Alternative to downloading files to desktop

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by silversalmon, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. silversalmon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    #1
    Is there some way of setting e-mail attachment (Word, PDF, etc) and video downloads so that they open and don't create an icon on the desktop? I keep ending up with a bunch of icons on the right side of the desktop that need to be pulled down into the trash. When viewing similar files in Windows, the files open but I don't recall ever having to deal with the downloaded files unless I chose to save them to a directory.

    Is there a way of grabbing all the downloaded icons at once and dragging them down to the trash? Thanks!
     
  2. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 20, 2005
    #2
    You can move a bunch of folders at once by clicking and drawing a box around them to select the whole group.

    If I don't want an attachment to be added to my Desktop in the first place, I just drag the attachment from my e-mail window to the Dock icon for the app that will open it.
     
  3. XnavxeMiyyep macrumors 65816

    XnavxeMiyyep

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #3
    If you go into the preferences, you can set the downloads folder somewhere else, and that is where the icons will go. (At least you won't see them :p )

    To drag them all at once, just click your mouse on the desktop, and drag diagonally to make a square around them, just like in Windows. Then, once they are selected, move them to the trash.
     
  4. davede70 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    #4
    I think you're in the early stages of converting from PC to Mac. I was there and still am. It terms of organizing your downloaded files, you'll find that it becomes much easier to organize them when they are on your desktop.
     
  5. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

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    #5
    I usually prefer that they just be attached to the e-mails they came with...I don't need another standalone copy elsewhere.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #6
    The web downloads issue seems well discussed. But, what e-mail program are you using? Apple's Mail does not, at least by default, save anything to the desktop.
     
  7. silversalmon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    #7
    Thanks for the various suggestions - dragging the files to the trash should be a lot quicker now. I'm not too excited about having viewed files piling up on my desktop. If I want a copy, I would save it to a directory, otherwise, I just want to view the document or video and be done with it. It would be nice if downloaded video files and such would go into some sort of temporary internet file that could be emptied occasionally.
     
  8. silversalmon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    #8
    I'm using hotmail and my wife is using a a yahoo business e-mail. Neither of which allows you to use the Mail program -unless you want to pay $20/year for the upgraded service. As far as I know, none of the free e-mail services provide the pop info needed for using Mail.
     
  9. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

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    #9
    Okay, silly me...for some reason I thought we were talking about Apple Mail. But of course there's no reason I should have thought that.

    Anyway, to hijack the thread...mkrishnan, you say that Mail doesn't save anything to the Desktop. Mine does when I double click on attachments...any idea how I can turn that off? I know that you can change the location of the Downloads folder in the General preference pane, but I want to turn it off completely. If I want to keep the attachment separately, I'll drag it to the Desktop, but I'd rather the default behavior be that it remains embedded in the message unless I tell it otherwise.
     
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #10
    GMail provides free POP and AOL provides free IMAP. Both are viewable in Mail without any special plug-ins, for what it's worth. With the right plug-in, etc, you can also do Hotmail and Yahoo. I have all four of them in Mail (and I don't have to pay for it).

    Wildcowboy, that's so strange... I think mine caches the expanded / unencoded files in ~/library/mail/mail downloads/
     
  11. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

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    #11
    My Mail Downloads folder is directly in Library, not inside the Mail folder. Can you verify where yours is?
     
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #12
    Sorry, no, you're right. Mine is too. But that's where they get cached -- nothing on the desktop.
     
  13. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

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    #13
    What do you have in on your General preference pane under the Downloads Folder menu?

    Basically, what happens to me is this:

    If I double click on an attachment to an e-mail in Mail, it appears on my Desktop and is opened in the appropriate program. Closing the attachment leaves the copy on my Desktop.

    If I drag the attachment to the appropriate Dock icon, it will open in that program, but not add a copy to my Desktop. If I try to Save As on that document, I get a default location of com.apple.mail.drag-****.tmp.**** located in private/var/tmp/folders.501/TemporaryItems, where the asterisks are jumbles of letters and numbers that are obviously an identifying code for the file.
     
  14. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #14
    Yes, this makes sense now. Sorry for the delayed response.

    1) I never realized there was a Download location option in Mail. :D I have mine set to the Mail Downloads folder. By default, I'm sure. And granted that this results in a random assorted cache of files being left in this folder, albeit tucked away inside the Library. :eek:

    2) Yeah, the system uses /private/var/tmp for tmp folders. The "501" refers to you as a user (it's your UID). I think this happens whenever an object is dragged and dropped that does not cleanly refer to an existing file. I.E. this doesn't happen when you drag a photo from iPhoto, I think. Rather, you pass on the actual original, and the "save" you do, in, say, PS, affects the original immediately.
     
  15. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

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    #15
    OK, cool...that's what I expected was happening. Thanks for checking into things.

    So your Mail Downloads folder probably fills up with quite a large number of files over the years if you get a lot of attachments and you never clean that out.

    I guess I just don't understand why Mail feels like it has to do this. The attachment is already embedded in the message, and then it gets duplicated (on my Desktop or in your Mail Downloads folder)...it just seems like a horrible waste of space to me. I know that most attachments are pretty small, but you could have big ones being duplicated in your Library and you'd easily never know it.

    I don't remember ever changing my downloads folder to my Desktop, but I must have. Otherwise there wouldn't seem to be a need for a Mail Downloads folder.
     
  16. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #16
    Weirdly, Mail Downloads on my iMac is only 34 megs. Even though I get a fair number of attachments, and I don't remember recently

    The problem is that the original embedded copy of the attachment is a UUEncoded file, so it cannot be used directly. It has to be de-encoded before it can be used, and the de-encoded copy has to be kept somewhere. But the way Mail uses this folder is essentially analogous to a cache -- you can modify files, or you can save as / drag them to a new location, but if you close the file and open it from Mail -> the other app again, you will revert to the as-e-mailed copy.

    Which means there's no obvious reason why Apple chose to ignore their two existing systems for cache files (the tmp folder and the library/caches) and instead chose to make a third location for Mail to do the same thing.
     

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