Back in the days I used to run Path Finder for a while, but then removed it from the system and went back to regular finder. Now when entering i.e. open Desktop/ in the terminal, it opens up Finder showing the Desktop directory.

Today I mounted a drive that holds backups, including a copy of an old Path Finder.app which obviously had been detected by the system immediately, because when running open Desktop/ it then tried to use this copy of Path Finder to open up the folder. When the drive was unmounted, it just went back to using Finder.

I assume, this is some fallback, and deep in the system there is still a setting to open folders in Path Finder. When opening the cmd+i window on a folder in Finder, there is no such thing as "open with…" like it is for a file.

So I am wondering, where I can unset Path Finder completely?

This might be useful:

mcnesium@mcobst:~$ rgrep "Path Finder.app" Library/
Binary file Library/Application Support/com.apple.sharedfilelist/com.apple.LSSharedFileList.RecentApplications.sfl matches
Binary file Library/Application Support/Dock/F1ABBC0A-23A3-4B6A-BAC7-849CDA1F021A.db matches
Library/Application Support/Quicksilver/Mnemonics.plist:            <string>/Applications/Path Finder.app</string>
Library/Application Support/Quicksilver/Mnemonics.plist:        <key>/Applications/Path Finder.app</key>
Binary file Library/Caches/com.apple.nsservicescache.plist matches
Binary file Library/Preferences/com.apple.ServicesMenu.Services.plist matches
Binary file Library/Preferences/loginwindow.plist matches

4 Answers 4


To resolve the issue expressed in the OP, I'd follow the directions as shown by the developer of Path Finder using information in How do I completely uninstall Path Finder?, which is quoted below, for your convenience.

Also note that if for some reason you what to keep that backed up copy of Path Finder, first I'd archive it to a zip file, then delete it per the directions below.

Quoted from the link above:

Before removing the Path Finder application, make sure to reset all preferences that tell the system to use Path Finder by default. After that, make sure to relaunch all running applications, logout or reboot so applications can re-read the default settings.

From Path Finder's preferences window, make the follow changes:

Path Finder 6 & 7 preferences:

  • In the Finder tab, disable these options:

    • Hide Finder's desktop
    • Quit Finder when Path Finder launches
    • Enable Finder's "Remove from Dock" menu option
  • In the General tab, disable these options:

    • Launch Path Finder at login
    • Set as the default file browser

Path Finder 5 preferences:

  • In the General tab, disable these options:

    • Launch Path Finder automatically after log in
    • Quit the Finder automatically at launch
    • Hide Finder's desktop
  • In the Reveal tab, disable "Set Path Finder as the default file viewer"

To remove all traces of Path Finder, delete the following files and folders (some of these may not be on your system).

FreeMacSoft's free application AppCleaner is an excellent tool for automating this process. Just make sure to disable the settings listed above before using AppCleaner.

  /Applications/Path Finder.app
  /Library/Application Support/Path Finder/
  /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Path Finder/



  /Users/<username>/Library/Contextual Menu Items/Path Finder CM.plugin 
  /Users/<username>/Library/Saved Application State/com.cocoatech.PathFinder.savedState/


[#] Can be a number, eg. 6, 7, etc.

  • Not sure if removing all the Library foo or just zipping the Path Finder.app directory nailed it, but it's finally gone. Thx
    – mcnesium
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 12:46

The correct search should be:

grep -r "com.cocoatech.PathFinder" ~/Library/Preferences

LauchServices use bundle identifier to look up an app.

You will likely to find it here, in El Capitan:

defaults read ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices/com.apple.launchservices.secure.plist

You can rebuild the default applications to open files, via command line.

Sometimes I run this command, if/when the Finder "Open With" submenu gets slow to respond because of many removed applications. Or if the file associations is so wrong that is better rebuild it to defauls and then change just a few for some applications.

This will rebuid the default MacOS file-type associations with its original applications.

(If you have for example some applications like Keka to decompress zip files, after running the command below, the zip files will be associated with Finder, and you will have to re-associate them by opening Keka and doing so)

This also cleans up settings left from removed applications, which slows down MacOS when trying to open a file.

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user


If you use Quicksilver you can select any folder and then "Always open type with..." This set the default app to open folders system wide. For example it changes the app used by Dock/Downloads/more

  • Welcome to Ask Different! We're trying to find the best answers and those answers will provide info as to why they're the best. Explain in detail why you think the software you recommended is better than others out there. Providing links can also help the OP, and others, find the software and evaluate it themselves. See How to Answer on how to provide a quality answer. - From Review
    – fsb
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 16:21
  • What is "Quicksilver?" How does this apply to the OP's question. What does Quicksilver do to solve the issue?
    – Allan
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 16:47
  • I added the link. QS solves this issue as I explained, I know because it solved it for me and it is a very useful tool, the second app I install on any mac (after homebrew). Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 0:58
  • This answer does seem relevant for users such as myself who are already using Quicksilver. While I wouldn't expect this answer to be the top, it doesn't seem worth downvoting! Thanks Boris Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 15:35

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