The Dock is an advent of OS X, and is very similar in many ways to the Windows Task Bar. The Dock is very easy to work with and has many functions:
- You can keep aliases to all of your commonly accessed programs or files.
- It tells you which programs are currently running.
- All of your minimized windows will appear on the right-hand side.
- It can be used to create an easily accessed menu similar to the Windows Start Menu.
- The Trash is kept on the dock.
- You can eject or burn media with the Dock.
Adding an Alias to the Dock
Adding a program that is not running
- Find the program or file that you wish to add in the Finder.
- Drag that program or file to dock and release it when the other icons move aside to make room for you new alias. Note: Programs must go on the left-hand side of the dividing bar you see next to the Trash, and files must go on the right-hand side.
Adding a program that is currently running
- Make sure that the Program is currently running; if it has appeared in the Dock it is running. If the program is not running you must find the program in the file system and execute it.
- Click and hold down the mouse button over the icon in the Dock that you wish to remain there.
- In the menu that appears select "Keep in Dock".
Deleting an Alias from the Dock
Removing items from the Dock is just as easy. Simply click and hold down on the alias you wish to remove and drag it off of the dock. If the program is not running, you will see the icon vanish when you let go of it in a cloud of smoke. If the program is running you will see it dart back to the Dock in the same place that it was before. Regardless, the alias has been removed from the Dock, and it will disappear when you quit the program.
Quitting unnecessary program
Computers have limited resources, and as such you will only want running the programs that you are currently using, or will use again very shortly. One advantage of the Macintosh Operating System is that you can control when a program quits. The Dock gives the user of information about how many user programs are currently running on their computer; you can tell if a program is running by looking for a black triangle underneath the program icon. Since you probably want to have as many resources available as possible it would be wise to take a look at the Dock every once in a while and quit all of the programs that you are not using. You can quit a program by clicking on the icon, and then going to File -> Quit. You can also click and hold down on the icon until a menu appears, then select quit.
Almost every single window you have open will have three icons in the top left-hand corner of it. These buttons are colored and all stand for various functions. The red button (left) will close your current window; the green button (right) is a restore/fit to screen button; and the yellow button (middle) is the minimizing button. When you click on this button the current window will disappear and appear in the Dock on the same side of the dividing line as the Trash. To restore the window to its previous position simply click on the window in the dock.
Note: The green button will usually, but not always, maximize a window.
Creating a menu with the Dock
Adding a menu similar to the Start Menu in Windows is possible by adding a Folder to the Dock instead of a program or file. The most appropriate folder to add to the dock would most likely be the Applications folder. Simply find this folder, add it to the dock (you must place it on the right-hand side of the dividing line), and you can expand the folder in a similar fashion as you see below by clicking and holding down the mouse button.
The Trash has been a staple of the Macintosh OS since the beginning. The Trash is very similar to the Recycle Bin in Windows. In fact, Microsoft may have "borrowed" the idea from the Macintosh OS. The Trash is the place that you put all of the files and folders that you don't want on your computer anymore. However, when you drag items to the Trash they do not disappear from your computer. To remove these files completely from your computer you will have to empty the Trash. To empty the Trash you need to click and hold down on the Trash icon in the Dock; a menu will appear in which you will need to select "Empty Trash". You can also click on the Finder icon and then go to the Finder menu at the top of the screen and click Empty Trash.
Ejecting or burning media
The Trash has another function, the icon changes depending on the media that you are dragging to it. These icons are:
The Trash turns into the eject icon when you are dragging any drive around the desktop; these items include floppy, Zip, CD-ROMs, DVD's, and mounted disk images. You can also eject media by clicking and holding down the mouse button over its icon, then selecting eject from the menu that appears. Macintosh keyboards also have an eject button in the upper right-hand corner for ejecting CDs or DVDs.
The Trash turns into this symbol when you are dragging unburnt optical media into the Trash. When you let go of the media on top of this symbol the computer will begin to burn the information contained within the image permanently onto the disk. If you do not want to burn the disc, but want to eject the disc, click and hold down the mouse button until a menu appears and select eject.