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#32289 - 12/23/14 03:58 PM Finder Window Preferences
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
I would like to change all my FINDER WINDOWS to one colour. I have done the routine of going to FINDER / VIEW / SHOW VIEW OPTIONS and selected "white" (no colour) as my background colour . . . and chose SET AS DEFAULT.

My thinking was that this would change the whole system of folders so that when one is opened in FINDER, the background would always be white in that folder and any of its subfolders, etc.

However, this does not happen. Some folders and subfolders do appear changed to white, while others within others do not.

Is the DEFAULT feature supposed to do this? If not, does anyone know of a workaround so that I could get the same result throughout the computer without having to open each folder and set the background colour to white using the SHOW VIEW OPTION feature mentioned above?


IDEA: Would it work to remove/manipulate the .ds_store files for the whole system to get the intended results without causing some other systemic problem?

Any help you could provide would be appreciated.

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#32296 - 12/24/14 06:55 AM Re: Finder Window Preferences [Re: MG2009]
joemikeb Online

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
The default setting applies only when you open an existing folder in a new window and there is no hidden .DS_Store file in that folder. The .DS_Store file overrides the defaults in the folder you open and in any folder you drill down to in that same window. Anytime you change the View in a particular folder a .DS_Store file will be created in that folder. TinkerTool System, Cocktail, Onyx, and several other utilities have a function that can drill down and delete all .DS_Stpre files in your system, but that will also remove any custom View settings you might have for a given folder.
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joemikeb • moderator

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#32300 - 12/24/14 09:39 AM Re: Finder Window Preferences - UPDATE [Re: joemikeb]
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Thanks for the info.

I downloaded and installed TINKERTOOL. I am able to select the feature to show "hidden files", but cannot find the option to DELETE all the .ds_store files to reset all folders to be alike (i.e. factory default?)

Any idea where this option is located in TINKERTOOL preferences?

Oops: Just noticed you suggested TinkerTool "SYSTEM" app.

----------------------


I found this little trick using TERMINAL : http://osxdaily.com/2012/07/05/delete-all-ds-store-files-from-mac-os-x/


Worked like a charm. And the beauty of this was that I had used FASTICONS to customize folders with different photos rather than the standard "blue" look. The above-mentioned terminal script DID NOT change those back to blue . . . which is great. Nor did it remove any coloured tags. Bonus. grin

It DID, however, change all the folder windows to a white background and uniform size/spacing for the folder files and icons. Just what I was looking for.

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#32303 - 12/24/14 11:53 AM Re: Finder Window Preferences [Re: MG2009]
ganbustein Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
A .DS_Store file is where Finder remembers everything it knows about everything inside that folder. This includes all view settings for subfolders as well as icon placement, Finder comments (now called Spotlight comments even though Spotlight keeps its own separate copy that Finder never looks at), previews ("icons" generated from the content of the file), and much more.

Notice that the .DS_Store file describes things inside the folder. Information about the folder itself is maintained in the .DS_Store file of the folder's parent folder, if possible. (If there is no parent folder, or the parent folder is unwritable, Finder stores the folder's info in the .DS_Store file of the folder itself, treating it like a subfolder with no name.)

If you start deleting .DS_Store files, you're deleting all this information. There's nothing mission critical stored in the .DS_Store files, but you should still bear in mind that you may be throwing out more than you intend to.

The relationship between folders and Finder windows is indirect. Before OS X, there was a direct correspondence between them. Navigating to a subfolder meant opening a new window. Opening a folder that already had a window open meant bringing the existing window to the front. The folder remembered the size, position, and view of its window, so that folder's window always looked the same every time it opened.

OS X changed all that. There was a huge hue and cry about this at the time, but the furor died down and the issue has been largely forgotten. Except, like now, when people forget that the rules have changed. Folders no longer "own" their windows.

In OS X, view settings are attached to windows, not folders. What a folder remembers is its initial view ("as Icon", "as List", etc.) and the view settings for each view. These are consulted only when a new window is opened to display the folder. If the initial folder does not have a preferred view, the window uses the default view set in Finder→Preferences. (Which, I notice, is no longer there in Yosemite. I wonder how you're supposed to set it now.) Each view has its own settings, which the window will remember for whenever it gets into that view. If the initial folder does have view settings for a particular view, the window remembers the default settings for that view. You establish the default settings for a particular view by clicking on "Use as Defaults" in the View Options window of any window currently showing that view. The button will be grayed out if the window is already using the default settings.

A new window is created when you double-click (or File→Open or ⌘O) on its icon on the desktop, or use "Reveal in Finder" or "Open in Finder" in any of the places where those options appear, and Finder does not already have a window that has navigated to that folder. (If it does, the existing window comes to the front.) Command-double-click or option-double-click forces a new window. (The difference is that option-double-click closes the old window before opening the new.)

