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10.4: Yet another way to change the Finder's default search Desktop
Tiger only hintThe quickest way I have found to make Command-F default to a name search is as follows...

First, create a smart search (folder), get all the settings the way you want (including the window size, the results bars collapsed or expanded, etc.), put something like Type Filename Here in the search box, and save it as Filename or something. Let it save in your default Saved Searches Folder.

Then, go to that folder, copy the file Filename to the desktop, rename it to default_smart.plist and copy that file to the Resources folder in the Finder app. To get there, navigate to /System -> Library -> Core Services, control-click on Finder, and then navigate to Contents -> Resources. Authenticate when asked, and then use the Activity Monitor or Terminal to restart the Finder. Your new defaults should now be working when you hit Command-F.

[robg adds: This worked as described, though my Finder crashed the first time I hit Command-F ... but I hadn't restarted it myself manually, either (whoops). It's been working fine since then, though.]
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10.4: Change default Finder search criteria Desktop
Tiger only hintWhen you type cmd-F in Finder, you are presented with two already filled-in criteria; Kind: Any and Last Opened: Any Date. While it's nice as a first-timer user to see the options available, we would like to change this default to something more reasonable.

A reasonable default would be a search without any criteria. I'll show you how that can be done, as well as how to set it to my favorite: Items opened today. The interesting file we have to change is:
/System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Resources/default_smart.plist
To find this file, select the path in Safari (or other Cocoa browser) and choose Finder -> Reveal from the Services menu (in the application's menu). Copy the file to a working directory, for example, your home folder. This file can be edited with the Property List Editor if you have Developer Tools installed, but it's also easily edited with a Text editor -- you just have to be careful about syntax.
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10.4: A Finder plug-in to access file metadata Desktop
Tiger only hintI put together a Finder plug-in to easily access file metadata (in response to Mark Hunte's hint.) After installing, you can control-click on files and select this script from the new "Automator" menu. The results are displayed in Terminal windows.

You can find instructions, screenshots, and the workflow to download right here.
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10.4: Show path to the Finder's Toolbar items Desktop
Tiger only hintIn the 10.4 Finder, keep the mouse over an item in the Toolbar of a Finder window, and a help tag will soon pop up. This tag shows the full name of, and the path to, the item.
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10.4: Use a Save As shortcut for smart folders Desktop
Tiger only hintI was just working a second ago and I pressed the Option key while I was doing a Spotlight finder search. When I did so, the Save button (by the plus sign) turned into a Save As button.

This seems like a much faster way to modify an existing smart folder into a similar but different new one.
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Open all of a Finder item's icons in Preview Desktop
I am not sure if this is new in 10.4 or not. If it isn't, I appologize, but I don't have a non-Tiger system to test it on. In the Finder, do a File -> Get Info on an item (application, image, whatever). Click on the small icon near the top (the icon pasting area) and hit Command-C to copy it. Now launch Preview and choose File -> New from Clipboard. The resulting new file will have all of the icon sizes and resolutions available for viewing/editing.

[robg adds: If you can test this on a 10.3 machine, please do so -- if it's 10.4 only, I'll edit the hint to reflect that fact.]
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10.4: View size requirements for Burn folders Desktop
Tiger only hintOk so I'm not sure if I'm the only clueless one on this, but I figure since it took me awhile to find it, it might be useful to others out there.

When using the new Burn folders in Tiger, the system creates aliases to the files you want to burn. It's a good idea since it now (finally) allows a Finder burn without the dreaded disk image creation. But since the Burn folder consists of nothing but aliases, the size report you get for it (or the items it contains) doesn't reflect the original items. This makes it impossible to know the actual size of the backup you're creating!

Well, it turns out that if you simply click the Burn button -- without a blank disk inserted -- you get a dialog telling you the size of the disk needed for the operation. I still think they should put this in the Burn folder's window (a la Toast), but at least I can now actually use this feature.
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10.4: More easily identify trashed duplicate files Desktop
Tiger only hintI haven't seen this documented elsewhere and thought it was worth mentioning.

In previous versions of the OS, when you would trash files with identical names, the Finder would simply add copy after the name, making it hard to distinguish which was which. But in Tiger, the Finder replaces the useless copy appendage with the time (shown as Hour-Min-Sec, as seen in the screenshot at right).

Many thanks to the developer who thought about this; it's probably saved me a good couple of files already!
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10.4: Use RSS Visualizer for the animated desktop Desktop
Tiger only hintTiger users will have used the RSS Visualizer screen saver; if not check it out. But, by accident, I managed to set it as my desktop as well -- and it's really cool. I had already installed DesktopEffects when I was running Panther, and the app picked up the RSS screen saver I had set in 10.4.

This appears to be stable under Tiger. The setup is straight-forward; launch and open the RSS Visualizer located in /System/Library/Screen Savers/RSS Visualizer.qtz. The only drawback is that it's not keyboard interactive like the screen saver is.
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Refresh Finder windows via AppleScript Desktop
For a long time, I was very annoyed with the lack of a Refresh command in Finder windows, until I found out that I could force any Finder window to refresh just by creating a new folder and then deleting it. So I wrote the following simple script to automate it:
tell application "Finder"
  delete (make new folder at (front window))
end tell
I've added the script to the Finder toolbar, so that refreshing any Finder window takes just one click.
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