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Old August 28th, 2007, 08:04 PM   #1
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Mac Question: Folders called "Desktop"

This is something that has always intrigued me...

On my Mac, ALL of my external drives have a folder called "Desktop". If you delete this folder, it reappears after a certain amount of time...

What is this magical reappearing folder? Can I permanent delete it, as there seems to be no point to its existence...
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Old August 28th, 2007, 08:46 PM   #2
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The same thing happens to me. It is kind of annoying.
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Old August 28th, 2007, 08:53 PM   #3
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Anyone have any ideas WHY it happens or HOW to stop it?

Tried googling, but it's hard to define a good search string...
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Old August 29th, 2007, 01:15 AM   #4
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I think this is a holdover from the pre MacOS X days, when the Desktop items physically did reside in a "Desktop folder" (invisible) for each volume. This meant that each volume needed to keep track of what files where being shown on the universal "Desktop."
For example, let's say you mounted an external hard drive in MacOS9 and then drags one of the files from within that drive to the desktop. The file was still on the volume, but just being presented visually on the desktop. If you trashed (unmounted) that drive then all of its desktop items would have disappeared as well until the next time it was mounted.

In MacOS X it doesn't work that way anymore. The universal desktop is gone. If you drag a file from an external volume to the "desktop" it copies the file to the main Macintosh HD (startup disk.)
This means that anything you see on the desktop has to exist on the startup disk, in the official Desktop folder.

So does it hurt to trash the desktop folders on your external drives? Not at all.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 01:23 AM   #5
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Thanks Tim!

Is there anyway of stopping OS X to keep making these now-useless folders?

As I said, once you delete it, it suddenly reappears...
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Old August 29th, 2007, 01:28 AM   #6
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What is the last application you open before it reappears? It could comeback if you open an app that requires the classic environment...or perhaps the system is running some process that is in classic...assuming that you have classic installed. Some applications will also try to call to it as a holdover to the OS9 days, just to see if it's there and available.

It's annoying, but really only takes up one leaf in the b-tree structure, so won't interfere with anything. If you'd like to stop seeing it, you can make it invisible...or perhaps reformat the drive (backup your stuff first or you'll lose it) and make sure the "install os9 drivers" option is unchecked as that may do it as well.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 01:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole McDonald View Post
...format the drive (backup your stuff first or you'll lose it) and make sure the "install os9 drivers" option is unchecked as that may do it as well.
That's a good point. It probably doesn't show up if those OS9 drivers aren't on the drive when it is formatted. I have a new USB2 drive that is formatted FAT32 and it doesn't have a Desktop Folder in the root.
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