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10.5: Go straight to a Quick Look slideshow Desktop
You can open files as a slideshow directly by selecting the files you want to see and then taking advantage of the Option key. Command-Option-Y will open the slideshow directly, or you can Option-click the Quick Look toolbar button, or activate the contextual menu (Control-click), hold down Option, and then choose Slideshow nn Items, where nn is the number of objects you selected.
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10.5: Open and close Quick Look windows with one key Desktop
Pressing the space bar while a file is selected in the Finder will open a Quick Look for that file. Press the Space Bar a second time to close the Quick Look window.

[robg adds: Although Steve Jobs demoed using the Space Bar with Quick Look, I'd forgotten about it -- and OS X's help doesn't say anything about using the Space Bar, just Command-Y. It's also not listed in the Keyboard Shortcuts panel in System Preferences. The only spot that this seems to be documented at all is on Apple's Quick Look page.]
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10.5: Move windows between Spaces via drag Desktop
I don't know if this known by all Mac users, but you can move a window from a space to another by just dragging the window to the limit of the screen. If you wait a few seconds, the window slides (and the screen also!) from the original space to the other one.

Just try this: starting from the main space (I assume you have 2x2 spaces) drag a window to the right. Wait a few seconds and you go to space two. Then move the window down and wait, and you go to space three. Now move the window to the left, you are on space four. To finish, push the window up to the menu bar, and you are back to space one.

[robg adds: There's a key in the Dock named workspaces-edge-delay with a value of 0.75. I had guessed this was the delay before the window slid into the next space, but changing it and restarting the Dock (and Spaces) didn't seem to make any difference. There's another interesting key there named workspaces-wrap-arrows, which I thought might remove the 'wall' when you try to go, for instance, left from the leftmost space, but no luck. If anyone manages to figure these out, please post in the comments.]
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One way to replace a broken Desktop folder Desktop
I managed to "break" the desktop folder on our macbook. I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but I'd started to copy an application to the desktop using Terminal, and then thought it wasn't working so quit the copy. Every time I clicked on the Desktop in the Finder, the Finder would thrash and other applications became uncooperative. Clicking on Desktop in the home folder or in the sidebar led to the message that 'there is no default application to open the document "Desktop"...,' which was rather worrying. I managed to copy the folders on the desktop to the home folder, so it was empty but still broken, and anything saved to it would go who-knows-where.

I was thinking I might have to do an archive-and-install, which would have been a pain, but then I remembered seeing Apple's article on how to change a user's short name, which involves copying the files from one home folder to another. So I created a new user 'test' and got to work.

Here's how I solved it, while logged in to the troublesome account. In Terminal, I ran these two commands (where myuser is the short username for the troublesome account):
$ sudo cp -R /Users/test/Desktop /Users/myuser/Desktop
$ sudo chown -R myuser /Users/myuser
This would, of course, delete anything left on the desktop if it wasn't empty, so use with care (have you backed up lately?). I could probably have used cp in Terminal to copy things out of the desktop first, if it wasn't empty already. I'm not sure what caused this problem, but this has solved it. Possibly it was some sort of permissions problem, or the Finder was seeing the desktop as a package from the failed copy command.
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Change the Finder's default name for duplicated files Desktop
I hate the name that the Finder gives duplicate files, as it adds copy at the end of the name but before the extension. This makes renaming files a bit more of a pain. Rather than creating a name like my file copy.ext, I'd like it to be copy of my file.ext, so I can easily select the beginning and have copied files all sorted together.

The way to fix this is easy. Go to /System » Library » CoreServices » Finder.app, control-click on Finder.app, and select Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. This will open up a new window with all the files inside the Finder. Be aware that you can mess up the Finder up by modifying these files.

Go to Contents » Resources » English.lproj » Localizable.strings, and edit it in your favorite editor (I used Smultron). Search for N4, and you'll find a line that looks like this:
"N4" = "^0 copy";
I changed mine to:
"N4" = "copy of ^0";
Save the file, restart the Finder (using Activity Monitor or Terminal), and you should find duplicated files are now named according to your preferred string.

[robg adds: As long as you're editing that file, you might want to change the default new folder name as well.]
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How to circumvent the Finder's 99 picture slideshow limit Desktop
Many will find that when selecting a number of images greater than 99, control-clicking and choosing Slideshow will result in a slideshow that only contains 99 photos. The remaining photos will not be present in the index sheet, nor will they be shown at any time. So instead of using the Finder for large slideshows, use Preview instead:
  1. Select a range of photos by using a shift-multi select or Command-A.
  2. Instead of using control-click » Slideshow, double-click on your selection to open the files in Preview. (Drag and drop them to Preview's icon or use the contextual Open With menu if they're not normally opened by Preview.) All of your files should be shown in the drawer (this may take awhile to load for a few hundred photos. The load time can be can be optimized by reducing the size of the preview drawer thumbnails.)
  3. Select View » Slideshow, and enjoy your massive slideshow!
Important note: For any number of photos greater than 499, the Index Sheet will no longer be available in the full-screen slideshow, although in my testing, the photos above 499 are still seen in the slideshow itself. It appears the authors decided the thumbnails would be too small after 20 rows and 25 columns of entries in the index sheet; probably a reasonable choice.
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Automatically remove a certain file from a given directory Desktop
Many of us have found a profiles.bin file in our home folders. Many think it is created by MS Office for some reason, but nobody knows for sure. Everybody hates it and tries to remove it, to no avail: the file will respawn the next time you open MS Office. The file is completely useless, as far as anybody can tell.

