Dot not

Reader Bill Phillips has been stung by a periodic problem. He writes:

I recently used Panic’s newsreader, Unison, to download a folder full of files to my Mac. I can’t find that folder anywhere on my hard drive nor will Spotlight turn up any of the files in it. Yet when I click the Show File icon in Unison’s Downloads window, the folder opens in the folder with that file highlighted. What’s up?

My guess is that if you used a utility such as Tinkertool to make your Mac’s invisible files visible, you’d find the folder within the group folder—alt.binaries.sounds, for example—where Unison stores its downloads. Look at the name of the once-invisible folder and I’ll just bet that it begins with a period. You see, although the Finder won’t allow you to create a file or folder that begins with a period, it’s possible to download items that begin with this tiny morsel of punctuation. When such items arrive, OS X believes they’re a special kind of item that’s reserved for the system and, as OS X does with all such items, it makes the folder invisible.

The trick to making the folder visible is changing its name to remove the dot, but the Finder prevents you from do so in the normal way—highlighting the name in the Finder and removing the offending period. Instead, select the folder’s name, press Command-I to bring up the Info window, and rename the folder in the Info window’s Name & Extension field.

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