100 Tips #43: What Is The Home Folder?

Home folder icon

We’ve just looked at user accounts, and showed you how to go about setting up your own personal account.

New accounts will be created with what’s called a Home folder. This is the area of the filesystem where everything created and edited by you, using your user account, will be kept.

It’s a good idea to stick to the filing system that the computer creates for you. Try not to put your files in other places on the filesystem. Most of the time, the computer won’t even let you. The Home folder is your chunk of disk space, for your stuff.

Every application you use will save files here. ITunes will store your music and podcasts here. IPhoto will put your photo library here.

What’s more, by default, every new Finder window you open will open showing your Home folder. It’s a starting point for many of the tasks you’ll do with your computer. It’s very like the home page in your web browser. It even uses the same sort of icon, of a little house.

Confusingly, your Home folder isn’t labelled “Home” when you see it in a Finder view. It will be labelled with your account’s username. For example, my Home folder appears as “gilestur”.

Treat it like a real home, and move into it. In the next post in this series, we’ll look in more detail at the folders that are automatically created for you inside the Home folder.

Tip: in Finder, you can quickly jump to your Home folder by pressing the shortcut Command+Shift+H.

(You’re reading the 43rd post in our series, 100 Essential Mac Tips And Tricks For Windows Switchers. These posts explain to OS X beginners some of the most basic and fundamental concepts of using a Mac. Find out more.)

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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