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  1. #1


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    Macintosh HD and Finder.. What is the difference?
    I was working on my Dads new imac as I don't have an apple yet and I was wondering what is the difference between "Macintosh HD" and "Finder"? I know Spotlight will locate things for you so what is Finder for? Maybe a better question is What can you do with Finder that you can't do with Macintosh HD or visa versa?

    Can you clear this up for me? Thanks!
    I Love my Mac!!!

  2. #2


    Member Since
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    uh what?

    Clicking on Macintosh HD just opens Finder. Macintosh HD is the default name of the primary hard drive in a Mac.

  3. #3

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeT View Post
    I was working on my Dads new imac as I don't have an apple yet and I was wondering what is the difference between "Macintosh HD" and "Finder"? I know Spotlight will locate things for you so what is Finder for? Maybe a better question is What can you do with Finder that you can't do with Macintosh HD or visa versa?

    Can you clear this up for me? Thanks!
    Finder is the windowed file and folder browser in OS X. The concept is similar to Windows Explorer. Macintosh HD is just a shortcut to display the contents of your hard drive in a Finder window.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  4. #4


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    So the "Macintosh HD" is just a shortcut to Finder? They are both the same thing?
    I Love my Mac!!!

  5. #5


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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeT View Post
    So the "Macintosh HD" is just a shortcut to Finder? They are both the same thing?
    exactly the same.

  6. #6


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    This is Wikipedia's article on it. Despite the claim made in it that the Finder was completely rewritten for OS X, many people say it wasn't and that even Tiger contains some ancient code that was merely ported over.

    Posts 3 and 4 in this thread appear to confirm this.

  7. #7

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeT View Post
    So the "Macintosh HD" is just a shortcut to Finder? They are both the same thing?
    On Windows, you click on My Computer to see a summary of all the drives attached to your machine, including your main hard drive (C. In Mac OS X, instead of having My Computer, you have Macintosh HD (HD stands for Hard Drive) which shows you everything in your main hard drive (like C: in Windows). The Finder is the program that displays these windows, just as Explorer displays these kinds of windows in Windows.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  8. #8

    Audio.Trench's Avatar
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    Think of "Macintosh HD" as "My Computer"... And "Finder" as "Explorer."

    Most people seem to understand that a lot beter.

  9. #9
    MacHeadCase
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    MikeT, read Browny's, cwa's and punkr0x0r's posts, they have it right.

  10. #10

    baggss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
    Finder is the windowed file and folder browser in OS X. The concept is similar to Windows Explorer. Macintosh HD is just a shortcut to display the contents of your hard drive in a Finder window.
    You are correct with one exception. The HD is not a "short cut", it is the actual mount point for the drive image itself. Unlike the "My Computer" on Windows, which serves as the portal to access the lettered drives, the Mac requires no portal and simply mounts the HD on the desktop. Many former Windows users find this confusing.

    Finder is simply the vehicle to display much of the UI on the Mac, but the system can run without the Finder. IF you quit the Finder though, you lose the basic desktop interface and have find other-ways to access files.


  11. #11

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    They're the same thing.
    "Come on big operating system, big operating system!" - PC

  12. #12


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
    On Windows, you click on My Computer to see a summary of all the drives attached to your machine, including your main hard drive (C. In Mac OS X, instead of having My Computer, you have Macintosh HD (HD stands for Hard Drive) which shows you everything in your main hard drive (like C: in Windows). The Finder is the program that displays these windows, just as Explorer displays these kinds of windows in Windows.
    This I understand. Thank you!
    I Love my Mac!!!

  13. #13
    MacHeadCase
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    Talking
    Cwa rocks!

  14. #14

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Great job CWA. I was going to reply till I read your post. You said it the way I would have tried to.

  15. #15


    Member Since
    Nov 27, 2006
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    file manager of Mac OS X = the Finder
    file manager of Windows = Windows Explorer or explorer.exe

    main hard drive in Mac OS X = named "Macintosh HD" by default
    main hard drive in Windows = mounted as "C drive" or " C: ", and named "Local Disk" by default

    drives in Mac OS X = displayed on the Desktop and displayed in the "Computer" folder (the name is whatever you named the computer)
    drives in Windows = displayed in the "My Computer" folder



    It's kinda funny.

    I think most Windows users have no idea what their file manager is actually called.
    I myself have been a Windows user for many years, and it's only when I became more computer savvy that I became aware of that.

    This is mainly because Microsoft decided to not label the Windows Explorer windows (folder windows basically) as "Windows Explorer."

    So instead, most people just think of them as "folders," and not the windows of a program.
    But in reality, they ARE just like the windows of any other programs. (i.e. Word, or Paint, or Internet Explorer)

    Sure, this might be a good idea, because you want to create a better illusion for the desktop metaphor. Obviously, in real life, your desktop and folders aren't part of some "Windows Explorer."

    The problem arises when some error occurs, for instance, Explorer crashes.

    They'd see a message saying "Windows Explorer has crashed" or "explorer.exe has stop responding,"
    but... how would they know what this "Windows Explorer" is? You never mentioned the name until now!

    That's also why a lot of Windows users call it "My Computer" or "My Documents."
    Because that's usually where they start off in the folders, so it's pretty much the only name they know.

    In this respect, at first glance, Mac OS X might seem more complicated. "What's this Finder business?!?"
    But in the long run, it actually allows users to be more aware of what's really going on and how the computer actually works.

    OK, enough rambling. ;p
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