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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac OS X > Changing where "Downloads" point to without using symlinks?

Changing where "Downloads" point to without using symlinks?
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Oct 27, 2007, 11:14 AM
 
Is there a way to do this? I'd rather have "Downloads" point to a partition on the hard drive instead of being forced to use what Apple gives me. I'm looking for a preference for it and I can't find one, nor can I find something to set with "defaults". I'd rather not use symlinks.

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Oct 27, 2007, 11:25 AM
 
Safari prefs, for one.
     
starman  (op)
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Oct 27, 2007, 11:50 AM
 
*sigh*

That doesn't solve the problem if other apps (Firefox, etc.) start adopting the Downloads folder.

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Oct 27, 2007, 12:11 PM
 
Just like changing the "default web browser", changing the pref in Safari actually changes the value in com.apple.internetconfig.plist, which other well-behaved apps also use. I've used a "Downloads" folder for ages, and most apps pick up the preference. This isn't new to 10.5.
     
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Oct 27, 2007, 12:56 PM
 
You can select the default download folder in Firefox prefs too.
     
starman  (op)
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Oct 27, 2007, 01:32 PM
 
You're missing the point completely.

If I change the defaults in Safari, I still have a straggling Downloads folder which I can't delete, no matter how "well behaved" apps are.

So what I'd like to do is tell Leopard "I want my downloads folder to be <that>".

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Oct 27, 2007, 02:00 PM
 
I have the same issue with the Movies folder. I keep all of my movies on a separate hard drive, and had a symlink (previous to that an alias) pointing to it from my home folder. Now I can't do it because leopard won't let me delete the movies folder.

"Movies" can't be modified or deleted because it is required by Mac OS X
Why that would be necessary is beyond me.
     
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Oct 27, 2007, 02:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
*sigh*

That doesn't solve the problem if other apps (Firefox, etc.) start adopting the Downloads folder.
Firefox uses whatever settings you have set for your downloads folder in Safari. All Mac OS X apps are supposed to use the same setting for where to put their downloads.
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Oct 27, 2007, 02:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by goMac View Post
Firefox uses whatever settings you have set for your downloads folder in Safari. All Mac OS X apps are supposed to use the same setting for where to put their downloads.
Did you READ what I wrote?

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Oct 27, 2007, 03:40 PM
 
Delete it in Terminal.
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Oct 27, 2007, 04:00 PM
 
In Terminal, type "chmod -a# 0 Downloads". Then you can delete it.
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Oct 27, 2007, 04:14 PM
 
If I delete it and another Apple app needs or is expecting it, it'll break.

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Oct 27, 2007, 06:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
In Terminal, type "chmod -a# 0 Downloads". Then you can delete it.
Perfect, that worked for what I need. Thanks!
     
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Oct 27, 2007, 06:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Did you READ what I wrote?
Yes, I did. Did you read what I wrote?

If you tell Safari not to use the Downloads folder, Firefox will also stop using the Downloads folder and will start using whatever folder you pointed Safari too. Firefox, ironically enough, does not respect it's own download folder setting and instead defaults to Safari's download location.

No Apple app should expect it to be there. Ever. Changing the setting in Safari changes the setting system wide. It is a system wide setting, but the only way to change it is to use Safari.
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Oct 27, 2007, 10:50 PM
 
Somebody had sour milk in their Cheerios this morning, it seems.
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 12:35 AM
 
How is it good usability to expect people to change user definable/supported system wide prefs in anything but System Preferences?
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 12:57 AM
 
Search me.
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Oct 28, 2007, 04:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
How is it good usability to expect people to change user definable/supported system wide prefs in anything but System Preferences?
It isn't.

Apple is commended for usability because they do it far better than anybody else, but definitely not because they're perfect at it. Nothing new.
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 04:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
How is it good usability to expect people to change user definable/supported system wide prefs in anything but System Preferences?
That's a bad choice we've had to live with since the debut of Safari. A not so subtle little hint from Apple to the user that Safari is the king of browsers on the platform.

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Oct 28, 2007, 04:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by goMac View Post
Yes, I did. Did you read what I wrote?

