I was hoping there was a way I would be able to make all folders and files hidden on the OS X Desktop, but leave the Hard drive(s), network drives, CD's/DVD's, etc. But if I was to go into the Desktop Folder using Finder, the items would still be there. So, basically the opposite of the Finder Preferences of showing specific items on the desktop, to hide the files, etc. but leave the HDD's, CD's, etc.:

Finder Preferences

Thanks a lot

  • 1
    If you don't want files and directories on you desktop... you can always move them elsewhere...
    – demure
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 19:51
  • @demure I want them in the Desktop folder, but not the actual Desktop. Commented May 31, 2013 at 20:43
  • 1
    They are one and the same.
    – demure
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 20:51
  • Did you try the chflags hidden command (see my answer below)
    – Grezgory
    Commented Jun 1, 2013 at 18:42
  • @Grezgory Yes I did, but that would require too much work as it hides it from Finder as well, so every time I wanted to access it, I would have to unhide it. Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 18:28

3 Answers 3


What I do is just have a folder on the desktop which I occasionally throw things into when the desktop gets too cluttered - at least you only have one thing visible on the desktop. You could also try https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/48203/desktop-pirate

  • Thanks, might be the closest things to what I wanted, as long as it doesn't hide them from Finder as well. Might give it a go, but was rather hoping to not have to use an App, but better than nothing. Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 18:30

While the comments above are correct (the Desktop folder and the actual Desktop are the same thing), you still can choose to hide all your files/folders on your desktop if you wish to do so:

From the terminal:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false

then you need to restart the Finder for it to reflect the modification:

killall Finder

To switch things back to the default:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool true

then you need to restart the Finder:

killall Finder

But - bear in mind that this method will hide everything on the Desktop.

  • I don't want to hide everything. Just the items in the Desktop Folder. But I want the Hard Drives, CD's, etc. to still be shown on the Desktop. Commented Jun 1, 2013 at 0:44
  • Easiest way to do that is what others have mentioned - don't put any items in that folder. Why are you trying to do this? May help in finding a solution...
    – Scot
    Commented Jun 1, 2013 at 0:50

From Terminal use

chflags hidden ~/Deskop/foldername/

for each of the folder (see man chflags), or even

chflags hidden ~/Deskop/*

This will make them disappear from Finder.

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