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Replace the Finder with Path Finder (revisited) Desktop
There was an earlier hint for replacing Apple's Finder with Path Finder. However, the information was not entirely correct (Step 4 said replace APPLEPFdR with APPLMACS, but it should be replaced with FNDRMACS), and the hint did not go far enough to explain how to replace the Finder icon on the Dock.

Disclaimer: This hint involves some major tinkering inside OS X and is not advised for the faint of heart. I don't think there is anything here that an archive and install wouldn't fix, but try at your own risk.

Read the rest of the hint for the walkthrough...

[robg adds: I haven't tested this one, and if you're going to do so, I strongly recommend a good, current backup that's been verified prior to starting!]

  1. Tell Path Finder to start at login instead of Apple's Finder

    Open Terminal and type the following command:
    defaults write Finder /Full/Path/To/Path\
    Hint: To get the full path to Path Finder, after typing the command through "Finder " (with the space), navigate to Path Finder in the Finder and drag the icon into the Terminal window. This should automatically fill in the complete path for you. You do not need to set Path Finder's launch and login preference if you complete this step. In fact, if you run that command, I'd recommend not setting that preference. Also, don't set the preference that quits Finder at login, because Path Finder is now the Finder.

  2. Setup Path Finder to intercept Finder calls

    The following steps will do a number of things:

    • If you command click the menu bar on a Cocoa application like TextEdit and choose a folder in the path, it will open in Path Finder and not Apple's Finder
    • If you click on a folder in the Dock, it will display its contents using Path Finder. Your mileage on this may vary if you don't complete the rest of the steps.
    • In the Force Quit menu, when you select Path Finder, the option will say "Relaunch" instead of "Force Quit," and if Apple's Finder is running, the option will be to "Force Quit" instead of "Relaunch"
    • When you are in the Terminal and use the command open /Path/Of/Folder it will open using Path Finder

    Here's how to do it:

    1. Navigate to Path Finder
    2. Control-Click (Right-Click) on Path Finder and select "Show Package Contents." A new window will open with a folder named Contents, double click on it
    3. Double click on the document named "PkgInfo"
    4. Inside, replace the "APPLPFdR" with "FNDRMACS"
    5. Save and close the document.

    If you logout and log back in at this point, you will notice all that has been described, as well as the Finder icon in the Dock with a black triangle underneath it. To notice this, you may have to open Terminal and type the command sudo killall Dock, since the Dock launches before the Finder. If you click and hold on that icon, you will see the Path Finder's Dock menu. If you just click on the icon, it will actually launch the Finder. Step three will explain how to change the icon picture to that of Path Finder's, and step four will explain how to keep Apple's Finder from launching when you click on the first Dock icon.

  3. Replace the Finder icon at the start of the Dock with Path Finder's icon

    1. Navigate to Path Finder, control-click (right-click) on the icon and choose "Show Package Contents"
    2. Double click on the Contents folder and then on the Resources folder
    3. In that folder should be a document named PathFinder.icns. Find it and copy it to a temporary location (like the Desktop) by holding down the Option key while dragging and dropping it in the desired location.
    4. Double click on the new file and it should open in Preview. If Preview does not open up a drawer to reveal the number of pages, click on the drawer option in the top left of the window. Once the drawer is opened, be sure Page 1 is selected.
    5. Next, go to the File menu and choose Export...
    6. Change the format to PNG, name the file "finder" and save it back in the same temporary location (like the Desktop)
    7. Preview will give you a message about only exporting the selected page. Hit okay since that is the picture we want to export.
    8. Quit Preview, find the new file you created, select it and then choose File->Get Info
    9. Under Name and Extention (or Other, if in Path Finder) make sure the box labled "Hide extension" is unchecked.
    10. Under Ownership and Permisions (or Permisions if you are using Path Finder), change the Owner to system (root if using Path Finder) and the Group to wheel. The Owner should be able to read and write, the Group should be able to read and Everyone should be able to read. (The Owner, Group, and Everyone should also be able to Execute if you are using Path Finder) NOTE: This may require your administrator username and password.
    11. Using Apple's Finder, navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices
    12. Control-click (right-click) on the Dock icon and select "Show Package Contents"
    13. Double click on Contents, double click on Resources
    14. Inside Resources should be a file named finder.png, drag it to the trash and give your admin username and password when promted.
    15. Replace the file you just deleted with the finder.png file you created and had stored in a temporary location (like the desktop). You'll be warned you don't have permissions. Click on "Authenticate" and give your admin username and password when prompted.
    16. Still using Apple's Finder, navigate to /Library/Caches
    17. You should see files labled, where xxx is actually some number
    18. Select all such files and drag them to the trash

