Rearranging Dock icons

  • Posted: 24 August 2012 03:29 AM

    I used to be able to rearrange icons in the Dock in Snow Leopard so that the most used ones (such as Safari, Mail) were on the left. As I added new programs, the icons were moved to the appropriate place.

    I recently added a new one and found I could not move it and realised that all the icons were fixed and I was no longer able to move any.

    Does anyone know how/why this happened and can they suggest a solution?

         
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    Posted: 28 August 2012 04:40 PM #1

    Very interesting. You *should* be able to rearrange Dock icons at will. If you can’t, it’s possible you have a permissions problem (or a corrupt preferences problem).

    Starting with the latter, the locations of these are all stored in [home] > Library > Preferences > com.apple.dock.plist—to get to the Library folder, hold down Option and click on the Finder’s Go menu.

    There’s also a related com.apple.dock.plist.lockfile there. Check the permissions on both of these with the Finder’s Get Info command. If that doesn’t solve it, quit all your apps, trash both of those files, and immediately reboot. You’ll lose your existing Dock placements, but *should* be able to adjust future placements at will.

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    Posted: 29 August 2012 02:55 PM #2

    Gonna suggest the most obvious solution.  Try typing the following in Terminal:

    defaults write com.apple.Dock contents-immutable -bool no

    killall Dock 

    (Well, obvious in the sense that it’s not one of who knows how many possible problem situations, but an OS X feature.)

    Actually, it might be even easier than that.  If you have something like TinkerTool or OnyX installed, or some kind of Dock modifying app like Docker, they all have settings for locking Dock contents/size/position.  Just uncheck the appropriate box and click Apply.

    [ Edited: 29 August 2012 03:05 PM by mrhooks ]      
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    Posted: 29 August 2012 03:45 PM #3

    smile Thanks, Mrhooks. That should do it. I *knew* there was something we had discussed but… couldn’t recall.

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    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

         
  • Posted: 03 September 2012 03:16 AM #4

    Thanks David Hamilton and Mrhooks for your replies to my problem. I have been on holiday and have not been able to reply before now.

    I found com.apple.dock.plist but not the lockfile. I deleted the plist file and rebooted. Nothing changed. I also found com.apple.dock.db but I did not delete this. Do you think this may be the problem area?

    I did not venture into Terminal in case this caused any problem, never having used Terminal before. I did try Docker and Tinkertool but these did not offer a solution. I downloaded Onyx and explored this fully but this was of no help.

    It would appear, subject to any more suggestions, that I may have to accept a very unsatisfactory situation and “put up with it”.

         
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    Posted: 03 September 2012 04:18 PM #5

    I’m pretty sure that all TinkerTool, OnyX, et al., do is provide a GUI for the Terminal command I mentioned.  (In TinkerTool, it’s “Don’t allow to modify content”.)  If unlocking the Dock via one of those apps didn’t work, then the Terminal command shouldn’t either.

    (Using Terminal isn’t a big deal if you type exactly what I wrote, no more, no less.  (Unless you want to lock your Dock icons, in which case change the ‘no’ to ‘yes’.)  The killall command is essentially a Force Quit.  The Dock will immediately relaunch itself.  This allows the new setting to take effect.)

    The .db file contains information on folders in the Dock.  I believe lockfiles are new to Lion, so you wouldn’t have them.

    The only other things I can think of right now are to try running a Combo Updater for whatever version of Snow Leopard you have, and running Disk Utiliy/DiskWarrior/etc. and hoping one of them can fix it somehow.

    Edited to Add:  Just because I’m curious, could you log in to a different account on your machine, and see if the problem persists?  If it doesn’t, you have the option of moving your important files from one account to the other.  Although that’s probably more work than you’re willing to deal with.

    [ Edited: 08 September 2012 02:41 PM by mrhooks ]