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Duplicate - revisited and resolved... System
Earlier this week, I published a submitted hint regarding a duplicate Finder file in the OS X system. The tip offered advice that deleting this "duplicate Finder" could help with performance issues. This hint generated much discussion about dual Finders, the confusion over the "real" Finder and a so-called "Fake Finder", potential performance increases from deleting the "Fake Finder," etc.

At the time I published the original hint, I assumed the author was discussing a truly duplicated Finder, and not merely the existence of the "Fake Finder". After seeing the comments start flowing in, however, I decided to "phone a friend" at Apple for a hopefully authoritative answer on the issue.

The reply is a bit lengthy, so please read the rest of the article for a full explanation of the need for two Finder files. The reply also includes an easy way to recreate your "Fake Finder" if you deleted it based on the previously published hint. The file does have a role to play when using OS 9, so you may wish to make a new one if you did delete the original "Fake Finder".

Here's what I received from my friend at Apple:
The file's a stand-in for the original Macintosh Finder. It's actually zero length but it DOES have the correct Finder Info to masquerade as the original Finder file. From an Apple Engineer who knows the answer, "the file is there so that Mac OS 9 doesn't unbless the Mac OS X system folder in certain cases where it would otherwise want to."

FWIW, the current Mac OS 9 "Startup Disk" control panel doesn't care about this file (nor, clearly, does anything else in Mac OS X - the file's zero-length, after all). I'm not sure whether previous versions of "Startup Disk" care about it or not.

If you need to recreate it (assuming you've got the appropriate Developer Tools installed and on your path), just
  % touch /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder
% SetFile -t FNDR -c MACS -a I /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder
No lasting damage done, anyway. Heck, if it REALLY bothers you to see it there, just do:
  % SetFile -a V /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder
to mark the file invisible.
So clearly, the "Fake Finder" can have no performance impact on OS X, and if deleted, the only operational impact may be an unblessing of the OS X system folder while running OS 9.

My apologies for the confusion stemming from the original tip, and hopefully this explanation will put the issue to rest once and for all. I have removed the original hint and comments associated with it, so as to not confuse newcomers to the discussion!
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Duplicate - revisited and resolved... | 12 comments | Create New Account
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The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
All is well by me
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 19, '02 07:39:43PM

Hey, thanks for clearing up the confusion, robg!

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Authored by: JohnnyMnemonic on Mar 20, '02 12:07:42AM

At least we got an education about SetFile out of this--read the man page for more. Interesting.

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Previous hint...
Authored by: robg on Mar 20, '02 01:36:19AM
We published a hint on SetFile and GetFile a while back -- it's here if you'd like to read it and the associated comments. -rob.

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Authored by: Mithrandir on Mar 21, '02 02:23:08AM

Yes but sadly SetFile is ridiculously (dare I say stupidly) slow...


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1 less worry, 13,948 to go
Authored by: 128K Mac on Mar 20, '02 02:51:50AM


Thanks for following up on this. I was one of the "bothered and bewildered." :)


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Authored by: hcasper on Mar 21, '02 10:29:26AM

Ok - I had deleted this file and now have installed the Developer tools to fix the problem. When I go to the Terminal and type in the first line of commands as described by the Apple rep I get a result of command not found. So how do I really fix this mess?

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Tools not on path...
Authored by: robg on Mar 21, '02 10:55:33AM
Sounds like the /Developer/Tools directory isn't on your path. You should be able to execute the SetFile command by just typing:
Then add the rest of the options as shown above and hit RETURN, and all should be good. -rob.

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Tools not on path...
Authored by: hcasper on Mar 22, '02 09:10:44AM

Thanks but....still no go. If I type /Developer/Tools/SetFile I get a bunch of options to choose from like -a, -c etc. If I type the above and then the original commands I still get command not found and bus error but no new Finder created. Any more ideas other than erasing my hard drive and reinstalling and configuring evrything? Argh.

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Output from terminal?
Authored by: robg on Mar 22, '02 09:23:37AM
Can you copy and paste the output from the two commands? This will help us figure out exactly what's not working. Specifically, open the terminal and:
 % touch /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder
% Developer/Tools/SetFile -t FNDR -c MACS -a I /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder
Don't type the "%", of course. -rob.

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Output from terminal?
Authored by: hcasper on Mar 22, '02 10:34:38AM

OK - here's a copy/paste from the terminal after copy/pasting the commands.

[localhost:~] hcasper% touch /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder
touch: /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder: Permission denied

[localhost:~] hcasper%
[localhost:~] hcasper% Developer/Tools/SetFile -t FNDR -c MACS -a I /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder
Developer/Tools/SetFile: Command not found.

[localhost:~] hcasper%
[localhost:~] hcasper%

As you can see I get permission denied and then command not found. I tried it in root too with no luck.
Thanks for staying with me here.

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Two problems...
Authored by: robg on Mar 22, '02 10:54:00AM
It appears the original instructions are missing a "sudo" in front of both commands; this may very well have been my fault while entering them. With your second command, I left out the "/" at the front of the path. So the revised commands should look like:
 % sudo touch /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder
% sudo /Developer/Tools/SetFile -t FNDR -c MACS -a I /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder
Sorry about that! -rob.

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Two problems...
Authored by: hcasper on Mar 22, '02 02:22:11PM

Yes! All fixed and the duplicate finder has been successfully rereated. Yippee and a huge THANK YOU to you.

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