I like to keep my desktop clean, so I wrote a very short AppleScript that will remove all items, and eject all non-local disks, from the desktop. I use this after I have downloaded a bunch of programs to my desktop that I no longer need -- usually because they have been installed into my apps folder.
I call the program "Finder CleanDesk." I call the AppleScript via Butler (Command-space then 'fc'). It will then send files on your desktop to the trash, and eject non-local disk images. It will not send your hard drive, iDisk, etc. to the trash -- which is a good thing. You can modify the script to only remove files or only eject non-local disk images. Note that you will want to replace Macintosh HD with the name of your hard drive, and replace username with your short username.
robg adds: This script is quite dangerous. As explained, it moves everything on your desktop to the trash. It does not empty the trash, so you won't lose anything immediately. It does serve a purpose, especially for those who like super-clean desktops ... but be aware of what it does before you use it!
tell application "Finder"
move every item of alias "Macintosh HD:Users:username:Desktop:" to trash
eject (every disk whose ejectable is true or not local volume is true)
[robg adds: Enter the script in Script Editor and save it somewhere you can easily find it. Butler, or one of many other tools, can be used to assign it to a global hotkey. You could also put it in your Scripts menu to make it just a bit harder to run, so as to cut down on accidental uses...]
The search results in Finder cannot, unfortunately, be displayed as anything other than a list. The Column view would be, clearly, impossible, but when you're searching for an image, it would be nice to see larger icons.
It turns out that you can change the size of the icons in the search results, just like any other list display in Finder. You only get the choice of two sizes, but the large size can make all the difference when you're looking at a picon.
Choose View -> Show View Options when you're looking at the search results window, and select the larger of the two icons at the top. As with a normal view window, you can also set the font size, columns to display, and date style.
My 12" Powerbook with 10.3.6 recently started running its fan on high constantly, and draining the battery within 45 minutes, and shutting down with no notice. Activity Monitor showed the Finder eating upwards of 90% of the CPU activity. Force quitting the Finder temporarily solved the problem, but it would quickly come back when the Finder was relaunched.
I ran every utility I could think of and tried every tip from MacOSXHints that seemed relevant: re-installed 10.3.6 from the combo updater; reset the NVRAM in open firmware; deinstalled every extras I had running -- all to no avail. What finally made it stop was creating (and logging in as) a new user. Armed with this information, I moved my main user's entire Library -> Preferences folder to the Desktop (so it rebuilt all new preferences), and low and behold, this fixed it too.
Then I added select preferences back in groups. At one point, the problem reappeared and I narrowed it down to one of the group of com.apple.finder.plist, com.apple.loginwindow.plist, and com.apple.systemuiserver.plist.
I couldn't narrow it down any further, but the problem has now been gone for a week, and hasn't come back. Hopefully this will help someone in the same boat...
After reading this hint about the Exposť blob, and after messing with the size of the blob, I thought of a devious little prank to pull on an unsuspecting person.
Before enabling the Exposť blob, go into /System -> Library -> Core Services, and control click on Dock, and choose Show Package contents. Then open Contents -> Resources, and replace the file wvousfloat.png with a picture of your hard drive icon (using the same name), and replace wvousfloatselected.png with a picture of your hard drive icon when the drive is selected (using the same name). Then, enable the Exposť blob by following the previously mentioned hint. Finally, drag the hard-drive-shaped blob over the hard drive icon on your desktop. Now ask a friend to help diagnose the problem with your desktop hard drive icon...
[robg adds: Yea, it's a useless but simple, fun, and harmless trick for a slow winter Friday. And not too hard to diagnose and 'fix,' either, as you can drag the Exposť blob around quite easily...]
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!]
Recently I've been having problem when opening a new Finder window. (Command-N when in Finder). The problem was that the new window was positioned slightly off screen, for every new window, no matter what I did to try and reconfigure this.
Now I just found out that if I open a new window, position it where I want it to be, and then hide and show the toolbar of the window (Command-Option-T), the Finder will now remember this position as the one to use for every new window.
