Customizing Finder Views

Overall, the Mac OS X Finder is a pretty efficient tool for navigating your hard drive. By changing a few settings, however, you can eke out a little more efficiency from your Mac. As an example, a friend recently asked how he could prevent all of the disks that are connected to his computer from showing on his desktop, but still let his .Mac iDisk show whenever heis connected to it. Since he may have ten or more external drives connected at any given time, I could see why he wanted to try and unclutter his Desktop a little. Hereis what I told him to do:

    - Open the Finderis Preferences. Thatis in your menu bar under Finder > Preferences.
    - Click the General button.
    - Uncheck the items you donit want to see under the Show these items on the Desktop. In this example, weill uncheck Hard disks, and CDs, DVDs and iPods.

Show or hide connected drives in the General tab.

The General tab in the Finderis preferences hold several other settings that let you fine tune how the Finder displays things. You can set your default view when new windows open, control how quickly Spring-loaded folders open, set which items appear in Finder window Sidebars, and more.

If your Mac never connects to other computers on your network, hiding the Network icon in Finder window Sidebars can save you some window real estate and clean up the Sidebar at the same time.

    - Instead of clicking the General button in the Finder preferences window, click the Sidebar button.
    - Uncheck the items you donit want to display in Finder window Sidebars. Unchecking Network, for example, removes the Network icon from the Sidebar.

Customize Sidebars from the Sidebar tab.

If you change you mind later, you can always go back and reactivate the icons again by rechecking them.

Mac OS X is a powerful and flexible operating system, and by by changing a few settings to match your personal preferences, you can make that power work for you.