KNOWLEDGEBASE - ARTICLE #1792

How to view files on your Mac that are normally invisible?

Last modified March 27, 2012

Why are files invisible? Why would I want to see invisible files?

To make things simpler (or "simpler") the Mac OS X hides some files from you. This prevents people from causing system problems by deleting or renaming or moving files. But it also prevents you from doing some troubleshooting. If we give you instructions to remove automatic backup folder, or the serial number file and the appropriate folders don't exist, you need to set your system to show invisible files. 

Method 1. Use Terminal

If you don't know what Terminal is, skip this section which is for Geeks only. 

To show hidden files and folders, enter this command into Terminal:

   defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

You won't see the hidden files until you restart Finder. To do this, hold down the Option key and click and hold on the Finder icon in the Dock. A contextual menu appears, Select the command Relaunch.

To hide those files again, enter this command into Terminal:

   defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE

Method 2. Use Onyx

Onyx is a free utility that does many kinds of first aid, preventative maintenance and troubleshooting on your Mac. One of the many things it can do is reconfigure Finder so it shows all invisible files. To do this, launch Onxy, get past its startup dialogs (which take a while), click on the Parameters button, choose the Finder tab, and then check the option to show hidden files and folders. (We are providing the link to be helpful, but of course can take no responsibility for applications that we didn't create.)

Method 3. Use TinkerTool

TinkerTool lets you change a bunch of settings in OS X, including making hidden files and folders visible. (We are providing the link to be helpful, but of course can take no responsibility for applications that we didn't create.)

 

 

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