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I had entered Time Machine just to check when my earliest backup had taken place (did not restore anything). When I came out of Time Machine, I found all my desktop files completely rearranged, which is a major hassle for me.

Upon pressing shift+command+. I found that this might be because no .DS_Store file exists on my desktop. Is this the real issue? I know that .DS_Store files need to store things like folder positions/icons, but then if such a file was missing, wouldn't I have found my desktop folder rearranged every time I booted?

What is the solution to this issue, can I manually create a .DS_Store file which my Mac can then fill in with the requisite folder info?

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    shift+command+. shows "hidden" files, but .DS_Store does not count as a hidden file for Finder - it just seems not to exist. To see .DS_Store you need to use ls -la in Terminal.
    – Gilby
    Dec 28, 2021 at 5:53

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Working backwards in your questions:

You should not attempt to create a .DS_Store file. macOS will create one when needed to hold (as you know) metadata about the folder. Attempts to create and/or modify .DS_Store either don't work (a good outcome) or cause no end of issues.

Regarding your apparent lack of .DS_Store:

  • Monterey's Finder does not show .DS_Store even when you enable showing hidden files. This is a change from previous versions. I suggest this is a good thing as the unwary user will not tamper with what can't be seen!
  • Nevertheless, the .DS_Store does exist and can be shown in the Terminal app, using the command ls -la.

So the apparent lack of .DS_Store is not the cause of your problem.

Exactly what happened when you entered and the exited Time Machine, I can't help you with.

Personally, I find the weird Time Machine interface unresponsive and unreliable - much worse than in previous macOS. I prefer to use Finder looking directly at the Time Machine backup volume and its snapshots.

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  • Thank you so much! Sorry for the late response, had come down with covid unfortunately. The same thing happened again recently though – turns out entering time machine and exiting it completely rearranges my Desktop. I suspect it leads to a deletion of .DS_Store, but haven't been able to find any resources on this, oh well! Jan 17 at 17:13

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