How to get rid of the question mark on your Finder window’s toolbar

Why is there? Why? Why? It’s an old file or folder that has lost its way.

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The Finder window pulls together all sorts of different kinds of items that let you navigate among folders, find files, and perform search, among many file-related tasks. But you might be perplexed to find a question mark at the top of your Finder window. How did it get there? How can you get rid of it?

If you want an item to appear in every Finder window, you can hold down Command and drag it into the toolbar. This is a useful way to promote files or folders you need all the time. The Sidebar may be fine, but it’s only for folders.

You can drag something off the toolbar in the same way: Hold down Command and drag it off, and a “poof” animation occurs—one of the last touches of whimsy left in macOS—when it disappears.

mac911 question mark finder toolbar rev IDG

The question mark indicates file or folder in the Finder toolbar can’t be found to open.

As for the question mark, that appears when a file or folder you’ve placed in the Finder toolbar is no longer available—most likely deleted, as macOS typically tracks file movements and name changes. The question mark shows up if you click the file or folder and it can’t be found.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Karen.

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