I don't suggest a solution to the issue, nor an explanation; just a cool workaround to have that file delete itself every time you open its containing folder. It does so by means of a Folder Action. Folder Actions are pieces of AppleScript code to be executed automatically every time you open or close a folder, or add/remove items to/from it.

Here's how to create the one we need. Open Script Editor (in Applications » AppleScript) and type the following script and then click Compile to test for (most) spelling mistakes:
on opening folder
  tell application "Finder" to delete file "profiles.bin" of home
end opening folder
Save the script as Delete profiles_bin somewhere appropriate, such as in Home » Library » Scripts » Folder Action Scripts (this is where Automator saves its folder actions), then open a Finder window. Control-clik on your home folder in the sidebar and select Enable Folder Actions. From the same menu, choose "Attach a Folder Action" and point it to the file you just saved

Done! Now every time you open your home folder in Finder, if a "profiles.bin" file is there, it will be deleted! Obviously, you could easily modify the above script to work on any other unwanted files that are automatically generated.

[robg adds: From what I can find on Google, it seems this issue only affects non-English versions of Office. I checked my machines, and none of them had the file. There are other solutions to this problem, of course. For instance, you could use Terminal and a cron job set to run once a day (or whenever) to check for and delete the file if found.]
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A workaround for constant Finder crashes after login Desktop
I have had this same problem occur quite a bit in the last couple of months at my work, where I support many Mac labs and Mac laptops. I have seen this on several machines where you log in and the Finder just crashes and you get the spinning beach ball of death. If you log into a new user account (we have hidden accounts for diagnosis and administrative use), the OS runs absolutely fine. So you immediately think it is a problem with the user account. You do all the standard troubleshooting of clearing out .plist files, caches, application data, temp files, etc. However the problem persists.

While troubleshooting this issue, I decided to enable fast user switching (FUS) so I could log back into my admin account to make system changes in a timely manner. I noticed once I enabled fast user switching and switched from my working account to the account in question, all was suddenly well again. I have duplicated this method on several other machines at work, too. These range from intel iMacs, G4 to G5 desktops, G4 iBooks, G4 powerbooks, Macbooks, and Macbook Pros.

So if anyone runs into this issue where all the standard troubleshooting methods do not work, log into a different user account, enable FUS, and then switch from a good known user, then switch to the user in question and then it works. I have no idea why this works, but it works and saved me from having to target mode and back up data and reimage because the user forgot to back up their data on the network drive.

[robg adds: I can't test this one, but it seems there must still be a user-related issue at work if the Finder is crashing on login. As a temporary fix, FUS may get the job done, but the bigger issue will still need to be resolved.]
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10.4: A simple Finder search to show all Mail messages Desktop
As noted here in previous hints, you can't find Mail messages in a normal Finder search -- you either have to search in Mail, or use the Spotlight window. However, I wanted to run a search in the Finder, so I could easily see the size of all my saved Mail messages, regardless of which folder they lived in.

The answer is simple, and is alluded to in the previous hints (which show how to modify some files to make Mail messages always show up). However, I though it worth posting directly, in case someone is looking for a simpler solution that doesn't require modifying files.

In the Finder, navigate to your user's Library » Mail folder then press Command-F. Make sure the Folder "Mail" button is highlighted in the search bar, and then click the Kind pop-up menu. Select Other, and then scroll down the monstrous list that appears and find Raw Query. For the query string, enter kMDItemContentType = "com.apple.mail.emlx", and that's it. If you want to save the query for future use, click the Save button.

Once the query has run, you can press Command-A then Command-I to open the Get Info window and view the size of all the messages. I'm sure there are other ways to do this, but it was the easiest one I could come up with that accounted for all the various subfolders. You can easily build a Smart Mailbox in Mail to show all your stored email (I use Date Received - is after the date - 01/01/93), but I don't see any way to then display the total size of all the collected messages.
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Change the login window background picture - revisited Desktop
As I found out in some forums (i.e. this ancient Mac OS X Hint), the common way to change the login window's background picture is to replace the Aqua Blue.jpg in /Library » Desktop Pictures with your own image. However, there's a more elegant way to do this: by adding a value to the appropriate plist file, namely /Library » Preferences &raquo com.apple.loginwindow.plist. You can do this in two ways, either with a Terminal command or by directly editing the plist file using Property List Editor from the Xcode package.

Terminal solution:

Open Terminal and type these two commands (the $ is the command prompt; don't type that):
$ sudo -i
$ defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow \
DesktopPicture '/path/to/replacement/image/file.jpg'
Replace the /path/to... bit with the full path and filename of the image you'd like to use.

Property List Editor solution:

Launch Property List Editor (in /Developer » Applications » Utilities), and then open the com.apple.loginwindow.plist file from /Library » Preferences. Add a New Sibling of class String with the name DesktopPicture. In the Value column, enter the complete path to the new image you want to set as the login window backgroung image. For example, you'd use this...
/Library/Desktop Pictures/Plants/Agave.jpg
...to use the Apple-supplied agave plant picture. Please keep in mind that you need the correct user permissions to edit the plist file; save the changes and quit the editor when done. After using either method, log out and you should see your new login window background picture.

I found out that this was possible by exploring the /System » Library » CoreServices » SecurityAgentPlugins » loginwindow.bundle » Contents » MacOS » loginwindow executable in detail.
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