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Ask Mike Your Own Question

Mike, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 2186
Experience:  Apple trained Technician, A+ Certified, 20+ years of Mac support, repairs, training, and consulting
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I have a folder on my desktop It has 20 gb of stuff in it.

Customer Question

I have a folder on my desktop
It has 20 gb of stuff in it. I had to disconnect an extrnal hard drive because it got stuck.
Now the folder is freaked out. when I double click on it it changes from finder to the previous used app.
Cant even look at what is in it.
Any thoughts?
It always opens the last used app, sometimes mail sometimes photoshop.
after it opens in an app nothing happens. If I do file open it is the same. File info says that there is stuff in the folder.

Any thoughts?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.

Is this folder supposed to be on the Desktop of the External Drive? Or was it always on the Mac Desktop?

Do you have your install disk for this Mac?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
This folder was alway on the the desktop of my computer.
I dont have an install disk for this computer.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.

Then let's do this. Follow these instructions exactly and then see if it corrects the issue.

To run disk checking utility without booting from a CD/DVD do this:

Shut down your Computer.

Turn it back on and hold down the 'Command' and 'S' keys at the same time. Command is the Apple key.

Release the keys when you see a lot of text scrolling up the screen.

When the text stops and the Mac appears to be waiting for something, type in the following command EXACTLY:

/sbin/fsck -fy (note the space between fsck and -fy)

Hit return and the disk utility should run.

Let it finish. If it returns any errors, make a note of them and then run the command again.

When it finishes and there is no error, then type in reboot and hit return

Let the Mac boot up and see if it is still giving you problems.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Did all that, still the same.
when i double click on it it changes into the last used app., and I cant access whats in the folder.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.

Odd. I thought fixing the directory would help.

What is happening is the Finder is crashing. That's why it seems to go back to the last open app.

Let's trash the Finder prefs and see if that helps keep it from crashing.

Go to your Finder. Choose the Go menu and then choose Home from there.
In the Home window, open the Library folder and then open the Preferences folder.

Look for and delete/Trash the file named:

Do not empty the trash. Restart the Mac immediately.

See if that helped.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Now when I double click on it, it opens the preference window for the finder.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.

When you double-click the Folder? Or the Finder plist we trashed?

What icon does the folder have?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
When I double click the folder on the desktop.

Just your basic blue folder.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.

Hmm. We may have to resort to some Terminal commands to copy those files and then remove that folder permanently.

I'll be back with either the commands, or another expert to help.

Hang on...
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
Ok, here goes.

Be careful here. If you can click and drag that folder but not open it, this will go much easier.

Go to your Utilities Folder and this time open Terminal.
Type in the following commands:

cd ~/Desktop Press return key on keyboard after each line from here on

cp -R [drag the folder from your Desktop into the Terminal window] [press space bar]Users/your short username/Desktop/folderbu press return

This will take a while depending on the file types. Wait for the Terminal to come back with 'Mikesmacbook:Desktop macmikey$" Obviously your details will be there.

Your short username can be found in the System Preferences - Accounts. it is always lowercase.

When Terminal is done and you get the prompt back, type in the following and then drag the original folder in again.

rm -r [drag folder here]
then press return key. Folder will be removed immediately.

That should do it.

If you want exact commands, give me your short username and the exact name of the folder and I'll type it out so you can copy and paste.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I tried that and it didn't work either. My short username isCustomer
should I try again with with you sending me the commands?
Is there any way I can send you a screen capture to show you what it looked like?
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.

Need to be more spcific. What did not work?

I also need the exact name of the folder to create the commands.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The name of the folder is Tad.

This is what it looked like.

Last login: Sun Nov 1 11:48:39 on console
Welcome to Darwin!
tad-saddoris-computer-2:~Customer cd ~/desktop
tad-saddoris-computer-2:~/desktopCustomer /Users/Customer/Desktop/Tad/ folderbu
-bash: /Users/Customer/Desktop/Tad/: is a directory
tad-saddoris-computer-2:~/desktopCustomer rm -r/Users/Customer/Desktop/Tad/
rm: illegal option -- /
usage: rm [-f | -i] [-dPRrvW] file ...
unlink file
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
Whoops, you did that wrong. Spaces missing.