If you tell Safari not to use the Downloads folder, Firefox will also stop using the Downloads folder and will start using whatever folder you pointed Safari too. Firefox, ironically enough, does not respect it's own download folder setting and instead defaults to Safari's download location.

No Apple app should expect it to be there. Ever. Changing the setting in Safari changes the setting system wide. It is a system wide setting, but the only way to change it is to use Safari.
Then why the HELL do we have a Downloads folder we can't delete or change?

goMac, you're not making any logical sense. It's like the Movies or the Pictures folder. You can't change them either.

Try deleting the Downloads folder. You can't, at least not without doing it with the Terminal.

Apple apparently wants it to be there, regardless of how you feel about it.

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Oct 28, 2007, 04:49 AM
 
Apple's trying to protect people's default home subfolders. It makes a good amount of sense if you think about it, and at least there's a Terminal recourse if you want to get rid of them. No such recourse for Stacks.

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Oct 28, 2007, 01:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
That's a bad choice we've had to live with since the debut of Safari. A not so subtle little hint from Apple to the user that Safari is the king of browsers on the platform.
Maybe also a subtle attempt at lock-in?

I would also go as far as to say that Apple should include the latest version of Firefox on new Macs. I'm willing to bet that it is the number one third party download on new Macs, and is far more desirable than some of the other software Apple bundles to most.
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 01:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Apple's trying to protect people's default home subfolders. It makes a good amount of sense if you think about it, and at least there's a Terminal recourse if you want to get rid of them. No such recourse for Stacks.
So what do these apps do when you save something and you've deleted the folder that it wants to save to?
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 02:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
So what do these apps do when you save something and you've deleted the folder that it wants to save to?
Exactly. That's why deleting it is stupid, as is using Safari to change where it points. Am I speaking another language or something?

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Oct 28, 2007, 02:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Exactly. That's why deleting it is stupid, as is using Safari to change where it points. Am I speaking another language or something?
No, I'm with you. It's a very bad design (as is making home directories world readable)...
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 02:18 PM
 
It's not so much about deleting the downloads folder - it's about soft-linking it to another drive. I do the same - and after some ACL magic I deleted the folder and replaced it with a symlink. I download a lot and prefer to have it on another drive, so that when I backup my main drive and user folder I don't backup all the useless downloads.
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 02:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
So what do these apps do when you save something and you've deleted the folder that it wants to save to?
I don't know of an app that would default to a location other than the one specified in the user's plist and then not give the user a choice to save elsewhere. It would probably end up recreating the folder in that case, but that would also be very bad design.

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Oct 28, 2007, 02:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
I don't know of an app that would default to a location other than the one specified in the user's plist and then not give the user a choice to save elsewhere. It would probably end up recreating the folder in that case, but that would also be very bad design.
like Documents

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Oct 28, 2007, 02:58 PM
 
Yeah, that's a good example of bad behavior.

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Oct 28, 2007, 03:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Then why the HELL do we have a Downloads folder we can't delete or change?

goMac, you're not making any logical sense. It's like the Movies or the Pictures folder. You can't change them either.
I realize I'm arriving a bit late, but what's wrong with you? You're coming across as one of the whiniest individuals I've ever encountered. Faced with calm, helpful replies you've lashed out like an arm-flailing child -- over something as inconsequential as the Downloads folder, no less. I'd hate to see what you're like when you have an actual problem. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you, sheesh.
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 03:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by OliverTwist View Post
I realize I'm arriving a bit late, but what's wrong with you? You're coming across as one of the whiniest individuals I've ever encountered. Faced with calm, helpful replies you've lashed out like an arm-flailing child -- over something as inconsequential as the Downloads folder, no less. I'd hate to see what you're like when you have an actual problem. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you, sheesh.
Many people get very emotionally invested in this stuff... There are just as many, if not more members who are emotionally invested in defending Apple at every turn just because as well, it does go both ways.
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 03:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Many people get very emotionally invested in this stuff... There are just as many, if not more members who are emotionally invested in defending Apple at every turn just because as well, it does go both ways.
I don't mind those who get emotional over perceived flaws in an OS, but taking it out on other people is another matter.
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 03:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by OliverTwist View Post
I don't mind those who get emotional over perceived flaws in an OS, but taking it out on other people is another matter.

