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How to Get Info About Mountain Lion Icons

Every icon in OS X Mountain Lion has an Info window that gives you — big surprise! — information about that icon and enables you to choose which other users (if any) you want to have the privilege of using this icon. The Info window is also where you lock an icon so that it can’t be renamed or dragged to the Trash.

To see an icon’s Info window, click the icon and choose File→Get Info (or press Command+I). The Info window for that icon appears.

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Documents, folders, and disks each have slightly different Info windows.

The gray triangles reveal what information for an icon is available in this particular Info window. The sections that you see for most icons include the following:

  • Spotlight Comments: Provides a field in which you can type your own comments about this icon for Spotlight to use in its searches.

  • General: For information of the general kind, such as

    • Kind: What kind of file this is — an application, document, disk, folder, and so on

    • Size: How much hard drive space this file uses

    • Where: The path to the folder that contains this file

    • Created: The date and time that this file was created

    • Modified: The date and time that this file was last modified (that is, saved)

    • Version: Copyright information and the file’s version number

    • Label: Choose or change the color label.

    Five other check boxes may or may not appear in the General section of a particular Info window. Here’s the scoop on this quintet of optional options:

    • Open in 32-bit mode (check box): Most late-model Macs can take advantage of Mountain Lion’s high-performance 64-bit processing mode. Some applications are designed to take advantage of Mountain Lion’s faster 64-bit processing mode, but sometimes programs that should run in 64-bit mode don’t run properly.

      If an application doesn’t work properly — it often quits unexpectedly, freezes, or refuses to launch at all — try selecting this check box. It couldn’t hurt. Note that this option is only available for applications that are designed to run in both modes; if you don’t see this check box, that means the program you’re using can only run in one mode.

    • Shared folder (check box): Designates the folder as Shared, so other users are allowed to see and use its contents.

    • Stationery Pad (check box): This one only appears in the Info window of document icons. If you select it, the file becomes a template. When you open a Stationery Pad document, a copy of its contents appear in a new Untitled document that you would typically save with a descriptive name.

    • Locked (check box): If this box is checked, you receive a warning if you try to put the item in the Trash: “This item is locked. Do you want to move it to the Trash anyway?”

      Your options are Stop and Continue. If you continue, the item goes into the Trash as usual. Then, when you try to empty the Trash, you receive another warning: “There are some locked items in the Trash. Do you want to remove all the items, including the locked ones, or just the unlocked ones?”

      Your choices this time are Cancel, Remove Unlocked Items, and Remove All Items. If you choose to Remove All Items, the locked item(s) are deleted. If you choose Remove Unlocked Items, the locked item(s) remain in the Trash, and you receive the “There are some locked items” warning again the next time you try to empty it.

      To remove the locked item from the Trash, click the Trash icon in the Dock and drag the locked item out of the Trash and into a folder or onto the Desktop.

  • More Info: When the file was created, modified, and last opened (documents only).

  • Name & Extension: Tells the full name, including the (possibly hidden) extension.

  • Preview: When you select a document icon, the menu offers a Preview option that you use to see a glimpse of what’s in that document. You can also see this preview when you select a document icon in Column view; it magically appears in the rightmost column.

    If you select a QuickTime movie or sound, you can play your selection right there in the preview pane without launching a separate application. Neat.

  • Sharing & Permissions: Governs which users have access to this icon and how much access they are allowed.

If you press the Option key before you pull down the Finder’s File menu, the Get Info command changes to Show Inspector (alternatively, press cmd+Option+I). The Inspector window looks and acts like a Get Info window for the most part, with two whopping exceptions:

  • It displays info for the currently selected icon. Click a different icon and the inspector displays different info. So you can Get Info on lots of icons by using the arrow keys or pressing Tab or Shift+Tab. Try it — it’s cool.

  • It displays cumulative info when you select multiple icons. This is an easy way to determine the total size of several items (files or folders) all at once.

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