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Not sure if something like this exists in OSX. I would like to display a cheatsheet on my desktop as a wallpaper and to make it visible at all times I would like to hide all the icons/files/folders scattered on my desktop as I'm accessing them only from within the Finder anyway. So my question is if it is possible to hide everything on the desktop and show the wallpaper only but use the Desktop folder as normal and see all the files and folders when in Finder view? Using OSX Mountain Lion.

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What kind of cheat sheet? –  XAleXOwnZX May 13 '13 at 3:16
    
I just had a small drag incident that caused just what you wanted, but i have no idea how to swich back to show on the desktop. –  user68588 Jan 25 at 21:03

7 Answers 7

up vote 11 down vote accepted

In the terminal, do this:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false && killall Finder

After this, there'll be nothing on your Desktop (but still in ~/Desktop, i.e. your Desktop Folder). It'll look like this:

Clean Desktop


Beautiful, isn't it? If you want to change it back:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool true && killall Finder

enter image description here

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Thanks Sheharyar- works great. Turned it into an Alfred workflow so I can just hide and show when I want. –  VLostBoy Jul 19 at 10:33
    
@VLostBoy Nice! –  Sheharyar Jul 20 at 21:52

I don't believe you can hide files from the desktop while leaving them viewable from within the Finder, since the desktop is just a folder (~/Desktop).

However, here's an alternative that could work:

  1. Open your cheatsheet image in Safari (drag and drop the image onto the Safari icon in the dock)
  2. In Safari, go to File > Open in Dashboard...
  3. Your image should be selected/highlighted, or if not, then click it to select it. Click Add in the purple toolbar.

This will create a Dashboard widget that displays your image. Now to view the image, simply toggle Dashboard (F4 on a newer Mac or F12 on an older one).


Another alternative: if you're not accessing your files from the desktop, why keep them in the ~/Desktop folder at all? Just move them to another folder.

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This is great! Haven't realized I could do that. Thx of sharing. –  Kris Jan 23 '13 at 8:04

You could try using a program called camouflage. It hides all the icons on your desktop. There are older versions available online that may or may not work with Mountain Lion, but it is also available on the Mac App Store, which will work with Mountain Lion

Version 1.25 (free - softonic.com) Free, but it may or may not work on Mountain Lion

Version 2.2.1 ($5.99 - Mac App Store) Will definitely work on Mountain Lion

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There's another little free program that does exactly this, and nothing more:

http://blog.websecurify.com/2013/01/hide-desktop-icons-on-mac-os-x.html

It sits in the menu bar and lets you toggle icons on or off.

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Yes, this does exactly what the OP requested. Great resource. –  Chris Schiffhauer Sep 23 '13 at 16:11
1  
Great, works with Mavericks! –  Stefan Schmidt Jan 26 at 17:14

Another great piece and free piece of software for doing this is XtraFinder.

http://www.trankynam.com/xtrafinder/

It can also add to Finder very interesting options like:

  • CMD-X for Cut & Paste
  • Create new file (with your favorite templates)
  • Arrange folders on top
  • Quickly show/hide hidden files with a shortcut
  • Tabs

All can be individually enabled.

In the various shortcuts you'll find Hide Desktop that is what you need.

I currently use XtraFinder on ML without issues. It's really light for the OS.

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I'm not sure if this exactly meets your criteria, but Desktop Curtain from Many Tricks is a neat app that hides your messy desktop. $5 in the Mac App Store.

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You can run the following Terminal command:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false && killall -HUP Finder

To undo, replace false with true.

Source: OS X Daily: Hide All Desktop Icons — No idea if it is Mavericks only.

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