    If you log out and log back in at this point, the first icon should now look like the Path Finder icon and not like Apple's Finder icon. Unfortunately, if you click on that icon, or on a folder in the Dock, Apple's Finder will still launch. To change that, continue to step four. You should also note that the icon in the Application Switcher has changed to Path Finder's icon and not Apple's Finder. (If this is not the case, you may need to restart)

  4. Stop the Finder from launching unexpectedly.

    These steps should keep the Finder from launching when you click on the first icon in the dock, and when you click on folders in the Dock. Instead, Path Finder should behave exactly like Apple's Finder, opening a new window or showing the contents of the selected folder, respectively.

    1. Navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices
    2. Move (don't copy) Apple's Finder into a safe location. You may have to change the owner of CoreServices to yourself in order to do so. If this is the case, don't forget to change the owner back.
    3. Create an alias of Path Finder named "Finder" -- the name with the extension should be Make sure the "Hide extension" box is checked for this alias)
    4. Move your new alias into /System/Library/CoreServices
    5. Check the Permissions to ensure they are the following:
      • Owner: system (or root) -- read and write (and execute)
      • Group: wheel -- read (and execute)
      • Everyone -- read (and execute)
    6. Restart your computer
There you have it, that pretty much gets rid of the Finder. If you are doing the various steps in stages and are logging in and out in between, you might need to open a terminal and type the command sudo killall Dock to see some of the Dock changes. Some functionality requires a restart, such as the last step. You may want to be able to run Apple's Finder, but have it run invisibly (so that it's not on the Dock). If you follow this hint, that should do the trick. Once again, this hint involves mucking around in the core of Mac OS X, proceed at your own risk.
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Replace the Finder with Path Finder (revisited) | 13 comments | Create New Account
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Replace the Finder with Path Finder (revisited)
Authored by: johram on Dec 01, '04 12:40:22PM

what about open and save dialogs?

i like path finder. but i have it running concurrent with apples finder.

also the path finder desktop doesn't play well with konfabulators desktop widgets (they don't show) so...

a general fear of messing something up (unknown difficulties) and pre-existing incompatibilities with konfabulator (known difficulties) make this a no-go hint for me.

Send your windows friends over to

[ Reply to This | # ]
Word of warning...
Authored by: janpeeters on Dec 01, '04 12:47:20PM

I'm a big fan of PathFinder because it's so loaded with features but my experience with PathFinder is that it copies a lot slower than the Finder. So if you want to be fast with copying don't use it as a Finder replacement. Use it besides the Finder.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Word of warning...
Authored by: johram on Dec 01, '04 01:37:24PM

also the apple built-in "BOMArchive Helper" .zip compression utility app is a LOT faster than path finders zip archive app.

I just don't see the light in making such a drastic system modification.

I mean the finder is pretty central to OS X.

Perhaps even comparable to the extent Microsoft embeds explorer in their OS.

Send your windows friends over to

[ Reply to This | # ]
Word of warning...
Authored by: jiclark on Dec 01, '04 08:07:15PM

While I agree that PathFinder just isn't quite up to the task of being a worthy Finder replacement, I do wish Apple would fix the Finder. IMHO, the Finder is simply (and *hugely*) the worst part of OS X. It is so slow, cumbersom and poorly implemented, hardly a day goes by where I don't curse it!

My best example is that you can save a file to the desktop, and it doesn't show up there until you at least bring the Finder forward, and often you have to do some sort of action as well!! It can often take minutes to update the size of a folder. I could go on and on...


