So, today, after using the MLCC technique to make sure the icons in DMGs were correct, I found myself opening a sequence of DMGs of software updates I grabbed this morning. None of them had installers: all were "drag app to applications folder" types. So I began mounting and dragging files into folders, replacing items that were already there.
Suddenly, on the 6th one, the icon was blurry. (Yes, going back to the previous 5, each one -now- showed up as blurry, instead of pristine, as they had been mere seconds before.)
No installers; nothing fancy going on except drag-n-drop, yet something in that process toggled the situation from fine to failure.
Given what I was doing; that nothing else was happening, I'm now wondering if the situation isn't triggered by some mal-formed, or out-of-date configuration on either 1) a DMG itself or 2) something in the application code's icon resource that isn't correct.
(I still suspect that [at least in my case] the finder showing fuzzy icons is simply because it was recorded to the drive that way, by the DMG issue above. There are probably several ways to get improperly sized icons showing, but at least this is one of them.)
I'm having this problem too - has been happening occasionally for a few files/apps, then the yesterday it started happening on almost all files. DMGs, installers and new apps that I installed had 32x32 or 16x16 icons - and no app on my entire system had an icon bigger than 128x128 - it was like back in OS X 10.2
The suggestion of searching for and deleting "thumbnails.data", changing display resolution to the lowest possible and back to normal and Logging out and back in worked for me, at least temporarily. I expect it will come back at some point, but its not a difficult fix. Maybe a script could be made to do it… but I do wish Apple could figure this one out finally.
I used Easyfind to do the search (as did Adayapple) - which is a fantastically useful piece of software that boldly goes where spotlight fears to tread.
OK... here's something else to try:
if you're suffering from the fuzzy DMG icons (etc) issue, try this:
Delete these files:
all (you may find more than one) you find in
(note the ByHost folder!)
where #### is just a bunch of numbers, so it might look like this:
Notes: You may not have one or more of the files I've listed. If you don't, obviously you should ignore this posting.
Second: I did this (deleted them and emptied the trash) without any problem. The system started right back up, and at least for now (& who knows how long this is going to last) my icons in freshly mounted DMGs are correct. The sage would have a working backup.
Third: I went back and discovered that the files were NOT recreated by the OS, although I did get a new "displays2" plist. So >perhaps< these were left over plists wreaking havoc.
YMMV. I take no responsibility... etc.... Objects appear larger in your mirror... and so on.
Good luck to us all.
unfortunately this didn't fix it for me. Neither did deleting thumbnails.data. Turns out both of these did the same thing that logging out or rebooting does normally - some of the pixelated icons come back to full, or at least better resolution, but most don't.
It's such a shame that the world's most beautiful operating system is, at least for some of us, hideously marred by this mysterious affliction - making all the icons looks like its 1998 all over again.
If this were some other desktop operating system made by a large corporation, I wouldn't complain because the design would already be incongruous, but OS X is so consciously pixel-perfect on all other ways and this just totally ruins the effect… Oh well. Guess I'll just get used to ignoring the aesthetics of the GUI like I do on my XP machine at work.
I'm going out on a limb here and thinking that maybe it's something to do with retina display compatibility that is not working correctly, choosing the wrong resolution of icons to display and maybe caching those so they never get updated with the proper icon sizes until a reboot (if then).
"I'm going out on a limb here and thinking that maybe it's something to do with retina display compatibility that is not working correctly, choosing the wrong resolution of icons to display and maybe caching those so they never get updated with the proper icon sizes until a reboot (if then)."
Not really that far off as speculation. It makes perfect sense. Unless you are using a retina Mac, you are likely to encounter this problem. They've been building retina capability into the OS as far back as 10.6, but as with a lot of things, they don't pay as much attention to what effect that has on non-retina machines. It's obvious that Apple has been spending more time of late being concerned with visual aesthetics to the detriment of core OS functionality.
The one good thing I can note is that I have encountered this problem much less in 10.8.3. In fact, it now happens rarely. So, they know about it, have been working to fix it, but because of their corporate culture of secrecy and silence, will never comment on or acknowledge it.
For my part, this (huge) problem runs on a MacBook Pro retina 2012 and on a iMac 2011 (so no retina here). Only my Mac Pro 2009 is safe !
A trail could be the hiDpi option in Quartz Debug, it is linked with the resolution (some manipulations with the screen resolution can, as described on the previous posts can fixed momentaly the problem). On the other hand, I've made a clean install on a fresh disk on the iMac, and the problem was there from the begining, without playing any settings. I didn't import any account, all was fresh from the box !
Keep on searhing and hopping an Apple solution !
I contacted Apple Support and a kind woman helped me solve this. I have a 2012 MacBook pro Retina with 16 GB of memory, and it's a fast machine. The applications ran just fine but the icons would appear blurry every now and then at random. After the 10.8.3 update, several icons went pixelated and this was no good. So here's what I might try...
Restart the computer, then right after it turns off press and hold the left shift key. This will boot you through Safe Mode, which apparently starts up the machine using the least amount of memory possible. During this process you'll see a white progress bar at the bottom of the screen, at which you can let go of the shift key. It'll bring you to login, and should say "Safe Mode" on the top of the screen in red. Log into your account and see if the problem is fixed.
At this point, the icons were totally cleared up for me! But unortunately the dock's "genie effect" was lagging and switching between screens was very choppy. So from here, restart the computer once again as you normally would. Then log in. The icons should still be crystal-clear and the dock and other operations should function normally again.
This worked for me! As of thirty minutes ago it cleared things up. I hope the problem doesn't return, since booting up in Safe Mode takes a little longer than normal. The lady explained that at some point during the update, a file in the cache was corrupted and caused several applications' icons to appear blurry in the dock and/or launchpad. Safe Mode is suppsoed to fix these problems, and it sure did work for me.
This shouldn't change any of your preferences (dock, wallpapers, etc.). Just remember to keep the computer hooked to a power source when trying this, and also having any other devices disconnected.
Hope this helps!
Formatted, reinstalled from scratch, even witjout importing old prefs... the piselation always returns. But remeber that it doesn't affect obly the icons, but also other graphic resources of the system, like the CD icon in Roxio Toast interface (copy disc), the warning striangle in the alert messages, etc. Some icons even disappear. Look at this:
Or this window from a just mounted dmg. Where's the icon for the Flip4Mac installer?
Or this alert:
This in a MacPro Mid2010 with 10.8.3, Apple 27 LED display and 16GB of RAM. If I boot this same machine in 10.6, everything is ok.
Mountain Lion is a complete mess of a system. And it seems that Apple has lost its momentum and it's no longer able to create and maintain an OS.