I see your point... I guess I was trying to say that in the heat of the moment it is easy for this kind of thing to happen, especially among people that try to defuse your passionate rant. Sometimes people just need to rant... I'm not suggesting that it is okay to be explosive about it though.
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 06:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by OliverTwist View Post
I realize I'm arriving a bit late, but what's wrong with you? You're coming across as one of the whiniest individuals I've ever encountered. Faced with calm, helpful replies you've lashed out like an arm-flailing child -- over something as inconsequential as the Downloads folder, no less. I'd hate to see what you're like when you have an actual problem. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you, sheesh.
Because if you READ this thread, you'd see flat out that people DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM. They think that renaming the downloads folder in Safari fixes everything and it doesn't. I'm not getting emotional about the PROBLEM, I get frustrated with people that don't comprehend the question at hand.

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Oct 28, 2007, 06:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
If I delete it and another Apple app needs or is expecting it, it'll break.
Is this an issue you've encountered or a hypothetical problem?
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Oct 28, 2007, 06:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Because if you READ this thread, you'd see flat out that people DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM. They think that renaming the downloads folder in Safari fixes everything and it doesn't. I'm not getting emotional about the PROBLEM, I get frustrated with people that don't comprehend the question at hand.
Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe the problem is you, not everyone else on the internet? Most people have an easy time getting answers to questions on this board, so it doesn't make much sense to conclude that we're all too stupid to comprehend your question. You are, with no hyperbole, the most childish, whiny, inconsiderate, melodramatic person I've seen on any forum. Ever.

I did, by the way, read the entire thread. You've already been told that changing Safari's pref modifies a system-level preference file, which well-behaving apps abide by. So far, your only complain left is that the Downloads folder still exists - which for some reason is causing you severe cognitive dissonance. I can't climb into your head and figure out why this is such a big deal, so you've got to stop demanding that we "READ" what you wrote and calmly explain the problem.
     
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Oct 28, 2007, 07:17 PM
 
lol - I think everyone is a bit edgy right now, we've all been installing Leopard for hours and hours... especially if you have a bunch of machines.

Either way removing the downloads folder is not a big deal, especially if you're like me and replacing it with what is essentially an identical folder soft linked to another directory. I am not sure Apple should have put the ACL's on the folders - especially without any GUI to modify the ACLs, but I am sure that will arrive shortly from a 3rd party now that everyone has them enabled by default.

In my limited research on ACLs I was quite impressed with the power and the simplicity of applying them. The folders in question all have "everyone deny delete" applied to them via: "chmod +a everyone deny delete filename" which can easily be removed with "chmod -a everyone deny delete filename". I really appreciate the natural-languagish syntax that ACLs use.

ps - to view ACLs in a listing using terminal use "ls -le".
( Last edited by wr11; Oct 28, 2007 at 07:19 PM. Reason: added ps.)
     
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Oct 29, 2007, 01:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by OliverTwist View Post
Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe the problem is you, not everyone else on the internet? Most people have an easy time getting answers to questions on this board, so it doesn't make much sense to conclude that we're all too stupid to comprehend your question. You are, with no hyperbole, the most childish, whiny, inconsiderate, melodramatic person I've seen on any forum. Ever.

I did, by the way, read the entire thread. You've already been told that changing Safari's pref modifies a system-level preference file, which well-behaving apps abide by. So far, your only complain left is that the Downloads folder still exists - which for some reason is causing you severe cognitive dissonance. I can't climb into your head and figure out why this is such a big deal, so you've got to stop demanding that we "READ" what you wrote and calmly explain the problem.
*sigh*

Changing a PREFERENCE doesn't change the fact that the ~/Downloads directory STILL EXISTS AND CAN'T BE DELETED.

So, as I suspected, you don't understand the problem either. I've made it quite clear but I'll restate it for your little teeny brain.

The PREFERENCE changes only what looks at it. If Safari or Firefox or Bob's Uberapp want to use it PRE-TIGER, that's fine.

But....

