Items won't delete from Downloads stack

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by caats19, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. caats19 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2007
    #1
    I have a few items in my downloads stack, but 3 of them that don't exist in the folder anymore are just sitting there. I can try and move em out but i get the "circle with a slash" thing. And if i drag them to the trash, nothing happens. If i click on them to open it says "application cannot be found"

    help?
     
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #2
    Have you tried removing the stack from the Dock altogether and re-adding it?
     
  3. -aggie- macrumors P6

    -aggie-

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    #3
    You might copy ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.dock.plist to the desktop and then delete the plist. Then type killall Dock in Terminal.
     
  4. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #4
    That is, move it to the Desktop. ;)

    You might just try a Restart after that if you don't want to use Terminal. In any case, the OS "rebuilds" the plist file in the Preferences folder.
     
  5. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #5
    Well, strictly speaking, copy + delete is not the same as move. Copying breaks any links that might be present, while moving just updates them. However, there's no reason that I see for that to be a factor here, so moving would work as well.
     
  6. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #6
    That's interesting. Can you elaborate?

    Edit: For the language purist in me, rather; Would you please elaborate.
     
  7. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #7
    Well, on *nix machines like Macs, there are two kinds of links: soft or symbolic links (what Mac OS X calls aliases and Windows calls shortcuts) and hard links.

    Soft links behave similarly to files, and refer to another file on the computer. For example, if you created a link (alias) to an application in /Applications on your desktop, double-clicking the alias would cause the application to open. If you delete the application, the link will remain on your desktop, but double-clicking will do nothing. However, if you move the application to another folder on the same drive, the link will just update to point to the new location.

    When a program opens a file, it behaves just like it created a soft link. For a demonstration of how this works for applications, try creating a new document in TextEdit. Save it to your desktop as "Foo.rtf". Then, with TextEdit still open, use Finder to rename the file on your desktop to "Bar.rtf". When you activate TextEdit again, the filename in the title bar will be updated, and saving again will prompt you to save under the new name. (This doesn't work in Windows, since Windows deals with files differently.)

    Hard links are files as far as the operating system is concerned. The filenames and locations of all files are saved to the filesystem, which is a set of information located on one small part of the hard drive. The rest of the hard drive contains raw data, and each file mentioned in the filesystem points to a certain physical spot on the hard drive where its contents can be found. This means that the operating system doesn't have to read the entire drive every time you open a directory, and it doesn't have to rearrange the contents of the drive if you move or edit a file.

    Normally, each file saves its data to a different physical spot on the drive. However, creating a hard link creates an entry in the filesystem that points to the same data as another file. The benefit of this is that large files don't end up taking up additional space if copied and edits to one file will affect the other(s). The big difference between hard and soft links is that hard links continue to work if the original document has been deleted, because they point to the actual data rather than to another file.

    Now, if I copy a file rather than creating a link, the data will be copied to a different location on the drive. It starts out with the same attributes and contents, just like if I'd created a hard link, but the two files are no longer associated in any way, and I can edit one file without affecting the other. What's more, I can delete one file without affecting the other, but still breaking any soft links that might be pointing to the original.

    Try the TextEdit experiment again, but by copying rather than renaming. Save the file Foo.rtf, copy it and rename the copy to Bar.rtf, then delete Foo.rtf and empty the trash. As far as you're concerned, you have done exactly the same thing as if you'd renamed the file, but when you go to save in TextEdit, it will tell you that it can no longer find the file Foo.rtf. You've broken the link that TextEdit had with the file, which means that it can no longer read from or write to the data saved on your computer.

    More info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolic_link
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_link
    http://developer.apple.com/mac/library/documentation/Darwin/Reference/ManPages/man1/ln.1.html
     
  8. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #8
    Thanks. That really is fascinating, but I see why you gave the "Cliff's Notes" version initially. I read it and followed it fine, but I'm not taking an exam on it any time soon! :D
     

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