-I'm Sharon Vaknin for cnet.com and today I'll guide you for a few ways to set up your new MacBook.
One great thing about buying a new MacBook is that it arrives basically ready to go right out of the box, but before you go crazy snapping pictures in Photo Booth, I've got a few suggestions.
And even if you've got an older MacBook, you could probably use these tips too.
First, let's take care of security, a very important feature.
If you ever lose your computer or share it with others, your data will be secure with this setting.
Go to system preferences and select accounts.
Hit log in options and disable automatic log in.
Now, your Mac will require a password on startup.
If you're really paranoid, you can automatically set up your Mac to log you out after a set period of time.
Go to security and check off log out after whatever duration of inactivity.
Another thing I suggest you do immediately is customize the dock.
You can use it as a simple application launcher or you can get more out of it with just a couple of clicks.
First, send it to the left side of your screen.
You have much more horizontal space than vertical space, and by placing it on the side, you're maximizing your screen.
Right click the divider line and select position on screen left.
Apple docks some of its software by default, but if you don't use things like Mail or GarageBand often,
it's best to remove them.
Just right click their icons and select remove from dock.
If you right click an open application, you'll get options for that specific program.
For instance, right clicking iTunes will give you things like repeat options and selecting recently played songs.
Now, maybe you want quick access to things like folders and drives, well, there is an option for that.
Just drag a folder like documents to your dock and it will be available for quick launching.
A very useful but frequently neglected customization is in the finder.
You can actually add shortcuts to the sidebar by dragging.
For instance, I've added documents, pictures in my drop box.
It makes navigating much easier.
And if you're so inclined, individual files can also be stationed there.
While we're here, let's tweak the toolbar.
Right click the top bar and select customize toolbar.
You'll see many buttons to choose from.
Add or remove whichever ones you please.
My favorite add is the [unk] button, which I use to quickly select parent folders.
It's time to enable hot corners.
In system preferences, head to expose and spaces.
Here, modify the setting so that when you mouse over to a corner of your screen, your Mac does something helpful like show you the desktop or go to sleep.
Two more settings that tackle efficiency are enabling the right click and tab.
Go to the track pad setting and check off secondary click under 1 finger.
This is as close as you'll get to a dedicated right click button.
What I don't understand is why Apple disables the following feature.
Go to keyboard and mouse, keyboard shortcuts and select the radio button all controls.
With this setting, tab can be used to toggle between buttons when you're Mac asks you things like "are you sure?" Now that you've gotten your hands a little dirty, go back to your preferences and make some changes of your own.
Don't be afraid to mess up.
You can always restore your defaults.
I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the Interwebs.
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