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Mac OS X 10.6.2 ~ Folder/System Icons Have Vanished.

I'm a relatively computer savvy person. I worked with Windows based systems for most of my life, but switched to an iMac (the first aluminum one before they got rid of the aluminum border around the screen). I'm running Mac OS X Snow Leopard and as of today quite a few folders have vanished.

First off, any actual Folder icon has vanished completely. This applies to the desktop, the finder, and even on the dock. In the Finder and desktop the folder is gone but the text is there, on the dock it is replaced by a question mark. Even diving a bit deeper into the system reveals that a lot of the system files are lacking an icon as well.

I have tried quite a few solutions that I know should work through personal knowledge, as well as a few solutions I've found on various Mac forums based on the issues others have had. The solutions I have tried are as follows:

I) I have logged out/logged in
II) Restarted many times
III) I have repaired the permissions multiple times
IV) I have 'force quit' the Finder multiple times
V) I've tried various terminal commands
VI) I have run various programs to run every maintenance routine I can imagine
VII) I have deleted various .plists that people have suggested
VIII) I have run cache cleaning programs, thinking it was my icon cache

The amount of things I've tried, is the major reason that I've given this question so many points. I even opened up Candybar in a last ditch effort, only to find that the icons that are missing, don't even appear in the program (as though they don't exist).

I also run Windows XP on the side through BootCamp on occasion to work on a website for an old boss of mine. Aside from that, I don't browse the internet or even run any other software.

I understand that in a last ditch effort, I could run the OS X Snow Leopard install disc, but I'm sure you can understand me wanting to avoid it having to come to such a thing. This is part of me not wanting to go through the entire installation process again when I really don't have the time to dedicate to it at the moment; as well, I have been frustrated all day over this. If I can't find an answer, it's going to eat at me.

Thank you in advanced to anyone that responds. I'm willing to try anything at this point. I supplied as much information as I possibly could, hoping to rule out any other possible issues.
Avatar of Sigurdur Armannsson
Sigurdur Armannsson
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There is a suggestion that third party software called iStatPro might cause this problem. If it is installed on this computer, uninstall it.
Also, you could try downloading TinkerTool. You should find an item under "hidden file features" with a check box for "disable desktop features". Click that button on, then off again and see if that solves the problem. (Having it ON will cause your icons to disappear).

Here are three other suggestions from today's MacFixit:

First try booting into Safe Mode by holding the Shift key at start-up. When in safe mode, use Disk Utility to run a permissions fix on the boot drive.

Second, try removing the desktop's ".DS_Store" file, which can be done by running the following command in the Terminal application, and then relaunching the Finder (logout and login will do this):

rm ~/.DS_Store

Lastly, try removing the Finder's preference file, which is called "" and is located in the


Avatar of iband48


Unless there is any other suggestion out there, I'm probably going to have to go with the last ditch effort of reinstalling Mac OS X, as sigurarm suggested.

I tried creating a new account on the computer, as it only has mine normally, to no avail.

I downloaded TinkerTools but that did nothing.

I tried the last three suggestions that strung recommended, once again with no actual results.

It was almost funny that you mentioned iStat Pro, as that was in fact the last thing that I installed on my computer before the issues began. I removed it immediately, and once again, the problem persists.

Thank you for your time on this subject, regardless.
Did that cure it?
Avatar of iband48


Yes. It wasn't the sort of solution I was hoping to go towards.

I ended up just saving all the documents I needed to on a flash drive (since there was only about 7gb worth) and started from a completely fresh install. I'm assuming something got corrupted in the actual icon files, but I don't know for sure.

Anyway, thank you guys for you time and help.