13 Replies Latest reply: Feb 28, 2013 3:34 AM by ellegant
AcadiaRush Level 1 Level 1

My new 8 core Mac Pro with Lion arrived August 29 to replace an older Mac Pro with Snow Leopard. FYI - Just before the new Mac Pro arrived, I checked and repaired any permissions issues via the Disk Utility. Once the new Mac arrived, it took four days to finally get things moved over from the main hard drive because of various problems. I held up the transfer from the other 3 drives and am glad that I did. After a bad optical drive was replaced, constant Finder problems have been occurring which appear to revolve around permission conflicts. In essence, the Mac OS on my Mac Pro appears to be schizophrenic and apparently, it is in need of a frontal lobotomy. In reviewing posts in this forum, I was surprised to learn that users have been reporting similiar issues ever since Lion was released. I was given the impression that my complaint about it was the first for the techs who have attempted to resolve the problem.


I do a large amount of photography using the HDR technique so it is important to arrange image icons in specific groupings and order within folders. We have all gotten used to having icons in the same place or configuration in folders each time we open them. This not only gives us a feeling of consistency but is a critical time save when dealing with images and other graphic files. Unfortunately, because of some overlooked programming issue, the Mac OS Lion is confused as to what permissions it should pay attention do. While working, icon arrangements are constantly changing causing many hours of additional work without let-up. There is also an issue that happens I would call Blinking for no better of a word to use. In certain folders, icons will dissappear then quickly show again. This can happen about every 10 - 14 seconds sometimes.


I have also noticed related problems with new software upgrades. They work fine at first, then all of a sudden, they do not. Simple slideshows exported to video using Lightroom now appear completely black. In Dreamweaver CS 5.5, I can connect to the ftp server but am not allowed to upload. I am stuck in limbo, not being able to migrate all my work over from the older computer because all folder icon layouts will be destroyed if I start working in them. It has also created licensing issues because now softwares are on two Mac Pros and a laptop. The latest tech support request is to either erase my new startup disk and installing softwares one at a time, or consider installing the more stable Snow Leopard. Has anyone figured out an answer? I have never had such a bad experience with an Apple product in over 20 years. I would highly recommend to professional graphic artists, photographers, or other visual professionals that rely on the consistency of icon views in folders to stay away from Mac OS Lion until the problems have been resolved. Hopefully Apple intends to correct this. It has already taken several months.

Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.1), 2 x 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
  • softwater Level 5 Level 5
    While working, icon arrangements are constantly changing causing many hours of additional work without let-up.


    If you arrange icons by, say, name (rather than last viewed or date created), doesn't the re-arranging behaviour stop?

  • AcadiaRush Level 1 Level 1

    No - Unfortunately. I often have to move from one folder to another. Things stay and for no reason when I move back to the main folder where I arranged image icons, it has reverted to a grid. Apple engineers have looked at quicktime videos and data captures and have determined that the computer is confused about some permissions. I am told that they do not know yet what causes this issue - either a migration problem from say Snow Leopard to Lion, or a problem in Lion itself.

  • ellegant Level 1 Level 1

    Well I might as well post here too! I have made my comments in a simlar forum. Maybe the more places complaints are made the more the possibility that Apple will pay attention and fix the problem. An update that Apple recognizes there is a problem and is working on it would certainly be nice. In many of my subfolders icons reszie to tiny after I have enlared them and even rearrange themselves out of "Name" order. I have tried several fixes posted elsewhere but they do not work. Order and size are maintained (usually) until a reboot when chaos again reigns. Come on Apple...

  • Hen3ry Level 2 Level 2

    Did the recently released 10.7.2 update  help with icon rearrangement, more broadly, "view instability"?


    My workflow is very dependent on my icon arrrangements and view stability in general, so I sympathize.  This was a serious bug in 10.7.


    For me, and a number of other users who posted on similar threads, 10.7.2 fixed that problem.   A few people report little or no improvement.

