I just got a new machine with Lion preinstalled. After transferring all my applications, I noticed that the file sizes (and only the sizes) of some applications and folders are greyed out:

example for greyed out files

Does anybody know what this means?


ls -la gives the following lines for DjView and Dropbox:

drwxr-xr-x   3 daniel  staff    102 31 Okt  2007 DjView.app
drwxr-xr-x@  3 daniel  staff    102  3 Mai 10:06 Dropbox.app

I.e. Dropbox.app has extended file attributes, namely

$ xattr -p com.apple.FinderInfo Dropbox.app/
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 FF FF FF FF 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00



  • Very interesting! I'm not seeing the same thing on my system. Aug 3, 2011 at 22:20
  • 1
    Have you run a fix permissions after the migration? You shouldn't have to but that might be the reason. Aug 4, 2011 at 0:20
  • 1
    Guess: The greyed out apps are PowerPC (and won't work under Lion)?
    – macaco
    Aug 5, 2011 at 0:32
  • MrMage: Dropbox.app on my system has exactly the same extended attributes, and no grey size. So I don't think that can be the issue. An odd one, this.
    – dan8394
    Aug 12, 2011 at 4:32
  • You are right. There also are grey files without extended attributes.
    – MrMage
    Aug 12, 2011 at 9:01

2 Answers 2


I have only the craziest of guesses, but since we're all striking out so far, here goes.

Is there any chance you've turned on the Asepsis mode which installs a kernel extension? You may have not disabled that in your testing (a safe boot should confirm / rule this out as well). It seems possible that it's intentionally showing you which folders it has replaced the normal .DS_store file with entries in /usr/local/.dscache

I would also use mdls to inspect the metadata for these folders (since apps are really folders these days) in case some clue jumps out at you.

  • 1
    I indeed have Asepsis enabled, and simply deleting the (still-present) .DS_Store in the Applications folder removed all the gray sizes. Thanks a ton!
    – MrMage
    Aug 17, 2011 at 20:53

It seems that those Apps are only sym links. Maybe those apps are in your ~/Applications folder, and are linked to the /Applications one.

Could you check it.

Edited to reflect the edit of the author.

  • These are good suggestions for starting to get to the bottom of this odd problem.
    – dan8394
    Aug 5, 2011 at 10:35
  • Updated the original post with the information you requested.
    – MrMage
    Aug 8, 2011 at 10:33
  • They aren't. In fact, they are located on /SSD/Applications (which is not the system partition), but the same gray text appears next to some applications in the /Applications folder.
    – MrMage
    Aug 9, 2011 at 9:02
  • Have you tried to re-download the greyed out apps which resides in the /Applications folder?
    – Gio
    Aug 9, 2011 at 9:39
  • There are even some Apple applications affected. As it seems, they have the special attributes mentioned above, but I don't know what they mean.
    – MrMage
    Aug 9, 2011 at 19:31

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