University of Oregon

After Installing OS X


After a fresh install of OS X it's time to optimize your Mac. This page explores some applications and tips that will aid you. 


Some free programs to check out:



VLC is a free application that supports almost every type of video and audio file. If you make home movies or have content downloaded from the internet, VLC is probably the easiest way to play them on a Mac. Simply drag the file into the VLC icon and it will start playing. Click here to get started. 




Quicksilver helps you navigate your Mac faster. Basically a hot key-enabled version of Spotlight, QuickSliver can significantly lower the time you spend searching for files and apps.

To operate QuickSliver:

  • Make sure the application is open. 
  • Press control+space (the default hot key), the Quicksilver window will open,
  • Type in the name of the application or file you wish to launch and press enter.

Click here to get started. 




Adium is a free instant message client that works with a variety of IM networks including: AIM, Google Talk, and Yahoo! Messenger. Adium is easy to set up, has an intuitive user interface, and its icon is a duck! Click here to get started.  




Transmission is an easy to use, lightweight BitTorrent client. Despite its association with illegal file sharing, torrenting is a legal and simple way to download non-copyrighted files. Click here to get started. 



Gmail Notifier

Gmail notifier sits in your Toolbar and will alert you when you receive an email. Click here to get started.

Note: for another great mail application our Thunderbird page.  




When you buy Microsoft Word you may be paying for features which you won't use. offers much of the functionality of Word in a free program. You may find that it does everything you would do in Microsoft Word. Click here to get started. 



To find more of the best Mac software try our Mac Duckware page, or check out Apple's Download PageOpen Source Mac, and i use this.  





The default OS X dock can be somewhat flashy. To use a dock more like OS 10.4 dock and older, you can right click on the "crosswalk" towards the right of your dock.

To have the simple dock on the bottom of the screen, locate the found in your Utilities folder inside the Applications folder

Open the application and type: 

$ defaults write no-glass -boolean YES; killall Dock

To revert the dock back to all its default flashiness, change YES to NO.




If you have a MacBook or MacBook Pro you can customize your Trackpad using the Trackpad preferences pane in System Preferences. From here you can enable or disable options like Tap to Click, Dragging, and Scroll.




Learning keyboard shortcuts will save you time and frustration. Click here to get started.