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How to change the annoying OS X default settings using the terminal

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When configuring a new Mac, there can be a lot of settings that must be changed for the system to work as you like. This usually involves having to go through a lot of panels of System Preferences and application settings, but it is not necessary.

If you prefer to configure everything using a single application and a couple of minutes, then you have to get used to turning on Terminal every time you load a new copy of OS X.

For those of you who have never used Terminal commands to change your system configuration, I have compiled a list of my commands to quickly launch my Mac. Since the El Capitan beta is still in an early form, your mileage may vary with these commands if you are using that operating system.

Command # 1: Always show scroll bars

The first is a command that replaces the need to go to System Preferences to allow the scroll bar to always be displayed. This will make it easier to grab the bar and drag it down a page to move faster.

  • default write NSGlobalDomain AppleShowScrollBars – string "Always"

You can also substitute "Always" for "WhenScrolling" or "Automatic."

Command # 2: Expand Save and Print Default Panels

These following commands establish that the Print and Save dialog boxes expand by default, so you no longer have to click on the drop-down arrow to select a different destination printer or folder.

  • default write NSGlobalDomain NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode -bool true
  • default write NSGlobalDomain NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode2 -bool true

(Note: those seemingly large spaces in the commands above are really only one space each.)

  • default write NSGlobalDomain PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -bool true
  • default write NSGlobalDomain PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint2 -bool true

To go back, simply change the “true” values ​​at the end of these commands to “false”.

Command # 3: Disable Natural Displacement

If you are not a fan of the "natural" scroll function that was introduced in OS X Lion, you can deactivate it with this command:

  • by default write NSGlobalDomain com.apple.swipescrolldirection -bool false

To re-enable natural scrolling, change "false" to "true".

Command # 4: Disable AutoCorrect

To test your spelling skills, you can disable autocorrect with the following command:

  • default write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticSpellingCorrectionEnabled -bool false

To reactivate autocorrect, change "false" to "true".

Command # 5: Remove all default Dock icons

When you buy a new Mac, the Dock is flooded with useless icons that are easier to access with the launchpad. To purge it from all default application icons and start over, use the following command:

  • default delete com.apple.dock persistent-apps
  • default delete com.apple.dock persist-others
  • killall dock

Command # 6: Prevent Safari from automatically opening secure files

For some reason, Apple thought it was necessary for Safari to automatically open the downloaded files if they were considered "safe." I rarely open files immediately, so if you fall into the same category, use this last Terminal command to disable that function:

  • default write com.apple.Safari AutoOpenSafeDownloads -bool false

Once again, you can activate it again but change «false» to «true».

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