11 Replies Latest reply: Feb 2, 2012 9:28 AM by pideja
Jeffrey Dean Level 1 (40 points)
When I logged in to my computer this morning, in addition to the usual partitions and external HDs, my desktop showed a new item labelled "client node", with the default icon for an internal HD. What is this?

I have a home office, and most of the time the only other computer on the network is my wife's computer. She's just retired an old G4 running Tiger and replaced it with a new Mini running Snow Leopard. Could that have done something we didn't expect?

Mac Pro 8-core, Mac OS X (10.6.6), 3 GHz; 13 GB RAM
  • captfred Level 7 (26,290 points)
    If it has the internal disk icon then it's probably a new or rename partition on your disks. Right click the icon and select "get info" to review where the partition is. This could have been inadvertently renamed in the "Name & Extension" field.

  • jsd2 Level 5 (6,200 points)
    It may be some type of Finder quirk, which will disappear if you relaunch Finder or restart.

    I've seen something similar before, and can reproduce it, though it may not be directly relevant to your situation. I occasionally use Terminal to add a "hidden" flag to a disk volume, with the intent of making the volume "invisible" to Finder. When I do that, the first thing that happens after competing the Terminal command is that the target disk icon on the Desktop stays visible, but gets renamed "client node":
    Get Info on the "client node" icon reveals no information:
    However if I then relaunch the Finder, the "client node" disk icon disappears altogether, as was my original intent. If I then make the disk volume visible again with a Terminal command, the disk icon re-appears with its normal name.

    So try just re-launching the Finder (option-control click on the Finder icon in the Dock and choose relaunch) or try restarting, and see if the "client node" icon persists. If it does disappear, make sure that all the disk icons that you expect to see are still visible.
  • Jeffrey Dean Level 1 (40 points)
    Thank you both! My experience with Get info was exactly what jsd2 shows, including the mystery disk's disappearing when I relaunch the Finder. Except that I haven't hidden any volume -- the volumes I know I have are all still showing (btw, thanks for specifying that, even though I'd thought of it myself). I'm sure there must be a way to discover whether the mystery volume is something I can make evident in all respects, so as to ascertain whether it is OK or malicious. Can you help?

    What kind of Finder quirk could be giving this behavior if there isn't a hidden volume somewhere?
  • jsd2 Level 5 (6,200 points)
    I re-created my "client node" Desktop disk icon by hiding the parent volume, and looked a little further. "Client node" does not show up anywhere other than on the Desktop, and there acts abnormally - you cannot move it. There is no item of that name in the Desktop folder, no volume of that name that shows up in Disk Utility, and no item of that name when you "Go to" the /Volumes folder. Looking directly in /Volumes with Terminal does not show it either.

    I then "unhid" the parent volume without relaunching the Finder. The parent disk volume icon became visible as expected, but the "client node" icon stayed visible as well! It finally disappeared when I re-launched the finder.

    I then tried the following: I made my target disk volume normally visible, and then enabled Finder to show all hidden objects. I then again applied the "hidden" flag to that same volume. This time the volume icon on the Desktop remained unchanged, and no "client node" icon was created.

    I found another thread here which describes "client node" icons with similar characteristics, but which were not generated by "hiding" the parent volume:

    At this point I still don't really know what the "client node" icon is, but it seems to be a GUI-only "ghost" of a normal object, with no independent existence. It may possibly come about because some cached Finder information about a real volume is no longer accurate. I think the chances of it reflecting something malicious are low. Hopefully it won't again bother you.
  • deivy Level 4 (2,365 points)


    I think you are right about the Finder "caching" the information.

    I am not sure, but I'd believe it has to do with the .DS_Store files in the Desktop.

    I'd say the probably removing those via terminal might fix the problem.

    This is a guess since it did not happen to me yet.

  • jsd2 Level 5 (6,200 points)

    Well, I guess it's possible that the Desktop .DS_Store file is involved, but so far the "client node" icon seems to be a harmless artifact which goes away just on re-launching the Finder. So why mess with .DS_Store, which contains other information as well?

  • deivy Level 4 (2,365 points)

    The idea was to find out the culprit.

    .DS_Store will also be recreated if it is not there. It will not do any damage to your mac if you erase it.

    But it was a suggestion not an order..

  • jsd2 Level 5 (6,200 points)

    Out of curiosity I just tried deleting the Desktop .DS_Store file while the client node icon was being displayed, and it didn't seem to make any difference.


    Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 12.48.51 PM.png



    $ chflags hidden /Volumes/USB1

    Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 12.49.33 PM.png



    $ rm ~/Desktop/.DS_Store

    Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 12.51.44 PM.png



    $ killall Finder

    Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 12.52.53 PM.png



    $ chflags nohidden /Volumes/USB1

    Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 12.53.43 PM.png

  • deivy Level 4 (2,365 points)

    actually I believe that deleting the DS_Store had to be done at the same time you change the visibility flag.

    So it would be the same as restarting the finder.

    Iv tried in mine Mac, but changing the visibility flag works partially.

    It stays visible in the desktop, but shows up as invisible in the sidebar.

  • deivy Level 4 (2,365 points)

    It is not .DS_Store

    I just tried and it did not work.

    However if one has finder to show invisible files this problem does not happen.

    But the volume does not show as invisible in the desktop.

    So it is something intrinsic to the finder.

  • pideja Level 1 (0 points)

    Merci beaucoup...I too had the mysterious "client node" icon on my desktop. I run Snow Leopard and had just received and installed an update. The icon appeared right after re-booting. Your solution worked great.