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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > Quick way to delete invisible files?

Quick way to delete invisible files?
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Senior User
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: London, England
Status: Offline
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Mar 2, 2001, 08:00 PM
How do I delete invisible files? Currently, the only way I know is to open them up in ResEdit, make them visible, re-save and then delete them. Is there no quick and simple way?
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Kitchener ON Canada
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Mar 2, 2001, 11:01 PM

I search for them in Sherlock - click on the Custom button - click at the end of the Custom bar - in the
drop down menu - click on Custom (which should be the first item) - in the window that opens
put a check mark in the box beside Invisible under Advanced Options - don't enter anything else in
the window - close the window and click on the magnifying glass and they all come up.
At the moment I'm showing ninety.

Click on the invisible file you want to get rid of to select it - select Move to Trash in the
File menu - a dialogue box comes up saying you can't trash an invisible file, you can
only Delete it - Do you want to delete it? Damn right (or words to that effect) and it's

Works for me - just got rid of a few today. iMac DV 400 OS 9.0.4 (installed from CD, not by download.)


Clinically Insane
Join Date: Apr 2000
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Mar 3, 2001, 07:56 AM
Use this to navigate and change visibility/delete files.
Very cool program.
Its a NeXT-like browser.


[This message has been edited by Cipher13 (edited 03-03-2001).]
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Reading, PA, USA
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Mar 3, 2001, 12:07 PM
Just be careful that you don't deleter something that's absolutely essential! It's easy enough to do if you're just messing around with those invisibles. Believe me, I know
And that's true too.--Shakespeare, King Lear
Senior User
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: London, England
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Mar 3, 2001, 06:00 PM
Thanks for the help guys. Much appreciated!

As for what i'm deleting, it's just the myriad of invisible pref files that demo programs like to leave behind..
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: UK
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Mar 4, 2001, 04:53 PM
How about "Hidden Hunter" quick and easy.

Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Moscow, Russia
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Mar 6, 2001, 05:39 AM
Put this script as a compiled script in your Start-up Items folder and forget about it:

--Begin AppleScript
tell application "Finder" to get the version
set FinderVersion to the result as text
if FinderVersion is less than "9.0" then
display dialog ¬
"This AppleScript requires Mac OS 9 or later." with icon stop buttons "OK" default button 1
end if

if FinderVersion is less than "9.1" then -- version with problem
tell application "Finder" to set BootVol to name of startup disk
set TmpItems to BootVol & ":Temporary Items:" as text

set FolderContents to list folder TmpItems without invisibles
if (count of FolderContents) is 0 then return
on error
return -- probably no folder exists
end try

--Are there Rescued Items folders in the Trash already?
tell application "Finder" to get every item of trash ¬
whose name begins with "Rescued Items"
set RescuedCnt to count of the result
if RescuedCnt is 0 then
set RescuedItemName to "Rescued Items"
set RescuedCnt to RescuedCnt + 1
set RescuedItemName to "Rescued Items " & RescuedCnt as text
end if

tell application "Finder"
--Finder cannot create new folders in the trash, so make one
--on the desktop...
make new folder at desktop with properties {name:RescuedItemName}
-- and then move it to the trash
move folder RescuedItemName of desktop to trash
end tell
--construct the rescue target path
set RescuedItemsPath to BootVol & ":Trash:" & RescuedItemName & ¬
":" as text

repeat with FolderItem in FolderContents
set ItemPath to TmpItems & FolderItem as text
set ItemInfo to info for alias ItemPath
set ItemIsFolder to folder of ItemInfo
if ItemIsFolder then -- It's a folder
set ItemCanBeMoved to true
else -- It's a file
--busy check requires Mac OS 9 Standard Additions
set ItemCanBeMoved to not «class bzst» of ItemInfo
end if
if ItemCanBeMoved then
tell application "Finder" to move alias ItemPath to ¬
alias RescuedItemsPath
on error
--something unexpected happened, keep going
end try
end if
end repeat
-- probably fixed after this release
end if
--End AppleScript

On the other hand, you may update to Mac OS 9.1, throw away the script and forget that nightmare.

Make no assumptions
Make no assumptions
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: SLC, UT
Status: Offline
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Mar 6, 2001, 03:09 PM
Hidden Hunter is AWESOME! It saved me a lot of trouble...

I had used the program "Rewind". Unfortunately, while attempting to rewind, it crashed and left over 14,000 files hidden on the Hard Drive (aside from significant system trouble).

Hidden Hunter allowed me to find the root folder for all the files and quickly dispose of it.

It is available for download from download.com:
Chad Hinkson

Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn't...

iMac 2.0 GHZ Intel / 1.5 Gb
MacBook 2.0 Intel / 1.0 mb
OS 10.4
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