How to re-set your Finder windows (and have it stick)

(Simon) #1

We had a thread about this on the old TidBITS forum, but I’m afraid that got lost in the move. Anyway, short summary: whenever my Finder reboots or relaunches (or I switch from clamshell to internal or vice-versa), my first Finder window always came up all small and useless at the bottom of the screen. All the usual advice with closing all Finder windows and then opening a single Finder window and setting that right, deleting plists, deleting scores of .DS_Store files, sacrificing a goat during a full moon etc. didn’t help. Every single time, I had to close the first Finder window, set up a new one the way I wanted to have it (column view, specific location, size, etc.) and then that survived, but only until the next Finder relaunch.

Well, problem solved (kind of). I thought I’d report back in case anybody else ever ran into a similar issue or in case anybody here ever felt like there should be a one-click way to get Finder windows to show in a specific manner.

What ultimately solved my issue was reading this page which I actually believe was a piece of advice a friendly fellow TidBITS forum poster shared with me back on the old forum.

Turns out you can use Script Editor to both record all kinds of Finder window parameter as well as then create a script that sets those parameters. Save the latter as an application and you’re done. Whenever you launch that app you get your Finder window set up exactly the way it should be. If no other Finder windows are open when you do this, that should stick as your default Finder window (at least until the next relaunch).

The script I used to grab my window parameters after having set up a Finder window exactly the way I want it (with no other Finder window open) is super simple

tell application "Finder"
	get properties of windows
end tell

The output of that simple script then contains all the handles and properties you’ll need to write the script that properly sets up the Finder window. For me, that script ended up being as simple as

tell application "Finder"
	close every window
	open startup disk
	set the position of the front Finder window to {0, 23}
	set the bounds of the front Finder window to {0, 23, 1234, 908}
	set the zoomed of the front Finder window to false
	set toolbar visible of the front Finder window to true
	set the sidebar width of the front Finder window to 231
end tell

The only thing I haven’t quite figured out yet is how to set the width of the columns in my Finder window. Fortunately, with option-drag that’s quick and easy to by hand. What for some reason didn’t work is

	set the column width of the front Finder window to 206

Oh well.

What's with this strange, nonstandard update to iTunes?
(B. Jefferson Le Blanc) #2

There is an old app, Finder Window Manager, that I have been using for a long time. The developer’s site is under (re)construction, with a promise that he is working on updating his software, so a license may be hard to get right now. You can write to the author at JNSoftware, The web site is at The site is dated 2018, so it’s apparently up-to-date.

Anyway, though the developer says he is not currently distributing his software, you can get a copy of Finder Window Manager from MacUpdate at You might write to the author to get a license.

FWM enables me to create Finder Window sets of specific windows and window sizes. The app also enables you to set column widths. There are more modern Finder window apps but none of them give me the control that FWM does. The app hasn’t been updated since 2011, but it still works (in Sierra and High Sierra) and is a 64bit app. Which was pretty advanced in 2011.

Every once in awhile my default Finder window will get hashed, but all I need to do to fix it is to open one of the windows I have set at that specific location, open a new Finder window and drag it over the set window and adjust the dimensions. Then I close the set Window, then the corrected Finder window and reopen it, and it’s back the way I want it. Anyway, I’ve been using FWM for ten years and it is still, in my opinion, the best app for the purpose to be found anywhere. I recommend it for people who are finicky about their Finder windows.