Finder issues...file can’t be opened because the original item can’t be found.

donl1150

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2014
23
2
In the last few days, my 13” Mid-2011 MacBook Air has been having issues with Finder. The following Favorites in the Sidebar (Desktop, Downloads, Movies, Music, Pictures, Documents and my personal folder) all give me the same error message when I click on them…..”“xxxxxxx” can’t be opened because the original item can’t be found.

Any idea what is going on and how I correct it?

This is my system:

MacBook Air 4,2
13” Mid-2011 Model
1.7 GHz Intel Core i5
256 GB Memory
Sierra v10.12.3
 

RobinInOR

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2014
504
337
Ive had that problem accessing external servers. Restarting the finder usually clears it up. Hold down the cmd key when you right click the finder icon in the dock, and choose restart. Or is it the option key? I cant remember lol..
 

donl1150

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2014
23
2
Can you browse to those folders OK, without touching the Sidebar icons?
I think so. When I use Finder to go this path: Devices > HHD Name > Users > username. All the folders appear here. The thing that is weird though is my username has (deleted) after it. Not sure how (deleted) got there.
[doublepost=1487124191][/doublepost]
Ive had that problem accessing external servers. Restarting the finder usually clears it up. Hold down the cmd key when you right click the finder icon in the dock, and choose restart. Or is it the option key? I cant remember lol..
I tried that. Didn't help.
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 604
Feb 13, 2011
6,544
1,032
Baltimore, Maryland
Deleting your Finder preferences (at ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist) and rebooting could possibly clear that up. You might have to reconfigure your preferences to your liking afterwards.
 

donl1150

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2014
23
2
Deleting your Finder preferences (at ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist) and rebooting could possibly clear that up. You might have to reconfigure your preferences to your liking afterwards.
Pardon my asking....how do I get to that..... ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist


FOUND IT.

Deleted the plist files (3 of them) but the problem remains.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Is is possible that my user account name has changed and that is causing the problem? I don't recall changing it but perhaps I did. Still learning my way around Mac stuff.
 
Last edited:

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,819
2,488
Delaware
Here's a couple of methods to get there, among others.
You can get there from "Go to Folder", under the Go menu.
Or you see your user library folder by pressing Option while the Go menu is visible.
 

donl1150

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2014
23
2
Pardon my asking....how do I get to that..... ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist
Pardon my asking....how do I get to that..... ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist


FOUND IT.

Deleted the plist files (3 of them) but the problem remains.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Is is possible that my user account name has changed and that is causing the problem? I don't recall changing it but perhaps I did. Still learning my way around Mac stuff.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,819
2,488
Delaware
Did you restart your Mac, before trying the sidebar icons?
If you did not, you will need to delete the same file again, then restart your Mac before trying the sidebar.
If that still does not help, go to the same folder, and delete the file com.apple.sidebarlists.plist
Again, restart your Mac after deleting that files (the file will be replaced by cached copy, restarting will assure that the .plist is newly built.

You would remember if you changed your user account name, as the process is still quite involved.
And, an account name change, per se, would not affect your original question.
 

donl1150

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2014
23
2
Did you restart your Mac, before trying the sidebar icons?
If you did not, you will need to delete the same file again, then restart your Mac before trying the sidebar.
If that still does not help, go to the same folder, and delete the file com.apple.sidebarlists.plist
Again, restart your Mac after deleting that files (the file will be replaced by cached copy, restarting will assure that the .plist is newly built.

You would remember if you changed your user account name, as the process is still quite involved.
And, an account name change, per se, would not affect your original question.
[doublepost=1487721197][/doublepost]Sorry, I have been gone a while. Had a hard crash :( and had to get a replacement and then do a total restore. Thankfully I keep current on my backups with Time Machine. First time I had had to use it. I must say it WORKS! Only complaint is it does take a long time. Best to start it and let it run overnight. Now bak to the issue.......

I have deleted com.apple.sidebarlists.plist but the problem remains - "xxxxxxx cannot be opened because the original file cannot be found". Still appreciate any ideas.
 

donl1150

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 13, 2014
23
2
2/21/2017 Update:

I was able go get a phone help desk session with Apple. They connected to my screen to see what was happening. They discovered the items in question were simply shortcuts that were not working. The actual folders in question were working just fine. They did have a bit of a struggle to get the shortcuts removed however. What finally worked was to hold Command while dragging the icon to the desktop. They simply disappeared when doing that. Problem solved.

That was the first time I have ever contacted Apple support. I must say I was extremely impressed. After about a 15 second wait, I was doing an on line chat with them. After running through a few suggested procedures with them, they wanted to elevate it to a telephone chat. Again after another 15 second wait, Apple called me! They then connected to my screen to see exactly what was happening. They guided me through a few procedures and in about 10 minutes the problem was solved. Thanks Apple! And thanks to all here at the Forum as well!!
 

cswifx

Suspended
Dec 15, 2016
563
180
The simplest way to solve it would be to use the Go To Folder... option and just enter '~/', but I guess Apple solved your issue.
 

brunolemos

macrumors newbie
May 22, 2018
1
0
2/21/2017 Update:

I was able go get a phone help desk session with Apple. They connected to my screen to see what was happening. They discovered the items in question were simply shortcuts that were not working. The actual folders in question were working just fine. They did have a bit of a struggle to get the shortcuts removed however. What finally worked was to hold Command while dragging the icon to the desktop. They simply disappeared when doing that. Problem solved.

That was the first time I have ever contacted Apple support. I must say I was extremely impressed. After about a 15 second wait, I was doing an on line chat with them. After running through a few suggested procedures with them, they wanted to elevate it to a telephone chat. Again after another 15 second wait, Apple called me! They then connected to my screen to see exactly what was happening. They guided me through a few procedures and in about 10 minutes the problem was solved. Thanks Apple! And thanks to all here at the Forum as well!!
And what did they do to solve? So I don't need to call them.
 

Craig Pritchett

macrumors newbie
Jan 15, 2019
2
0
Hi - I have this problem too. The thread above isn't clear on how it was solved. Does anyone know? Thanks.
I had a similar problem. After doing a Time Machine backup, the "Documents" link in the sidebar no longer worked and told me the original item couldn't be found. Based on what was said above, I clicked and dragged the "Documents" icon/text off the sidebar and let go (similar to removing an icon out of the dock). It then disappeared with the associated animated clouds and smoke. Then I went into the "Finder" menu and selected "Preferences", clicked the "Sidebar" tab at the top of the window, and put a checkmark next to "Documents". After doing that, the "Documents" icon was back in the sidebar and working properly once again. Hope that helps you too.
 

Scott Schmidt

macrumors newbie
Jan 5, 2019
2
0
Craig - That worked great, thanks! I had been Option-dragging it out of the sidebar, and that didn't work. Your method did, and I'm back to normal. I appreciate your taking the time to help me.
 

arshgood

macrumors newbie
Dec 13, 2019
1
0
In the last few days, my 13” Mid-2011 MacBook Air has been having issues with Finder. The following Favorites in the Sidebar (Desktop, Downloads, Movies, Music, Pictures, Documents and my personal folder) all give me the same error message when I click on them…..”“xxxxxxx” can’t be opened because the original item can’t be found.

Any idea what is going on and how I correct it?

This is my system:

MacBook Air 4,2
13” Mid-2011 Model
1.7 GHz Intel Core i5
256 GB Memory
Sierra v10.12.3
just remove application ... et cetra folder from finder by right click and "remove from sidebar" and then press command + shift + c and go through folders and drag and drop them to sidebar again and it will be fixed.