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"Rebuild Desktop" (final) - Mac Applications & Software

This is the procedure to "Rebuild-the-Desktop" on OS 10.2.6 (might possibly also work on OSs between 10.2 and 10.2.6) It won't work on earlier versions of OSX like OS-10.1, because the files and directories use different names. No harm should be done (I hope) - because all the files we are removing here will be recreated by the OS when we do a restart. Commercial utilities like "Tail" offer the option of removing all the ".DS_Store" files for example, so removing these files should not cause any disaster. Any benefits noticed by rebuilding will be more pronounced in an OS-10.2.6 ...

  1. #1

    Default "Rebuild Desktop" (final)


    This is the procedure to "Rebuild-the-Desktop" on OS 10.2.6
    (might possibly also work on OSs between 10.2 and 10.2.6)

    It won't work on earlier versions of OSX like OS-10.1, because the
    files and directories use different names.

    No harm should be done (I hope) - because all the files we are removing
    here will be recreated by the OS when we do a restart.

    Commercial utilities like "Tail" offer the option of removing all
    the ".DS_Store" files for example, so removing these files should not
    cause any disaster.

    Any benefits noticed by rebuilding will be more pronounced in an
    OS-10.2.6 if that OS has been running for months, allowing the desktop
    files to bloat up appreciably.

    I intend to rebuild my desktop files about every three months.

    The desktop files we are removing here are pretty well agreed in the
    Google forums to be the one's most likely to become bloated and need
    rebuilding.

    No doubt there are many other minor files that might benefit also,
    because Apple has these "desktop" files scattered all over, instead of
    being centralized, as they were in OS9.




    Go to the root account, to make it easy to remove these system files.

    Open this directory (folder) by typing from Terminal:

    cd /Library/Caches/

    List the contents of the directory, to make certain we will remove the
    correct file :

    ls -a

    Assuming we are in the correct directory and the file we are interested
    in removing is there, type this exactly to remove that file :

    rm com.apple.LaunchServices.UserCache.csstore

    Now type ls -a again to verify that the file is no longer listed.



    Okay, that is one file, on to the next one, which should also be listed
    in the same directory, let's remove that file also:

    rm com.apple.LaunchServices.LocalCache.csstore

    Again, list the files with ls -a to make sure the file is no longer
    listed.



    Move to the next directory and the next file to be removed:

    cd /Library/Preferences/

    List the files to make sure the file we want to remove is in that
    directory:

    ls -a

    Remove that file :

    rm com.apple.LaunchServices.plist

    Verify the file is no longer listed:

    ls -a



    Now let's remove the (potential) 18,000 versions of the file .DS_Store
    from every directory of our OSX partition:

    find . -name .DS_Store -delete

    In other words:
    ("find" <space> "." <space> "-name" <space> ".DS_Store" <space>
    "-delete" ...then press the return-key to activate the command)

    This will take a minute or so to complete and get our Terminal prompt
    back, do to the large number of files.

    Exit the Terminal application, we are (almost) through.

    Now, before doing anything else, log out and then immediately log back
    in again as root user, this causes all our removed files to be
    _actually_ removed from disk.

    Do a ls -a from any one of the directories that we were in
    previously, to verify that the file we removed is still not listed as
    being on the disk.


    That completes "Rebuilding-the Desktop" of OS 10.2.6


    Now we can do a computer restart if we wish, and we will find that new
    slim pristine "desktop-files" have been created in place of the bloated
    one's we so laboriously removed.

    Mark-
    Mark Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article <010920031204237689%com>,
    Mark Conrad <com> wrote:
     

    What about the Library/Caches/com.apple.LaunchServices.UserCache.csstore
    and Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.plist files in each
    user's local directory?
     

