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  • maulrat1967 Level 1 Level 1

    hate to sound like an old AOL noob user here but ME TOO! Lion just randomly rearranges my icons on my machine all over the place (especially after rebooting) it makes the View Options settings pretty much moot at this point for me .... I've deleted .DS_store files galore (that used to cure those types of problems in the pre-Lion days if they became corrupt) but to no avail ... Lion truly has a mind of its own ... HAL??


    yes, this is a repeat post that I put in a slightly older thread .... but the problem remains the same ... every single one of my Mac user friends have complained about this as well

  • mgshoutman Level 1 Level 1

    I had the same annoying problem for 2 days in 10.7.1 but just solved it by copying a .DS_Store file from another disk using @BinaryNights Forklift.


    I use SuperDuper to mirror my disk once a week, so that procedure came to my rescue !


    btw it is the .DS_Store file from my root folder

  • Cheese21Cheese Level 1 Level 1

    Hi people,


    So Im not to technical with the 'under the hood' bits and bobs. Could somebody tell how I go about copying and restoring the DS_Store file?


    It would be greatly appreciated.

  • Jyri Palm Level 1 Level 1

    There is a hidden .DS_Store file in every directory.  This is where all the attributes of that folder/directory are stored.  You'd have to be familiar with using Terminal, and if you can navigate to the directory, you could see the file by typing 'ls -la'.  Unless you just want to fix one directory, you're going to be painstakingly copying hundreds or thousands of these.


    Personally, I don't see this as a viable solution.  I have not tried it, but I'm not convinced that this will solve the problem, even though this was someone's experience.  Just in pure speculation, copying one of these from another drive might have resulted in a file with a different owner/group or permissions.  If this is the case, then it might be that the system is simply unable to write to this file, and thus it cannot break it, but yet it can still read it.  Just a thought.

  • dackman Level 1 Level 1

    It's not just icons that are moving for me, it is whole windows. I like my windows to open in set places on the screen, some with nice background images, and with the icons within in the order that I set. Invariably now when I close a window and reopen it, it opens in a different place, a different size, icons rearranged and picture gone. It's driving me mad and making life very difficult.


    10.7.1 didn't solve anything, and neither have any bug reports I've sent to Apple. I've also reinstalled, but it didn't help.

  • Jyri Palm Level 1 Level 1

    Yup, all these things are saved in the .DS-Store files.  I also filed a bug directly into Apple's bug report system (different than the feedback page).  By now they must be aware of this because it is widespread.  Even with the knowledge of the problem, it can take months to get a fix out.  It has to go through a careful vetting process, is seeded out to developers, and once everyone is happy that they didn't inadvertently create some new disaster with the fix, then it will be released to the general public.  It's a problem that really *****, but it's not losing your data, just annoying.  They don't want to rush a fix out that makes the situation worse.  We all jsut need to hang in there for now.  It will be fixed.

  • Brett C Level 1 Level 1

    restoring the .DS_Store file in a particular directory doesn't actually "solve" the problem - it merely cleans things up in a particular directory by restoring to a previous state. so if you save a known good "clean" state before the problem occurs, you can easily get back to that clean state by restoring a copy of the .DS_Store file.


    but the bug WILL still happen again, this is simply a convenience to mop up the mess until the bug is actually fixed.


    I'm not sure what copying one from another drive or another directory to another will do. In my case,I am only concerned about one directory - my home directory. It is the only one that I keep organized in a visual icon-view (maybe strange, but for whatever reason I've been doing it that way all these years




    this temporary cleanup tip was posted either in this thread or another similar one, I forget, but I will repeat what I do, for your reference. Again, I use this only to clean up a single directory, my home folder. If you have a lot of folders you like to keep organized, maybe you need to do it for each one (not practical for more than one or two, IMO)


    1. manually clean up the folder you like to keep organized

    2. go to Terminal

    3. navigate to the folder you just cleaned up. in my case it is my home folder, so:  cd ~

    4. copy the .DS_Store file to a saved known-good copy of the file, e.g:

         sudo cp .DS_Store

       The sudo command will then ask for your password to execute the command

    Now you have a known-good copy of the .DS_Store file for this directory


    then next time when the bug occurs, go back to the Terminal

    sudo cp .DS_Store

    then enter your password

    This copies your good .DS_Store file back over the now-corrupted one.

    Go to the finder. if the messed up window in question was already open, you may need to close it then reopen. it should be restored to the cleaned up state.

  • dackman Level 1 Level 1

    I tried the Terminal workaround but it didn't seem to do anything. I rarely use Terminal though, so it wouldn't surprise me if I was doing something wrong!


    I have a lot of windows that need to be set in place, so I guess I would have to do this workaround for each window?


    Might be simpler if I just switch everything to list view. And I hate list view.


    Been using Macs for 25 years but have never seen a problem with the basics like this.

  • MathGeekRob Level 1 Level 1

    I don't use terminal to restore.  My workaround is:


    1) I unhide my hidden fles.  There is a program: Lion Tweaks that will do it.


    2) In icon view, I will go into Time Machine and locate when the folder had the correct placement.


    3) I locate the DS_Store file in the folder and restore it.




    Also, Jyri, what is the link to report a bug?

  • Jyri Palm Level 1 Level 1

    The best method is to register and report them here:



    You can continue to add more info later if you uncover more detail.


    The quick and dirty is as follows, but I am unsure if you can look back over your submissions or see a status.



    For anyone that uses either of these, please follow all the instructions and submit a useful and thorough analysis, sticking to the facts.  This is the Developer channel, not the consumer end, and they'll likely ignore anything that comes across as whining or where they have to work to find out what you are trying to say.