In LEOPARD there's a Downloads folder now. You can't delete it from the UI. Apple wants it to be there, just like Movies and Documents and Pictures and Music. Therefore, we now have TWO places to look for downloads.

Get it?

Apple wants all apps from Oct. 26, 2007 on to use ~/Downloads, NOT the Safari preference. Safari's preference doesn't take priority anymore because of the hardwired Downloads folder. Safari's preference is now SECONDARY.

Get it?

So if I have a whole hard drive or partition for my downloads, I can't right-click or change a preference and say "ok, now I want my GLOBAL downloads to go <there>". If I change it in Safari, that's fine for Safari. If Firefox piggybacks off that preference, that's fine for those two apps. Now let's say I download some app made AFTER Oct. 26, 2007 and the developer (rightfully) doesn't look at Safari's preference, it uses Apple's new ~/Downloads folder instead. Now Safari/Firefox is putting their stuff in one spot and the new app's putting it somewhere else. I shouldn't have to change SAFARI to change a GLOBAL preference. It should be a System Preference or a Finder preference.

Get it?

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Oct 29, 2007, 01:35 AM
 
Oliver, a few posts back you were laying into Starman for taking out his frustration on somebody, and here you are trying to rip him a new one... What gives? I think we are all capable of defending ourselves.

My main reason for writing this post is to echo what Starman is saying. It doesn't matter whether or not there are workarounds, this is a poor design on many levels... It should be fixed. Obviously bitching here won't fix it, but much of what we do here is rant about things we would like changed, that's just the nature of this board.

How about some civil discourse on this?
     
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Oct 29, 2007, 06:26 AM
 
starman, I think you're mixing up two things:
1. Where apps will place downloads.
This is set to ~/Downloads by default. It can be changed in *any app*, and is a *system-wide preference.*

Just like Apple encourages web browsers to implement the "default web browser" preference (rather than putting it in a prefpane somewhere), they encourage app developers that use a downloads folder to implement the preference. They themselves put it in Safari and iChat. I know it's also available in Vienna.

2. How to delete the default ~/Downloads folder.

If you change the above setting, well-behaved apps will no longer place their downloads into ~/Downloads. They'll go into your separate volume or wherever else you set it to.

However, Apple has also added some protection to the default homedir subdirectories with an ACL. This is to protect users that are less clever than you, and would be confused and dismayed if they accidentally deleted their Downloads folder. However, a brief bit of Terminal hackery will allow you to delete this folder forever.
     
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Oct 29, 2007, 10:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Apple wants all apps from Oct. 26, 2007 on to use ~/Downloads, NOT the Safari preference. Safari's preference doesn't take priority anymore because of the hardwired Downloads folder. Safari's preference is now SECONDARY.
You're making all these negative assertions and not explaining why you think these things that I've never even considered. Honestly, you're sounding rather defeatist. It's not a very good recipe for being happy.

Originally Posted by starman View Post
So if I have a whole hard drive or partition for my downloads, I can't right-click or change a preference and say "ok, now I want my GLOBAL downloads to go <there>". If I change it in Safari, that's fine for Safari. If Firefox piggybacks off that preference, that's fine for those two apps. Now let's say I download some app made AFTER Oct. 26, 2007 and the developer (rightfully) doesn't look at Safari's preference, it uses Apple's new ~/Downloads folder instead. Now Safari/Firefox is putting their stuff in one spot and the new app's putting it somewhere else. I shouldn't have to change SAFARI to change a GLOBAL preference. It should be a System Preference or a Finder preference.
Even if you're right, what's wrong with making an invisible symlink?
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Oct 29, 2007, 10:34 AM
 
There's nothing wrong with making a symlink. The whole POINT of this thread is to find out if it can be done without making one. Yes or no? Apparently the answer is no which is OK, I'll just make a symlink. I was just trying to avoid doing it if there was a System Preference I missed or if I could use some Utility I wasn't aware of.