Once the window is open, and has adopted the view and view settings of its initial folder (or the defaults thereof), it keeps those view settings even as you navigate to new folders.

Depending on how you navigate...

Opening a folder from the sidebar or from the toolbar counts as opening a new window insofar as view settings are concerned, even though the existing window gets reused. Drilling down within the body of the window never counts as opening a new window (unless you add command or option to a double-click).

The rules are complex and change subtly with OS version, so I cannot be positive I've written them correctly above. (For example, the rules changed again when tabbed Finder windows were introduced.)

The point is, the view settings on a folder may or may not apply to a window showing that folder, depending on how the window got to the folder. It's the window that has view settings, not the folder. If you don't keep this in mind, you can easily be misled into thinking your view settings didn't "take".

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#32304 - 12/24/14 12:14 PM Re: Finder Window Preferences [Re: ganbustein]
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
" . . . It's the window that has view settings, not the folder. If you don't keep this in mind, you can easily be misled into thinking your view settings didn't "take" . . .

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All I know is that the script above achieved the goal with no unwanted behaviours within either the Finder Windows or the folders/subfolders.

I will let you all know if my computer starts to behave badly from today's actions.

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#32305 - 12/24/14 01:37 PM Re: Finder Window Preferences [Re: ganbustein]
joemikeb Online

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: gangbustein
The point is, the view settings on a folder may or may not apply to a window showing that folder, depending on how the window got to the folder. It's the window that has view settings, not the folder. If you don't keep this in mind, you can easily be misled into thinking your view settings didn't "take".

Thanks for that. I have tried for years to accurately explain the .DS_Store functionality and you just gave me the way to do it. smile
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joemikeb • moderator

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#32306 - 12/24/14 04:42 PM Re: Finder Window Preferences [Re: MG2009]
ganbustein Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: MG2009
All I know is that the script above achieved the goal with no unwanted behaviours within either the Finder Windows or the folders/subfolders.

I will let you all know if my computer starts to behave badly from today's actions.

Like I said, there is nothing mission-critical in the .DS_Store files. Nothing is going to start behaving badly.

You lost all your preview icons, but no matter. Finder will re-generate them. You did not lose custom icons, which are attached directly to the file/folder and not in .DS_Store. I know it's easy to get custom icons and preview icons mixed up, but there is a difference.

You lost icon placement in all your folders. When you look at a folder in Icon View, you'll see the icons arranged in their default order. If you never bothered to arrange your icons in any special order, you won't notice, and this is not an unwanted behavior. The next person who comes here wondering if it's OK to trash .DS_Store files may have spent a lot of time arranging icons just so, and will be devastated to see all their hard work thrown out. For all I knew, you had spent time arranging icons, and it didn't occur to you that resetting background color would be connected to icon placement in any way. "Unwanted behavior" is in the eye of the beholder.

You lost all your Finder comments. There are people who live and die by Finder comments. Pre-OSX, when comments were saved in the Desktop Database, there were utilities whose claim to fame was that they would suck up all the Finder comments from the database, rebuild it, then put all the comments back in. That gave people a way to rebuild the desktop without losing their comments, which was much appreciated.

Interestingly, Spotlight still has all the Finder comments cached. You may see Spotlight finding files/folders that you see no reason for it to find. Finder doesn't know about Spotlight's cache, so when you Get Info you'll see the comment field blank. ("Cached" is maybe not really the right word. Finder attaches a comment to a file in two places, but only looks in one (namely, .DS_Store). Spotlight sees the other.)

Anyway, I'm glad you found a solution that works for you.

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#32312 - 12/25/14 11:27 AM Re: Finder Window Preferences [Re: ganbustein]
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
" . . . You lost icon placement in all your folders. When you look at a folder in Icon View, you'll see the icons arranged in their default order. If you never bothered to arrange your icons in any special order, you won't notice, and this is not an unwanted behavior . . .

Actually, for some reason, I had the icons arranged in TAG order and those remained showing at the top of the window with the non-tagged folders and files following in alphabetical order by name.

The only changes that I experienced in the Finder Windows were: 1. the BACKGROUNDS all reverted to white and, 2. the ICONS all returned to the default pixel size. I do not use the COMMENTS feature so, consequently, noticed no changes there. But the PREVIEW ICONS remained intact - or instantly regenerated themselves - on all files and photos i.e. jpg, pps, odt, rtf, pdf, txt, png, log, app, webarchive, etc. (The only ones that did/have not are the .doc files.)

I make no claims for being any kind of "expert" in explaining "the whys or hows" of these matters, but I am able to relay my experience - which may be of some use to someone down the line. smile

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