I have gone into my Finder preferences and selected to show drives, connected servers, etc., on the desktop. They, however, do not appear. I have restarted Finder and rebooted, but they still are not there. Upon further examination, it also appears that when I click on the desktop, finder does not become the active application, clicking the desktop does nothing. It is as though the desktop has ceased to have functionality other then displaying an image.

Any idea how to correct this?

  • Are you sure you they are mounted? Can you see them in Finder? Jul 11 '14 at 19:31
  • Yes, they are right there in Finder
    – aszekely
    Jul 12 '14 at 18:36
  • Can you drag documents onto the desktop and see them? If they're there, can you click on them, open them, etc.?
    – samh
    Aug 9 '14 at 17:59
  • If I try to drag a document onto the desktop, when I release the mouse button the file disappears from view on the desktop and remains in its original folder. If I drag a document into the desktop shortcut on my sidebar, it does not appear on the desktop, but is visible when I select desktop in the sidebar
    – aszekely
    Aug 11 '14 at 11:32
  • 1
    Do all users have the same issue? Have you tried to login as Guest or another user? Aug 11 '14 at 20:29

I believe that CreateDesktop is set to false. Try running defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool YES in Terminal (unless you are on Mountain Lion or below, in which case the command is defaults write com.apple.Finder CreateDesktop -bool YES), followed by killall Finder. You should be able to view items on and drag items to your Desktop now, including drives.

  • I might be reading but wrong, but it seems that both of the Terminal lines are same. Are you sure you typed the second one right?
    – Vladimir
    Aug 14 '14 at 6:47
  • Capitalisation: finder/Finder
    – Joseph
    Aug 14 '14 at 8:44

If these kind of Finder problems are user specific, you can fix them by removing your Finder preference files in your Library.

The files you want to delete (backup) are:

  • com.apple.sidebarlists.plist
  • com.apple.finder.plist

You can find them in ~/Library/Preferences/ (Home -> Library -> Preferences). Go to Finder, press commandshiftG and paste ~/Library/Preferences/

Now you need to relaunch Finder (logout/login, or reboot, or commandaltesc)


This perhaps won't fix your bounty issue, but for Finder not correctly coming to the front... Opt-right click the Finder icon in the dock > Relaunch [bottom menu item] Should fix focussing issues with no side effects. For some reason, since Mountain Lion, this occasionally happens, Finder loses its focus, only some windows pop to the front when Finder is called - if you have multiple Spaces this seems more prevalent.

  • I relaunched Finder and that did not impact the focusing issue.
    – aszekely
    Aug 11 '14 at 11:33
  • Then I'd be inclined to run Disk Utility, check perms & the disk; then run the combo updater for your current OS version. Google e.g. "osx combo update 10.9.4" for the correct file from Apple.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 11 '14 at 12:00
  • That did not work, unfortunately.
    – aszekely
    Aug 13 '14 at 1:02

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