    --
    Tom Stiller

    PGP fingerprint = 5108 DDB2 9761 EDE5 E7E3
    7BDA 71ED 6496 99C0 C7CF
    Tom Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    On 9/1/03 3:34 PM, in article
    comcast.giganews.com, "Tom Stiller"
    <net> wrote:
     
    >
    > What about the Library/Caches/com.apple.LaunchServices.UserCache.csstore
    > and Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.plist files in each
    > user's local directory?
    > [/ref]
    Are you familiar with Xupport? It has buttons for "Clear LS Cache" and
    "Delete .DS_Store's" .These seem like they do the procedure you describe.
    Xupport pulls together in one place a lot of other utilities as well.
    Be sure to get the version compatible with your version of OS X.

    Doug Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article <010920031204237689%com>,
    Mark Conrad <com> wrote:
     

    why do we want to do this? granted, there might be a lot of .DS_Store files
    on one's disk, but they are tiny and as far as I know only accessed when
    you actually open a folder (I do NOT know this for a fact, only assuming).
    and they serve a useful function when they ARE accessed. so, why would we
    want to delete them all?
    sam Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article
    <comcast.giganews.com>, Tom
    Stiller <net> wrote:
     
    >
    > What about the Library/Caches/com.apple.LaunchServices.UserCache.csstore
    > and Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.plist files in each
    > user's local directory?[/ref]

    Yipes, you are right, plus maybe some other cache's we have not thought
    of. If the utility "tail" removes the caches you mentioned, I
    figure it is safe for me to do so also.

    In fact, I can do everything I am presently doing with tail, so
    this whole project was an exercise in futility.

    I did learn a few things while I was banging around here, however.

    On another unrelated subject, the author of "DeLocalizer" was nice
    enough to show the shell command "find" that actually did the work of
    his utility that removes all foreign-language support from OSX, so I
    learned a little by looking at his 'find' routine.

    I used his routine instead of the GUI version of his util and it worked
    great, saving about 400 MBs of space on my OSX partition.

    Never dawned on me that I could learn by looking at other people's
    shell code - - - now all I have to do is find a book of shell code,
    preferably for the bash shell which will be in Panther.

    Mark-
    Mark Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article <BB79291F.92CA%rr.com>, Doug Day
    <rr.com> wrote:
     

    Sounds like there are several utilities that do roughly the same thing.

    I use a free util' named "tail" that does everything I was doing in
    rebuilding the OSX desktop, but I did not find that out until I was
    well into my "project".<g>

    Thanks for the pointer to Xupport, I will check it out.

    I am really enthused about this Terminal stuff, trying to learn more
    without getting too bogged down in Unix.

    Mark-
    Mark Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article <kAO4b.325374$Ho3.47549sccrnsc03>, sam grey
    <com> wrote:
     
    >
    > why do we want to do this? granted, there might be a lot of .DS_Store files
    > on one's disk, but they are tiny and as far as I know only accessed when
    > you actually open a folder (I do NOT know this for a fact, only assuming).
    > and they serve a useful function when they ARE accessed. so, why would we
    > want to delete them all?[/ref]

    Very good question.

    I am pretty sure you are correct about them only being accessed when
    you actually open a folder.

    In fact, I think if a .DS_Store file is removed from a folder
    (directory) - that it then _stays_ removed until such time as you
    actually try to open that directory, then the Finder spots the fact
    that the .DS_Store file is missing, and re-creates it.

    What I _don't_ know is whether or not the .DS_Store file for the
    directory becomes extremely bloated when files in that directory are
    continually created and deleted.

    I did not yet do sufficient experimentation to nail down that angle.

    If the .DS_Store files becomes bloated, like its counterpart did in
    OS9, then that would be sufficient reason for me to periodically delete
    the files, say every 3 months or so.

    Mark-
    Mark Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    Mark Conrad writes:
     

    But of course.

    I guess the problem with many man pages is that they tell all that can
    be done, and some of that is rarely needed. Actual code shows things
    that people actually do. On the other hand, er, never mind.
     

    I bet you have it already: /bin/bash. You can change your default
    shell with Netinfo Manager - it says somewhere there that your "shell"
    is "/bin/tcsh" - or with the corresponding command line tools. I've
    only used Netinfo Manager. Books say messing with Netinfo can make
    your computer unusable, so mess with care.

