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Replace older grainy thumbnails in Finder Desktop
It seems that older photos retain their tiny, pixelated, thumbnails. They are not very helpful in Cover Flow view.

Here is the easy way to improve this:

Choose cover flow view so that you can pick out the low resolution thumbs. Order the list by date, putting the older, pixelated ones at the bottom. Select only the pixelated images. (This trick will not work if any of the files have a higher resolution thumbnail. I'm not sure why.)

Choose Inspector (Command+Option+I) and select the multiple thumbnail icon in the upper left hand corner, just left of the number of items.

Press Delete. All the thumbnails will now be regenerated at normal resolution.

It's possible this hint has been posted earlier. I did a quick search and didn't see anything.

[crarko adds: I did a quick search and didn't find anything either. I didn't have any of the low resolution thumbnails on the images on my MacBook to try this.]
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Undelete from trash to original locations Desktop
If you've ever trashed some items and then wanted them returned to their original folders, Apple has a counterintuitive way to do so. It is rather odd, but neat!

To return the items from the Trash to their original locations, open the Trash folder, select the item or items to be returned and hit the delete button (red circle with line through it on the folders toolbar).

Your items will disappear from the Trash and reappear in their original folders. If you don't have the delete button, you can add it to all folders using the Customize Toolbar command under View.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. I'm not sure who at Apple thought this was a good idea, but I don't think using 'Delete' as 'Undo' is the cleverest UI choice.]
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Clear Downloads Folder using AppleScript Desktop
With time the Downloads folder gets filled with a variety of items. In order to clear it using the dock, items have to be dragged to the Trash individually [crarko adds: or you can navigate to the folder in Finder, do a 'Select All' and trash them]. Here is a tiny AppleScript that presents an alternative.

Run AppleScript Editor and copy and paste the following code. You'll have to change the path to match your username using AppleScript Editor. Next, save it as an application named 'Clear Downloads' into your Downloads folder. Feel free to add a custom icon if you wish. To test, just click your downloads stack on the dock and select 'Clear Downloads.'

Here's the script:
try
  tell application "Finder"
  move (files of alias "Macintosh HD:Users:YOURUSERNAMEGOESHERE:Downloads" whose name is not "Clear Downloads.app") to trash
  end tell
on error -- oops, couldn't move the file
  display dialog ("Error") buttons {"OK"}
end try

[crarko adds: I debated publishing this one, but I think the basic idea is a sound one. I've used a similar script to create a Trash item on my desktop, and then attached the script as a Folder Action to move what I put in it to the actual (hidden) Trash folder.]
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Toolbar Dragpoints Desktop
I know that the elements of this hint are already known to this site but I think it could use some further elaboration.

I call these 'toolbar dragpoints.' They are usually folders or applications placed in the toolbar so that anything dragged onto them will be acted upon as expected. It is especially useful for temporarily placing a folder to which files from many places can be dragged and therefore moved or copied (when dragged with Option key pressed). I also like to open many files with TextEdit and so I keep a TextEdit dragpoint (icon) on the toolbar. It beats using 'Open With' from the contextual menu or chasing TextEdit around in the dock.

These can also function as 'clickpoints' to open a file or start an application.

Just drag a folder or application to the toolbar and it will sit there as a dragpoint/clickpoint in every Finder window. To remove a dragpoint just drag it off the toolbar holding down the Command key (press the key and then drag) and then releasing (just as items are removed from the dock).

Here's an example scenario: You need to collect a bunch of files from all over into a folder. So, just make a folder, drag it to the toolbar, navigate to and drag all needed files (use Option+drag for copying) to the toolbar folder. When done, remove the toolbar folder if you wish.

A toolbar folder could be used like an inbox on your desk where you keep all your to-do items.

Note: I keep all my folders and programs in piles (stacks) on the right side of the dock. This puts all active applications at the left end of the dock and keeps the dock clean. Thus, the toolbar enhancement is a clean/quick/convenient way to perform frequent actions.

[crarko adds: The basic ideas here are well-known, but I think there are some good suggestions here about making greater use of the feature.]
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10.6: Disable Spaces workspace change animation Desktop
Snow Leopard only hintI ran across this tidbit in the HyperSpaces FAQ and I know I haven't seen it here before (and I'm quite the avid OSX Hints follower).

It has really sped up changing between Spaces workspaces for me (which I do probably over 100 times/day). Once you've seen the 'swoosh' animation a few hundred times, you don't really need to see it again. Please note the requirement of running 10.6.4 or later.
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Have wallpaper background colors match your image Desktop
When the built-in color panel's eyedropper magnifying glass won't match your image's background color, what do you do? DigitalColor Meter will get you the exact color you need.