  • Hen3ry Level 2 Level 2

    This problem is seriously disruptive to those of us who depend on stable folder views!


    (I'd assume virtually every Mac user depends on stable views to at least some extent, and yet --compared to other 10.7 issues-- this issue seems to have generated relatively few complaints here and on other forums.   Are just a few unlucky people like us affected, or are there many more who don't notice or care?)


    From what I've seen and heard,  once affected, there's apparently no escape and any folder may be affected.   Exceptions: some folders seem relatively, not completely, immune, but I can't see any pattern.  Sometimes only a few icons are displaced.  Complaints about desktop rearrangement are rare.  I've observed rearrangement to and from icon view.  The only common factor I see is a tendency for the new view to be arranged alphabetically.


    - - -


    This may be incredibly obvious, but the rearrangement never occurs to a particular folder unless you close and then later re-open the folder, right? This suggests a partial workaround:


    By carefully partitioning my various tasks into different virtual workspaces using 10.7's Mission Control I find I can minimize my need to close folders.  Instead of closing a currently open folder that's in my way, I can often switch to another workspace.  Presto! the folder is invisible -- but not closed.


    Problems with this approach I've found so far: 

    • Sometimes I forget and close a key folder anyway.  D'oh!
    • There are some practical reasons to shut-down periodically.  
    • Some tasks are difficult to partition. 
    • I find Mission Control is,  ummmm, subject to awkwardnesses and glitches.


    Still,  this approach has decreased my stress at losing my vital icon arrangements and allowed me to get on with my work. 


    - - -


    I encourage others suffering from this problem to observe as carefully as possible, seek alternative workarounds, and post these.  Shouting at Apple is not productive.  It is possible that Apple doesn't know enough to do anything about this issue.  I hope I'm wrong and there's a fix already in the works!  But just in case, let's do our best to help Apple help us.


    Maybe someone would collect links to all the different threads here and elsewhere?  Lots of different names for this issue, leading to different threads.   It could be useful to see all the postings, maybe merge some threads.


    - - -


    Tekkie corner:  It seems generally agreed that this issue is due to corruption of .DS_Store file content.  As far as I can tell, the .DS_Store mechanism is not publicly documented. (Anyone know different?)  Can we tekkie users help characterize the issue by observing .DS_Store files, say, by running shell scripts or for-purpose faceless apps?   Can we tell when the corrupt occurs?  Sometime just after the window is closed, possibly due to the Finder writing in-memory data for the window to disk? Instrumenting this would be easier if we had a never-fail method of triggering the corruption. Some postings state that navigating an Open dialog (or similar) is reliable, but I've not been able to duplicate. Anyone?

  • Ian Sen Level 1 Level 1

    Hen3ry, I agree with everything you say and like you, I too am using multiple spaces to keep folders open. But it is clearly problematic.


    What's more: I am experiencing icon re-arrangement in Launchpad as well. Given that Launchpad is supposed to emulate mobile ios - and ios doesn't randomly re-arrange - I wonder how it is that Apple managed to let this happen.


    It is the most fundamental flaw/ bug in the Apple operating system I have experienced since I started using Macs (and I started using Macs in 1992). It's not like an incompatibility between two open apps - it strikes at the very heart of the apple user interface, and it is radically affecting my work-flow.


    For the record: I am using two MacBooks: a MacBook Pro with Lion installed over Snow Leopard, and a new MacBook Air with Lion pre-installed, and they are both exhibiting the re-arrangement.


    At least 5 people (with 8 Macs between them) is experiencing this, and we are constantly cursing on the phone to each other.


    I have raised it on the phone with AppleCare, and also with a in-store genius. Unfortunately, I couldn't trigger re-arrangemen when i was in the store, but the genius did say that he would send my observations "up the chain".


    FIngers crossed...

  • hacintosh Level 1 Level 1

    Just posted this in another discussion on the same issue:


    Just bought and downloaded Desktop Saver for Icon Positions from the app store. It's the only thing I've found that will save the position of my icons (all 60 of them as I have a 30" monitor). Imagine restarting your computer, or restarting your dock or finder, only to find your icons all over the place. It doesn't respect the Finder view options (mine are snap to grid) as I like to keep certain files/folders in certain columns.


    Once you "Save Profile (1,2 or 3)", you can quit the app. When the icons rearrange themselves for no other reason than lazy programming, simply launch the app and click "Restore Profile" (using the same number as the saved profile). Stack Items will pile all your icons onto each other in one stack and give you a clean desktop, but you can restore your icons back by using the respective "Restore Profile #". BTW, I have no affiliation with this company and a friend turned me onto this app as he was ready to downgrade to SL as it was driving us both batty.

  • Brett C Level 1 Level 1

    yes, it seems clear that somehow the .DS_Store file is getting corrupted.


    a further observation, and question to those of you experiencing this problem


    I just noticed that (it seems) every time my home folder gets messed up, it is exactly the same particular icons that get moved around AND they get moved to the same (wrong) locations. even icons that are moved so they end up overlapping other icons end up overlapping the same amount as last time.


    when the problem first started, I did a Cmd-Shift-4 screen capture of my folder window before/after the problem, so I could put everything back in its place quickly (before I heard about restoring an old copy of .DS_Store)


    but I just looked at the "after" screen cap again while playing around with various Finder setting and triggering the problem and notice I'm getting the exact same after-effect, ie identical icons moved. now I'm not sure if I've ever seen any different wrong-rearrangement of my icons...


    Q: anybody else notice this?

  • Jyri Palm Level 1 Level 1

    I think it is simply that it arranges the folder alphabetically each time, and they land in the same place.

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