Read Me First: A Take Control Crash Course
by Tonya Engst

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Finding the User Library Folder

The Internet is full of tips for Mac users that involve finding your user Library folder so that you can put something in it—or take something out of it. But, what if you can’t find this folder? And, what manner of stuff is kept in it?

Although a Library folder lives in each user’s home folder, Apple hid the folder a few operating system releases back (in 10.7 Lion) in order to prevent people from accidentally messing up stuff in it. By default, you can’t see it between Downloads and Movies in the home folder, and you can’t choose it from the normal Go menu.

A simple way to open the user Library folder in the Finder is to open the Go menu, press and hold the Option key to display Library in the menu, and then choose Library .

① 	This Finder window is showing the user Library folder, found in the logged-in user’s home folder. Notice Library in the title bar at the top, with a blue selection highlight in the third column, and in the Path bar at the bottom.

① This Finder window is showing the user Library folder, found in the logged-in user’s home folder. Notice Library in the title bar at the top, with a blue selection highlight in the third column, and in the Path bar at the bottom.

What’s in the Folder?

More Library Folders

OS X also has a Library folder at the top level of the startup drive and a Library folder in the System folder. These other Library folders hold resources that are used globally on the Mac. For example, fonts that all user accounts share reside in the /Library/Fonts folder.

If your Mac is connected to a server, you may also see a Library folder on the server’s drive.

Working in the User Library

Generally, if some directions suggest deleting or renaming a file in the user Library folder, it’s okay to do so, since the person writing those directions probably does know what she is doing. But, you should work carefully, and if you trash a file, don’t empty your Trash (or just put the file on your Desktop) until you are sure that everything is still working properly.

Note: Paths to items in the user Library folder are often long. To efficiently follow a long path that is already written out, see Typing a Path, earlier.

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“How many Library folders does it take to run a Mac? Three. One for you and two to store the global light bulb prefs.”

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