After you start your iMac for the first time — or if you just upgraded from an earlier version of Mac OS X — your iMac will likely automatically launch the Snow Leopard set-up procedure. (Note that some custom install options, like the Archive and Install option, might not launch the Setup procedure.) The set-up process takes care of a number of different tasks:
Setup provides Snow Leopard with your personal information. As I mention in Chapter 1, your iMac ships with a bathtub full of applications, and many of those use your personal data (like your address and telephone number) to automatically fill out your documents. If that personal stored information starts you worrying about identity theft, I congratulate you. If you're using your common sense, it should. However, Apple doesn't disseminate this information anywhere else, and the applications that use your personal data won't send it anywhere, either. And the Safari Web browser fills out forms on a Web page automatically only if you give your permission.
Setup configures your language and keyboard choices. Mac OS X Snow Leopard is a truly international operating system, so Setup offers you a chance to configure your iMac to use a specific language and keyboard layout.
Setup configures your e-mail accounts within Apple Mail. If you already have an e-mail account set up with your Internet service provider (ISP), keep that e-mail account information that the ISP provided handy to answer these questions. (The list should include the incoming POP3/IMAP and outgoing SMTP mail servers you'll be using, your e-mail address, and your login name and password.
Setup allows you to open a trial subscription with Apple's MobileMe service. A MobileMe subscription service provides you with online file storage, iSync capability across multiple computers, backups to your online storage, Apple e-mail accounts (through both Web mail and the Apple Mail application), and your own acre of Web site on the Internet. For now, just sign up and take the opportunity to feel smug about owning an Apple computer.
Setup sends your registration information to Apple. As a proud owner of an iMac, take advantage of the year of hardware warranty support and the free 90 days of telephone support. You have to register to use 'em, but rest assured that all this info is confidential.
Setup launches Migration Assistant. This assistant guides you through the process of migrating (an engineer's term for moving) your existing user data from your old Mac or PC to your new iMac. Naturally, if your iMac is your first computer, you can skip this step with a song in your heart!