How to Set Finder Preferences in Mac OS X Lion Finder - dummies

How to Set Finder Preferences in Mac OS X Lion Finder

By Bob LeVitus

You can find Finder and Desktop preferences in Mac OS X Lion by choosing Finder→Preferences. In the Mac OS X Lion Finder Preferences window that appears, you find four panes: General, Labels, Sidebar, and Advanced.


In the General pane, you find the following options:

  • Show These Items on the Desktop check boxes: Select or deselect these check boxes to choose whether icons for hard drives; external disks; CDs, DVDs, and iPods; and connected servers appear on the Desktop.

  • New Finder Windows Open pop-up menu: Here, you can choose whether opening a new Finder window displays All My Files, your Home folder, the Documents folder, or other disk or folder.

  • Always Open Folders in a New Window check box: Selecting this box spawns a new window each time you open a folder or disk.

  • Spring-loaded folders and windows: Check the box to enable the feature and then drag any icon (except a disk icon) onto any folder or disk icon. When the folder or disk icon is highlighted, don’t release the mouse button. After a delay (which you set via the Delay slider), the highlighted folder icon “springs” open.

As long as the box is checked you can make folders spring open instantly by pressing the spacebar regardless of the delay you’ve specified with the Delay slider.

The Labels pane lets you rename the colored labels that appear in the File menu. The default names are the same as their color, but you can change them to anything you like by entering new labels in the text boxes.

The Sidebar pane lets you choose which items are displayed in the Sidebar. Select the check box to display the item; deselect the check box to not display it.

The Advanced pane is just big enough to offer the following check boxes and a pop-up menu:

  • The Show All Filename Extensions check box tells the Finder to display the little two-, three-, four-, or more-character filename suffixes (such as .doc in summary.doc) that make your Mac’s file lists look more like those of a Windows or Linux user.

  • The Show Warning before Changing an Extension check box allows you to turn off the nagging dialog that appears if you attempt to change the two-, three-, four-, or more-character file extension.

  • The Show Warning before Emptying the Trash check box (on by default) allows you to turn off the nagging dialog telling you how many items are in the Trash and asking whether you really want to delete them.

  • The Empty Trash Securely check box makes Secure Empty Trash the default. The Secure Empty Trash feature overwrites deleted files with meaningless data so neither the files nor their contents can be recovered.

  • The When Performing a Search pop-up menu lets you choose the default search location when you initiate a search.