How to Keep Your Mac Safe, Clean, and Organized

Geek!This is Mike Mejer’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

This series of suggestions is likely to appeal to newer Mac users.

I am sure many of you understand the concept of making folders. Use them! It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways of keeping your files organized. Apple already includes a ‘Downloads’ Folder, and a ‘Documents’ Folder. Don’t always save files and documents onto your desktop – you might, one day, clean it up and files may get deleted on accident. Keep those files in folders elsewhere, so it is easier and quicker to find the items you are looking for. Yes, it does take some time when you get a new Mac, but in the long run, it saves you a great amount of time and stress. Same holds true for keeping documents in the “My Documents” folder on a Windows computer.

Macs hardly ever get viruses, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible for them to get infected! Yes, a Mac does run on a UNIX core, but there will always be one nasty file that slips through the security gates. How do you take extra precautions to ensure your Mac doesn’t get a virus? Be aware of what you are downloading! Make sure that if you download things from the Internet, you know what you’re getting, and if the source is a reliable one. If you have never heard of a site before, aren’t too familiar with the file, and something seems to good to be true, it means: don’t download anything. Download music from reputable sources, not illegally from unknown users. Anti-Virus software is not necessary for OS X at this time – if you follow these steps. If you don’t download illegal files, monitor your activity and traffic on the Internet, then you should remain okay and virus free!

I have been asked how I organize my Dock a few times. The way I look at it is: if you use an application often, keep it there. For instance, I constantly use Pages, Mail, iTunes, iMovie HD, and Activity Monitor. So I keep those applications in my Dock. Now those weren’t all of the applications that are in my Dock; I have a total of 18 apps and 2 Stacks on my Dock. I try to keep it as organized as I possibly can. So, I keep the applications that I constantly need (and are constantly in use) in my Dock. My Stacks contain files which I often need to access quickly. I tend to put a few apps in them every now and again, but every week I do a “maintenance” job (as I like to call it) and sweep out the cruft. Organizing your Dock can be easy. Simply make a list of the applications you use often, then drag them onto your Dock. If you find yourself not using an app, drag it away and it leaves the Dock.

Stacks are folders which can be placed on the Dock. There is generally nothing on my desktop other than the devices connected to my Mac. So, I have two folders which I need to access quite often, so I keep them on my Dock. Stacks generally work the same way as applications do on a Dock. That is really all you need to know about keeping your Mac’s Dock organized and un-cluttered.

That’s how you can customize your Mac to give you quick access to often used apps and folders, keep your Mac virus free, and nice and organized. Any questions? Leave a comment for more tips on which you may be curious about.