When I use my MacBook at my Windows-centric office, it generates "shadow files" on our office server. How do I eliminate them?

When I use my MacBook at my Windows-centric office, it generates "shadow files" on our office server. How do I eliminate them?

If you want to customize the look of the Terminal window, go to Terminal > Window Settings, select Display from the pulldown at the top of the dialog box, and trick out the window's backgrond, font, and more.


As you've noticed, "shadow files" can be a bit of a nuisance to coworkers using Windows PCs if you work in a mixed Windows-Mac environment. These .DS_STORE files are invisible to you on your Mac, but they show up for Windows users who have "Show hidden files" checked in their folder preferences. The purpose of .DS_STORE files is to house folder data used by Mac OS X, including folder size, display preferences, and so on. But, obviously, when they're created in shared folders on a server that' mostly accessed by Windows users, they're more of a nuisance than a necessity.


To nix the creation of .DS_STORE files on your Mac, you'll need to launch the Terminal, which gives you direct, under-the-hood access to OS X's Unix underpinnings. Wait - come back! We didn't mean to scare you by mentioning Unix. Using the Terminal - as long as you type in commands exactly as they appear here - isn't scary. Just try to avoid experimenting with Terminal commands on your own because a mistyped command could potentially wreak havoc on your system. (If you want to get to know the Terminal a little more intimately, check out the Learn section of the April 2007 issue of Mac|Life.)


But back to the task at hand. Launch Terminal (/Applications/Utilities). Type the following bolded phrase exactly (including spaces):


defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true


Now press Return, then restart your Mac.


This operation will eliminate the creation of any new .DS_STORE files by your Mac. Keep in mind, however, that Macs also sometimes create hidden files called resource forks as well as hidden folders. There's no way to keep these files from being created using a Terminal command (that we know of), but there's a handy shareware utility called BlueHarvest ($10, www.zeroonetwenty.com) that can take care of this for you. BlueHarvest also takes care of the .DS_STORE problem, so if you want to skip the Terminal operation above, head straight to BlueHarvest's site instead.




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What downside is there, if any, to disabling DSStore files? It seems like there must be SOME reason not to.



From what I've read, the only downside is that Mac OS X won't have access to the information that is normally stored in DS_STORE files - essentially folder and file-viewing preferences (like whether you prefer list or thumbnail view). But it's not like you'll lose data or cause your Mac not to recognize (or be able to open) a file.



More research verified that.

Also, the freeware utility TinkerTool will turn off .DS_Store files for you, as well as lots of other awesome things!

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