Why am I not allowed to change any of the preferences in Finder's General preference pane, except for Spring-loaded folders? I am allowed to change any of Finder's Labels, Sidebar, or Advanced preferences, except for Show all filename extensions and Show warning before emptying the Trash.

Finder Preferences

I've tried deleting ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist then restarting Finder, which recreates com.apple.finder.plist, but the problem persists.

I'm running OS X 10.6.8.

Finder Preferences

2 Answers 2


I assume your user are assigned administrator rights on the machine? Have you tried booting up in Safe Mode? Do the problem persist inside there?

To boot in safe mode:

  1. Shut down you mac completely.
  2. Press the power button.
  3. After you hear the startup tone, hold Shift key.
  4. Release Shift once you see the gray Apple icon and progress bar.

Also, try to create a new user. Check if the problem appears on your new user as well.


Found this to be a solution:

Move (dont delete in case something goes wrong) theese four files to your desktop from <~/Library/Preferences> and make a full reboot. Not necessary to do safe mode for this operation. Just Cut and paste the files directly.

  • com.apple.desktop.plist
  • com.apple.desktopservices.plist
  • com.apple.finder.plist
  • com.apple.preference.desktopscreeneffect.plist
  • com.apple.sidebarlists.plist

The files should appear after a reboot, and hopefully fix your problem.

  • Yup, I'm an administrator. The problem persists after booting in safe mode, and also is present for newly created administrator users. I moved desktop, finder, preference.desktopscreeneffect, & sidebarlists (desktopservices didn't exist), but the problem persists.
    – John Sauer
    Commented Feb 18, 2013 at 16:12
  • This is quite strange. You are not using any 3rd part sofware like TotalFinder or Forklift for finder? If so I would suggest to reinstall that piece of software.
    – hrdy
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 11:07
  • Nope, I'm using plain old Finder. I'm planning to upgrade to Mountain Lion, so I'll do a clean install of OS X 10.8 and (hopefully) report back that all is well.
    – John Sauer
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 23:15
  • Which four of the files should he move? :)
    – GEdgar
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 22:41

I gave in and upgraded to Mountain Lion (10.8), and I no longer experience the issue.

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