  • AcadiaRush Level 1 Level 1

    No. Lion 10.7.2 did not help. The theory now is that the migration process from Snow Leopard to Lion was and is faulty. It has been 7 weeks and 3 days so far since I received the new Mac Pro and it still is not working correctly. I just reinstalled Lion again. During tech support, I recently was also asked to partition the hard drive. This ucovered another issue. During the original migration process the hard drive became corrupted. Now, I must completely erase my hard drive and reinstall everything.


    Like you, my workflow requires that icons and folders stay where I place them. This problem may seem small to some but it is huge to me. It has caused me hundreds of hours of additional work and keeps destroying work I have done. I've also not dared to copy or migrate the 3 hard drives of files from my older Mac Pro until the problem is fixed. This has further complicated my life since upgrading to this newer Mac Pro.

  • Hen3ry Level 2 Level 2

    I'm really sorry to hear that 10.7.2 didn't solve your problem.  I can hear your frustration about taking all this time to work out problems you've encountered with your new machine.  I can imagine you aren't getting a lot of your "real work" done.


    I think many --perhaps nearly all-- users depend on view-option setting  and icon positioning stability.  After all, it has been a feature of Macs from the first.    For most it is simply assumed.


    Note:  I've been monitoring this issue for many weeks on a number of forums, and it is simply unclear what proportion of 10.7.x users actually experienced view stability issues.   For those who suffered the problem, as far as I can tell, it often emerged slowly.    Because of these factors, the issue might not have appeared on Apple's radar as quickly and clearly as we would all like.


    Please forgive me for asking, but did you set "Always open in icon view", folder-by-folder, after installing 10.7.2? Intially after installing 10.7.2, I found no improvement  in my icon-arranged folders until I did that. 


    It sounds like you have multiple issues and need to straight out the other ones independently.


    About your hard disk issue, some of my past experience suggests that MacOS is extremely protective of users with respect to hard disk issues.  So, you don't find out about problems --sometimes progressively fatal ones-- until very late. That lesson has been very useful to me.


    As far as the specific issue of transferring files _and_ icon arrangements from a Mac running MacOS 10.6:   Icon arrangement is apparently stored in invisible .DS_Store files in each folder.  I'm wondering if the bug in 10.7.0 and 10.7.1 corrupted those files.   So, yes, after you've got your new machine completely stable, I'm afraid there is no alternative to go back to your previous machine and get fresh copies of everything.  Maybe try initially with only one non-trivial icon-arranged folder?



  • ellegant Level 1 Level 1

    What finally worked for me!


    My internal Mac hard drive is my “filing cabinet” with all folders installed by Lion (Applications, Users, System, and Library) plus my personal folders and data in each visible when I click on and open the harddrive. My internal Mac hard drive icon is on my desktop. After a restart the file and folder icons inside most of the first level of my personal folders would shrink and rearrange themselves.


    After an hour on the phone with Apple Tech Support andt rying a variety of approaches, we finally solved the problem of the shrinking and rearranged icons. (Thank you Manny!!!) This is what finally worked for me and my new MacbookPro 15-inch delivered with Lion already installed.


    BTW I use a mouse….


    1. Right clicked on the internal hard drive icon on my desktop. (Note: “Out of the box “ when you startup with Lion the first time the Mac Hard Drive probably will not be visible on the desktop and you have to reveal it!)
    2. In the dialogue box that opened I selected and clicked on “Get Info.”
    3. A long window opened. We looked at Sharing & Permissions at the very bottom of the window. In the “You have custom access” window my log in name was not there. This was the culprit!!! But the box was grayed out.
    4. At the lower right hand corner of the long window I clicked on the padlock to open it.
    5. A dialogue box opened with my user name and asked for my Password. I entered my Password and clicked “OK.”
    6. The grayed out area of the Sharing & Permissions box immediately darkened.
    7. I clicked on the plus sign at the bottom left hand corner of the long window.
    8. A window opened at the top of the long box. I highlighted my name on the right hand side and then clicked on the “Select” button.  My name then appeared in the Sharing & Permissions box at the bottom of the long window.
    9. To the right of my name un "Privelege" I made sure that “Read & Write” was turned on (use the little arrows.)
    10. Back to the lower left hand corner and clicked on the gear and when the box opened I clicked on “Apply to enclosed items.”
    11. Back at the lower right hand corner of long window, clicked on the open padlock to close it and lock the settings.
    12. In each folder using “Show View Options”dialogue window I resized all the shrunken icons, set the Arrange to by “Name,” anything else I wanted, clicked on “Use as defaults” closed the window and moved on. When I rebooted everything had stabilized!
  • Hen3ry Level 2 Level 2