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Oct 29, 2007, 11:26 AM
 
The answer looks like yes to me. You can change the downloads folder and delete that one. What more do you need to know? That nobody's ever going to make the dumb assumption that you want downloads to go in that folder?
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Oct 29, 2007, 12:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
*sigh*

Changing a PREFERENCE doesn't change the fact that the ~/Downloads directory STILL EXISTS AND CAN'T BE DELETED.
Since you seem to prefer caps lock: IT DOES NOT MATTER THAT THE FOLDER STILL EXISTS. Well-behaved web browsers honor the internetconfig preference file, not Apple's Downloads folder, and will most likely continue to. If they don't, you either need to change their preferences manually or delete via terminal and use a symlink. Have a nice day.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Oliver, a few posts back you were laying into Starman for taking out his frustration on somebody, and here you are trying to rip him a new one... What gives? I think we are all capable of defending ourselves.
The obvious difference is that starman deserves every bit of criticism I've leveled on him, whereas the other board members here did not deserve starman's disgusting behavior. Being angry at another person is not a bad thing - it's when that anger is irrational and untoward.
     
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Oct 29, 2007, 12:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by OliverTwist View Post
Since you seem to prefer caps lock: IT DOES NOT MATTER THAT THE FOLDER STILL EXISTS. Well-behaved web browsers honor the internetconfig preference file, not Apple's Downloads folder, and will most likely continue to. If they don't, you either need to change their preferences manually or delete via terminal and use a symlink. Have a nice day.


The obvious difference is that starman deserves every bit of criticism I've leveled on him, whereas the other board members here did not deserve starman's disgusting behavior. Being angry at another person is not a bad thing - it's when that anger is irrational and untoward.
You're new here, aren't you?

And you still don't understand the problem.

You seem to forget that Safari on Leopard points to the Download folder by default. Therefore, Apple obviously wants the Downloads folder to be where everything gets, you know, DOWNLOADED to.

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Oct 29, 2007, 01:21 PM
 
So before this thread goes completely berserk, let me ask a very simple question: if we use Safari to change the download folder to something else than ~/Downloads and we then delete ~/Downloads, can we be sure that we won't break any applications that expect ~/Downloads to be there?
     
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Oct 29, 2007, 01:27 PM
 
We can't be sure it won't break any applications that expect ~/Downloads to be there — it's definitely possible — but it seems reasonably unlikely to me. In the unlikely event that it did cause problems, the solution would be as simple as creating a new folder there called Downloads.
Chuck
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starman  (op)
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Oct 29, 2007, 01:42 PM
 
First off, deleting the Downloads folder might be as bad as deleting Movies or Documents. I don't know why you would do that.

If you happen to delete it, four things could happen:

1) App says "your downloads folder is missing" and asks where you want to download to.
2) App says "your downloads folder is missing, do you want to use the prefs from Safari?". I don't like this solution because some people prefer to use Firefox.
3) App just brings up an error stating "your downloads folder is missing or corrupted".
4) App crashes.

As a developer, I've been looking at this issue for the last hour because at work we're trying to figure out the best course of action for the next release of our software. We're going to talk to Apple about this (directly, yeah, we have contacts like that), but the fact remains that regardless of what browser you use, Apple apparently wants you to use the Downloads folder from now on and that's where I think we're leaning.

The same would be for any video app - they'd put movies in the "Movies" folder.

eg: Audio Hijack Pro puts their recordings in the Music folder. Why? Probably because they expect it to be there

But just like the other static folders, there's apparently no way to change where they point to, which is all I was asking about.

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Oct 29, 2007, 01:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
You seem to forget that Safari on Leopard points to the Download folder by default. Therefore, Apple obviously wants the Downloads folder to be where everything gets, you know, DOWNLOADED to.
It doesn't matter what Apple wants - that's the point of preference files. Web browsers and other internet-enabled apps would be stupid to follow Apple's default after you've explicitly overrode it.
     
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Oct 29, 2007, 02:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
As a developer, I've been looking at this issue for the last hour because at work we're trying to figure out the best course of action for the next release of our software. We're going to talk to Apple about this (directly, yeah, we have contacts like that), but the fact remains that regardless of what browser you use, Apple apparently wants you to use the Downloads folder from now on and that's where I think we're leaning.
How is that apparent? I've looked around and haven't found any docs stating that you must use ~/Downloads for downloaded files. I mean, maybe I just haven't found the right one yet, but they're not being very obvious about it in any case.
Chuck
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