When adding images with flat color backgrounds (such as logos) to your desktop as wallpaper, you usually want to center the image and have the desktop background color around the image to match. Black and white usually work fine, but other colors are not sampled correctly when using the built-in color picker's color sampling magnifying glass.

Instead, once making your image the current wallpaper, open DigitalColor Meter (In /Applications/Utilities/), switch the main dropdown to show you the color's value to 'RGB as actual value, 8-bit' and hover over the color in your background you wish to spread over your whole screen and press Command+L to lock the sample for the next step.

Go back to System Preferences, open the built-in color panel, go to the Color Sliders panel (the second tab) and choose RGB sliders, then enter the three values from DigitalColor Meter into their corresponding text fields. Your desktop's background color will match the matte of your wallpaper image.

The RGB sliders are in Systems Preferences » Desktop and Screensaver, from the dropdown choose Fit To Screen or Center, next to that appears the background color swatch, which opens the Color Picker panel. Then pick the second tab in the colour picker, and on that tab change the slider dropdown to RGB sliders.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. This previous hint takes the approach of adding a new solid color background image, but doesn't embed something like a logo in it.]
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Use a RAMdisk to manage downloads Desktop
My Downloads folder was getting swamped with hundreds of PDF datasheets, although this tip applies to any downloads (such as images) where you may not want to keep all of the files.

The solution is to use another browser (in my case Firefox) and set preferences to download files to a RAMdisk.

Make RAM Disk is a free application, and a few meg won't be missed from your system RAM. You'll probably want to load the RAMdisk at startup so put the application in your System Preferences » Account » Login Items.

I view the RAMdisk volume in List or Cover View and keep the Date Modified column highlighted. This way the last few downloads are easy to find. When you see a file you want to keep, move it to the relevant folder.

RAMdisk is volatile, so you don't need to clean it out. The contents magically disappear at your next system reboot.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it still works as described in 10.6.6. I tend to be a packrat so I hang on to my downloaded files and then sort through them every few months. If you have very large downloads I'll also refer you to this previous hint, which describes a method to create a large RAMdisk if you have the memory to do it.]
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Optimize images for Desktop Background display Desktop
I have a large number of irregularly shaped images that I use as Desktop Backgrounds. In Desktop & Screen Saver preferences, 'Fill Screen' or 'Fit to Screen' makes small images ugly, and 'Center' crops large images quite badly -- and I'd rather keep all the images in one folder, and displayed properly.
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Renaming files in Finder without jumping away Desktop
This is something that always annoyed me. You have Finder open and you are seeing a long list of files. Among these files, perhaps down in those beginning with an R, you see some files you want to rename.

Lets say you have 3 files to rename and all files are in sequence (alphabetical order). For example: ray01.jpg, ray02.jpg and ray03.jpg and you want to rename them to array01.jpg, array02.jpg and array03.jpg. You put the cursor over the first file, type enter and start renaming the file. As soon as you type enter to confirm the new name, you lose the other files from your sight. This because, as the renamed file now begins with A, you have find showing the files in alphabetical order and you have the renamed file selected, Finder will move the cursor to where the file belongs in the alphabetical list and you will have to go down the list again, and find ray2 and ray3.

The secret here is this: as soon as you press enter to confirm the name change, press the down arrow key to change the focus to the next file, in this case, ray2.jpg. The renamed file will move to its proper order and you will continue on the same spot on the list.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. You do need to be very quick pressing the down arrow key or you miss the chance.]
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Fix missing metadata display in Finder Icon View Desktop
In Finder's View Options the option 'Show item info' (Cmd+J) can be enabled if you are in Icon View mode, and if enabled additional item metadata information is shown below the icon labels, e.g. number of items inside a folder, the running time of a music file or the dimensions in pixels of an image file. This option is stored on a folder-by-folder basis, just like the view is.

In case the extended metadata for images or music files does not show up even with the 'Show item info' option enabled the reason for this is simple: Finder uses Spotlight to gather this information; so to gather the missing metadata for display Spotlight simply must be enabled for the volume, or the index may need to be rebuilt.

To rebuild the index, open up the Spotlight system preference, and click on the Privacy tab, click the plus button, and add the volume you want to reindex. Wait a few minutes, then select the volume in the privacy area, and click the minus button to remove it. Spotlight will re-index the volume.

[crarko adds: The metadata displayed as expected when I tried it, so I didn't need to re-index anything. It's one of the few reasons I can think of to use Icon View any more.]
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