Search For System Preference Files In Finder 1

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Search For System Preference Files In Finder

Hey,

When ever you search for a file in Finder it will only bring up user files, eg files that you have created or normally have access to. This is to stop the millions of system files from appearing in a basic search. Ever so often, we may want to search for these files, one of the prime reasons is to search for preference files, normally used to change how an application behaves or interacts with our system. This tip is going to show you how to search for preference files within Finder.

Searching For Preference Files

Searching for system files, or preferences files, is not complicated. It involves setting up the search criteria so it finds what we want. Open up Finder and being searching, if we want to find a preference file it is usually good to start with “com.apple” as most preferences start this way, replace Apple with the company name if you want to find a preference file by another developer.

When the search has begun you will notice a bar within the search window, it will have a plus symbol on the right hand side. This allows us to search by an attribute of a file.

The search button allows us to search by an attribute.

The search button allows us to search by an attribute.

Press the plus symbol. Another bar will appear below. Here we can narrow down our search, or add in options to search for. There will be a drop down list titled ‘Kind’. From this drop down list there should be an option entitled ‘System Files’ if it is not present, select Other.

We can search for System Files using the drop down option.

We can search for System Files using the drop down option.

If System Files is not present in the list, select the ‘Other’ option. This will give you a long list of attribute in which we can search by. From the list find and select the ‘System Files’ option. You can speed up the search by using the search box in the top right corner.

Select the 'System Files' option to search for System Files.

Select the ‘System Files’ option to search for System Files.

Now this option is selected we can search for Preference Files and other files that are classed as system files. Ensure the option is enabled by selecting ‘are included’ from the drop down.

Type in the search box, within Finder, ‘com.apple.finder’ and you will notice that Finder will return the system preference for Finder. You can narrow down this search by adding ‘.plist’ to the end of your search string.

Finder will now show preference files in search results

Finder will now show preference files in search results

Find All Preference Files

If you want to find all system preference files and .plist files this can now by done. Within the search box type ‘kind:Property List’, without the quote marks. When you hit enter it will only display preference files. You can further search within this list by typing in a name such as Finder after the word ‘kind’. Note that the capitalisation of the word ‘Property List’ is important.

You can display all preference files within Finder using the option 'kind''

You can display all preference files within Finder using the option ‘kind”

Conclusion

Using this method to search for system files is rather simple. It doesn’t take too long to set up and it can be used to find any system file. It only takes a second to set up the search attribute for system files and it will always to ready to active in future searches.

 


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