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Want to un-share "desktop folder" mistakenly shared

villages_ar asked
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
This should be an easy fix, but I can't get it to work.  System is iMac with OS 9.2.2.  Somehow the folder  "Desktop Folder" was enabled as a shared folder.  I am finding it impossible to UNSHARE that folder through the standard channels.

Choosing <apple icon> / control panel / file sharing / activity monitor tab displays "Desktop Folder" as the only shared item.  Highlighting "Desktop Folder" in the window and choosing "privileges" for that selection results in a permanent gray-out of the active window.  The usual options dialog box does not appear to un-share the folder.

My best guess is that the problem has to do with the fact that the "desktop" folder is always an open window, with properties that can't be edited when the window is active (which leaves an obvious catch-22 situation . .  .)

But, that is only a guess.  I just want to GET RID OF IT PERMANENTLY as a shared item, since having it as a shared item locks enabling the drives that I DO want to share.

Thanks for any assistance.
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Double click the HD icon on your desktop. Inside, do you see a folder labeled Desktop? Usually this folder is invisible and if it's still invisible that may be why you cant change it.


Good question.  It's true that I can't see the "Desktop Folder" icon as a component of the HD in the initial window, when "HD" is opened.  The only way I can browse to "Desktop Folder" and make it visible is a Sherlock search, which returns an image of the "Desktop Folder" icon in the results window.  If I highlight that folder in the Sherlock window, I can successfully view the folder components via the standard path:  FILE / GET INFORMATION / SHARING.

The resulting window is odd, though, since the "Desktop" folder is clearly a shared item.  However, BOTH the "Can't remove, rename . . . " and "Share this item and its contents . . . " are UNCHECKED.  That is not in line with <apple icon> / control panel / file sharing / activity monitor tab, which clearly displays "Desktop Folder" as an already-shared item (the ONLY shared item) in that window.

Further:  from DESTOP FOLDER / FILE / GET INFORMATION / SHARING (through Sherlock), choosing the unchecked option "Share this item and its contents . . . " in the window (which would seem to activate what is *already* in place), results in a warning box, "Desktop could not be shared, because it is inside a shared folder or disk,"  with <OK> as the only action option.  That's puzzling, because the path <apple icon> / control panel / file sharing / activity monitor tab shows "Desktop Folder" as the ONLY shared file or folder.  I believe at one time the entire hard drive was shared, with all sharing rights copied to subfolders.  However, that shared item (the whole hard drive) was UN-shared and is not visible in the <apple icon> / control panel / file sharing / activity monitor tab window.

I hope this paints the circumstances clearly.

Ok. Try sharing the HD again, copy settings to all folders etc. Then Unshare it, and copy settings to all folders. See if cycling the settings does anything.


Good idea.  Unfortunately, I already tried that.  When I try to share the HD by / FILE / GET INFORMATION / SHARING, the system returns the message "HD could not be shared, because there is a shared folder inside it," with <OK> as the only option.  This is what I meant in my original post, that the reason this is a problem is that I seem to be locked out of sharing the folders/drive that I DO want to share.  BTW, though, I AM able to share subfolders outside of the HD / Desktop Folder path.

Hmm...might be time for some Norton action. Or DiskWarrior. If all else fails, move all your desktop items to another folder use resedit to make the desktop folder visible, then delete it, and make a new one.


Back again.  I think I'll try the ResEdit option, but I could use some handholding.  

"If all else fails, move all your desktop items to another folder use resedit to make the desktop folder visible, then delete it, and make a new one."

Status:  I downloaded ResEdit version 2.1.3 as an archive to a PC, copied it to a floppy, copied to the Mac HD, extracted it with Stuffit into a new ResEdit v. 2.1.3 folder in the applications menu.

I successfully opened the program to see if I could activate the menu.  It seemed to work OK.  I also created a "Temp Desktop" folder as a subfolder directly under the HD to store the desktop items/program aliases.  Don't know if that's right or not.  

Now what?  There is really nothing unusual about the desktop icons as they are displayed on the Mac.  It's not being used by power users.


Im winging it here because i havent used OS 9 or resedit in a long time, but you should be able to modify the desktop folders visibility property through resedit. At which point you can delete it.


Thanks for the next step.  It seemed to work.  I now have 3 newly-exposed folders directly under HD in the dir tree:  DESKTOP; DESKTOP DB and DESKTOP DF.  I can successfully copy all of the icons from the desktop to the folder I made, except of course the HD icon and the trash folder.  So, I now have a boring desktop with only the HD and Trash icons.

So, I assume that I should now delete one or more of the 3 desktop files.  I further assume I should NOT zap the --DB and --DF files.  I unhid them just in case.  But, I'll zap them too if you say I should.

Then, with the desktop folders successfully (hopefully) zapped, the $64 question is, what's gonna happen when I restart?  Does the OS just create another desktop gui, or will I get some cryptic message in a command window telling me I'm an idiot for zapping the desktop and I'll now need to reinstall the OS?  Or, something in between?

I upped the points a bit as a self-imposed surcharge.  It must be a pain as a Mac person to have to deal with PC users.

Thanks again!!

You actually CAN zap the DB and DF files. Those files are what are re-created when you rebuild the desktop database.

Now, what you SHOULD be able to do, is delete the desktop folder, and rename the folder you put the icons in, with the same name as your old desktop folder. Then restart. That SHOULD work.


Well, the theory sounded good.

I did the zapping.  At restart I got this very hopeful-looking "rebuilding desktop" progress bar.  But, I was concerned because the same wallpaper was there in the background.  Sure enough, there was now a new "Desktop" folder, but the folder behaved in the same way as it had at the beginning.  At <apple icon> / control panel / file sharing / activity monitor tab, the window displays "Desktop Folder" as the only shared item, and can't be unshared.

I also repeated the same process, but put "Desktop" in a spot other than in the root directory.  I thought that, if it had to REBUILD a "Desktop" from scratch instead of morphing one that was already there, it may do a more thorough rebuild.

Unfortunately, same result.

Other suggestions?
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I set in place a work-around that helped get me where I wanted to go.  But, the folder is still behaving the way it had.  Thank you for your help

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