Not able to move items to your desktop? Check for this

I was following along with MacSparky’s training videos and tried to do what he did: move an item from DTP onto my macOS desktop. It didn’t work for me.

After some head-scratching, I discovered that this was because, several years ago, I had used a Terminal command* to hide everything on my desktop. It had gotten way too cluttered.

What I hadn’t realized is that, if you’ve used this without later “recreating” your desktop, you won’t be able to drag anything to the desktop at all. I’d have thought that perhaps the item would be successfully copied to the desktop but simply wouldn’t appear, but I believe it won’t even copy at all.

The obvious fix is the run the Terminal command (two, actually) needed to recreate the desktop. But what’s obvious for many wasn’t for me, or at least not for 20 minutes or so.

I know this isn’t directly related to DEVONthink, but, since I encountered this self-inflicted problem while training myself on DTP, I figured maybe someone else out there might do the same.

*Here’s the command pair needed to hide your desktop items, by the way:

defaults write CreateDesktop false; killall Finder

And to undo this you simply enter the same string but change “false” to “true”.

Thanks for sharing this finding.

Do note it’s a good policy to not use your desktop as a storage location and keep it clean of files and folders as much as possible.

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