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In the Apple macOS operating system, .DS_Store is a file that stores custom attributes of its containing folder, such as the position of icons or the choice of a background image.[1] The name is an abbreviation of Desktop Services Store,[2] reflecting its purpose. It is created and maintained by the Finder application in every folder, and has functions similar to the file desktop.ini in Microsoft Windows. Starting with a full stop (period) character, it is hidden in Finder and many Unix utilities. Its internal structure is proprietary.

Purpose and location[edit]

The file .DS_Store is created in any directory (folder) accessed by the Finder application, even on remote file systems mounted from servers that share files, for example via Server Message Block (SMB) protocol or the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP).[3] Remote file system, however, may be excluded by operating system settings. Although primarily used by Finder, these files were envisioned as a more general-purpose store of metadata about the display options of folders, such as icon positions and view settings.[2] For example, on Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" and later, they contain the Spotlight comments of the folder's files. These comments are stored in the extended file attributes as well,[4] but Finder does not read those.

Prior Apple operating system Finder applications created files for the same purpose merely at the root of the volume being accessed, including on foreign file systems, collecting all settings for all files on the volume.


The complaints of many users prompted Apple to publish means to disable the creation of these files on remotely mounted network file systems.[5] However, these instructions do not apply to local drives, including USB flash drives. Before Mac OS X 10.5, .DS_Store files were visible on remote filesystems.[6]

.DS_Store files impose additional burden on revision control process: They are frequently changed and therefore appear in commits, unless specifically excluded.[7]

.DS_Store files are included in archives, such as ZIP, created by OS X users, along with other hidden files and directories.

.DS_Store files have been known to adversely affect copy operations. If multiple files are selected for file transfer, the copy operation will retroactively cancel all progress upon reaching a .DS_Store file, forcing the user to restart the copy operation from the beginning.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Removing .DS_Store files on Macintosh OS X?". Adobe.com. Adobe Systems. February 24, 2003. Archived from the original on September 29, 2006. Retrieved September 29, 2006. 
  2. ^ a b Gourdol, Arno (October 1, 2006). "On the origins of .DS_Store". arno.org. Retrieved October 1, 2006. 
  3. ^ ".DS_Store". rixstep.com. May 21, 2003. Retrieved September 29, 2006. 
  4. ^ Siracusa, John (April 2004). "Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Mac OS X v10.4 and later: How to prevent .DS_Store file creation over network connections". Support.Apple.Com. Apple Inc. May 24, 2005. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Prevent creation of .DS_Store files in network shares". greci.cc. November 12, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2008. 
  7. ^ Nielsen, Spencer (December 24, 2011). "Death to .DS_Store". AorenSoftware.com. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  8. ^ Brandt, Gary (September 8, 2012). "Why does DS_Store prevent copying?". discussions.apple.com. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ "BSD General Commands Manual". December 19, 2008. 

External links[edit]