Finder OS X Yosemite

Perhaps more than any other macOS feature, the Finder is universally hated by Mac owners for its inconsistencies, bugs, missing features and overly flaky behavior.

Finder in macOS is plagued with the bafflingly inability to remember window sizes and positions, which is odd considering that past OS X versions allowed a window to be opened exactly how it was left.

Thankfully, it’s possible to override a window’s default opening behavior on macOS and set it to open to the same size as the last one you created. This tutorial will teach you how to set a Finder window’s default opening behavior.

How to get a new Finder window in the size you want

Step 1: Open a model window by double-clicking the drive icon on your desktop, or click the Finder icon in the Dock to create a new window.

Step 2: Set the new window the size you want. Don’t navigate to a different folder as resizing the window must be the first way you interact with it.

Step 3: Close the window.

Step 4: Close all open Finder windows, if any, by hitting the Command (⌘) – Option (⌥) – W combination on the keyboard. You can also hold down the Option key while clicking each window’s close button or while choosing Close All Windows in the Finder’s File menu.

Step 5: Now hold down Option while right-click the Finder icon in the Dock to reveal options. Choose Relaunch.

OS X Yosemite Finder Relaunch Mac screenshot 001

That’s all there is to it!

From now on, all subsequent Finder windows will now open in the same dimensions, whether you resized them manually or not. In a typical Apple fashion, new windows offset slightly in location.

Keep in mind that the aforementioned method does not work in El Capitan betas, indicating the trick might not be an Apple-created workaround solution after all. As such, there are no guarantees it will work in OS X 10.11 El Capitan when it launches to consumers this fall.

If you though about resizing a Finder window and setting its other attributes before accessing the Finder’s View Options (⌘-J) to choose the Use As Defaults button, think again—that option behaves somewhat erratically as it doesn’t appear to save the window size and proportions.

Last but not least, you might consider giving dedicated tools like Total Finder a whirl. Among other things, Total Finder opens the same window at the same size every time.

Should you find this tip useful, please bookmark the article and consider passing it along to your Mac friends and support folks.

Oh, and we like feedback so chime in with your thoughts in the comments and submit your tutorial ideas to [email protected].

  • TimT2011

    “Perhaps more than any other OS X feature, the Finder is universally hated by Mac owners for its inconsistencies, bugs, missing features and its overly flaky behavior.” — Um, no, it is not universally hated by Mac owners.

    • JamesR624

      “…universally hated by Mac owners…”

      Actually, if you notice. It says “mac owners”. Not “the tiny community of Apple fanboys that post on geek forums.”

    • Quick Site

      “Um, no, it is not universally hated by Mac owners.”

      Um, please don’t use the word “um”. Second, ok it may not be hated by [ALL] Mac owners, but surely a lot of them judging from my decades of using OS X. Many Finder behaviors that used to work great— keep getting reworked by Apple, as though they look for ways to pester users by switching/changing/deleting popular features. One such example among many is killing the File & Folder color labels system, replacing it with tiny dots vs the entire line. And yes I know they did it to implement “tags”. They did that unsuccessfully, giving reason for third party applications like XtraFinder and TotalFinder to restore intuitive functionality the way users liked before Apple “improved” things.

      And regarding this very TIP page: Earlier versions of OS X had, as default behavior, double-click and folder opens in new window. They “fixed” that too which is why this Tip even exists. The smarter UX design would have been to retain the long-understood & expected behavior of double-click opens in new, and added the new options “open in tab” or “open in same window” as the command keys.

      • TimT2011

        “And yes I know they did it to implement “tags”.”

        Please do not start a sentence with the word “And”.

      • Quick Site

        Gotta love your goofiness

      • Slam

        Even though it’s annoying to have *some* windows not retain their attributes there’s a technical reason why it happens this way. It’s because you are not the owner of the directories represented by these windows.

        The hard drive root directory is a good example. If you select the hard drive on your desktop and check its info (Cmd-I), deploy the last section (sharing and permissions), and you’ll see that the owner is “System”.

        While you can change the window’s attributes temporarily (they are cached in memory), the next time you login, the window will revert to its original attributes. Any window that is owned by you are completely free of this “bug”.

  • Grey

    XtraFinder honors (new) window size, and offsets (new) windows slightly — and closing all windows, then opening a new window will honor the size AND position of the last window created (and this sticks across reboots). It’s been a while, but I remember a generally-frustrating experience with TotalFinder, which prompted the switch to XtraFinder. I haven’t looked back.

    And yeah —the Finder needs some attention, along with many other parts of OSX . But to claim it’s “universally hated” is absurd.

    • Quick Site

      It was merely an exagerration and surely most people understand how to process such writing stylistics. Of course NOT universally hated. You really think you had to point that out for people to grasp this concept?

  • I love the Finder. It’s way better than Windows explorer.

    • Troop

      I don’t have relaunch option…

      • Skoven

        Hold the “alt” key when you right click the finder icon.

  • Marcus

    Windows Explorer is confusing and doesn’t look nice at all. Finder is way better and makes Windows Explorer look like a joke. I’ve never had any problems with it.

  • SMP

    Yes, and what about creating new folder on desktop, and setting it to a desired window size? That new folder, when first opened, is always too small, especially on Macbook Retina.

  • barely_free

    I generally love the Finder and my main complaint about Finder (and its a big one) is not being able to change folder locations as easily as you can in MS Windows via the address bar. I know of no add on app which brings this extremely convenient functionality to OS-X.

    • ready1take1

      do you have the path bar hidden? View > Show path bar. Or ⌥⌘P

    • hhumbert

      Quicksilver FTW. CMD-SPACE and then a directory, tab and “reveal” and you’re done.

  • Swoosh

    This has already been fixed in El Capitan

  • wiety

    try out Magnet from Appstore 😉 I dont get how is it possible you are not able to resize windows in OS X in general …

  • mjbrin

    “Step 2: Set the new window the size you want. Don’t navigate to a different folder as resizing the window must be the first way you interact with it.”
    How do you do that? by dragging it to the right size? is there another way to do that?

    • Quick Site

      If you mean “can I set attributes to specify window width to open X characters wide, and make “name” field display to longest item in Detail view, and set Date Modified width to be Y characters wide, etc” the answer is no, not within Finder commands & functionality. One of the third party Finder add-on utilities might have that feature though.
      Regarding “How do you do that? by dragging it to the right size?”— YES, exactly like that, and select the column widths too. Then CLOSE window. Then close every other Finder window open on your desktop, THEN right-click the Finder Icon in the DOCK while pressing the OPTION key. … Hope that helps.

  • M. Brian Palmer

    It (Finder) sucks, sucks, sucks, and F’in sucks. Finder is the most frustratingly inconsistently behaving file browser I have ever used. In addition, none of the things I want to configure (and that are a breeze to set on Windows) seem to be configurable. I want the ‘name’ field always maximized so that I can alway see the full file names. This seems impossible to accomplish. Lowest common denominator design ethics have ruined most OS’s. Same with the internet. Everything is now designed to please undiscerning idiots, which is a recipe for the endless fragmentation and pointless change-as-improvement development model that has taken over. I miss XP SP3.

    • Agneev Mukherjee

      Does it work on macOS Sierra?