Why is Finder on Macbook Pro so very very different in Operating System 10.7.1 vs. Operating System 10.6.7 and what can I do about it?
September 14, 2011 8:28 PM   Subscribe

Why is Finder on Macbook Pro so very very different in Operating System 10.7.1 vs. Operating System 10.6.7 and what can I do about it?

I just got a new Macbook Pro to replace a shitty older Macbook Pro. Everything else about it so far is amazing, but I'm finding the "Finder" (and by extension the computer) to be almost un-navigatable. My old finder had "Devices", which showed the hard drive along with all connected drives (iPod, BACKTRACK, external harddrive, etc), then "Places", with Applications, Documents, myrealnameinlifefirstandlast, Music, and Pictures. Below that is a "Search For" section, which contains the subfolders "today" (any file of any kind I have opened that calendar day), "yesterday" (same as today but sub the word yesterday in), All Documents, Past Week, All Images, and All Movies.

This setup has worked SO well for me for so long, and it's extremely well thought-out. I've been through many operation system updates, and the Finder has remained the same. This latest update, it changed. A lot. A LOT. I, to be honest, hate the way it's laid out and have no idea why they downgraded their computers' functionality so much? It doesn't appear to me that the new Finder would be better for anyone. I am simply not ridiculous or smart enough to attempt to revert back to my old operating system. Is there any way around this? Again, my first preference would be a way to have my old finder (or similar) back. Maybe there's a customization or something that I could do? Anything to have my super-easy-to-navigate-wow-you-really-know-your-customers Finder back and this new frustrating one gone. Thank you very much for listening, and please hit me with whatever you got, I f***ing hate the main navigation tool of a computer I love!

If not, can someone (preferably multiple people) please attempt to explain the logic behind and/or how to use the new Finder?
posted by jitterbug perfume to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I hear you. I never was that fond of the old Finder, but I agree that the new one is unintuitive. I use Path Finder ($39.95) or TotalFinder ($18) depending on mood.
posted by lukemeister at 8:32 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

You just need to re-set some of your Finder preferences. When in the Finder, press Command-, or just look under the Finder menu for Preferences. Using that Preferences screen, you can specify what shows up in the sidebar.

You can also create Smart Folders by selecting New > Smart Folder under the File menu. There's an option to automatically add the Smart Folder to the sidebar.

Other than that, Finder works pretty much the way it used to. Places are now called Favorites, but it's basically the same deal. I don't like "All My Files" and the default behavior of opening new Finder windows in the "All My Files" view, so I got rid of that option in the Preferences. Hope that helps a little.
posted by emelenjr at 8:45 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Finder Preferences (command comma) > Sidebar... you can get the devices and whatnot you're missing, deselect the crap you don't want like All My Files, and be pretty close to where you were. I didn't really notice the dramatic difference you recount, since I upgraded my old machines and (I assume) my preferences carried over. Mind you, I don't think that particular sidebar search functionality is still available, but perhaps few people used it. I certainly didn't. Dial it all back in and I think you'll be much more comfortable with Lion.
posted by mumkin at 9:25 PM on September 14, 2011

There are many posts on how to change preferences to make Finder behave more like you expect. I would suggest a search for "preferences to fix lion"
posted by blob at 9:27 PM on September 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Just as a thought, wasn't the setup changed to be more understandable to those using iPads, iPhones, or iPod Touches?
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:31 PM on September 14, 2011

Just as a thought, wasn't the setup changed to be more understandable to those using iPads, iPhones, or iPod Touches?

Though not explicitly declared as such by Apple, 10.7 is widely seen as the first overt step toward the iOS-ification of the Mac OS. Or, perhaps, the complete replacement of a traditional desktop Mac OS by iOS. Thus, a lot of UI changes in 10.7 that is causing a lot of confusion/consternation on the part of a lot of Mac users, especially those who don't have an iPhone/iPad/iWhatev.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:48 AM on September 15, 2011

I need to know how the old MacBook Pro was 'shitty'. I hear 'piece of shit Dell' all the time, and understand it, but this piques my curiosity.

AFA the Finder.... some people don't handle change well. Looks like you might be one.

