By not using Stacks, Spotlight, or Search, and not changing the drop-down menus, I had reached a state where my Finder windows opened in my custom arrangement when I opened them, and when the system opened them they were alphabetical.
After getting Mountain Lion I foolishly decided to try Stacks again - this rearranged the folders into alphabetical. I used Time Machine to restore Finder, and all was stable again (not using Stacks).
Not having learned my lesson, when this thread was re-opened I tried the drop-down menus without changing anything and the folders snapped to grid, re-arranging themselves in the process!
I'd like to see a choice of Custom in those drop-downs, which would save my preferences in a stable way. Thanks to Derek Currie and anyone else working towards a solution.
Sorry for my bad english. ^^
I think I know the (or one) cause. My DStore-Files will be overwritten when I open or save a file with another program (Text-Edit, Photoshop or anything else). You know a window appears when you save or open a file. This window has a different view than the finder window and it seem to corrupt the DStore-File.
Very strange is the fact, that this problem only attack my pictures-folder and the root-directory of my hard-drive. All other folders are resistent.
I have been able to reproduce the problem on 10.7.5 by deleting all of the System cache files. I am performing this using the utility MainMenu Pro. It is not clear to me whether clearing just the user account cache can cause the problem. If that is the case, it is intermittent.
When I cause the problem to start again, I have had it persist through three reboots of the system. After that point the problem stops. This could specifically be due to the rewriting of the cache file that is causing the problem, whichever that may be.
At the moment I am burned out from beta testing and have a couple malware articles to write. But I will try to do some further testing this coming weekend.
Anyone else interested in trying this out, please do. Onyx is a free utility that I believe does much the same thing if you use the 'Cleaning' tab and check ON everything in the list. OR, go under the 'Automation' tab, check ON "Cleaning: System Cache". Give "User Cache" a try as well. Be sure to reboot after cleaning either or both of them in order for the bug to show itself.
Same issue here on 10.8.4. Two issues mainly on the desktop folder as well as the documents folder which is the most used, for that last one. Driving me nuts.
When the folders are properly arranged, having a look back in time with Time Machine and I can see that the folders are completely rearranged. This is proof some corruption is happening. Going back some time with Time Machine I can see on some days things icons placement is right, But Most days they are incorrect. Something is wrong?
Has anybody found the solution to this. Thank you.
This might be linked to another issue, that of continuously 'fetching' admin permissions in the Get Info panel (see https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5171668?start=0&tstart=0). I had icon problems with all iterations of 10.8.x. In my case, for some folders such as ~/Documents (but not the Desktop), icon sizes (but not their placement) would reset to some default when I saved a document into these folders using 'Save as...' from an application. Deleting or restoring .DS_store or Finder preferences from a back up did not change this behaviour.
I did the following:
1. Repaired permissions using disk utility (did not fix the problem).
2. Typed "id" (without the quotes) at the command line in Terminal. In the output, Group 20 (staff) was not present.
3. Typed "sudo dscl . append /Groups/staff GroupMembership `whoami`" (again without the quotes) on the command line, and entered my password when prompted and rebooted (this did not fix the icon or the 'fetching' problem).
4. Rebooted into Repair Utilities mode (by holding the command and R keys). Mounted my HD using Disk Utility (it is Filevault encrypted), then opened Terminal from the Utilities menu and typed "resetpassword" at the prompt (again, no quotes). This does not reset your password, but opens an app. In this app, I selected the HD and select 'Reset Home Directory Permissions and ACLs' from the drop down menu at the bottom and clicked the Reset button. This reset permissions for my user account, see here. Then I rebooted normally (this fixed the 'fetching' problem, but not the icon problem).
5. Finally, I changed permissions for my ~/Documents folder (and all subfolders) using the Get Info panel by deleting the Staff permissions entirely, and changing the others to User (me): Read & Write; everyone: no access (this fixed the icon problem). This was done to match the existing permissions on my (unaffected) Desktop folder and has not affected usage of documents in these folders.
I haven't tested it, but step 5 on its own (deleting the 'fetching' permission, rather than 'staff') may resolve the problem with icon settings resetting or altering.
This is most likely a hangover from migrating my user account through several versions of OS X over the years (I've used OS X since 10.0). My current Mountain Lion user account was migrated from Snow Leopard.
Hope this is of use to someone!
@john-durham. Thank you for posting this very useful information… very comprehensive. Just getting confused on one thing on point 5.
When you reset your permissions for your ~/Documents folder (and all subfolders), I understand you did, quoting: « deleting the Staff permissions entirely, and changing the others to User (me): Read & Write; everyone: no access ».
Ok for the folder ~/Documents itself but what about the subfolders inside as well as the documents inside too ? Shouldn't the permissions be set to :
- - Me : Read and Write,
- - Staff: Read only,
- - Everyone: Read only ?
Upon creating a dummy account the permissions seem to be those I have just quoted above. Any reason you changed the whole thing (~/Documents + subfolders + documents inside) all the same way ? Just confused. I may have missed something... Thanks for confirming.
I, for one, was so sick of files and folders re-arranging arbitrarily that I bought a new iMac. It has fairly minimal applications installed, has not been through a bunch of migrations and, dang, if it hasn't started doing the same thing my old iMac does! The downloads folder was always the first to start moving files, usually to alphabetical order and that's where's it's starting on the new iMac. My old iMac is absolutely awful. It rearranges files throughout the computer, sometimes alphabetically, sometimes moving a single file waaaaaay down, creating a giant window in which you have to scroll down, retrieve the file and move it back up with the others. On my older iMac, I have to restart the Finder after about two days of light use because I get the spinning ball and can't get anything done. Restarting the finder then improves things for a brief period and then I have to restart the computer. I have deleted prefs, fixed permissions, etc., without any benefit. The fact that the new iMac is starting to do the same thing with minimal hours of use is very discouraging. I was hoping I could migrate my work to the new iMac, keeping it at a bare bones configuration, and then re-install the OS on my old iMac. Don't believe that will solve anything now. I have thousands of files I've organized and all that work is placed at jeopardy.
@Couchcowboy Thank you so much for the precious feedback ! So incredible to read you are having the same issue we're all having, with a brand new machine. By the sound of it and your testimony, the evidence seems to be that there is a flaw in the operating system itself... Not good news... Hum, what to do ?
Apparently there is no solution. I have noticed that using the "back" arrow seems to cause the folders to re-arrange. I can sometimes hit the "back" arrow again, returning to the previous folder and then go "back" again and the files/folders sometimes go back to the place they're supposed to be. I have started using the path bar to go back and forth, rather than the back and forth arrows in the title bar. Still happens sometimes anyway. Very arbitrary at times. Makes things very, very frustrating!!!!