Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Modify the Desktop prefs images pop-up menu System
I did not like the predefined categories of pictures that the OS installed for desktop pictures. So I organized them myself, but the Desktop preferences panel did not reflect the changes. This bugged me to no end.

After some browsing around, I found the file I need to modify to have the pop-up list in the panel reflect the folder names I wanted to use. The file is located in the following directory:
/System -> Library -> PreferencePanes -> DesktopPictures.prefPane -> Contents -> Resources. The name of the file to edit is Collections.plist.

You can open and look at the file but in order to make and save changes I would suggest to be root to make the changes. In that file, I deleted all the groups except for two of them. What I mean by a group is, for example, the following:
identifier = "Stock";
path = "/Library/Desktop Pictures/Stock";
showScalingPopUp = NO;
The quotes for the identifier were added by me since one of my indentifiers has a space in it, this was the way i got it to display the names in the menu with the spaces. If the identifier is only a single word you do not need the quotes but I did it for consistency. You can change the path to whatever you want to have for the location of the images as far as I can tell. I hope that this works for others like it did for me.

[Editor's note: You should probably make a duplicate of this file before starting a project like this! And if you don't know how to use the terminal and root powers to duplicate the file, you may not wish to start a project like this just yet!]

[Editor's second note: See the comments for an easier (and safer) way to achieve the same end result - duplicate the file to your local PreferencePanes folder, and modify the copy there.]
  • Currently 1.00 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (1 vote cast)

Modify the Desktop prefs images pop-up menu | 6 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Modify the Desktop prefs images pop-up menu' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Or use SwitchPic
Authored by: maceuph on Mar 04, '02 05:21:54PM

Just to let people know, you can also use a program that I've written called SwitchPic to create and customize your own collections of desktop pictures. You can find it at

[ Reply to This | # ]
Authored by: mervTormel on Mar 04, '02 08:09:49PM

try the sweet changeDesktop and stay out of mucking /System altogether, which could be stomped on a future upgrade.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Or you could skip the authors touting their projects and just take advantage of the bloody hint!
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 05, '02 04:01:32PM

Or, you could just take advantage of the hint and stay with Apple's natural interface. I've never had success with SwitchPic, and its latest incarnation as a PrefPane just hangs my system. I have ChangeDesktop involved, but it certainly doesn't let you preview -- it just picks stuff at random.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Don't change the System prefPane!
Authored by: duckie on May 11, '02 04:36:03AM

Take advantage of how MacOS X works. Duplicate the System's DesktopPictures.prefPane and move it into the "PreferencePanes" directory of your home folder's Library. If you don't have a directory called "PreferencePanes" in your Library, create one. Once you've duplicated DesktopPictures.prefPane to your Library, do whatever you like to it. Relaunch the Finder for changes to take effect.

MacOS X will always check your home folder's Library for any items before it consults /Library or /System/Library, and in the instance of duplicates, it will go with what's in your home folder. So in this case you're overriding the System's DesktopPictures.prefPane with your own -- and since it only takes effect for your account, feel free to add whatever directories you like (e.g. don't worry about making them be accessible to every user.)

[ Reply to This | # ]
Don't change the System prefPane!
Authored by: duckie on May 11, '02 08:05:17AM
It seems I overlooked the fact that this causes the Desktop prefPane to be displayed twice in the System Preferences application, once under Personal and once again under Other. However both will display your custom collection list.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Scaling popup setting
Authored by: bluehz on May 29, '02 03:56:42PM

What\'s the purpose of the \"scaling popup\" setting?

Seems to make no difference whether you set it yes or no.

[ Reply to This | # ]