There are two resolutions to this dilemma, in general:

1) Learn the new features to see if there's a workaround or there are some advantages to using the new one you might not see, yet.

2) Explore alternatives.

These two suggestions will come in handy in your future computing life, because, as you may suspect, OS-es change. A constant stream of 'improvements' is headed your way, like it or not. Better to develop more effective coping strategies than it is to repeat the 'complain/retreat' strategy that seems so comfortable.
posted by FauxScot at 4:55 AM on September 15, 2011

yeah i agree that a lot of lion's new 'features' are pretty garbage and retrograde (swipe up to go down unless you change the default? it's comedy watching people in apple stores recently who are unaware of this change. full screen apps that shut off your secondary display as well? no visual indicator of where you are on a webpage unless you change the default?)..

anyway, with that minor rant over, if you explore the preferences setting for the finder you can fix most of what they changed, though for some reason they won't let you reorder the sidebar so that devices appear at the top of it as they used to. But most of the other 'improvements' to the finder can be undone, including defaulting every single finder window to all your 'recent files' when it opens.
posted by modernnomad at 6:04 AM on September 15, 2011

flabdablet: "and others just love to fix what ain't broken."

It is, I think, actually part of a major shift Apple is trying to push with regards to how we interact with "files". The hierarchical file system, while still present and arguably more useful for developers, is disappearing as a direct metaphor for end users. Disks have gotten too big, and we're all carrying around too much stuff for that to be practical. Your FS is now a DB, and search is king. I think even developer access to the iOS filesystem is strictly search(attribute)-based.

In either 10.4 or 10.5, I can't remember which, Spotlight suddenly got really, really good and useful. I stopped using the Finder and just started accessing stuff via search. Smart Folders in the Finder are basically saved Spotlight searches with a more sophisticated query interface. At some point in the near future, I expect Finder to disappear as a separate application.

Quicksilver users have, of course, been saying this for years.
posted by mkultra at 7:03 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm going to try changing the preferences ASAP, I feel silly for not having thought to look for something like that.

FauxScott: I bought it brand new at the Apple store, and as soon as I got it home, I slid a cd into the CD-ROM drive, shortly thereafter tried to eject it, and it was stuck. The computer had to immediately go away for a TWENTY DAY fixing period for a drive that CAME broken. I was not happy with that level of customer service. I kinda felt they should've just given me a replacement laptop given I had bought it earlier that very day at that very store. I also paid a few hundred bucks to get it bumped from 2G to 4G of RAM when I bought it (I use my computer to record music), and it behaved as if it had about .5G of RAM. Recording music became an impossible task with constant skipping of the audio and freezing of the screen. When I used the internet on it, I felt like I was on a nostalgic trip back to 1998 and dial-up. That's truly how slow it was. These things combined, to me, make that computer shitty, for sure. I have no idea why I got such a lemon. My Macbook Pro I had directly before that one was problem-free for 5 years and I only had to buy the new (lemon) one because the keys literally started falling off (C and D).
posted by jitterbug perfume at 10:33 AM on September 15, 2011

Oh, I'm sorry for messing up your username, FauxScot. My bad.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 10:34 AM on September 15, 2011

@jitterbug perfume,

Wow, bad Apple story.

Here's a counterbalance....

My wife once had a bad unit, too. Same problem; G4 Aluminum Powerbook, Superdrive; stuck CD. When I replaced it for her (at gunpoint I periodically used to make her reluctantly upgrade), she left the new one plugged in on the bed one day. I tripped over the power cord while making the bed. It hit the floor. I thought nothing of it, but later that day, she asked me why her display was all wanky. Looking, I discovered I had cracked it with my accident. ( I had bought this unit from Apple directly.) It was ruined.

AppleCare does not cover owner stupidity, they told me. Ditto my insurance company. Apple WOULD sell me a new display, at about the same cost as a new computer.

Wife was in law school and could not wait weeks for a replacement, so that day I went to the local store and bought her another one while I worked the problem. I decided it was uneconomic to fix, so I sold it on eBay for $800, broken. O well.

