Technology

Mac OSX Finder Refresh

Apple LogoNote: Mac OSX 10.5.x “Leopard” may not need this – however some users have reported it still adds value. Apple seem to have made some changes in the way Leopard interacts with the file system making automatic refreshes far more instant.

A small but annoying thing about Mac OSX is that sometimes it doesn’t refresh itself when a file or folder is changed – especially when dealing with SMB (Windows) share drives.

In Windows you can hit F5 to refresh the current Window, but Apple seemed to have forgotten to add this feature to Mac OSX.

Well I searched the web and finally found an Applescript to do this which is here:

tell application “Finder”
tell front window
update every item with necessity
end tell
end tell

Now thats fine, but I wanted something that would tie into the Finder window. So I grabbed the refresh icon from a Firefox theme (GrApple) and made an Application Package in Script Editor. So here it is for people that want it:


Download Link
Version 1.5


 

To install:

1. Unzip to your Applications Folder *
2. Open a Finder window.
3. Go to Applications and scroll to “Finder Refresh”
4. Left-click & drag Finder Refresh to the Finder window toolbar – you should see the other icons spread out.
5. Let go of the mouse button and there you go – should look like below.

* If your web browser auto-unzip’s (ie Safari) then “Finder Refresh” will be in your download directory so you can skip Step 1

Finder Refresh Installed

From then on just click the button to refresh the currently open Finder window. It works for me, and now one small thing no longer annoys me.

Uninstallation: To Remove from the Finder Window, Hold down the Command/Apple key, left click on the icon and drag off the Finder Window – you’ll see your mouse cursor turn into a cloud, at this point let go of your mouse button. Done!


1.1 Update Note: I have added the code necessary to make this script run in the background (so it’s more integrated) and rolled the version number to 1.1 . Thanks to this post here for the necessary steps.

1.2 Update Note: Thanks to commenter kristaps, the issue with the edit screen coming up has been fixed. I have added the change and rolled the version number to 1.2

1.3 Update Note: After way too much time and enough requests, I’ve updated the icon to a hand-crafted icon that I hope you like. It should now closely match the standard Leopard Finder Icons.

1.4 Update Note: Updates the icon again to a vector version made by Cicciokun from http://www.360fun.net/blogfun/. Thanks!

1.5 Update Note: Icon size has been adjusted so that it is the correct size on Lion. Previous version 1.4 is still available if you don’t like it.

Regards,
Shane.

98 thoughts on “Mac OSX Finder Refresh”

  1. It’s what I’ve been looking for, as even a simple file update is not reflected sometimes. Especially on a download that is continuously updating the file. No way to tell if the file is still being updated unless you move away from the directory and then move back. So this is a very good little addition to finder.

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  2. Erik,The Desktop is a Finder entity too – just open a Finder window, select Desktop from the left hand menu then hit the Refresh button.That *should* work 😕 Regards,Shane.

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  3. That’s just cool… Where have you been? You supposed to make this tool earlier…. I’ve been looking this kind of tool for long time ago 😛 😛 .Thank you.

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  4. I should also say – thanks to everyone for the positive comments on my Finder Refresh tool – I’m glad others find it useful.Regards,Shane.

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  5. Bobby,Google Translator tells me that means something along the lines of “Continuing not possible” (actually Google says “Do not continue possible”).I can only assume for some reason the Applescript is having an issue on your machine. Try using Disk Utility to repair permissions on your drive and see if that does anything. Other than that – what version of Mac OSX are you running?Thanks,Shane.

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  6. Thank you for your answer. I have a G4 Mac, maybe the Skript runs on Intel only? I later had the idea to restart the Finder via alt-appel-esc – not very elegant, but it helped!

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  7. This works in the finder (even when viewing the Desktop folder) but unfortunately not on the Desktop itself. Any suggestions? I’m running 10.4.9 on a MBP.

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  8. This is great, I really miss the F5 feature of windows on a mac when using shared disks. Is there an easy way to map a function key (say maybe F5) to this script? Great work on this simple fix!

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  9. Thank you for providing a solution to an obvious need!The only problem is, it does not help in updating a smb logged drive (which is an external drive attached to a Windows XP machine). It seems I can make Finder update that only when I do a forced reload (or whatever that is in English as I use Finnish mac os x 4.9) of Finder in the Apple menu.

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  10. Great utility!It seems to work as advertised for all of my local folders (Desktop, etc.). However, when I try to use it on a WebDAV folder (https://server/path/), I get an error window reading “Can’t continue .” with an “Edit” and “OK” button.When I select the “Edit” button, a dialog with the heading “Open Dictionary” contains the following informational message: Unable to read the dictionary of the application or extension because it is not scriptableAny suggestions?

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  11. Michael,Glad it’s working for you (in most cases). As for WebDAV folders I can’t help there (as I don’t use them) – this script was designed primarily to update internal volumes & local network drives. If any Applescript experts out there can let me know the code to add to support WebDAV I’ll gladly update the utility to support it.Regards,Shane.

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  12. Try’ d to uninstall, but leaves a quesionmark on buttons place… Can anyone help get finder in original state? Thanks.

