The Wolfram System stores preference settings and initialization data in two directories, $BaseDirectory and $UserBaseDirectory. Within each of these directories are several possible subdirectories with titles such as FrontEnd, Kernel, and Licensing.
Global settings that affect all users are stored in subdirectories of the directory $BaseDirectory. The default value of $BaseDirectory for different operating systems is shown in the following table. To redefine the location of global preference settings and initialization data, set the environment variable MATHEMATICA_BASE.
Mac OS X
Location of the directory $BaseDirectory for different operating systems.
Settings that only affect a particular user are stored in subdirectories of the directory $UserBaseDirectory. The default value of $UserBaseDirectory for different operating systems is shown in the following table. To redefine the location of user preferences and initialization data, set the environment variable MATHEMATICA_USERBASE.
The initialization files used by the kernel contain Wolfram Language commands that are evaluated at startup, such as function definitions, packages to load, and kernel option settings. These commands are also available to the Wolfram System front end.
This file stores user-specific commands used to initialize the kernel.
Kernel initialization files are not created automatically.
Front end initialization files store preference settings such as the values of global options in the Option Inspector. These files are automatically updated by the Wolfram System when you change a setting in the front end. To make changes to this file, make your changes from within the Wolfram System rather than editing the file directly.