DS_Store, dot underscore (._), resource forks and annoyed Windows users

If any of you out there, like me, work in a Windows environment but have colleagues or friends who insist on using Macs, you will probably have noticed a whole load of extra hidden files scattered around your network.

That a familiar sight to anyone? :(

The .DS_Store is similar to the thumbs.db file Windows XP makes and is used to store “custom attributes of a folder such as the position of icons or the choice of a background image.”

The dot-underscore (._) files are pesky little buggers. It seems that when you use the Finder to transfer files to a non-Mac system–a Windows Server in this case–it splits the file into two parts – the data and the resource forks. When you copy the file back to the Mac, the Finder merges the two bits again. Windows can’t use the resource fork, so it’s not needed and you can delete it, but it’s a lot of hassle having to clean up after others! ;)

Ok, if you’re a home user, or if you don’t care about any hidden files, then you can safely just hide them all! To do that in Windows. go to: Control Panel > Folder Options > View > “Do not show hidden files and folders”. But if like me you do need access to some hidden files, then that’s not an option.

After searching for quite a while, I found a few resources that should help you get rid of the offending files, and stop the offending Mac users from creating new ones [as long as they're prepared to play along and adjust a few settings, that is!]

.DS_Store links:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1629 – You can stop the .DS_Store files being created using this command from the Terminal

http://www.bresink.de/osx/TinkerTool.html – For those of you less comfortable using the Terminal, this tool should let you stop the .DS_Store files being created from the control panel

http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/11163 – A handy bit of kit that will delete all the .DS_Store files on a drive

dot-underscore (._) links:
http://www.macworld.com/article/132556/2008/04/geekfactor2504.html – Using dot_clean on Leopard to get rid of the dot-underscore files

http://www.zeroonetwenty.com/blueharvest/ – This software is a godsend! It’s available as a 30 day trial, and then costs about 13 US Dollars, but it does the trick!

Oh well, hopefully these resources will save a couple of Mac users some black eyes from annoyed Windows users! ;)

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