I opened a write-protected and locked PDF-file with the Preview app. Originally it was located within a folder at the desktop.

Afterwards, I moved the file within its folder to a different location.

After some time, the containing folder reappeared at the desktop but without any content in it.

It has been some days since then and I rebooted several times. The folder just keeps reappearing. I delete it, it somehow gets recreated by some application after some minutes.

I even unlocked the PDF-file, moved it back and forth. I also deleted the folder with sudo in the terminal. It says that "staff" is the owner. But it keeps reapperaring.

What could I do? Can I see why the folder was created?

  • 1
    What is the name of the folder? Do you have iCloud sync for Documents and Desktop enabled?
    – nohillside
    Mar 29, 2021 at 6:44
  • iCloud for Desktop is not enabled. The name is just my previous chosen name where I stored the pdf-files, nothing system-related. Mar 29, 2021 at 6:56
  • If you rename it once it got created, does an additional folder with the old name reappear as well after a while?
    – nohillside
    Mar 29, 2021 at 7:38
  • Yes, I renamed it and half an hour later, there appeared a new folder with the old name Mar 29, 2021 at 8:31
  • You can try the following to find out which process recreates the folder: open Terminal, type while :;do sudo lsof ~/Desktop/<folder name> 2>/dev/null; done (replace <folder name> with the name of the folder that keeps reappearing) and press Enter (you will most probably need to type your password once). With a bit of luck this loop should print the process that creates the folder (you may need to delete the folder several times and wait for it to be recreated).
    – jaume
    Mar 29, 2021 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


I found the solution: It was the default download location of firefox. I changed it, deleted the folder, it never got recreated ever since.

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