7 Replies Latest reply: Feb 4, 2009 8:23 AM by BabaO
Joe Diederichs Level 1 (15 points)
I was dragging around in the new Google Earth, and I accidentally managed to grab a dock icon and let go, before I knew what was happening. I heard the poof sound, and vaguely saw the poof cloud disappear, so I'm pretty sure I deleted an icon. Thing is, I don't know which one. Now you might say, well if you don't know which one, it can't be that important. Still, I want to put it back. Can anyone tell me how to get a handle on what I changed? I have Time Machine running, but the desktop doesn't show the dock. Any help appreciated - this site has been a great resource in the past.
p.s. Apple. if you're reading - I don't think it should have been that easy to accidentally make an not-obviously-undoable change...

MacBook Pro 15" 2.5 GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • Kappy Level 10 (263,335 points)
    It's impossible to help you because we have no way of knowing what Dock icon you removed. But when you figure it out just locate the missing application and drag its icon back to the Dock to replace it.

    Apple doesn't read these forums. Don't blame them for your carelessness. Take responsibility for what you did. No one is responsible for your mistakes but you.
  • Joe Diederichs Level 1 (15 points)
    Are you sure there's no way of knowing? Seems like the dock icons should be in a configuration file somewhere in the system. I've heard about these plist files and such. If so, then my Time Machine backup might be able to help there?

    I'm not saying I'm not responsible for my UI mistake. I am saying that it was easy to do and I think that it represents an unfriendly aspect of the UI design.
  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 (74,035 points)
    It doesn't really matter what's in the Dock: the icons are there for your convenience, and you can delete or add them as you please: deleting one doesn't in any way affect the running of its program. Most people's Docks would have Finder, System Prefs, Dashboard, Safari, Mail, Address Book and iTunes on the left, and the Documents, Applications, Home and Downloads folders on the right, together with the Trash. Plus any which have been added manually.
  • Kappy Level 10 (263,335 points)
    The content of the Dock changes if you delete or add an item. There's no file with a list of Dock items that are always present. Once you deleted the item it was also removed from the preference file.

    As for the UI I'm sure that if it were more difficult you or others would complain that it should be easier. Removing an item from the Dock isn't that easy, but it's easy enough not to be a hindrance for the typical user. We can all be careless from time to time, and in this case you were careless. Such is life. Any time now you'll remember what you want in the Dock and put the icon back.
  • Virgule Level 1 (55 points)
    Restore /Users/Joe Diederichs/Library/Preferences/com.apple.dock.plist from a known-to-be-alright Time Machine slice and see if it does the trick? You'll have to re-launch Dock.app for the changes to take effect. Activity Monitor will do just that. Find Dock.app in the list then hit "Quit Process". It will respawn itself then, hopefully, everything will be OK.

    I hope it fix you up. :P

    signed, Andrew from Canada
  • Joe Diederichs Level 1 (15 points)
    Thank you for your post - this was the information I needed. Took this as an opportunity to learn about where the information on the current dock icons is stored, and also as a chance to use the Time Machine restore side in a less than crisis situation.

    Based on your pointer, I went and had another look at the ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.dock.plist file. Plist editor is the default tool, and this time I managed to get enough of the drop-downs inside the file open to see that it has what amounts to an ordered list of the dock icons.

    I didn't want to do a restore directly, because that seemed a little dangerous, bringing a two-day old copy forward, in terms of other possible changes, but I did open Time Machine and scanned back for a three-day old copy of this file. A double-click on the file in Time Machine gave me a quick-view text look at it. I was able to scan down the list and find an icon in the middle of my dock which was no longer there and thus was the one I had poofed.

    Closed out Time Machine. Spotlighted the app with the missing icon, ran it, and drug the icon to it's old place in the dock. (I eventually would have figured it out, because it's an app I have rare but no-substitute need for.) So I'm back like I was. And I learned a couple things along the way about the dock and time machine. Thanks again for your help.
  • BabaO Level 1 (10 points)
    you also learned that sometimes people are rather annoying and uppity on these forums