I just came across some very weird behavior on a family members Apple MacBook. For whatever reason, Finder does NOT show all files in a folder. The folder is located on an SMB share, but I’m not sure if this has anything to do with it. The machine is fully patched with all software updates available on the day of this post.

Here is a screenshot illustrating the behaviour (some text blurred intentionally to protect privacy):

As you can see, the Terminal DOES show all files (e.g. the “untitled folder”).

Until here, this seems strange, but is probably some weird setting somewhere. But it gets a lot weirder.

By just creating a directory with the name “aaa” in the Terminal, suddenly the complete contents of the directory pops up:

This result is reproducible: deleting the “aaa” folder hides the items again:

I’ve tried different folder names. Some of them have the effect of “unhiding” all items, some not. Here is a list of things I tried:

  • “aaa”: unhides all
  • “acc”: unhides all
  • “ass”: unhides all
  • “Vorminga”: remains hidden, along with the rest
  • “Vrominga”: unhides all

I should also add that in all cases, the Terminal shows ALL files. This is clearly a client related problem, probably Finder-related.

Has anyone seen this behavior before? Should I file this as a bug with Apple?


  1. Leendert says:

    I know the problem: it is because the Finder writes some index files for SpotLight (.dstore for example), these files are hidden because it isn’t that beatifull when that file is shown… That is why Apple descided to hide all hidden files. I hope you understand the theory…

  2. Niobos says:

    The thing is: the files/folders are NOT hidden, they are just regular files and folders. Even creating a new folder (right-click, new folder) does not “work”: the folder is created (with the name “untitled folder”), but is not visible in Finder.
    Also, just creating a folder with the name “aaa” suddenly “unhides” all other files/folders as well.

  3. Leendert says:

    Than I think it’s a bug and i think it’s better to report it.
    I’ve tried it on my MacBook (Leopard,10.5.3,all other patches too) and i don’t have that problem…

  4. Bob says:

    Did you try to reproduce it in a non SMB share directory?

  5. Niobos says:

    I only tried it on the SMB share, but since Terminal shows all files, I doubt it’s a SMB problem… But I’ll try nevertheless and post the results.

  6. Niobos says:

    I looked into this problem again, but in both finder and terminal some files are hidden.
    I’ve upgraded Samba from 3.0.22 to 3.0.28a, which made the problem disappear.