• MacOS Finder – the file structure

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    For those Windows Users contemplating the move to a Mac, a good place to start the comparison is the file structure. If you think you will be lost, think again.

    Actually, the file structure as seen through the GUI, File Explorer in Windows and Finder in MacOS, is quite similar. Here it is presented in the “Details” view. Compare the file structure as seen in Windows Explorer


    with that seen in MacOS Finder


    In the left pane, you find the User’s folders, the local drives and the network drives. If you highlight a folder in the left pane, the subfolders contained within it appear in the right pane. The User’s folder in both cases contain such subfolders as Documents, Music, Pictures, Desktop, etc.

    If you prefer the “icon” view, it is also available in Finder.


    There is some slight difference in nomenclature, but not enough to totally lose the Windows User in the Mac file structure.

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    • #329506

      Especially for those who used Windows Vista and onward. Vista’s and onward file structure and Windows Explorer in general shared some similarities with macOS.

      Nathan Parker

    • #329511

      For completeness sake, I would like to mention this: For those familiar with UNIX, AIX, BSD, FreeBSD or LINUX, the command line accessible with the “Terminal” application lets one give the usual line commands from (e.g.) LINUX to map and access files in the Directory (folders) structure at various levels.

      In the Mac, I keep most of my personal files in a few folders on the Desktop, and my various working directories, where I do my jobs, in my “Users” directory. The former I access through the Mac graphic user interface, by pointing and clicking and dragging files and folders on the Desktop, opening folders, copying there and pasting files elsewhere, trashing files, etc. The latter, I open or manipulate in various ways from the command line, using “Terminal.” The pointing, clicking, etc. on the Desktop is often the same as in Windows, other times can be a bit different, but one quickly gets the hang of it, I’ve found. Most actions are fairly obvious to anyone that has used computers before.

      For many users, the graphical interface can be enough to get things done.

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #329518

        Yeah, there’s the funny little detail that the current MacOS is UNIX(r) now… though for those of us with a SVR4-type UNIX background, the BSD “dialect” in the command line environment and the unique directory structure can be a bit of a culture shock even so.

        I do wish Apple would’ve done what HP did with HP-UX once and included a set of “transition links” to ease transition from other variants of UNIX directory structure.

    • #330206

      I geeked around with Linux for awhile (especially since I had to manage web environments), so I’m pretty comfortable with the command line in Terminal. Feels good to unleash my inner UNIX/Linux geek when I need to fire it up.

      Nathan Parker

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