    Panther is just rumoured to make bash the default.
    --
    Jussi
    Jussi Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    Mark Conrad writes:
     
    [...] 
    [...] 

    Just a minor detail about that dot. At this point of the process you
    are in /Library/Preferences, so . refers to /Library/Preferences, and
    "find" will only find and delete below /Library/Preferences.

    To achieve what you mean to achieve, either do

    cd /
    find . -name .DS_Store -delete

    or do

    find / -name .DS_Store -delete

    Another thing:
     
    [...] 

    They are pretty gone already. Logging out and in changes nothing at
    all about that.
    --
    Jussi
    Jussi Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    On 9/2/03 1:31 AM, in article 010920032233409021%com, "Mark
    Conrad" <com> wrote:
     
    >
    > Sounds like there are several utilities that do roughly the same thing.
    >
    > I use a free util' named "tail" that does everything I was doing in
    > rebuilding the OSX desktop, but I did not find that out until I was
    > well into my "project".<g>
    >
    > Thanks for the pointer to Xupport, I will check it out.
    >
    > I am really enthused about this Terminal stuff, trying to learn more
    > without getting too bogged down in Unix.
    >
    > Mark-[/ref]
    The CLI can be useful at times. When I first got my ibook with 10.1 on it I
    was having trouble deleting a file but since I had used VMS, UNIX , DOS,
    Windows in my job, I was very familiar with CLI concepts and capabilities
    and just used rm to delete it after becoming root user. Probably there was a
    more Mac like solution.

    I haven't read every posting in this thread but it isn't clear to me that
    people realize that "." at the the start of a file name mean means the file
    is a hidden file. "ls -a" means list all files in the directory including
    hidden.

    Doug Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article <010920032233409021%com>,
    Mark Conrad <com> wrote:
     
    > I use a free util' named "tail" that does everything I was doing in
    > rebuilding the OSX desktop, but I did not find that out until I was
    > well into my "project".<g>
    >[/ref]
    tail is $10 Shareware...

    --
    James Meiss
    <http://amath.colorado.edu/faculty/jdm>
    James Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    Mark Conrad <com> wrote:
     
    > >
    > > What about the Library/Caches/com.apple.LaunchServices.UserCache.csstore
    > > and Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.plist files in each
    > > user's local directory?[/ref]
    >
    > Yipes, you are right, plus maybe some other cache's we have not thought
    > of.[/ref]

    Actually that's the *only* place I find this file.
    And the plist files are in each users Library/Preferences
    folders, not in /Library/Preferences
    Anders Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article
    <comcast.giganews.com>, Tom
    Stiller <net> wrote:
     
    >
    > What about the Library/Caches/com.apple.LaunchServices.UserCache.csstore
    > and Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.plist files in each
    > user's local directory?[/ref]

    An even bigger question might be whether it would do any harm to delete
    every cache file in the OSX partition.

    As I understand it, any cache file is merely a "speedup" thing, a way
    for OSX to run a specific thing _faster_ if it is used a 2nd, 3rd,
    4th time, etc.

    I guess I could 'experiment' as I usually do, to see if all my
    applications run correctly after deleting _every_ "cache" file in the
    entire OSX partition. (and there are _many_ cache files)

    Life would sure be easier if there were some sort of book by Apple that
    explained the exact purpose of the thousands of files in OSX.

    I guess that is asking too much though, given the secretive nature of
    Apple where some of their "proprietory" files are concerned.

    Mark-
    Mark Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article <BB7A0FB0.9345%rr.com>, Doug Day
    <rr.com> wrote:
     

    Just to clarify the issue a little, I made a mistake concerning my
    so-called "hidden-directories".

    I had became confused concerning how OSX and HFS+ handled upper-case
    and lower-case names of directories.

    Because my login user-name and password were definately case sensitive,
    I jumped to the wrong conclusion about directory names _also_ being
    case sensitive.

    They are not, "cd /Library/" and "cd /library/" yield the same
    result.

