Peek-a-Boo! I See You! Hidden Files

Cory Blog, Customizations, Mac, Security, Windows

Sometimes you just need to see everything. Luckily, you don’t need a special pair of hi-tech glasses to see every file on your computer.

Viewing hidden files on Windows is easy. Open a folder, go to Tools, Folder Options, View tab, Under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders.

Viewing hidden files under Mac OSx Leopard, is easy…once you set it up or know how. TheAppleBlog has created an excellent tutorial on how to do just this using Leopard’s built in Automator (to quickly access Automator, or any app on your system, press cmd+space bar and type the name of it in the blue Spotlight field). Viewing hidden files on your system has many benefits (and dangers) but one of the greatest uses for it is seeing whats taking up all that space on your USB jump drive.

Quick Tip: Show/Hide Hidden Files

Step 1: Automator Actions

After opening Automator, select Automator from within the Applications Library on the left-hand side. You’ll now see a number of different built-in actions that are available to the Automator application.
automator_action1.jpg
Select Run Shell Script from the list of available actions, and drag it into your workflow.

Type (or paste in) the following code into the Run Shell Script text box:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
killall Finder

shell_script_showall.jpg

Step 2: Save As Plugin

Now that your Automator workflow is finished (yes, that’s it), choose File > Save As Plugin… and choose Finder as the Application. Save your plugin-in as ShowHiddenFiles or something else descriptive.
save_as_plugin.jpg

Now, from the Finder or desktop, simply right-click (or cmd-click) and the contextual menu will appear. Choose Automator > ShowHiddenFiles and the Finder will restart showing all your hidden files.
right-click_showhiddenfiles.jpg

Step 3: Repeat

Seeing all those hidden files can start to be annoying and can lead to some unfortunate accidents if you happen to delete something you shouldn’t. So as soon as you’re done with the hidden files, simply edit the above workflow by substituting “FALSE” for “TRUE” and save the new plug-in as HideHiddenFile.

Now showing and hiding system files is as easy as a click away.