X Appeal

Mac OS X's radical interface will either tempt you to upgrade or turn you off. Here's a guide to some of the biggest differences between the Mac OS 9 and OS X.

Same as It Ever Was -- Sort Of

After much fussing and fighting during beta testing, Apple relented and agreed to leave disk icons on the OS X desktop. (During much of the development cycle, disk icons were accessible only from within Finder windows.) When you boot up OS X, all connected hard-disk drives and preinserted removable media appear on your Mac's desktop. External FireWire and USB drives appear when you attach them; CD, DVD and removable-drive cartridges (such as ZIP disks) show up when you insert them.

OS X's desktop icons are not "spring-loaded," however. In OS 8 and 9, when you drag a file to a folder on the desktop and hold the mouse button down for a moment, the folder pops open. You can then drag the file to an enclosed folder, and so on down the folder hierarchy to your destination. This innovation made it possible to move or copy a file without first having to open its destination folder. Alas, OS X offers no such convenience.

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