Show or hide invisible files in Leopard

To display all hidden files, open up the terminal and type,
        defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
Change “TRUE” to “FALSE” to hide the files

Then restart the Finder
        killall Finder

Update Apparently this first method no longer works with the newer update of Leopard, so I’ve added a couple of alternative methods.
1) In Mac OS X, files and folders can be hidden by putting a “.” (without the quotes) in front of the file name.

2) Open up the terminal and type,
        mv ~/Desktop/File ~/Desktop/.File
An easy way to get the paths is to type mv (don’t forget the space), drag the folder or file you want hidden into the terminal twice, and using the arrow keys add a . before the last file name.

3) Open up the terminal and type,
        chflags hidden ~/Desktop/File
Again, you can get the path using the drag’n’drop method. Also, this method doesn’t hide the file in the terminal. To reverse it use nohidden instead of hidden.


6 Responses to “Show or hide invisible files in Leopard”

  1. Michael Hale Says:

    Thanks for this useful tip Matthew, it came up as the first hit when I Googled “show all invisible files in leopard” ✌

  2. hilarleo Says:

    OS X won’t let users begin file names with a dot [.] b/c “these names are reserved for the system”.
    So this is _not_ a way to “hide” files in OS X.

  3. Matthew Says:

    Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I’ve added a couple of additional methods that still work.

  4. David Zuric Says:

    I reloaded leopard and gave command to Archive and Install.

    However I cannot find “previous System now anywhere but the space on HDD is taken. Something is taking over 80GB with new installation and I cannot retrieve the old files. Funny enough only a few of the old ones got saved in documents.

    Anywbody knows how to dig deep and find “previpous system”
    hidden away somewhere.


  5. David Zuric Says:

    I am writing another message to be able to tick for notification of the reply.


  6. Matthew Says:

    Well, an Archive and Install should only affect system files. It should move the old system files into a folder called “Previous System”, probably in the base folder of your boot drive. The 80GB is probably this folder. Dig around in it and see if you can find what you’re missing.

    I’ll also suggest, if you’re not using it, use Time Machine or some other sort of backup system. The price of an external hard drive seems extremely cheap after the first time you lose data.

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