[robg adds: Typically, just opening a new window, then doing nothing with it other than setting its kind, position, and size, and then closing the window, should save the new data as the 'default.' But if it doesn't, perhaps this trick will help.]
The problem: Hit Command-F and search for "filename is 'Dock'". Nothing found ... What do you mean I don't have a Dock? Go into the top-level System -> Library -> CoreServices folder, and it's in there!
The solution: There is a "blacklist" of folders not to search. It is located in the top-level System -> Library -> Find directory, and it's called SkipFolders. Now, how to edit it? If you're not a user of vi or emacs or pico, run a copy of TextEdit as root instead. Go into Terminal and type sudo and a space. Go into TextEdit in the Finder, and control-click on it. Navigate to Contents -> MacOS, and drag the file TextEdit into the Terminal window. Type return. And then enter your admin password. TextEdit will open with root privileges in the Finder.
Now use this root TextEdit to open /System -> Library -> Find -> SkipFolders. Change the contents of the file to something like this:
Basically, folder names you won't ever have in your hard drive. Now save it, quit TextEdit and reboot. Do the same search again. Notice the Dock in the search results.
[robg adds: This hint was actually mentioned in passing in this much older hint, but I thought it was worth its own mention. I'd recommend backing up the SkipFolders file first, just in case. In the Terminal, just type these two commands (without the $ prompt, of course):
$ cd /System/Library/Find
$ sudo cp SkipFolders SkipFolders.bak
Supply your password when asked, and you'll now have a backup in the same location as the original.]
[robg udpate: Please see the comments; this hint makes some wrong statements regarding the Find function...]
Here's a simple organizational tip that could save you quite a bit of time. Do you keep your files in a nice tidy hierarchy? Does this mean you are always drilling down to get to files you are currently using a lot?
Well, pick a colour for your current project (I use red). Then mark every step on the path to the file with a red Finder label. Then, when you have to navigate down, all you need to do is find the parent folder and click anything red. It's a lot quicker, and works in open/save dialogs too.
I know there are the Sidebar, the Dock and toolbars, but these are filled up with stuff I always need. I don't want to put extra stuff in there I will only need for a week or so. Labels do the job quite well.
I was thinking about how you can kill the Dock while minimizing to have a live genie effect window (see Have fun with a Genie Effect minimizing glitch). It occurred to me that you might possibly be able to do the same thing with Exposť and end up with live windows that were smaller than normal. Well, you can. The functionality of the resulting windows can be a little strange, but it definitely does work and might be useful in one or two instances.
Open several windows, one of them being the Terminal. In the Terminal, type:
Now hit the Return key and then press F9, and wait. In five seconds, your Dock will respawn and you will have tiny windows that you can interact with. If anybody actually finds a useful application for this I'd love to hear it.
[robg adds: Yes, I did test this one, and it does work -- sort of. You may have issues working with the windows, especially if they're quite small. I can't think of a valid reason for needing to know this trick, but that doesn't mean it's not worth sharing. One piece of info lacking in the above hint is how to get back to normal, but it's quite easy -- just hit F9 again!]
I often have small pieces of text on my desktop, such as phone numbers and reminders that I would like to have instant access to for a day or two. The usual way of putting small clippings on the desktop involves dragging the text to the desktop and making a text clipping. However, these take up a lot of space on the desktop and the text gets cut-off after a certain length. There is a better way to do this.
First, go into an icon editor such as Iconographer (the free trial will work fine), and draw a short horizontal line at the bottom of the drawing space. Then set the mask (opacity) of this line to about 12%. Anything lower and the Finder will not recognize the icon. Save this icon and paste it onto a blank folder. You will only have to do this once.
It will appear as if the folder has no icon, and clicking in the area above the text will not select the folder as usual, therefore saving a lot of desktop space, if you use larger icons. Then simply paste your short note into the folder name. If you want to have more than two lines, just duplicate the folder and position it right under the other. In Panther, you can make it stand out more by giving it a color label (or even color code to-do items by priortiy), as seen in the screenshot at left. And there you go. Space saving, colored notes on your desktop without third-party applications.