Resolving Finder Problems in OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite
Some users who have updated to OS X Yosemite 10.10.5, 10.10.4, or 10.10.3 have discovered that Finder will misbehave wildly, sometimes becoming wildly slow and unresponsive, crashing, or using inordinately high CPU. Given that Finder is a critical component of the Mac and nearly all OS X users rely on it for file system navigation, Finder trouble can be pretty frustrating, but fortunately the issues seen with Finder in OS X Yosemite are generally very easy to resolve.
Most of the time, ditching the Finder plist file and rebooting the Mac is sufficient to resolve any Finder troubles in OS X Yosemite post OS X 10.10.3 update or later. We’ll cover two ways to accomplish this, one using the Finder itself (assuming you can use it and the process is not stuck in an unresponsive cycle), and also how to resolve the issue with Terminal if you’re unable to access the Finder in OS X at all.
Keep in mind that ditching the Finder plist file will cause Finder preferences to be lost, so you would need to re-enable things like file extension visibility, custom icon spacing and text size, and other changes you made to Finder preferences.
Always start and complete a back up of your Mac with Time Machine before modifying any component of OS X, even just a simple regenerable plist file.
Fix Finder Problems by Trashing Finder Preferences in OS X
If Finder is working enough that you can use it, you’ll be able to quickly move or trash the Finder plist file:
- From the Finder, hit Command+Shift+G and go to the following path:
- Locate the file named “com.apple.finder.plist” and move it to the Trash, or move it to the Desktop if you want to be extra cautious
- Close the user Preferences folder and go to the Apple menu and select “Restart” to reboot the Mac
Yes, you should reboot the entire Mac, simply restarting Finder process itself does not seem to do help.
OS X will reboot as usual, and the Finder preference file will automatically regenerate itself. Remember to adjust any customizations you had set to preferences again as they will have been lost.
Can’t Access Finder? Fix it from Terminal in OS X
If Finder is completely unresponsive, inaccessible, or frustrating to use, turning to the command line of OS X can also get the job done. Launch Terminal app from Spotlight or /Applications/Utilities/, and use the following command exactly:
mv ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist ~/Desktop/
Hit return to execute the command. All this does is move the Finder plist file to the users desktop, you can use the rm command if you want instead, we’re sticking with mv because it’s safer for general users.
Again, you’ll want to reboot the Mac for changes to take effect. Apple menu > Restart, or reboot from the command line of OS X with the following:
sudo shutdown -r now "Restarting Now"
Once the Mac has finished rebooting, you’ll want to set any Finder customizations again. Finder should be working as usual at this point, so you can trash the com.apple.finder.plist file that is sitting on the desktop if you haven’t done so yet.
Perhaps coincidentally, Finder process trouble sometimes coincides with WindowServer process problems, which usually represents as both processes taking up way more CPU and memory than they should be. You can typically troubleshoot both at the same time, though they require different measures to resolve.
If you’ve experienced any issues with Finder in OS X, let us know in the comments if the above tricks worked to resolve it for you and your Mac.