.DS_Store is the name of a file in the Apple OS X operating system for storing custom attributes of a folder such as the position of icons or the choice of a background image. The name is an abbreviation of Desktop Services Store, 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
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). 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. 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, 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. 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.
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