Questions about the way that OS X handles files.

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by Js17hilton, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. Js17hilton macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2011
    I've been mostly a long time windows user, with some mac experience (all pre-OS X) until now when I bought my first OS X mac.
    I am a little bit confused on how OS X handles files in comparison with windows.

    I accidentally dragged an application on to my desktop. The application is still in my application folder. I do not want it on my desktop, so I put it in the trash. When I try to empty the trash it says it can't be deleted because it is in use.

    When I have 2 of the same application icons does OS X look at this as 2 separate applications? I want to delete this extra icon that I have on my desktop but I don't want to mess with my running program.

    From what I understand if I quit this application, and then deleted the file it would delete, and leave the other copy of it in my application folder, but is there an easier way of doing this?

  2. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    You can't delete something that is in use. You need to quite the copy that is running (which presumably is living on your desktop) and use the copy in your Applications folder.
  3. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    If you drag an App to your desktop in Lion, you usually get an Alias, rather than a copy of the App. If the icon on the desktop has a little arrow in the lower left corner, that means it's an Alias, a file that points to the App.
    To move a COPY of the App to the Desktop, hold down the Option Key while dragging.
    To move the App itself out of its folder and onto the desktop, hold down the command key while dragging.

    Logging out, and back in (don't preserve App states) usually fixes an ornery trash-can.
  4. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    Do you WANT to lose that application? Not clear...

    If not, suggest you put it back in the Applications folder. (It might ask you for your admin password if, as recommended, you do your everyday computing in a non-admin account.)

    If you do want to be rid of the app, either command-tab to bring it to the foreground and quit it, or use the Apple menu, select Force Quit, and quit it there, or use the Activity Monitor to find it and force-quit it there (but be careful you know what you're force-quitting in that case).

    Then you can drag it to the trash. This uninstalls it. Easy, huh? ...It does not need to make a pit-stop on the desktop; you can drag directly from the Applications folder to the trash. Again, if you have your machine configured so your everyday work is performed in a non-admin account (recommended), you'll be asked for confirmation.

    As to your other question, yes you can have two identical icons representing two different applications, or two different versions of an application. Usually, however, when you install a new version of an app (generally by dragging it to the Applications folder), you'll be asked if you want to overwrite the old version. Most often the answer to this will be yes.

    The one thing to beware of is whether the multiple icons you're talking about represent different applications or aliases (pointers) to the same application. You can command-I each of them to see more info about them.

    Welcome to OS X... it'll all start to make sense as you use it. It's a fabulous OS.

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