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The Desktop in Tiger
The Desktop in Tiger
The Desktop is the area of the screen beneath all windows. It usually contains several icons, such as those of the hard disk and external devices, and can be customized by changing the desktop picture. The Desktop is part of the Macintosh work environment metaphor that also includes document files and organizational folders.


The Desktop first appeared in System 6 and has continued to this day. In classic versions of the Mac OS (System 6, System 7, Mac OS 8, Mac OS 9), each disk/volume had its own desktop — files on the desktop followed the disk they were on. If you ejected a CD, floppy disk, or server volume with files on its desktop, those files would disappear from your visible desktop, sometimes leading to confusion. The actual desktop folder was invisible and did not appear also as a regular folder in the Finder or in Open or Save dialog boxes. This changed with the introduction of Mac OS X; every user had his or her own desktop (Mac OS 9 had support for multiple users, but it was not nearly as robust or useful as in Mac OS X, nor was it on by default). Mac OS X user desktop folders are actual, visible folders in the file structure. Each user has a Desktop folder in his or her home folder, which is by default not accessible by any other user on the system.