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Restore to Defaults

Posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2010 under Life | 1 comment

Restore

One only has to sit in on my DFP Icon lecture, perused my Flickr uploads tagged osx, or (for you privileged few) use my Mac for a few minutes to realize that I am very particular AND very protective of the way my Finder windows look. I have nice sidebar separators, several essential tool bar application launchers, Windows 7-like window snapping, and a fairly even background image to grid layout ratio ... and that's not even going into all the folder and app icon customization that I do.

Now, once I have a been using a new Mac for a few days and have I become successfully habituated to these preferred settings, it is slightly annoying to exponentially frustrating to have Finder present the file system in different view. Sometimes it is an old "as Icons" view I initially set up but have adjusted slightly and other times he'll switch it up with a complete change to the "as Columns" view, seemingly out of no where.

The Problem

I am probably right in thinking that the original UX pattern assumed by the designers at Apple, from way back in the OS 7 days, was "if the User changes the view, remember it ... forever ... unless they specify otherwise". In the limited scope of a Desktop world where I only have my Music, Movies and Documents folders to interact with, this was probably an okay choice. I, as the User, could essentially "set 'em and forget 'em".

As this is now a much more power and connected Desktop environment that continues to scale, the concept does not ... especially in my own frequent use case of occasionally needing a different view, but not remembering the need to change it back after I am done.

The Ideal Solution

Although this is a seemingly minor issue, finding resolutions for these are what makes the difference between an efficient designer/developer/human being and those that are not (Man, does that sound snooty!). How I would love to see this issue remedied would be with one global setting in the Finder Preferences window that is only temporarily affected by the User's manual change in view.

From the few times I have tested using a Finder-replacement like Path Finder, I have found this to be the default behavior ... but really, should I be forced to use a third-party alternative just to fix what is clearly a broken concept?

Also, this preferred behavior would make much more sense than what the current "Use as Defaults" button (in the 'View Options' panel) does ... apply the settings to any newly created windows, but absolutely nothing to previously-viewed folders.

The Stop Gap

Up until this point, I have suffered through having to manually correcting the settings in the "View Options" window; choosing "Always open in icon view", dragging the icon slider, arranging by "Name", choosing the background image, etc. Yeah ... a really pain.

Just today, I off-handedly tried holding down the Option key when adjusting the settings (a well-known way to 'Reset' the panels for filters, adjustments and such in several of the Adobe apps) and sure enough ... the "Use as Defaults" button updated to read "Restore to Defaults". While that labeling doesn't necessarily make me feel comfortable about pressing it the very first time (it kinda sounds like it is going to perform a Factory Restore on my Finder, right?), it actually did something entirely useful.

"Restore to Defaults" removes any of your previous View settings for that view/window combo and applies the settings you defined when the button read "Define as Defaults". You still will have to manually hold down Option and press that button for any offending windows, but it's still pretty handy, right? Anyways ... that is the end of my rant. Enjoy the find. Now ... Command+Tab back to work, kids.

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  • Joe

    This behavior with Finder is quite annoying. The issue certainly harkens back to the days of every folder opens up its own window such as what happens when one hides the Finder toolbar. (That is another issue I have with Finder. I want to hide the toolbar and still open all folders I click on in the same window.) The only other solution I would suggest is using a tool like Onyx to reset the display of folders content. Then I think you would need to adjust a window as necessary to set the default to you liking. Again, not the perfect solution for a methodology that is very much outdated. I too would use PF instead of Finder, but it is more of a sloth, especially on window activation and new tab creation. I get tired of its sluggishness and always go back to Finder.

 

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