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In my finder window some items are grayed out. Why is that?

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I've taken more snapshots:

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Note: If I rename the file it is no longer grayed out.

Note 2: I noticed a intermediary file is being created that is immediately renamed:

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Note 3: I also noticed that the .DS_Store file is grayed out.

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2 Answers 2

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The items you are seeing are invisible items. Names that start with a dot indicate the file should be hidden. If you changed finder to show hidden files, it will display them greyed out, but the files will work as normal. Besides having a name that starts with a dot, it is possible to set a special file attribute that will make finder hide the file.

If you want to turn the showing of hidden files back off, one option is to use the terminal, open it and use this command: defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO and then log out and back in.

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  • Are the screen shots hidden though? When I rename them they are no longer grayed out. Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 22:23
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    I think that may just be a rendering bug that happens when you turn on an unsupported feature, but that's mostly a guess. I had that happen in 10.5 years ago when I turned on invisible files. Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 22:25
  • @JohnKeates I've had this bug to, and I don't have the show all files on. Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 23:51
  • These bugs are common, I've seen them all over the internet. But if you see a file like .DS_Store, it's most likely hidden. Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 11:52
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there are some extended attributes on files such as:

  • com.apple.FinderInfo
  • com.apple.quarantine
  • Zone.Identifier

Learn how to display those attributes via the command line xattr file. if you have a huge amount of greyed out files/folders, you better execute in Terminal the find command like this:

  • change to the directory or Volume you want to inspect: cd /Volumes/BlaBlaBla/folder12
  • list all the file having an extended attribute: find . -xattr
  • if you get a list, then clear the attributes: find . -xattr -exec xattr -c {} ;

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