4331 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Feb 22, 2008 8:53 AM by Colin.SF
Karen Woods wrote:
Trying to do some housekeeping. In my MacHD I have an icon that looks like a blank piece of paper that is named mach_kernel. It is 9.8MB. Can I delete it?
According to Apple,
"Here are examples of items from the root level of your Mac OS X startup volume that you should not delete or move:
mach_kernel (an invisible file)..."
You need to make the file invisible again but do NOT delete it.
If you are familiar with the terminal, you can hide it.
Here is how it appears on my computer:
-rw-r--r--@ 1 root wheel 10272820 Feb 5 19:15 mach_kernel
Message was edited by: nerowolfe
I am not sure how to do in in Leopard, and I would not suggest the earlier Tiger methods, which might work, but might also cause other issues. And then you may have other problems that this one is a symptom.
There are 3rd party apps that can hide things, but again, I am not sure about them.
Someone else can probably help you for this minor issue, but the main reason I posted was to stop you from deleting it, in which I was successful.
What you can do is open a terminal window and then type it the following commands:
cd / (which puts you in the root directory)
ls -al ma* (which should display 3 files, including the one you are asking about)
See if that line corresponds to the one I posted
For now that's the best we can do.
Karen Woods wrote:
Thank you. I will not delete it. How about if I just drag it into some folder or create a new folder called Do Not Delete? karen
It has to stay where it is. It belongs in the root directory. It's a vital system file and should not be moved. Until we figure out how to make it invisible, you will have to live with it exposed for all to see
I would also expect that you do not have sufficient permission to delete or move that file anyway, but don't try, just the same. It's a root file.
Message was edited by: nerowolfe
You can download and use TinkerTool to hide the file. It is now Leopard compatible, but, as with all these things, use them at your own risk.
TinkerTool can hide this file for you.
It's a free download at
As a general rule, never try to delete or move items that are outside of your own user folder. By doing so you risk hosing your whole system.
If you must, only touch things inside /Applications and /Library if you know what you're doing.
Now, don't worry that you had the impulse to delete this file - as others have said, it should be hidden, and for some bizzare reason it isn't, and I understand the compulsive need to have a tidy drive as much as anyone.
So, to get to the root of the problem, here's how you hide it again:
In /Applications/Utilities you will find a program called Terminal. Launch the program.
You will get some text saying you are logged in and such and then it will leave you at a command prompt. Copy and paste in the following line of typing into Terminal:
sudo chflags hidden /mach_kernel
Then press enter (return). It may give you a warning about using the sudo command and then it will ask you to type your password. Type it in, but note that the cursor won't move as you're typing (so that people can't see how long your password is if they're looking over your shoulder.) Press enter after typing your password.
It will return you to a blank command prompt again as if nothing happened (it won't shout out that it was successful or anything) Now, in the Finder, look in the root of your computer and see if you can see that file any more. If not, woohoo! If you still can, you may need to restart the Finder in order for changes to take effect. In the Terminal, type the following and press enter:
Your finder will disappear and your desktop go blank for a few seconds while finder restarts. Once Finder has restarted, use it again to look at the root of your folder and the file should be invisible.
However, the main takeaway from this should be my first points on never deleting items outside of your user folder, and just for situations like this: always keep a backup!
Hope that helps!
Thanks for the instructions. I knew someone here would chime in with the proper instructions. I vaguely remember them but hesitated to post them for obvious reasons.
This is certainly preferable to using TinkerTool.
My other point was that this may be symptomatic of something else but I hope this is the only file. Something probably got corrupted during an update or improper system shutdown or during a journal on boot.
Again thanks for posting this, I have copied it for future postings concerning this same problem.
Ok. I'm almost totally w/ you.....can you talk me through finding this: "Now, in the Finder, look in the root of your computer and see if you can see that file any more. If not, woohoo! If you still can, you may need to restart the Finder in order for changes to take effect. In the Terminal, type the following and press enter:" I've done everything else you have said but will wait for your response. Thanks! kw
I just did a fresh install of Leopard (completely cleaned my computer), but I noticed all the system files (mach_kernel, Volume, etc) weren't hidden.
The "sudo chflags hidden /" Terminal command worked to hide the files, but it didn't work on the etc, var, or usr folders.
I noticed that the etc, var, and usr folders are actually just shortcuts. How do you set these shortcuts to be invisible?
Message was edited by: Colin.SF