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I am having some problems with my Desktop on a relatively new Lion install. I can't move folders around (when I try, the icon gets the slashed-O "no" symbol and they bounce back where they came from), and the "New Folder" menu item on Finder is grayed out (and, likewise, shift-cmnd-N does nothing).

I've tried the following:

  • Making sure the "View" "Sort by" setting is set to "None".

  • Checking permissions. "Get Info" shows all access control entries with "read and write" permissions (including "everyone" listed twice), and ls -le shows:

    drwxrwxrwx@ 31 username username 1054 Nov 23 23:25 Desktop

    0: group:everyone allow list,add_file,search,add_subdirectory,readattr,writeattr, readextattr,writeextattr,readsecurity

    I also ran "Repair File Permissions" on the main hard disk.

  • Deleting my ~/Library/Preferences/ file, and having that regenerate after a restart.

  • Confirming that the Desktop is not locked, both through Finder "get info" (confirming that the "Locked" checkbox is not checked) and through ls -lO (no flags listed).

Further, I have noticed that although I cannot create a new folder on the Desktop using shift-cmnd-N or the Finder menu, I can "mkdir" a new Desktop folder in the terminal.

Any ideas?

Update: I may have found a clue -- the result of xattr -l Desktop shows that the attribute is set, with bytes 9 and 10 set to 20 and 10 respectively. Is this normal? (By contrast, my older Mac has no attributes set on Desktop.)

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Aha! My clue was indeed the right lead (I think) -- removing the attribute with

`xattr -d ~/Desktop`

appears to have fixed the problem. See for a few more details.

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I had the same problem with my MacBook Air. Restarting the Mac did the trick, after changing the permissions to "Read & Write".

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The permission of what did you change to read/write? – patrix Jun 14 '13 at 6:29

For me, just a restart took care of the problem, after repairing permissions, and other suggestions did not work!

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