Subscribe to
NSLog(); Header Image

Icon Cache

Why does Mac OS X's icon cache so easily get screwed up? The thing can't go five hours without showing hard disk icons on .txt files, Photoshop icons on .c files, and in the case below, three different icons on three different files.


What's worse, the only way to fix it seems to be to remove the ~/Library/Caches and log out!

25 Responses to "Icon Cache"

  1. I have had been able to solve the icon cache problem by just relaunching the Finder. (From the Force Quit window, of course.)

    Next time it happens, give that a try.

    Not a solution, certainly, but a better workaround than logging out. At least for me.

  2. I have had no such problem. It think your computer just hates you. 😉

  3. I have also returned my icons to normal by relaunching the Finder.

    I agree, Apple needs to fix this one quickly!

  4. I haven't had the problem on my newer Macs, but I did on some of my other ones. I would try a "Force Quit" menu relaunch of finder, and if that didn't do it, I would delete the ~/Library/Caches and then relaunch the Finder. I found that 99% of the time, doing those two things kept me from having to do the logout thing.

    It may be time to run disk repair though, or fsck at the shell, if this is happening a lot. The only machines of mine that get this problem very often are the ones that I don't pay much attention to the bindings and disk on.

  5. There's nothing wrong with the computer and I've seen this on every Mac running Mac OS X ever. I repair permissions nightly and I'm running 10.3.3, so I'm not going to fsck. There's nothing wrong with the disk.

    I'm with Jeffrey: Apple needs to fix this. We shouldn't have to force quit the Finder - that's merely an indication that the Finder is screwing up its icon cache.

  6. I have that same problem and it's fucking annoying.

  7. What's sad is that it could probably be fixed with a couple of lines added to the finder's RunLoop, but since it's not open code, we can't look and see. I'm guessing a simple call to check the cache and if the file's are more than a certain age, kill them or maybe just delete them every so many minutes or whatever would probably fix it.

    Or in the "updateDisplay:" or whatever for finder windows, have it clean the cache before anything else.

    Either way, it wouldn't be all that hard.

    I wasn't insinuating a problem with your computer, just something that might help, as I haven't noticed the problem on my systems that have those things done on a more regular basis, but have noticed it on the systems that don't have that done regularaly.

    I do agree that having to relaunch the app is a poor work around, but at least until Apple gets it fixed, there is a work around.

    The real question is, "Has anyone filed a bug report to Apple abou this issue?". I know that Apple tendsto overlook some things and not tell others when reporting a bug, but if enough people report one, then they tend to look into it.

    Take care

  8. I have never seen this on any of my Macs nor any of the ones at work either. If it happened to everyone I think there'd be a bigger uproar.

    Could it be some third party software that is doing something to the cache? PathFinder? Haxies? One of the the contextual menus? Just guessing..

  9. Lots of other people have complained of this. Heck, see the above posts here. And no, nothing is fucking with it: I run no haxies nor PathFinder.

  10. I see this every now and then as well, and my solution is to simply relaunch the Finder. I either use the Relaunch dock menuitem (option-click and hold on the Finder icon) or use the TinkerTool-enabled Quit menuitem from the Finder's application menu. That always fixes the problem.

  11. It's not third-party software, unless it's something really common like InDesign. I have this problem occasionally on my home Mac, which has lots and lots of stuff on it (though nothing that you could really call a "hack"; QuickSilver is the closest I get to that kind of thing), but I also have it on my G5 at the office which has Adobe CS on it and basically nothing else.

    Both are running 10.3.3 and are kept reasonably up to date, but the problem isn't new. It's been there since 10.3 at least, and possibly even back in 10.2; I don't remember exactly.

  12. This has been plaguing me since I switched to 10.3. Quite annoying when a folder takes the icon of Dreamweaver, etc.

  13. I haven't seen this exact problem, but perhaps it's somehow related to another probelm I have seen?

    Since upgrading to 10.3.3, there's no icon on the Network object in Finder windows. The name "Network" is there, if I select it there's a rectangle around what would be the icon, and I can even apply a label to it. But no globe-y icon.

    Maybe I should take a look at the icon cache?

  14. I've never experienced this problem, it just works for me. However since switching almost two years ago my experience has been that it either just works, or it will eternally just not work for random reasons. You know like it was raining the day before you were born.

  15. Todd Thomas: You realize that the Finder is a Carbon app (using PowerPlant)?

    And yes, I'm seeing it here, too. Sometimes even removable disk labels are incorrect (e.g. the disk -- might even be my iPod -- is displaying the name of a CD that was mounted before it).

  16. I've never seen anything like that, but I have lost my network icon like Patrick!

  17. They really just need to make a Cocoa it. Clicking "Stop" in some transfer windows in the Finder is a click of death, quite often. And if they're going to implement FTP in the Finder, at least add it when it actually works. That icon bug is most annoying of them all, makes things very confusing.

  18. As if a Cocoa Finder would automatically be bug free? The Finder has had a rough transition the last few years, but I don't see any indication that things won't improve from here.

  19. You know the answer: File a bug report. 🙂

    I'm aware of an icon cache issue or two in 10.3.0, but they were fixed by 10.3.1 or 10.3.2. If you're running 10.3.3, everything should work. Since it doesn't, it's bug report time....

    Anyway, deleting ~/Library/Caches shouldn't affect this. I don't believe Icon Services stores anything there.

  20. While it may not result immediately in a bug free finder, that was a good point about recoding it in cocoa and out of carbon. It's kind of sad that the finder is still carbon and new macs don't come with classic. Why hasn't it been recoded yet? I think that of the whole system (across all my boxes) the finder probably crashes more than everything else together. Considering I'm a developer who's constantly hacking on one thing or another and I run several servers and extra services on my box, it's a bit sad that the file manager and main interaction control with the windowing system is what crashes most often.

    I love OS X, don't get me wrong. I was just unaware that the Finder was still carbon. I thought they had recoded it with 10.3 when they made some of the changes to it that they did and never really bothered looking into it.

  21. Guys, any comments re: redoing the Finder in Cocoa are coming off as rather uneducated. Cocoa and Carbon are sister technologies. Both can do a lot. They're close to feature parity between the two, but Carbon does a lot of things better and Cocoa does a lot of other things better.

    From where I'm sitting, there's absolutely no reason to redo the Finder in Cocoa. Especially if you want Mac OS X 10.4 before 2008.

  22. That happens to my system a lot. I just relaunch the Finder to fix it. With every Panther update I hope it gets fixed, but so far there's been no change.

  23. I've never had the icon problem.

    Maybe it's because you fix permissions every day? I never ever do that, and haven't had any problems.

    Another thing is I use column view almost all the time, rather than icon view. But my desktop icons don't get messed up.

  24. I've never seen this. I never fix permissions either.

    Maybe the answer is a healthy dose of CandyBar. Keeps your icons looking fresh and new!

  25. Finder loves to do this to OmniOutliner.

    I hate you finder, you'll never be my real father! Never!!! *runs away sobbing*

    But really though, I hopesomething came out of that "infamous" 'Finder programmer needed' notice awhile months back...

    PS: Thank god for Quicksilver. Say "NO!" to folder drilling!

    PPS: Does anyone else really OS9's Popup folders? Stickywindows is nice but...