Here is what you want. line by line. Copy and paste each line and then hit return after each one:

cd ~/Desktop

cp -R /Users/Customer/Desktop/Tad /Users/Customer/Desktop/TadBU

CHECK THE COPY It is called TadBU. Make sure the folder has your files and you can open it.
When done, copy this line in:

rm -r /Users/Customer/Desktop/Tad

That line will delete the Tad folder and leave TadBU on the Desktop.

Remember, this takes time to complete. Wait until the command line cursor returns to you before attempting the rm -r command.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
That didnt work.
The monitor is flashing every second or two as if it is trying to open something.
It has been doing this for an hour or so. tried to restart it a couple of times and
the monitor is just flashing.I'm writing to you on an other computer.
Any ideas? Im getting a little nervous now.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.

Be more specifc... What did you type /copy in and and how far did you get?

It may be the Finder has completey crashed and we may need to re-install the OS.

Let me know,
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I think the finder has completely cashed.
I will try to reinstall the os later on today.
Will this wipe out all of my files and apps?
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
No. Just make sure to reply to me when ready. We want to do an Archive & Install so you keep your Giles intact.

So make sure to get back to me first.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
Yep. I'll be waiting.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I now have the os x discs 1 and 2 ready.
It is version 10.5
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.

Insert disk one and then restart.

Hold down the OPTION/ALT key on restart and keep down until you see a screen with 2 arrows on it.

Wait for the Cursor to return control to you, click on the Installer disk and then click the right arrow.

The installer will run. Follow the prompts until you get to the destination screen.

Click once on your Hard Drive icon and then on the Options button below it.

In here, click on Archive & Install and make sure to check the Preserve Users and Settings box. VERY IMPORTANT STEP.

Close that window and then continue the Install.

When done, the Mac will restart, maybe more than once. This is normal.

When it does finally boot in the Finder, go immediately to your Apple Menu and choose Software Update. Keep running SU each time it restarts until it says you are up to date.

Do not run any applications or do anything else until Software Update has run all the updates for your Mac.

When it is done, you are done. You may/will need to add the Printer back in if you use one.

That's it.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I didn't get the screen with two arrows.
The screen that comes up has a icon of hard-drive and one of installer disc.
when i click on installer disc a arrow appears. I clicked that and then was prompted by language choices.
I selected english, the next screen said that it can not install osx
This computer last os was 10.4 and I only have the 10.5 available on disc. is this what is causing the problem with the install?
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
No problem.

When you click on the Hard Drive icon then you choose the Options button below it.

Then keep following my instructions above.

You are doing fine and on the right track.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I got a window that says "couldnt open "optional installs mpkg"
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
Are you using Disk one?

Optional installs is on disk 2.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I inserted disc 2 and held down option key, hard-drive icon comes up, clicked on that.
now i have desktop with installer disc on it. what should I do now? When I double click on disc I get a screen telling me to insert disc one and install osx bundled software.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.

You need disk one, not 2.

Boot from disk one and then follow instructions

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Never got yo the options part on disc one, but I noticed the screen stopped flashing and the finder was working again. On the desktop wasthe folder named Tadbu that we created some time back, I can open it and had all my stuff in it.
Not sure how that all happened but everything looks fine.
Should I run disc utilities and macjanitor and call it a day? it seems to be opening that new folder and the images fine.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.

What may have happened was the Finder was crashing trying to allow the folder to be deleted by the Terminal command you issued.

It is great to hear that the folder BU was created.

I would go ahead and make sure all is in working order and yes, I think you are done.

Mike and other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for all you help.
You did a great job at solving my problem.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
Thank you. Very unuaual problem and I appreciate your sticking with me during this.

Please come back again,