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  13. Ferris,If you’ve deleted it and need to remove it from the Finder window, just Apple-Left-Click and drag the question mark away from the Finder window and let go. It should then be gone.Regards,Shane.

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  14. Shane, thank you. The reason I tried youre script is to ‘see’ files again in my finder, I now only can find with spotlight… happen to know how to overcome this one?

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  15. Michael,Actually it is also a script. I only found that utility in the last month by accident. Whilst I released mine over a month earlier, we both came up with a similar fix for the same problem.Even though the look and feel is very similar, the implementation is almost identical and the timing of his release after mine is interesting, again in his own words to me after I contacted him about it; “If you want to claim some kind of intellectual rights to this little utility then by all means do so, that’d just be good fun. I won’t give you any credit, though, since there is none to be given.”He has recently updated the script he uses from what I use above to this:tell application “Finder” repeat with i from 1 to count of Finder windows update every item with necessity end repeatend tellThe main difference is this script updates every window you have open, not just the front window. Other than that it does the same thing.Regards,Shane.

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  16. Just in case anyone missed it, I’ve rolled the version number to 1.1 as I found a tweak in the building of the application that allows it to run hidden (and seem more integrated with the Finder).Regards,Shane.

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  17. Shane,As all downloaded items from the browser will be put in the Deskop. My Mac OSX worked perfectly without your tool. But then, for some reasons that I did not know all new items are not displayed on my Desktop anymore, but I can see these items (files) by using the Terminal. Then I searched around internet and I found your tool. Thought this will help me out of the troubles but it seems your tool doesn’t work with my problem. When I click on the “Refresh Finder” button, I can see that some items (files or folders) on my Desktop has a blink in moment, it seems that your tool does the refrsh. But the new items still hidden from the Finder (or Desktop).I would appreciate if you can have an answer why your tool doesn’t work with my Desktop.Thanks.An

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  18. One more thing that I forgot to let you know that the new files are displayed on my Desktop after I logout then re login again or I restart the machine.ThanksAn

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  19. An,Sorry to hear you are having this problem.If my tool isn’t working for you, try resetting your Finder Preferences. The quickest way to test if this works is to move the file “com.apple.Finder.plist” to your Desktop (or another folder) to back it up. It can be found in “Users/YourAccount/Library/Preferences/” (replacing YourAccount with your account folder name).Restart your Mac and see if this fixes it. If it does great. If not you can safely put the file back if you want (or not – the system will automatically create a new one anyway).Regards,Shane.

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  20. Shane,Thanks for your brilliant answer. It works perfectly after I doing exactly what you suggested. :)Thank you very much.An

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  21. thank you so much for this one…as i often search for the file last modified in the finder, macosx’s laziness in this case often drove me mad! beautiful tool!

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  22. thank you so much for this one…as i often search for the file last modified in the finder, macosx’s laziness in this case often drove me mad! beautiful tool!

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  23. Shane,A friend of mine sent me a link to this page because he and I also have problems with Finder’s refreshing capabilities. I must say that your script is simple and effective, but I was especially amazed by your way of implementing it. I didn’t even know you could drag your own applications in the toolbar. But now that I know I have a couple of other things that I might try. So thanks for that :)I have made a version of your script that also updates the items in all the subfolders of the opened folder. It automatically does this if the folder is in list view mode. You can set the property for how many levels of subfolders you want to update. If you’re interested in my version of the script, send me an e-mail.

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  24. Shane,A friend of mine sent me a link to this page because he and I also have problems with Finder’s refreshing capabilities. I must say that your script is simple and effective, but I was especially amazed by your way of implementing it. I didn’t even know you could drag your own applications in the toolbar. But now that I know I have a couple of other things that I might try. So thanks for that :)I have made a version of your script that also updates the items in all the subfolders of the opened folder. It automatically does this if the folder is in list view mode. You can set the property for how many levels of subfolders you want to update. If you’re interested in my version of the script, send me an e-mail.

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  25. Dear Mr. Lord, Your app sounded like the perfect solution to a very annoying problem I am having with Finder updating restored files. However, when I try to open it I get a message saying it couldn’t “get every item of window 1 of application Finder”. It then gives me a choice of “EDIT” or “OK”. Choosing EDIT doesn’t seem to do anything. If I choose “OK”, the message window closes. If I then go on and drag the app to my app folder and place the refresh icon in the Finder tool bar, it doesn’t seem to do anything when ‘clicked’ on. If I do a ‘manual’ re-launch of Finder, things go fine.Any suggestions? Am I installing it correctly? Appreciate any help. Sincerely, Steven Dore

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  26. Dear Mr. Lord, Your app sounded like the perfect solution to a very annoying problem I am having with Finder updating restored files. However, when I try to open it I get a message saying it couldn’t “get every item of window 1 of application Finder”. It then gives me a choice of “EDIT” or “OK”. Choosing EDIT doesn’t seem to do anything. If I choose “OK”, the message window closes. If I then go on and drag the app to my app folder and place the refresh icon in the Finder tool bar, it doesn’t seem to do anything when ‘clicked’ on. If I do a ‘manual’ re-launch of Finder, things go fine.Any suggestions? Am I installing it correctly? Appreciate any help. Sincerely, Steven Dore

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