If anyone at Apple ever reads these sites, PLEASE MAKE THE FINDER WORK LIKE IT SHOULD IN TIGER!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Not holding my breath
Authored by: MJCube on Dec 03, '04 02:13:02PM
I agree with you, jiclark. The Finder has always been buggy, and it's distressing that Apple puts substandard software right up front where every user has to deal with it. But it never gets better, year after year, so I have resigned myself to the idea that Apple must have some reason for doing this.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Replace the Finder with Path Finder (revisited)
Authored by: bluehz on Dec 02, '04 02:17:26AM

I wish PathFinder had the speed to support all its features... but IMHO its a little to slow for my taste. Everything just seems to raise the spnning beachball. At least for me on my aging machine. Too bad because it REALLY is a great utility.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Finder disabling
Authored by: elmo123 on Oct 04, '06 01:52:14AM

A better and simpler way to disable the Finder is to change the permissions and set group to your username and group privileges to nothing.
You can also use a program called TransparentDock to remove the Finder icon from the Dock.

Otherwise, a great hint for Path Finder users like me :)

-Regards from Sesame Street!

I sure do like being inside this fancy computer.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Replacing Finder Features with PathFinder
Authored by: paradox2222 on May 01, '07 07:13:03PM

I don't know about anyone else but what I wanted Path Finder to do was open the documents folder and any other folder in Path Finder not Finder. I tried every suggestion and was a little worried at how intrusive the process was. I discovered a non-intrusive and completely reversible way to achieve the simple tasks I wanted Path Finder to do.
1) Download a program called Default Apps. This goes in your System Preferences and allows you to change what applications can or cannot open.
2) Find the public.folder UTI under the UTI tab in the Default App window [in system preferences after installation]
3)Change the default application from Finder to Path Finder. To do this you will need to change from recommended applications and switch it to any application, but I have scene no problems with Path Finder opening this UTI.

There thats it. To reverse this process simply change the default application back to Finder. Now when I quicksilver documents or applications they open in Path Finder not Finder. YIPEE! Long live the drop stack!

Hope this helps!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Replacing Finder Features with PathFinder
Authored by: Mark Barton on May 13, '08 03:14:53AM

I had good luck with this and found that doing the same for public.volume was also good. That intercepts cases like doing a reveal on a freshly downloaded and mounted disk image in the Downloads window of Safari.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Replace the Finder with Path Finder (revisited)
Authored by: jamiegoodwin87 on Aug 30, '07 04:47:44AM

Don't know about anyone else but I found that when I did the final step, PathFinder was now opening up at startup instead of the finder version, i.e. the new improved finder was being left out and PathFinder was being opened up as the application I originally had in Utilities, I had to go back into terminal and defaults write Finder again so that it was now set to the alias of PathFinder which we replaced the Finder app with in CoreServices! Don't know if anyone else found this but thats what happened after step four for me, also a PathFinder window is now opening up at login so i'd appreciate it if someone could let me know how to get rid of this, though I haven't actually looked yet it may be quite easy?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Replace the Finder with Path Finder (revisited)
Authored by: mrsunshine on Mar 19, '09 12:59:47AM

I have been looking all over and trying a thousand different methods for this- this is the first method that actually works.
It seems it was a whole lot easier in tiger to achieve this, apps like transparent dock, etc worked well for finder in tiger.

My only issues are that
1 i now have two path finder icons in my dock- i can hide the other easily, not too huge an issue.

2 the lafthand dock icon (finder replacement) has no indicator light beneath it.

I want this integration to be seamless,
if anyone has a solution for this PM me

[ Reply to This | # ]
Replace the Finder with Path Finder (revisited)
Authored by: mrsunshine on Mar 19, '09 01:07:38AM

i've started up (the actual one) and then the indicator lights up- there is obviously still some kind of link between them two,

i am NOT proficient at script, so i have no idea what to check-

Any ideas?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Replace the Finder with Path Finder (revisited)
Authored by: vultu on Apr 29, '09 07:32:04PM


I follow the guide and everything almost work, but I have a serious behavior:

Firefox dont start anymore :(

Some tip ?

I dont have the light below Finder Icon (now with Path Finder Icon) too.

Thanks for your guide.

[ Reply to This | # ]