Most applications running under a graphical user interface have several global options which affect the application's behavior. These may include its behavior with respect to particular types of document, the formatting of its display, the user's email address or other individualization settings, or even the colors or fonts it uses to display information. These options are usually termed "preferences", or sometimes "settings", and the dialog box to configure them can be opened by selecting a menu item of that name.

Web browsers such as Netscape Communicator or iCab usually have a great plethora of preferences, because their behavior is so flexible. Navigating the Netscape or Mozilla preferences panel is a task daunting to many newbies -- which is unfortunate, because they are often the ones most in need of safer, cleaner, or customized settings.

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