    Mark-
    Mark Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article <ling.helsinki.fi>, Jussi Piitulainen
    <ling.helsinki.fi> wrote:
     
    >
    > Just a minor detail about that dot. At this point of the process you
    > are in /Library/Preferences, so . refers to /Library/Preferences, and
    > "find" will only find and delete below /Library/Preferences.
    >
    > To achieve what you mean to achieve, either do
    >
    > cd /
    > find . -name .DS_Store -delete
    >
    > or do
    >
    > find / -name .DS_Store -delete[/ref]


    Sorry, it was an ommission from my post, I actually did a "cd /" before
    I executed the "find" command.


    Mark posted - 
    > [...] 
    >[/ref]
    Jussi responded - 

    Thanks for that info'.

    I have a lot of confusion as to what logging out/in actually does,
    other than closing any open applications, windows, and doents.

    My OSX books do not go into detail about this.

    I assumed the "deleted" files were saved in some sort of cache file,
    and only "really deleted" at log-out or restart.

    Mark-
    Mark Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article <ling.helsinki.fi>, Jussi Piitulainen
    <ling.helsinki.fi> wrote:
     

    I hope the rumors are correct.

    I am dreading learning how to use bash, however. Heck I don't even
    know how to use the present tcsh shell yet.

    bash is supposed to be a lot better for so-called "scripting" of
    commands, according to some reports.

    Mark-
    Mark Guest

  17. #17

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    Mark Conrad <com> writes: 
    >
    > I hope the rumors are correct.[/ref]

    That's silly. If you cannot change your default shell,
    you've got bigger problems.

    man chsh
     

    Just because something's the default doesn't mean you're stuck
    with it. And OS X has come with alternatives to tcsh from the
    beginning - including zsh. To see what your options are for
    your login shell, look at /etc/shells
     

    tcsh, bash and zsh all have lots of features added to make
    interactive (ie. command-line) use convenient and helpful -
    things like filename completion (and, actually, for zsh,
    servername completion and lots of other things, too).

    But if you're writing scripts, you probably ought to keep
    them to the least common denominator - /bin/sh commands -
    or use, say, perl.

    --
    Plain Bread alone for e-mail, thanks. The rest gets trashed.
    No HTML in E-Mail! -- http://www.expita.com/nomime.html
    Are you posting responses that are easy for others to follow?
    http://www.greenend.org.uk/rjk/2000/06/14/quoting
    BreadWithSpam@fractious.net Guest

  18. #18

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    Mark Conrad <com> writes:
    [...] 
    If an application has a file open, the file will remain available to
    *that application* until closed, even if you delete the file elsewhere.
    So the file isn't "really deleted" while it's still in use. Logging out
    only "really deletes" a file because it happens to make the application
    exit that was using the file.
    --
    Dale J. Stephenson
    com
    3/27/87 -- Ed Hearn for David Cone. 12/20/02 -- Millwood for Estrada
    Schuerholz has finally topped himself.
    Dale Guest

  19. #19

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article <panix.com>,
    <net> wrote:
     

    This is Mark we're talking about. I imagine he'd try editing his user
    config file with some obscure mode of Emacs and then insist that he has
    to master the art of generating complete XML and his own DTD before he
    can change the shell.

    --
    Bruce Baugh <*> com
    Writer of Fortune, Gamma World Developer
    http://bruceb.livejournal.com/
    Bruce Guest

  20. #20

    Default Re: "Rebuild Desktop" (final)

    In article <030920030325428795%com>, Mark Conrad
    <com> wrote:
     

    Life is even easier if you just stop worrying about what all those
    files are for and let the computer take care of it. Apple has told you
    what you need to know about the files you need to know the purpose of.
    If you are just curious that's fine, but there is no need to know
    everything about the computer, it works fine regardless.

    --
    Jerry Kindall, Seattle, WA <http://www.jerrykindall.com/>

    When replying by e-mail, use plain text ONLY to make sure I read it.
    Due to spam and viruses, I filter all mail with HTML or attachments.
    Jerry Guest

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