whats with the extra BS?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by AudiGuy, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. AudiGuy macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2005
    why do macs make these stupid extra files in my portable drive? for example if i load a file named "1234" the mac will also make another file named "._1234" i dont see why these file serve no purpose. it is annoying as hell. my PC never does this. so can someone please tell my why this happens? and if possible how to prevent it?
  2. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    The Mac filesystem is forked. No, I'm not swearing. :rolleyes:

    Each file contains a data fork (the actual content) and a resource fork (things like the icon, and filetype). When you copy files to a Windows-formatted drive, there is no way for the resource fork to be stored, so Mac OS creates the second file, ._whatever, to store the resources. These files should be hidden.

    I don't know whether there's any way around this though, other than formatting the drive as HFS (which will make it unreadable by Windows unless you install MacDrive or similar).
  3. bankshot macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2003
    Southern California
    [Edit: darn, Nermal beat me to it... :p]

    Those are resource forks. The native HFS+ filesystem of the Mac allows each file to have two pieces: the data fork (which is what is normally used) and the resource fork. Back in the old days, resource forks were used to store a lot of the important stuff in a file. Some current apps still do this, probably because they have a lot of old code for that stuff. But most newer apps rarely use them, except maybe to store some metadata.

    When you copy files with resource forks over to a filesystem that doesn't support them, OS X stores them in the ._name files. That way files that absolutely need the resource fork will still work when stored on a networked drive, an external Windows-formatted drive, etc. On most other operating systems, files beginning with . are supposed to be "hidden" (unless you turn off the option to hide them).

    Unfortunately I don't know of any way to turn off this behavior. I'd almost be surprised if there even is a way, because most users aren't savvy enough to know when their resource forks are truly optional (like with MS Office documents) or when they store actual important data (like with !%#@ing Quicken files).

    I find it annoying when I'm copying files to Windows servers on the corporate network at work. Not only do I get the ._files for all my Office documents, but Finder litters every folder with a .DS_Store file. It's annoying enough that I often just use my PC to access the network drives even though OS X is perfectly capable of doing it. Like you, I'd love to know of a way to turn it off!
  4. neocell macrumors 65816


    May 23, 2005
    Great White North
    there's an option in windows (not on a pc right now and can't quite remember where it is) to show hidden files. Just make sure this is not enabled if you want to get rid of all the ._xxxx files. Try properties on the desktop right click, might be in there

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