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Macintosh

OSX File Structure

Summary: The image below shows an example of how Mac OS X structures the Hard Drive to allow each user on a computer to have their own Home folder for their personal documents and settings. With this structure, when you log in to your computer, you can only see your own personal documents and settings; you cannot see another user's documents and settings.


Folder Description
System Holds the files that make up much of the operating system. Unless logged in as root, you cannot alter the contents of this directory.
Library The system library takes on part of the role of the old System Folder, and acts a location for system wide preference files, fonts & system extensions (like printer drivers) that should be accessible to any user.
Applications Holds OSX applications and their supporting files.
Users Each user of the machine has a Home folder within the Users directory, which is intended as the place that they store all their documents. By default, a user can see the top level folder within another user's Home directory, but cannot access the contents of these directories or read the documents of another user without explicit permission being granted.
System Folder Holds the files that make up the copy of OS9 which is used whenever the Classic environment runs
Applications (Mac OS 9) Folder intended to hold classic applications - those applications that do not run natively under OSX and must run in the Classic environment.
Documents Present purely for the sake of compatibility with some Classic applications.

OSX

User directory structures:
A number of default folders will appear within each user Home directory whenever a new user account is created (even if there is only one user of the machine).

Folder Description
Desktop Each user has their own Desktop directory (rather than each disk having one in previous version of the OS9)
Documents The use of the Documents folder isn't enforced, but a number of applications expect to be able to save files (or create folders) within it. It shouldn't be deleted.
Library This folder replicates much of the functionality of the System Library, but limits its scope to that of the current user.
Movies Has no prescribed use, but is clearly intended by Apple as the place to save files being used in one of their video editing packages.
Music Has no prescribed use, but the iTunes MP3 playing software will, if given the chance, save its files in this directory.
Pictures Has no prescribed use, but will be used by the iPhoto software unless told otherwise.
Public Files or folders placed in the Public directory can be shared with other users if file sharing is enabled.