    It seems you can change the current view settings of a given _open folder no matter what -- no problem for anyone.


    But when you close the window, MacOS needs to record those settings for later use.  After all, you may not open that folder again for weeks or months.   The information is recorded in a not-normally-visible file called .DS_ Store in that folder.    What if you don't have permissions necessary to write to that file?   The new settings information is lost.


    "Permissions" has a detailed technical meaning, but you can think of it as a multiple-cylinder mechanical key lock. When all the pins are lined up properly, you can turn the lock and get in, that is,  modify a file or files.   If not, you cannot.  (That's a bit over-simplified, but it will do.)  


    The procedure you and Tech Support worked out makes sure that you have permissions all lined up so that you have have the right permissions on your entire hard disk.  Now, when you close a folder, you have the proper permissions, and the settings you are recorded.


    Permissions can and do get messed up sometimes.  I imagine that transferring files from another machine and installing a new OS (10.7) might be particularly risky times.


    D'oh!  I wish I'd thought of that.  Maybe this explains a) why some (many?) people didn't have the problem in the first place, or b) why the fix in 10.7.2 didn't work for some people.


    I've been monitoring other threads on this issue. I'll post an update on one or two of the most active and see what people think.

  • davidjohnson100 Level 1 Level 1

    that worked for me as well..


    I migrated from one MBP to a new one and needed to do this to get my desktop icons to stick in place after a shutdown.


    Thats what I like about these forums, solutions to actual problems are readily available. Thanks!

  • dabeenk Level 1 Level 1



    Almost a year later (after you wrote of your icon fix, I came across your words and experience with the Apple tech person. Thank you, thank you! --This has totally bugged me with the Mountain Lion OS, but now I've got it fixed, thanks to your post! Happy Camper!

  • ellegant Level 1 Level 1

    @#$!#%^^!!!!!!! It started again, out of nowhere. Icons in some folders have rearranged themselves and shrunk. Not in others. When I manually restore order and size to a folder, close it and then go back to it, the icons are messed up again! I repaired hard disk permissions. I checked on who owns what and can read and write to what and everything seems to be where it should be! I looked at some folders with Time Machine and the problem was not there 3 days ago. What did I do????? Hmmmm......

  • Hen3ry Level 2 Level 2

    (See my post above of 19 October 2011 , which describes my theory of why this occurs.)


    What I reallly want to do is open a terminal window on your Mac and change the current directory (folder) to one that just started failing for you. Then I want to use the command


         ls -le .DS_Store


    to get a full run-down of the  permissions for and ownership of the invisible file .DS_Store, which contains the icon arrangements, etc. for that folder.   Then, for comparison, I'd do the same for several folders that are still preserving icon arrangements.  My theory predicts a difference:  in the failing directory, permissions are set somehow that prevents you (and thus the Finder) from writing to .DS_Store in that directory.  If the permissions are the same in every case, my theory is a fail.


    But I'm not there...

  • ellegant Level 1 Level 1



    Thanks for sharing your theory. I did check permissions for my hard drive and a few of the problem folders. I changed the "wheel" to Read and Write. Did no good. I restarted. Voila! Everything back where it should be except for one of the problem folders. I redid the View Options and it was fine. So far all is well with my icons. Maybe restarting after Repairing Permissions and changing the hard drive wheel to Read and Write helped. Sigh.