the Joy of Macs
Finder Hacking
Finder icon

What is ResEdit?

ResEdit is an Apple utility program that allows a brave soul to carefully modify the Resource Fork and File Information of any Mac OS file.

Caution: Although using ResEdit is not difficult, it does assume that you know what you're doing.

If you'd like to earn your ResEdit merit badge, I highly recommend starting with Zen and the Art of Resource Editing, an excellent book from BMUG (Berkeley Macintosh Users Group).

Using ResEdit

  1. <BLINK> Make sure that you have a bootable copy of Mac OS on a CD-ROM or diskette just in case you make a mistake and render your new Finder unusable. </BLINK>

  2. Make a copy of your original (unmodified) Finder file in your System Folder.

  3. Open your copy of Finder with ResEdit and ...
    • Apply your desired changes to the appropriate Finder resources.
    • Select "Get Info for Finder copy" from the File menu, and turn off the file name "Locked" option (upper right corner). This option may already be off in some releases of Mac OS.
    • Save your changes and Quit ResEdit.

  4. Replace the original Finder with your modified copy:
    • Drag the current Finder file to the desktop.
    • Rename your modified file to "Finder".

  5. Cross your fingers and Restart your Mac.

  6. When you're confident that everything is working OK, put the original Finder file away for safe keeping – I keep mine in a folder named "vanilla Finder" in the System Folder.

Using Shareware & Commercial Tools

Some of the Finder Hacks can be performed with various tools: extensions, control panels, standalone applications. These tools take most of the risk out of modifying your system.

Links to online sources for these tools appear end of each table of hacks.

On to the Hacking!

Pick your version of Mac OS:   7.0   7.1   7.5   7.6   8.0   8.1   8.5   8.6   9.0   9.1

Copyright © 1996–2001 Ward Clark