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Put a trash can on the Desktop! [10.0.4 only!] Desktop
I do love the Dock ? it combines the best features of the windows taskbar and the Application switcher. One thing i sorely miss from OS9, however is having a trashcan on the desktop. Until now. Luckily for me (and I suspect other users to) Apple has made provisions for putting a trash can back in its rightful place. In the Terminal type:
cd ~/Library/Preferences/
to change to your preferences directory (the ~ is a shortcut for "/Users/your_username"). Then type:
sudo pico
and enter your root password. Scroll down and look for a line about 1/4 of the way down that reads "Finder Has.Trash". Simply change the tag below it from false to true, relaunch the Finder, and presto! A desktop trashcan!
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Put a trash can on the Desktop! [10.0.4 only!] | 18 comments | Create New Account
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No Such Line
Authored by: monickels on Oct 17, '01 01:02:22AM

There is no such line in my copy of that plist file. Are you working from version 10.1?

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10.1 only
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '01 01:05:31AM

I should have added that line -- this is a 10.1 hack only, sorry!


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10.1 only
Authored by: bladerunner2037 on Oct 20, '01 07:49:34PM

Are you sure it's 10.1 and not 10.0.x? Because I've tried every trick listed here in the thread and I can't get a trash on the Desktop. I went from a 10.0.4 install with the trash on the desktop via tinkertool (IIRC) to a 10.1 upgrade...the option to have the trash on the DT was greyed out and none of the other tips listed in this thread worked.

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ummm, no true or false
Authored by: kidred on Oct 17, '01 01:06:08AM

I don't have a true or false tag, I have a "1" tag. So I guess this trick is old or incorrect. So what should it be? "2" or "0" ?

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Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '01 01:15:29AM

My 10.1 "normal" install has the field; my freshly-created 10.1 "experimental" install (which I've not yet done anything to, except install) does NOT have this file.

If you don't have the key, just add it:


It won't hurt anything to insert it into the file; try it, if nothing changes, just go back and delete it. Just make sure you add it inside the first <dict> tag, and not a second level tag. In my plist, it comes right after:



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Authored by: bluehz on Oct 17, '01 05:34:47AM

Mine already gas the <true/> listed in it and I still get no desktop trash....

iBook 2001
OS X 10.1

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Authored by: brainyboy7 on Oct 17, '01 04:30:51PM

Same here...

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Can't find this ...
Authored by: amishra on Oct 17, '01 10:50:01AM

I'm pretty sure that this hack doesn't work on the Apple sanctioned version of 10.1, as I've checked the strings in the, and there is definitely no key for Finder.HasTrash.

All the other keys in the can be found using Strings on Finder.

Strings Finder | grep -i trash | more

in /System/Library/CoreServices/

produces a list of things, none of which are Finder.HasTrash.

Are you sure you don't have a different version of the Finder?

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Shouldn't be a modified Finder...
Authored by: robg on Oct 17, '01 11:56:28AM

Unless some app I installed hacked the actual Finder code without my knowledge or permission and without requiring a restart, I have a stock 10.1 install - upgraded over 10.0.4 in place.

Tonight I'll try this on my experimental partition (which is lacking the key), and see if I can get it to do anything.


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Add it
Authored by: bhines on Oct 17, '01 03:27:14PM

Generally the way plists work is that you may or may not have a certain key. Adding a key that is not present should not cause problems.

(for example, see the "window compression" tip)

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Its there for me
Authored by: christurkel on Oct 17, '01 07:24:05PM

Though I didn't change anything I have it, exactly as described. My 10.1 is a plain vanilla one from the Apple Store. Odd.

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Doesn't work
Authored by: raf on Oct 17, '01 08:16:57PM

On my machine - running 10.1, a G4 733.

I was able to successfully change the key in question (which did exist, by the way) as superuser. However, restarting the Finder does not put a Trash can on the desktop.

Possibly logging out and back in, or even restarting the machine is required. I'm not going to log out just to test this though.

The poster who said that no string like this exists in the new Finder app may well have a point - the key still exists in the plist, but the 10.1 Finder app ignores it.

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Another way to put trashcan on desktop
Authored by: cagycruz on Oct 19, '01 08:56:07PM

Another way to put a Trashcan on your desktop:
open a terminal window.
ln -s .Trash Trash
Open "Home" in a FInder window. You'll now have a folder named Trash. Make an alias of it and put that on the desktop.
Optionally do Get Info on it and paste in a picture of a trashcan to make the icon look right.

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Another way to put trashcan on desktop
Authored by: bladerunner2037 on Oct 20, '01 07:53:44PM

That may put a 'trashcan' on the desktop, but it's not functional. This hack should make a fully functional Trash on the desktop, which is what most of us who are trying it want.

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I Dunno... It worked for me...
Authored by: theharvestman on Oct 19, '01 10:13:59PM

One thing i think i forgot to mention is that im running 10.0.4. I'll find a new way to do it as soon as I get 10.1

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Just use Dragthing.
Authored by: impact07 on Oct 25, '01 12:33:22PM

None of this works in X.1, but Dragthing 4.2 was released today and it does allow you to display Trash on the Desktop in X.1 (if you register). Woohoo the trash is bach where it belongs!

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OK - My Bad - This may only work under 10.0.4
Authored by: theharvestman on Dec 08, '01 11:48:30PM

I was using 10.0.4 when I posted this tip, and have since heard that apple may have removed the desktop trash "subsystem" in 10.1.x and up. If anyone using 10 has gotten this to work, please email me and tell me how.

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put the trash can on my desktop
Authored by: jorgew on May 31, '02 12:32:10PM

i would like to put the trash can on my desktop, but the problem is that i have the 10.1.4 OS. I'ts there's a possible way to do that in 10.1.4?

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