14 Replies Latest reply: Feb 19, 2008 2:01 PM by Albert in Miami
CooperSmith Level 1 Level 1
I've encountered what seems to be an intermittent, though frequent, problem with Leopard. When saving items to the desktop, or when mounting external drives, the icons do not always appear there. However, when I look at the desktop's contents via a finder window, the files/drives are shown as there. This isn't a terrible problem--the icons usually show up when I relaunch the finder--but it is annoying and a bit unnerving.
Anyone have any idea what might be the problem, or know of a solution?

Message was edited by: CooperSmith (corrected the model of computer shown)

1.83 C2D mac mini, Mac OS X (10.5.1)
  • Jedi Larry Level 1 Level 1
    Yes I too have lost my Hard Drive Icon on the desktop? I have checked finder prefs and rebooted several times, set default icons back and all the other things that should be set properly - still no HDD icon??? My external drives and .MAC show fine.

    Any ideas anyone?
  • mopppish Level 1 Level 1
    Same problem.
    Pretty much consistently happens when bouncing mixes form Logic. I can access them from Finder windows, but they don't show up on the desktop until a restart.
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6

    Is there any chance you use TinkerTool or a similar utility to access hidden preference settings? If so, make sure the option to 'Disable Desktop features' is not checked, or if it is, uncheck it & relaunch the Finder.

    In TinkerTool, it is easy to accidentally check the box next to this (or any option) because the entire line & not just the checkbox responds to a click to toggle features on or off. More than once I've done this & been surprised by the results once the Finder is relaunched.
  • mopppish Level 1 Level 1
    I don't currently use ANY apps like that. Just audio and light graphics stuff (and Office).
    I mean, I've downloaded Flip4Mac and LiveQuartz, but nothing that alters system operations.
  • CooperSmith Level 1 Level 1
    Hi! No, I don't use tinkertool, or any other system-altering programs like it. I'm really stumped by this one...
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6
    TinkerTool isn't exactly a system-altering application: it is basically a GUI front end for writing to the "Mac OS X user defaults system", better known as preference files (plists).

    As the manual page explains, not all preference settings are accessible through an application's Preferences panel. For example, Finder supports a preference for displaying all files, including those that are normally hidden, but you won't find that setting anywhere in Finder's Preferences tabs. To set it, you could use the appropriate 'defaults write' command in Terminal, but TinkerTool (& a few other utilities) simplify the process to marking a checkbox in the utility's user interface.

    So, even if you have never used the utility, it is possible the hidden preference to disable the desktop features has somehow been set in Finder's plist file. I'm pretty sure TinkerTool would show this (the checkbox for this option would be marked) & if so, you could just uncheck it & relaunch Finder for the change to take effect. Otherwise, you might have to trash the plist file, loosing any Finder preferences you have set (including view options, icon arrangements, etc.) when this causes a new plist file to be created with the default, new user settings.

    If you want to try this, I recommend TinkerTool over other similar utilities for several reasons: it was the first of its kind, it is well regarded, it has been updated for Leopard, & most importantly, it is very conservative -- most of the other utilities offer additional options & features, not all of which are undoable or without undesirable side effects. Plus, it is 100% freeware.
  • sb32 Level 1 Level 1
    Having exact same issue here. Some files are shown but some are not. When I run ls -al in terminal, the permissions for both the visable and hidden files are the same in permissions and ownership. Did any of you change your long name by any chance? I did, don't see how that could be related though.. (i.e, changed jon doe, to john doe)

    I also use a usb disk and never eject it properly bah
  • mrbump Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks for the tip - it solved my problem
  • petrock Level 3 Level 3
    I've seen this and it was either caused by a bad .DS_Store file or bad .plist

    go into Terminal and type

    rm ~/Desktop/.DS_Store
    mv ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist.old
    killall Finder

    Hope that helps.
  • GregRaven Level 1 Level 1
    This worked for me, too. Thanks.
  • Andy Calado Level 1 Level 1
    I had the same problem. Files I added to the Desktop since the Finder was last launched didn't appear unless I either restarted the Finder or went into View-->Show View Options and changed something, like the icon size for instance. Then the missing files would appear, but again, not new ones I added afterwards.

    Deleting the ~/Desktop/.DS_Store solved the problem for me. Great tip, I probably wouldn't have thought about trying that!
  • W. Keith McmanusPA Level 1 Level 1
    Well, I have followed the suggests to restore my hard drive's icon to the desktop, with no avail.
    How it disappeared:

    Was working in Photoshop CS3 on a JPEG file the was on the desktop. I wanted do some editing to the file and saved it on the desktop as a .psd file. That way I could do changes without further compression of the file. When I closed the file the icon for it had replaced the icon on the desktop for the internal hard drive. I noticed in the finder preferences, with sidebar selected, that the internal hard drive was not selected to be included in the list. I checked the box next to it.

    I ran permissions as well and these messages appeared.

    ACL found but not expected on "Applications/Utilities"
    ACL found but not expected on "Applications"
    ACL found but not expected on "Library"
  • W. Keith McmanusPA Level 1 Level 1
    One more thing with the internal hard drive desktop icon disappearing. For what ever reason the icon is considered to be a hidden file.
  • Albert in Miami Level 1 Level 1
    Francine Schwieder solved the problem:

    read her solution at http://www.pinkmutant.com/articles/invisible.html
    and the following thread http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=6576031