.,

1) Double click on the DMG file. This will mount the image and shows you the content.
2) Drag the *.App file in to the Applications folder (you have to confirm by entering the Admin. password).
3) Unmount the image and move it to the trash (unless you want to archive it).

To run the application, goto the Application folder and double click the corresponding App. file.
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So in order to be installed, you have to drag the desktop icon to the Apps?
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Well, almost. In most cases, "Installed" is a relative term on a Mac. As the original poster has seen, you don't have to install an app to run it. There are a few exceptions, but this is the general rule. You download a .dmg, open it, and can run the app right from there.

Why can you do this? Because in Mac OS X, a .app file isn't just a file, it is an archive. It contains everything the program needs to run, hence no need to install the program first, and strew DLLs and goodness knows what all else all over your machine. Check it out yourself. Find one of your .app files, and right click it - select "View Package Contents". Quite an eye opener after the messy ways of Windows!

So, no real need to "install" most of the time. If you liked, you could create your own personal Applications folder and put all your apps there. That would get them off your desktop.

But, most people copy them to the general Applications folder. This has the key benefits of (a) uniformity - you always know where to look for your apps, (b) keyboard shortcut support - in Finder, type CMD-A and up pops your Applications folder, ready for you to launch any app you want (and you know they are all there due to (a)), and finally (c) availability. Apps in the general Applications folder are available to all users of the Mac. If you are the only user, this is a fine point indeed, but if you have more than one user on the machine, this is a great benefit.

Hope this helps.

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