Two weeks later, I remember to cancel my unused Applecare warranty. I call Apple and do so. I hear nothing for two weeks, but then when I called again, they refunded the entire price of the Apple Care AND the cost of the broken computer. Apparently, there had been an unrelated display recall, and they would have replaced mine anyway.

I did not ask for this. The net effect was that I came out $800 ahead.

Apple is hit and miss, but mostly, they hit. If you encounter problems again, take your unit to the nearest Apple store and sort it out. They make a living by being different than Dell.
posted by FauxScot at 11:00 AM on September 15, 2011

Wait, so do you think if I called and told Apple that I had to cut my losses and buy another brans new computer when it came back from them still not functional after being computer-less for 20 days during a period where my band is supposed to be in the studio recording on said computer, they might refund me for the new computer I had to buy? I'm a career musician, so my career took a hit from that 20-day "break" from recording.

Also, do you think I could sell the shitty one on eBay??? I've heard people like to buy broken things and fix them... is there a chance someone would buy mine? And how in depth am I obligated to be with them about all the problems it has?
posted by jitterbug perfume at 11:42 AM on September 15, 2011

Who knows?

Missing from your tale is the date info. When did the shitty computer come into your possession? What kind is it? How long did you own it? Was it always defective? How did you try and get Apple to help you out? Did you have Applecare?

Yes, you can eBay anything. People will buy a bucket of rusty nails on eBay.

You are not obligated to do anything, unless you value ethics. Personally, I opt for honesty in these matters. I highly recommend that approach, no matter your financial circumstance. If you aren't a good person, you can't expect others to be.

Good luck.
posted by FauxScot at 12:21 PM on September 15, 2011

I bought it a little over 30 days ago. It's a Macbook Pro, not sure on other details, but could find out. I have owned it a little over 30 days (this isn't me repeating myself, I'm responding to each of your questions, FauxScot), 95 percent of which it has been away, "getting fixed". Yes, we did try to get them to help us fix it, hence them having it for just over 20 days "getting fixed". Yes, it was always defective.

As far as ebay, easy. I wasn't intending to try to deceive anybody, but I don't want to make a listing called "Buy My Shitty Drives-Me-Fucking-Insane Wish-I-Never-Met-It Computer Today!!!!" either. I was sort of asking how to tread that line fairly so that hopefully both parties get what they wanted. I am a good person.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 10:34 PM on September 15, 2011

hey jitterbug perfume,

(i had success selling my broken macbook on ebay, at least partly because i played up its broken nature.... as much as possible turning a negative into a positive. Here is my listing draft. )

if you bought that thing in the last 30 days and it has been the dog you describe, i am at a total loss to understand why Apple would not work with you on replacing it. Did you buy it from them or a third party?

If your slow internet is repeatable and easy to demonstrate at home, and it can be demonstrated at an Apple store, mayhaps you should escalate the problem to the local management at the store. Be clear on what would be a good resolution. I mean, hell, you already bought (another) new one from them.

So if I am mistaken, and you bought the unit from someone else, and it's defective, then I would work to understand it, fix it as much as possible, honestly sell it with its limitations.

Please clear this up for me... I am truly curious. You bought a NEW unit, FROM Apple, and it doesn't work AND they are unwilling to replace it AND you bought another new one? Or did you buy as USED one, have problems, take to Apple, have it unsuccessfully repaired, then buy a new one you are happy with?

Sorry to be so thick headed!

If it's the latter, I'd resell it. (What's the model number and approximate age, etc?)
posted by FauxScot at 4:33 AM on September 16, 2011

Please clear this up for me... I am truly curious. You bought a NEW unit, FROM Apple, and it doesn't work AND they are unwilling to replace it AND you bought another new one? Or did you buy as USED one, have problems, take to Apple, have it unsuccessfully repaired, then buy a new one you are happy with?

It's the first one.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 6:58 PM on October 15, 2011

Frankly, I'm flabbergasted. It's unlike Apple to not make something new good if it fails. All of my experiences are positive in this regard. Color me confused.

Go to a different store if that is possible. This is just completely out of character.
posted by FauxScot at 6:46 AM on October 16, 2011

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