Files and Directories

Table A-1 describes the files and directories you may find in your root directory. The remaining tables in this chapter describe significant subdirectories.

Table A-1. Mac OS X’s root directory

File or directory



This file contains Finder settings, such as icon location and window size. The file will appear in any directory that you’ve viewed with the Finder.


This directory contains files that have been dragged to the Trash. On a boot volume, such files are stored in ~/.Trash. On a non-boot volume, these files are in /.Trashes/ uid /.


This file contains a list of files that should be invisible to the Finder.


This directory maps HFS+ file IDs to files. If you know a file’s ID, you can open it using /.vol/ id.

Applications (Mac OS 9)/

This directory contains all your OS 9 applications, if you’ve got Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 installed.


This directory holds all your Mac OS X applications. Its Utilities subdirectory includes lots of useful things, such as Terminal and Console.

Desktop DB

This file, along with Desktop DF, contains the desktop database that is rebuilt when you click Rebuild Desktop in System Preferences Classic.

Desktop DF

See Desktop DB.

Desktop Folder/

This directory is the Mac OS 9 desktop folder.


This directory contains Apple’s Developer Tools and documentation. This is only available if you have installed the Developer Tools. ...

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