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10.6: No more easily-found hidden preferences System 10.6
I do not know if this counts as a hint, but with the way Snow Leopard has compressed the apps, it seems it's no longer possible to look through certain programs, such as Finder and Dock, with the strings utility in Terminal to find new hidden settings.

[robg adds: To clarify this hint, you can still run strings - someapp.app in Terminal to dump the strings (and redirect to a file, most likely). However, in that dumped file, you won't find any of the hidden defaults strings. I tested this with the Display full paths as Finder window titles hint. While the hint itself seems to work fine in 10.6, you won't find _FXShowPosixPathInTitle anywhere in the dump of Finder's strings.

If someone knows how/where/if you can find such hidden prefs in 10.6, please post -- otherwise, I think we'll see many fewer such tweaks here in the future.]
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10.6: No more easily-found hidden preferences | 12 comments | Create New Account
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10.6: No more easily-found hidden preferences
Authored by: schutt on Aug 31, '09 09:05:25AM

If Apple would properly document these "Expert Settings," this wouldn't be a problem.



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10.6: No more easily-found hidden preferences
Authored by: BlaatMekker on Aug 31, '09 09:18:04AM

They don't support undocumented APIs or features. As it should be. Butt still, it would be helpful if some of these were documented.



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10.6: No more easily-found hidden preferences
Authored by: JwithiMacG5 on Aug 31, '09 09:35:54AM

One technique that works in Snow Leopard is to attach to the process in gdb and browse around in memory (for example, in the __cstring section) for something useful. Obviously, this requires a lot of technical knowledge.



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10.6: No more easily-found hidden preferences
Authored by: robg on Aug 31, '09 10:14:10AM
Via email, a reader suggested this version:
$ afscexpand -c appname | strings
While that worked to extract strings, I still didn't find the example defaults term in the resulting file. Bummer.

-rob.

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10.6: No more easily-found hidden preferences
Authored by: gloubibou on Aug 31, '09 02:06:33PM

I have tried this on SystemUIServer.app in hopes to find a way to disable the Spotlight menu item without disabling Spotlight itself.

Somehow SystemUIServer.app knows it needs to load /System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle which holds the Spotlight menu.

What I don't know is if this hard-coded or if it can be configured. Actually disabling would be good enough.

Up to know I was stuck at SystemUIServer.app being compressed and thus yielding no strings. With the above command, I do get strings. Yet nothing resembles a key to a preference that could be related to search or Spotlight.



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10.6: No more easily-found hidden preferences
Authored by: Chealion on Aug 31, '09 10:15:54AM

For those wanting to try decompressing the command you're looking for is /usr/bin/afscexpand

The obfuscation however is not due to the HFS+ compression.

As an example decompressing a copy of the Finder as a test and the file size changed by only a hundred kilobytes (and it was icons that grew larger) - Contents/MacOS/Finder was unchanged.

I recall hearing that the way app bundles are built in Xcode has changed - but am completely shy on any details as it was during WWDC when I heard about that.

---
Chealion - The one and only! =)



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So...
Authored by: jecwobble on Aug 31, '09 02:05:16PM

Does that mean that previously found preferences like _FXShowPosixPathInTitle no longer work, or just that you cannot find new preferences?



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So...
Authored by: robg on Sep 01, '09 09:49:10AM

The hacks may or may not work -- I tried the POSIX one in 10.6, and it worked fine. But the actual text to make the hack work can't be found in the Finder, which means that finding any *new* hacks may not be possible.

-rob.



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10.6: No more easily-found hidden preferences
Authored by: cycomachead on Aug 31, '09 06:41:33PM

I'm assuming this is a mostly related issue:

In FInder you can no longer easily delete resource files using the info window. The files and apps are still built the same way. Even tools such as XSlimmer required an update to work with 10.6. Older versions won't find anything.



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10.6: No more easily-found hidden preferences
Authored by: thelifeofbryan on Sep 02, '09 07:18:38PM
You referring to the filesystem tweakery described about halfway down this page?

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10.6: How to Find Hidden Prefs Using GDB
Authored by: arcticmac on Sep 10, '09 07:05:58PM
So, it's not too bad to do in gdb. I wrote up a fairly comprehensive tutorial on the subject over at my website. Please check it out and help find new hidden prefs!

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10.6: No more easily-found hidden preferences
Authored by: pendraggon87 on Sep 16, '09 10:36:00AM

How do you find hidden preferences, even using GDB? It seems that GDB will only record what the application searches for. For instance, it records almost NO com.apple.safari preferences - nothing about the pie graphic loading indicator, etc.



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