6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 20, 2013 5:30 PM by Guy Burns
Guy Burns Level 2 Level 2 (345 points)

I'm setting up an iMac that will have three partitions:


  • OSX 10.6.8
  • OSX 10.8
  • Data


Fine by me, but my partner who will be using it a lot of the time, doesn't like storing her stuff inside that funny-looking-gray-thing on her Desktop called "Data". She's likes her stuff spread all over the Desktop – and nowhere else. I've got a story about that: whenever I am game enough to venture onto her laptop (usually in response to her asking me to fix something), the first thing I do is View > Clean Up. And just like a bowerbird whose collection of blue items has been messed up, when next she visits her Desktop she puts everything back just the way it was. i.e. a mess (yet if I dare leave a magazine laying around in the lounge room…)


Anyway, now for various reasons* her stuff will have to be stored on the Data partition. So, is there a way of storing files on a partition, but make those files appear as if they are on a Desktop?



* Files will be stored on Data and backed up on another drive. I expect to erase the OSX partitions every now and then and would rather avoid having to worry about Desktop files being backed up and archived. On my own computer, none of my files are ever stored on the OSX partition.

  • 1. Re: Wanted: a fake Desktop
    varjak paw Level 10 Level 10 (169,765 points)

    Not really, no. The Desktop is a special folder in the file structure of Mac OS X, so other than leaving aliases on the desktop and keeping the files in the volume you wish, there's really no way to do this.


    If you want to keep user files separate from the OS X volume, consider just moving her home folder to another volume and then allowing her to keep her desktop as messy as she likes.



  • 2. Re: Wanted: a fake Desktop
    Tom Nelson1 Level 4 Level 4 (2,440 points)

    Why not just create a seperate user for her?


    Each user has there own home folder and own desktop.


    Whoever needs to use the Mac, just logs in with their account.



  • 3. Re: Wanted: a fake Desktop
    Guy Burns Level 2 Level 2 (345 points)

    Thanks for the suggestions. Looks like I'll be setting up another account and when I need to erase the OSX disk I'll copy her stuff to a temp backup.

  • 4. Re: Wanted: a fake Desktop
    Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,995 points)

    Just to note, filling up your desktop with tons of junk can, and will slow the system down. Everything on the desktop is treated as a windowed object. The more there is, the more RAM the OS has to devote to keeping track of it.


    If she must have this stuff on the desktop, then have her separate items by a few logical folders and then put all of the items in them. Then there are only a few objects directly on the desktop.

  • 5. Re: Wanted: a fake Desktop
    alibi Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I use aliases on my desktop--folders and separate files--organized by categories across the top and down the right side. When I download files from the bank I put them in the center till I enter them in Quicken, then they go in a sub-file in an alias of my accounts file (top, left). I have a DragThing Disk Dock on the desktop with a Desktop folder on it. When the files on the desktop suddenly disappear, I just click this folder and they show up in their usual places.

  • 6. Re: Wanted: a fake Desktop
    Guy Burns Level 2 Level 2 (345 points)

    Thanks for all the suggestions. Since it appears that I can't set up a real* Fake-Desktop (looks exactly like a Desktop but files are stored elsewhere), I've decided to try out a fake Fake-Desktop (FFD, looks similar to a real Desktop).


    1. Name the folder (or volume) where files are to be stored: Desktop.
    2. Make it fit the whole window and set to Icon view.
    3. From View, hide all the bars (Status, Tool, Path, Sidebar)
    4. Use Show View Options to set the background.
    5. To force this window to open at login (just in case it is closed accidentally) use System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items


    Voila – an FFD. Looks a bit weird to me, knowing that it covers the real Desktop and that instant access to disks and bars is lost, but Jenny almost never uses those things anyway. If I can't convince her to get more serious about using folders and hard drives, I'll see how she goes with an FFD.




    *Talking about real Fake items reminds me of my time in Singapore in the 1980s when the touts in Orchard Rd would pester me about copy watches: "You want buy copy watch?". So I'd look at their wares for a minute or so before declaring: "Hey, this isn't a real copy watch. This says Rolex! I want one that says Copy Watch". Our little interaction would usually end with them rather annoyed and telling me something like: "You stupid!" That particular tout wouldn't bother me again.