I know that the mac works differently (so everyone keeps telling me!) but I’m sorry, that’s not a valid solution to a host of real annoyances. It’s true that I’m a Windows user and that I’ve got Windows habits (think delete key), but listing folders sorted separately from files in a window just seems something I ought to be able to do. Not in OSX though…unless you do this:
Credit for the trick in this article goes to Fahmie Salle who covered this on his blog back in ’08. Cheers!
Background: The Windows Explorer allows you to arrange files in a window a number of different ways. Most important to me is the folder detail view in explorer which sorts Folders alphabetically before regular files or as shown below:
OSX’s Finder on the other hand doesn’t do this. By default it sorts folders and files alphabetically because in Unix everything is a file. If you’ve always used Mac’s you probably don’t mind this, but if you’re used to seeing the folders in a directory at the top, this will be annoying.
So here’s how to change the Finder in OSX so that folders will be listed at the top of the Finder window just like they are in Windows Explorer (see picture below).
[step 1] Open Terminal.
[step 2] Edit the file InfoPlist.strings using vi as an editor.
NOTE: You’ll need to do this with elevated privileges using the sudo command and specify your password when prompted.
sudo vi /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj/InfoPlist.strings
[step 3] Find the line /* General kind strings */ and immediately below it change:
"Folder" = "Folder";
"Folder" = " Folder";
by adding a space in front of the word Folder on the left hand side of the equal sign. Later when we sort by kind (of file) it’ll sort folders first because of the space we’ve just added.
[step 4] Save the file, quit, and restart Finder. I restarted the computer just to be safe.
[step 5] Open the finder and click settings->Arrange By->Kind.
UPDATE: InfoPlist.strings is a Binary file in OS X Lion, so it must be changed to XML before editing and then changed back to binary. See my comment below for full instructions.