Avoid changing names of OS X home folder directories

The user's home folder in OS X contains a number of default directories including the Documents, Downloads, Desktop, Library, Movies, Music, and Pictures folders. While these locations do not have to be used to store your files, even if you rarely use these folders to store your files we recommend you do not rename or remove them.

OS X should have default permissions settings on these folders that prevent them from being inadvertently renamed; however, if you migrate your system, restore it from backup, or purposefully change permissions, then this restriction might change and allow you to rename the … Read more

Managing files with forward slashes in their names

In the classic Mac OS, colon characters were used to separate folders in a file path, but in Unix-based systems the folder separator is a forward slash character. These characters are prevented from being used in file names because it would confuse the system when trying to access the file. When Apple developed OS X, the use of the forward slash was adopted because of its Unix underpinnings, so in OS X you cannot include a true forward slash in a file name.

This may cause some confusion, since in the Finder you can rename files to include a forward … Read more

Rescue lost files in a crash

Data Rescue can help you retrieve lost files, whether they were destroyed in a hard-drive crash or just accidentally deleted by some overzealous trash-emptying.

This app has an easy--and even kind of fun--interface, with 3D animations that show available drives and your options for diagnosis and recovery. Once you've chosen a drive to examine, Data Rescue prompts you for an additional drive to use as "workspace" and gives you six choices: a Quick Scan or Deep Scan to find recoverable files; a Deleted Files Scan (good for an accidental deletion on an otherwise healthy drive); Clone, which … Read more

Cover creator

Ever wish you could get a visual representation of what's in a folder on your computer? Now you can quickly and easily assign images to be displayed on folders in Explorer's thumbnail view with Fast Folder.JPG. This tiny app lets you customize your folders with a simple drag-and-drop process.

There are several ways to use Fast Folder.JPG, and all of them are easy. You can open the program, launching a small square interface. Onto this interface you can drag the folder you want to customize and, if there's only one image in it, the program … Read more

Size matters

With Windows, it can be hard to see the trees for the forest; it does a pretty good job with the "big picture," but you've got to do some clicking to see the details, which actually makes it harder to get an accurate overview of your system. JAM's TreeSize Free is a nifty bit of freeware that displays the size of every folder and file, including every subfolder, in a series of expandable Explorer-like tree views. You can use TreeSize Free as a standalone app activated from the desktop or start menu, but you can also … Read more

'Untitled DVD' folders remaining in Finder sidebar

When a blank CD or DVD is handled by the Finder, a special burn folder is created for that disc which appears on the Desktop or in the Finder sidebar. Burn folders in OS X usually are static folders that remain until you remove them, but the ones representing optical discs should be created when the disc is inserted, and then destroyed when the disc is either ejected or burned. Despite this, some people may find that after managing a number of blank CDs or DVDs, the Finder will retain a few burn folders in the sidebar that are labeled &… Read more

File information options in OS X

Getting information for items on disk, including details like creation and modification dates, labels, file sizes, and file type, can be useful when managing your files. The Finder contains a number of ways to view this information about files, which can be seen in different ways depending on the view options you are using in the Finder. In addition, the Finder information windows and some third-party options can be used to view and alter file attributes.

Finder views

The file information that is available in the Finder will depend on the view being used.

In "List" and "… Read more

Tips for printing folder contents in OS X

There are times when you might want to print or save the contents of a folder, but unfortunately while the Finder will list folder contents, it does not have any options for saving or printing them. Nevertheless, there are some possible routes for saving window contents or printing them, either as screenshots or as text lists of the items.

ScreenshotsScreenshots can be captured several ways using combinations of the Shift, Command, and "3" or "4" buttons to take screenshots of entire screens, selections, or even individual windows if you invoke a selection screenshot (Shift-Command-4) and then … Read more

Share files with other computers

Dropbox is the iOS companion app to the free Dropbox Web service and desktop software. If you have Dropbox set up on your Mac, this app lets you sync, share, and download files and folders from your computer using your iPhone or iPad.

The Dropbox mobile app basically gives you another interface for accessing your Dropbox folder, a local folder that you set up on your Mac. Anything you put in that folder, you can see on your iPhone or iPad. The interface gives you tools to view the file (surprisingly quickly, and without losing quality even with MP3s and … Read more

Apple releasing iOS 4.2 today

Apple is launching iOS 4.2 today.

The company announced that its latest operating system update for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad users will be available today, though the software was not yet available for download at 7:00 a.m. PT on Apple's site or directly through iTunes. MacStories and MacWorld are reporting that iOS 4.2 will debut by 10:00 a.m. PT.

The eagerly awaited update will bring to the iPad new features that already hit the iPhone and iPod Touch through last summer's iOS 4.0 release.

iPad users will now be able … Read more