Display Hidden Files in Mac OS X Finder

Recently I wanted/needed to move my EyeTV archive folder from my Mac Mini's internal hard drive to my Drobo.  The instructions from Elgato made it sound fairly simple and, in fact, it was with one small exception.  The steps outlined for moving your archive are:


  1. Change the location of the EyeTV Archive folder in EyeTV's preferences.
  2. Copy any existing files from the old folder location to the new one.
  3. Make sure your user account has the appropriate write permissions on the new archive folder.
  4. Restart EyeTV.


When I did this, all of my Library recordings were copied over as well as my schedules for recordings that were coming up within the next week.  What I was missing, however, were my SmartGuides (Items that query the programming guide to find occurrences of programs that I want to record).

I opened up a Terminal window and navigated to the old archive location.  From there, I did an ls -a and saw that there were a couple of "hidden" files (Folders actually) that I had not copied over when using Finder.  Specifically, .EyeTVPlaylists and .EyeTVSmartGuides.  The leading dot (.) in the filename is an indicator to OS X (and the underlying BSD architecture) that these are hidden items.  By default, OS X's built-in Finder doesn't display them.

Unlike Windows, there's no "Display Hidden Files and Folders" options in Folder View Options.  Instead, you'll need to open up your Terminal and issue the following command:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE


This changes the default setting for Finder.  Then, for the changes to take effect, you'll need to restart Finder:

killall Finder

And, voila... now your hidden files will be displayed alongside all your other files in the GUI Finder windows.

When you're done and you want these files to be hidden again use this:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE

and finally restart Finder for the changes to take effect:

killall Finder

and you'll be back to the default settings.