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Access individual system prefs panels System
Rather than launching the System Preferences application and then clicking the desired icons it is possible to double-click the individual panes as items.

These are contained within:

/System/Library/Preferences

These individual panes can also be dropped into the dock giving even quicker access to the pane - for example - sound, monitor, etc.
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Instant screensaver activation System
Most screensavers feature a "fade now" corner which will instantly activate the scrensaver module. The built-in OS X screensaver does not inclue this useful feature. There is, however, a pretty good shortcut way of accomplishing the same thing. Here's how to do it.

In the finder (not in a terminal session), navigate to:

/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Versions/A/Resources/

In that directory, simply drag the ScreenSaverEngine.app to the dock. Now, when you want to activate the screen saver, just click on the icon in the dock!

This is especially useful if you've modified your screensaver to use your system password (either via the hack, or using Screen Locker). Now you can walk away and have an instantly protected system.

I'm not sure where I read about this, but I've been using it on my machine for quite a while and just hadn't posted it here yet. Very useful; kudos to whomever figured this one out!
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Last chance fix for dead machines System
There have been some reports of people with totally dead Macs after running OS X. The causes seem very hard to pin down, but the common condition of the machines is an inability to boot off of a OS 9 CD. The machine is stuck running OS X, despite everything the user tries to fix the problem (including booting into open firmware, resetting parameter RAM, setting the system disk, etc.).

One final thing to try is turn the machine off, open it up, and pull the battery out of the motherboard. Wait a decent amount of time (five minutes or more), reinsert the battery, and restart. This should force your machine to forget about anything it thinks it knows, and go back to the factory configuration. Your CD drive should now boot the machine (when holding down 'C' during boot). I've seen reports of this working for more than one person, but there have been a couple poor souls that have tried this and are still non-functional.

Any other thoughts on potential solutions for those still stuck?
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Long file names? System
[Editor's note: See the comments for a discussion on recommendations]

I downloaded the .tar file containing the PHP documentation, and was just beginning to read the files when I came across this problem: long file names. It would seem that OS X Public Beta chokes on very long file names such as
  • language.basic-syntax.instruction-separation.php
The problem first came up as an inability for me to view certain pages in the PHP manual. I first though it was a bug in IE.

But then I then looked into the directory using the Finder, and discovered that while files with shorter names are recognized by the Finder as HTML files (due to their .html extension?), longer ones like the one I mentioned as well as many others, are not recognized. I though OS X is supposed to supported long file names, up to 255 characters?!?!?

If anyone can shed some light on this, I'd appreciated it. Thanks!

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Recovering a lost root password System
Although there's no real way to recover a lost root password, you can change the root password even if you do not know the current one. You must have physical access to the machine in order to accomplish this task. The following steps were originally noted on this MacNN forum, which contains a number of follow-up messages about security in general - well worth the reading time.

NOTE: The following information has been publicly disclosed on a number of Internet sites, and is not a new find. I'm simply repeating it here for the sake of completeness.

Read the detailed section of this article for step-by-step instructions on regaining access to your root account.
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Move your swap file to another drive System
By default, Mac OS X uses a swap file (for virtual memory) which is installed on the same drive as your operating system. For best performance, the swap file would ideally be located on the fastest drive in your machine, which may or may not be the same disk as your OS. Unfortunately, there's no built-in GUI for changing a swap drive location.

A few days ago, there was a help request on swapping on another hard drive and subsequent comments that figured out how this could be done. I asked if patpro, one of the users involved, would mind writing a step-by-step instruction set on how to transfer swap. Read the rest of this article to see what he had to say ... well worth the time if you have a spare, fast hard drive in your system!
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Speed, RAM, and OS X PB System
The stated requirement for OS X PB is 128mb of RAM. To really make it perform best, however, more seems to be much better. This is especially true if you run a number of large Classic apps, such as GoLive, Excel, Word, Photoshop, etc.

The amount of disk swapping that goes on drops dramatically with increased RAM, making the system much more responsive overall. There was even a notable difference between my home (192mb) and work (320mb) machines, which are otherwise identical G4's, so I decided to upgrade the home machine.

I ended up adding 256mb (for about $150), and the differences are dramatic. I hardly ever hear my hard drive now, unless I'm accessing it. Read the rest if you want the details on where I bought my RAM...
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Customized login panels and buttons System
Jordan Miller has created some custom login buttons and images to replace the standard OS X PB versions. This is a very easy hack that lets you further customize your OS X experience, and he has some nice looking images!

You can find the images and instructions on Jordan's site.

Note that there is a small typo in the screenshot area for the filenames, but they are correctly listed further down the page.
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The OS X version of Disk First Aid System
If you feel the need to repair your OS X disk, you can try the "fsck" command. First boot your system into single user mode by holding s while it boots. When the "localhost@" prompt comes up, type the following:
sbin/fsck -y
This will launch OS X's disk check and repair tool.
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Higher Resolutions System
[Editor's note: See the comments for discussion on alternatives]

I just got a new monitor. How can I run it at higher than 1600x1200?
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