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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > Finder locks up when I accidently dropped thousands of files on desktop

Finder locks up when I accidently dropped thousands of files on desktop
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aryan143
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Jun 12, 2006, 01:51 AM
 
I need a mac wizzard to find a way to fix this. Can anyone help?

I was moving files from one folder to another and I accidently dropped thousands of small text files on the desktop (missing my target folder because of a mosquito - this is true!).

I restarted and now all these files are dropped on top of the hard drive icon.
It takes about 10 minutes for the files to finish displaying one on top of another.

At that point I get a cursor but the minute I try to select something or draw a bounding box around some of the files I have to wait another 10+ minutes, except that the item never gets selected or the bounding box doesn't appear.

I have rebooted in safe mode but that didn't help.

Is there a way to stop the finder from loading icons to the desktop midway?

Is there some way to get to the desktop folder where I could delete them from there?

Any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you!
     
Big Mac
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Jun 12, 2006, 02:25 AM
 
Yeah, you need to do it using Terminal. Although I have never had to do this myself, here's what I would do:

1. Log in as another user (hopefully you have at least one);
2. Open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal);
3. Type login and press return;
4. Type in your regular login user name and press return;
5. Type in your regular password and press return;
6. You're now logged into your user through the Terminal;
7. Type mv Desktop DesktopBackup and press return;
8. Type mkdir Desktop and press return;
9. Type logout and then go try to log into your regular account.

You could also do the same thing in Single User Mode, but I like being logged in properly and doing things through Terminal.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
icruise
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Jun 12, 2006, 03:20 AM
 
Did you try just opening a finder window and going to HARD DISK/Users/USERNAME/Desktop? That will display the contents of the desktop as if it were a normal folder. You may be able to delete them from there.
     
Big Mac
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Jun 12, 2006, 03:59 AM
 
I think the Finder is freezing up while drawing the icons right when he logs in. Otherwise, I would have suggested that.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
TETENAL
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Jun 12, 2006, 04:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac
8. Type mkdir Desktop and press return;
Note that this new Desktop folder would not have a localized name (until you touch ~/Desktop/.localized).
     
icruise
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Jun 12, 2006, 04:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac
I think the Finder is freezing up while drawing the icons right when he logs in. Otherwise, I would have suggested that.
It sounded to me like it locked up for good when he was trying to select the files on the desktop itself with the cursor, but it wasn't clear if he was able to use the finder otherwise. I guess we'll see.
     
UNTeMac
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Jun 12, 2006, 04:22 AM
 
If you can log in without locking up, you might try an automator action that uses a spotlight search for all the text files on your desktop and drops them in a set of folders you set up.
"This show is filmed before a live studio audience as soon as someone removes that dead guy!" - Stephen Colbert
     
aryan143  (op)
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Jun 12, 2006, 03:22 PM
 
Hi again all,

These all sound like great suggestions and thank you one and all for the collective brain power BUT I am unable to click on anything.

The second I move the mouse - the spinning wait icon appears for another 10 minutes. If I wait for the cursor to come back again and move the mouse again - I wait again. So, I can't even drag the mouse over to the apple icon to start any programs (or navigate folders) and the hard drive icon is buried under thousands of icons.

Lock up was not the right term - the computer does work, boots fine and all, it doesn't freeze, it just P-A-U-S-E-S between mouse moves.

It appears that each time the cursor is moved the desktop refreshes the desktop icons and in normal practice - the wait is not noticable. But in this case with thousands of icons to refresh it's not usable.

Does anybody think there is a way to restart in the equivalent of the PC's DOS mode? to manage the files from there?

Can a mac be rebooted without the finder starting?

Or can the mac be rebooted from the cd rom with the system disk or maybe a downloaded utility but which one?

Or something else entirely?

There are so many paths to choose from but which is the right way?
     
Catfish_Man
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Jun 12, 2006, 03:34 PM
 
Try starting up in single user mode (hold down command-s). When you get a prompt, type
Code:
mount -uw /
then

Code:
cd /Users/yourshortusername/
then follow Big Mac's instructions
     
Tomchu
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Jun 12, 2006, 03:50 PM
 
That's pretty bad design on Apple's part. You'd think that with a UNIX underpinning and priority levels, something like the Finder eating away at your CPU wouldn't make the system entirely useless from a UI standpoint.
     
