Problem opening Documents folder

Since Upgrading my 2018 MacBook Air (16 gb of memory, 500 gb hard drive [105 gb spare]) to MacOS Big Sur 11.6 I’ve run into an odd problem.

I have a running Time Machine, but in addition, once a month I open my Documents folder, Select all, copy all files and folders and then paste them into a new folder on an external drive. Suspenders and a belt, I know, but I’ve been burned before.

Yesterday I went to open the documents folder and it won’t open. Command-I reports that it’s got 5.6GB of data. I can search for a particular file by name (or partial) and it shows up (and is accessible). If I wish to attach a file to an email, when i click the paperclip a list of files (date sorted) from the Documents folder appears (and can be attached).

But attempting to open the folder in Finder, whether by double clicking or by using the menu File–>Open produces…nothing. No reaction, no error message, nothing.

Has anyone else experienced this - and more important has anyone got a fix for it?



Have you tried

open ~/Documents

Interesting. it works - BUT - it seems I have acquired TWO Documents folders in my iCloud Drive. One that I want to get into (and can’t) and one that I can get into and has 3 or 4 odd things in it.

I’m not sure how that happened…

Could I delete the almost empty folder and try again?



First, if you haven’t yet, restart. That may clear things up.

Second, check System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud Drive > Options and make sure Desktop & Documents Folders is deselected.

That may shed enough light on the situation to get back to where things should be.


Well now i am embarrassed.

A restart seems to have resolved it. The second documents folder has vanished and the first one is accessible.

Much thanks!


1 Like

My first computer iin 1981, a mini computer with 4 terminals, came with a programmer to set it up.

And he taught me ‘When in doubt, reboot.’

I’ve passed that on to every employee with a computer and about as many friends as can stand to hear it.

Except that on Mac OS X that traditionally was never required. It aint Windows so don’t treat it like it is. :wink:


The experience of myself and my support clients has never been “traditional”.
OS X and macOS support hundreds of applications developed by programmers that do not necessarily understand re-establishment of initial conditions after changing application settings. This includes environment settings as well as application preferences or data locations.
Even Apple-included applications can manifest this kind of problem as can those on other OS instances, including not just Windows.
Recovery after error codes EBCAK and ID10T is often accomplished by reboot/restart/power-cycling, in olden days referred to as Power Off Reset (POR). Today, for example, a Tile Pro can get into a state that can only be recovered by complete reset to factory conditions.

It has been my standard recommendation that a simple reboot will tend to result normalizing the system state. And after updating any OS it is often helpful to reboot a second time.
It is useful to note that Apple menu > Restart… on any recent system is so rapid as to be inconsequential compared to diagnostic and verification times.

Reference data: My experience has been consistent for RT-11, RSX-11M, Ultrix, AIX, Unix, VAX/VMS, VM/CMS, Windows NT through Windows 10 excepting Windows 8, OS-6 through OS-9.2, and OS X(mac OS) beginning with Tiger and continuing through Monterey betas.

I have learned that - from my first days with Xenix.

Why it escaped me this time? I don’t know. Maybe I’ve grown used to Apple just working…

Anyway - thanks to everyone who helped.