Whenever you connect a USB drive or external/portable hard disk to a system running Mac OS X, several hidden files are created on it, which are stored inside a folder called ‘.DS_Store’. These files are important files that store your display related preferences such as the screen position of the Finder window where you last left it, and it also stores Spotlight indexing data.
While the contents of these Folders are usually very important for Mac users, and the folders don’t annoy Mac users at all since they are hidden, they are a big annoyance for Windows users. When you plug in that USB drive into any Windows system, you can see the .DS_Store folder and having to manually delete them is undesirable. In fact, this is not limited only to USB drives, the .DS_Store folder is created in any and every folder that is accessible to your Mac OS X system, be it a SMB share, or your local folders.
AppleOff is a handy little freeware utility that automatically deletes these annoying .DS_Store and other backup and hidden folders from specific locations. Apart from these files, AppleOff also removes the .Trashes files and ._* files, if any are present. You can change this behavior from the preferences.
To bring up the folder list, just press Cmd + . You can now add folder to this list by clicking on the + sign. Once you have added a folder to this list, all the .DS_Store in this directory and its subdirectories will be deleted automatically (and recursively). This ensures that you don’t have to delete it manually everytime that it is created.
Quick One Time Delete
Though AppleOff has the option to monitor certain folders/directories and recursively delete the hidden .DS_Store files in it, if you want to wipe clean a certain folder of these files JUST ONCE, then you can simply drag the folder to the AppleOff icon in the dock. AppleOff does the rest.
If the Option key is held down while the folder or drive is dragged on to the icon, the drive will be ejected after the cleaning is done.
Holding down the control key while clicking the “Clean Now’ button will enable admin privileges. This will allow the deletion of certain locked files or folders.
AppleOff maintains a log of all delete operations it performs, and can be viewed by pressing Cmd + / in the main window, or simply by clicking the Output button. AppleOff scans all your folders after every 5 minutes, and removes any of the .DS_Store files that have been created. If no new files have been created, you will see a blank output for that scan in the Output window.
Overall, AppleOff is a great app that takes care of this annoyance, which you would otherwise have to do manually.