Show Invisible Files, Force Delete Trash on Mac OS X with DesktopUtility

A lot of Mac users are familiar with how certain actions that are common on Windows, cannot be performed as trivially on Mac OS X. Often, they require you to use command line tools from the Terminal and change some preferences. A good example is if you want to change the default format in which screenshots saved by Mac OS X are stored, you must use the command line to do so. Similarly, if you want to show files that are hidden in Finder (which start with the ‘.’ character), then you must change a preference using the Terminal, and then relaunch Finder to see the hidden files/folders.

DesktopUtility is a freeware app for Mac OS X developed by SweetP Productions, which is a simple GUI which allows you to quickly perform some of the above mentioned actions using the familiar Mac OS X menu bar, and without having to bother with remembering or searching for the appropriate commands, or without the use the Terminal at all.

DesktopUtility is a pretty small and minimalistic app, with virtually no footprint at all. All it does is sit in your Mac OS X menu bar, and provides you with a few daily tasks which you might need every now and then.

The current version includes 4 utilities:

  • Show/Hide Desktop: This is a slightly unusual feature. What it does is it reloads a version of your desktop that is free of all icons, files and folders. It loads a completely clean desktop. The files are not removed/deleted, they are just temporarily hidden. A very nice option if you want to remove clutter from your desktop without going through the tiring process of manually cleaning it up.
  • Show/Hide Invisible Files: Since Mac OS X has its roots in Unix, all folder and file names which begin with the ‘.’ character are hidden by default in Finder. This include important system files such as .DS_Store and any other folders that do not need to be visible normally to the user. If you want to see them, you can just use this toggle setting.
  • Show/Hide User Library: This feature is unique to Mac OS X Lion. By default, the Library folder inside a user’s home folder is hidden in Lion. If you want the Library folder to be visible, you can use this setting.
  • Force Empty Trash: Sometimes when you try to empty the trash the normal way, it will not succeed because some folder/file which you moved to the Trash is locked or in use. This option helps you force empty the Trash ignoring any of those warnings.

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