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OS X view hidden files and folders

March 10th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

After recently purchasing a MacBook Air, one of the first things I wanted to do was install Firefox and copy my user profile with all my addons and history onto my new machine. Being a first time OS X user meant that this proved a little trickier than anticipated.

Although this post is meant as more of a personal reminder for myself on how to enable and disable hidden files and folders in OS X, I'll include some brief notes for anyone that may need to use Firefox profile manager to manage their profile.

Open Firefox profile manager by running the following inside Terminal:

Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox-bin -profilemanager

Then, click on the 'Delete Profile...' button to remove the existing profile. On a clean install of Firefox this profile will obviously not contain any settings or addons. You should see the path (and make a note of it) to the existing profile as per the screenshot below:

OS X Firefox Profile

After you have deleted the clean profile and all of it's files, the new profile will need to be copied to the same location, in my case:

/Users/jamesclements/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles

The problem is that the Library directory is hidden, so trying to navigate to it using finder is an issue:

OS X Finder hidden files and folders

Run the following in Terminal to allow you to see all hidden files and folders as per the screenshot below:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
and then
killall Finder

OS X Finder hidden files and folders

After copying your Firefox profile to the correct location, clicking the 'Create Profile...' button and browsing for your existing profile is enough to set it as your default profile that Firefox will now use each time it starts.

To set your hidden files and folders so they are not visible again, run the following in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
and then
killall Finder

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