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Mac OS X: Where The Files Belong Now

Folder Structure Summary

By Gordon Davisson

Copyright (c) 2003, Westwind Computing inc.

Item Mac OS 9 Mac OS X
Applications Applications (Mac OS 9)
Nearly anywhere else
Nearly anywhere else
Cache Files System Folder:Preferences (usually) ~/Library/Caches
~/Library/Preferences (sometimes)
ColorSync Profiles System Folder:ColorSync Profiles Any Library/ColorSync/Profiles
Control Panels System Folder:Control Panels Replaced by System Preference panes:
OS X.0: /System/Library/Preferences
OS X.1+: Any Library/PreferencePanes
Control Strip Modules System Folder:Control Strip Modules Replaced by Docklings in OS X.0:
 /Applications/Dock Extras
Replaced by Menu Items in OS X.1:
 /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras (not user installable)
Documents Documents
Nearly anywhere else
Nearly anywhere else
Document/Application Bindings Desktop DB
Desktop DF
OS X.0 - X.1:
OS X.2:  ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.LaunchServices.UserCache.csstore
 ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.plist OS X.3:  /Library/Caches/com.apple.LaunchServices.6B.csstore
Extensions System Folder:Extensions Some functions replaced by Kernel Extensions:
Some functions replaced by Startup Items:
Some functions replaced by Frameworks:
 Any Library/Frameworks
Fonts System Folder:Fonts Any Library/Fonts
Classic System Folder/Fonts
Keychains System Folder:Preferences:Keychains Any Library/Library/Keychains
Modem Scripts System Folder:Extensions:Modem Scripts Any Library/Modem Scripts
Preference & Config Info System Folder:Preferences Application & User Preferences:
System-wide Settings:
 Netinfo Database
Printer Descriptions
System Folder:Extensions:Printer Descriptions OS X.0:
 Any Library/Printers/PPDs (in special format)
OS X.1+:
 Any Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/en.lproj
Nearly anywhere else (select manally)
Note: OS X.2 installs most PPDs in compressed (.gz) form; plain PPDs work fine as well.
Printer Drivers System Folder:Extensions Any Library/Printers
Sounds System Folder:System Any Library/Audio/Sounds
Startup Items System Folder:Startup Items Boot items (shell scripts in special format):
Login Items, X.0-.1:
 Config with System Preferences -> Login (or Login Items) pane
Login Items, X.2:
 Config with System Preferences -> Accounts -> Startup (or Login) Items
Utilities Pre OS 9.1: Utilities
OS 9.1: Applications (Mac OS 9):Utilities
Web Browser Plug-ins System Folder:Internet Plug-Ins
Somewhere near the browser
Any Library/Internet Plug-Ins
Web Pages (to be served out by personal web sharing) Documents:Web Pages /Library/WebServer/Documents

A note on Library folders:

We refer to several different folders named "Library" in these lists. Many items can be placed in several different Library folders, with somewhat different effects. Here's a summary of the different Library folders, and their implications:

The User Library, found inside each user's home folder. This contains resources and settings that apply/are available to only that one user, and nobody else.
The Local Library, found at the top level of the boot volume (or partition). This contains resources and settings that are shared between all users of this particular computer, but not any other computers.
The Network Library, found inside the Network pseudovolume you see when you view your computer in a finder window. This (usually) contains resources and settings shared by all users on this computer and other computers in the same LDAP or Netinfo domain. Note that if your computer is not part of a domain, this Library folder will (again, usually) be empty (or just plain nonexistent).
The System Library, found inside the System folder at the top level of the boot volume. This contains resources supplied by Apple as part of OS X, and is thus (at least in theory) shared by all OS X users worldwide.
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