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Finder Preferences

The Finder Preferences window enables you to customize several aspects of the desktop and Finder.


  • Mac OS X 10.2 added Finder Preferences settings for spring-loaded folders and search languages. Spring-loaded folders and finding files are discussed later in this chapter.

To set Finder Preferences

Choose Finder > Preferences (Figure 1) to display the Finder Preferences window (Figure 2).

Figure 1. Choose Preferences from the Finder menu.

Figure 2. The Finder Preferences window offers options for customizing the desktop and Finder.

Toggle check boxes to specify what items should appear on the desktop:

  • Hard disks displays icons for mounted hard disks.

  • Removable media (such as CDs) displays icons for removable media, including CDs, DVDs, Zip, Jaz, and floppy disks.

  • Connected servers displays icons for mounted server volumes.

Select a radio button to determine what should appear in a new Finder window (the window that appears when you choose File > New Finder Window):

  • Home displays the contents of your home folder (Figure 3).

  • Computer displays the icons for the network and all mounted volumes (Figure 4).

Figure 3 & 4. A new Finder window can display your Home folder (above) or the items your computer can access (below).

Toggle check boxes to set other options:

  • Always open folders in a new window opens a new window to display the contents of the folder you open. This makes Mac OS X work more like Mac OS 9.x and earlier.

  • Open new windows in Column View opens all new windows in column view, regardless of which view was last used to view the window.

  • Spring-loaded folders and windows enables the spring-loaded folders feature. You can use the slider to set the delay time for this feature.

  • Show warning before emptying the Trash displays a confirmation dialog (Figure 5) each time you choose Finder > Empty Trash. Turning off this check box prevents the dialog from appearing.

    Figure 5. The Trash warning dialog.

  • Always show file extensions displays file extensions in Finder windows (Figure 6).

    Figure 6. You can set up the Finder so it always displays file extensions as part of an item’s name.

To specify the languages you want to use when finding files by content, click the Select button. In the Languages dialog that appears (Figure 7), toggle check marks to indicate which languages are in your documents. Then click OK.

Figure 7. Use the Languages dialog to indicate which languages you will use with the find by content feature.

Click the Finder Preferences window’s close button to dismiss it and save your settings.


  • In step 5, choose as few languages as possible. This makes the index file used for finding files smaller and faster.

  • Spring-loaded folders and finding files are covered later in this chapter. Disks, mounting disks, and the Trash are discussed in Chapter 3. Views are discussed in Chapter 3 and later in this chapter.

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