TETENAL
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Jun 12, 2006, 04:03 PM
 
The system is still usable, but if you have neither the Terminal nor the Applications folder in the Dock, how are you going to launch the Terminal without the Finder?
     
monkeybrain
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Jun 12, 2006, 05:30 PM
 
You could use Spotlight, but perhaps that would be unresponsive too.

...FTFF...
     
Hal Itosis
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Jun 12, 2006, 06:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by c.r.
Hi again all,

These all sound like great suggestions and thank you one and all for the collective brain power BUT I am unable to click on anything.

The second I move the mouse - the spinning wait icon appears for another 10 minutes. If I wait for the cursor to come back again and move the mouse again - I wait again. So, I can't even drag the mouse over to the apple icon to start any programs (or navigate folders) and the hard drive icon is buried under thousands of icons.

Lock up was not the right term - the computer does work, boots fine and all, it doesn't freeze, it just P-A-U-S-E-S between mouse moves.

It appears that each time the cursor is moved the desktop refreshes the desktop icons and in normal practice - the wait is not noticable. But in this case with thousands of icons to refresh it's not usable.

Does anybody think there is a way to restart in the equivalent of the PC's DOS mode? to manage the files from there?

Can a mac be rebooted without the finder starting?

Or can the mac be rebooted from the cd rom with the system disk or maybe a downloaded utility but which one?

Or something else entirely?

There are so many paths to choose from but which is the right way?

But, but but... Big Mac has already shown you the way:

> 1. Log in as another user
> 2. Open the Terminal
> [ . . . ]

If you don't have another user...
then that's all you needed to say.
(and use Catfish_Man's solution).
-HI-
     
Chuckit
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Jun 12, 2006, 06:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Tomchu
That's pretty bad design on Apple's part. You'd think that with a UNIX underpinning and priority levels, something like the Finder eating away at your CPU wouldn't make the system entirely useless from a UI standpoint.
The Finder freezing up makes the Finder unusable. That's all that's happening here, as far as I can tell.
Chuck
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Tomchu
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Jun 12, 2006, 07:05 PM
 
The mouse input system is not part of the Finder, so the Finder freezing up shouldn't make the mouse unusable.
     
Big Mac
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Jun 12, 2006, 08:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Tomchu
The mouse input system is not part of the Finder, so the Finder freezing up shouldn't make the mouse unusable.
I have seen an errant Finder task overwhelm the system to such an extent that even the mouse becomes unresponsive for a period of time. It's not a genuine freeze, but it appears to be.

Anyway, if he does not have access to another user and is going to go the Single User route, he's going to have to navigate to his home folder. To do that, you use the cd (change directory) command. You can read up on it online.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 13, 2006 at 07:18 AM. )

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
aryan143  (op)
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Jun 13, 2006, 02:27 PM
 
Hi everyone,

OK I got it to work. For anyone else who might have this problem in the future here is what I did. The computer was left ON overnight and lo and behold when I moved the mouse about 12 hours later it had full Normal Movement. (Someone said that it's possible that the desktop rebuilt itself???)

Anyway, I immediately tried Icruse's advice first because it appeared the fastest way, namely

"Did you try just opening a finder window and going to HARD DISK/Users/USERNAME/Desktop? That will display the contents of the desktop as if it were a normal folder. You may be able to delete them from there."

The finder window did take awhile to open but it did display the files, I sorted by type putting all the offending files together and I selected the first one then shift clicked on the last one, threw it in the trash, emptied it and DONE.

On a restart all was back to normal.

For stats, I had tried to move 22,000+ files but the finder stopped after 1,524. So I imagine that there might be a limit to # of files in a folder?

Anyway - THANK YOU ALL for your great suggestions and help!!!
     
icruise
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Jun 14, 2006, 04:22 PM
 
By the way, for future reference, I would think that you could have just undid the dropping of the files on the desktop (command z) as long as you did it immediately afterward.
( Last edited by icruise; Jun 14, 2006 at 04:58 PM. )
     
Watson
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Jun 16, 2006, 03:53 PM
 
Catfish_Man/Big Mac had the best solution for a quick remedy to this type of problem.
     
Agent69
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Jun 16, 2006, 06:43 PM
 
Personally, I would have done this, as I have the login screen enabled:

1. Enter >Console for username and hit entry.
2. At the console, enter username and password.
3. cd ~/Desktop
4. mv * ~/target

Then type "exit" and return to the Aqua login window.
Agent69
     
   
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