TotalFinder brings Tabs to your native Finder!

by Milind Alvares

TotalFinder brings Tabs to your native Finder!

by Milind Alvares on January 12, 2010

Post image for TotalFinder brings Tabs to your native Finder!

[tweetmeme]Just last week I wrote a piece on Finder, and up came a few niggles here and there. Then today twitter turned up what appears to be the hack of the year (so far at least). TotalFinder adds tabs to your regular ol’ Finder, and then some!

Okay so what exactly is this goop you’re trying to sell me?

First things first. This is an alpha hack created by someone who’s still ‘new to Cocoa’. So if you’re planning on using this on a production machine—don’t. What Antonin Hildebrand, has done, is cleverly scooped out the tab UIs from the Chrome browser, and slipped them into some kind of Finder vortex. And it works! I was a little hesitant at first, considering it’s still version 0.6, and sports ALPHA in capitals. But the install went through smoothly, and after a reboot, the changes were evident.

TotalFinder changes how you interact with Finder by stripping it of its ‘regular window’ status. It slides out from the bottom on hitting the shortcut like a HUD, with just a close button in the toolbar. Create new windows, and they just get added to the tab bar. Click away, and they just slide out of view. The TotalFinder preferences also allow you to further improve the Finder by removing .DStore files, show hidden files, and make Folders show up at the top of any list. That’s going to please a lot of switchers! Hildebrand has a bunch of more ideas to put through, including a major UI change in the form of dual pane browsing. And considering there’s going to be monetary incentive at the end of this alpha/beta, it’s going to be something to look forward to.

Should you install TotalFinder? Depends on how adventurous you are. In the few hours that I’ve been using it, my system hasn’t come down to a halt, but there is some weirdness to the way one interacts with the Finder. The fact that it instantly hides on deselection makes it harder to interact from other apps. It sometimes doesn’t show up on clicking the dock icon, there’s tearing here and there, and who knows what’s going to happen in future. I’m sure most of you have already clicked the link and gone through with the hack—congrats!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }


Amazing technology, but I’ll wait like probably most people for 1.0 to come out.



This is a great little app… really neat :) I was annoyed at first that it didn’t behave like normal Finder windows, and clicking on the Dock icon doesn’t always launch a new window, but I have solved that one!

If you don’t like the HUD (or Visor as they call it), you can disable it and let Finder behave like normal. This is in the normal preferences. BUT, in order to make the Dock icon work properly, you have to first enable the HUD, open the window with the command, close it with the little red dot and THEN disable the HUT… otherwise, Finder thinks a window is still open and so won’t launch a new one.



Awesome! I will only be using this to gather my Finder windows into one window, but I have been looking for something like this (that isn’t Path Finder) for ages! I don’t use the visor, and only use cmd-N to open new Finder windows anyway, so this is totally perfect. I would recommend this release if you’re just looking to add tabs to Finder, definitely.

Running OSX 10.6.2, MBP 2.66/4GB


Milind Alvares

@Joaquim: No it’s not. Some people have had their systems go totally crashy (although I think those reports were from previous versions). My advice, don’t do it unless you have a SuperDuper backup (or better still, are running the OS in a SuperDuper sandbox).



Being a SIMBL plugin, you shouldn’t lose any data from it if it does go haywire. Just boot into command line, remove the file, then restart if you experience problems and you should be fine.



BTW, the HUD isn’t the only way to use TotalFinder…it works (adds tabs) to a typical Finder window as well, meaning it doesn’t disappear.


Ralph Dosser

OK, I installed, had some problems, so I tried to delete it from my system, but the grayed-out icon is still in my menu bar, and I can’t move windows within the finder. How do I utterly, completely delete this from my system?


Sanchai Thiewprasertkul

After installed TotalFInder on my Macbook Pro Intel early 2008 running OSX 10.6.4, it work fine but with one problem

When I download a zip archive or dmg from the Internet and run it, very often, my Trash stop working properly. When I drag any file to the Trash, Mac OSX tell me that the file will be delete immediately. SO the workaround is that I have to log off and log on, then Trash function properly.

At last, I unistall TotalFInder, and my Trash funmction proerly most of the time. But when the same problem (deleted immediately) crop up, I have to run TotalFinder uninstall, and the problem get solved immediately, without having to log off and log on.

So the culprit may be TotalFinder. SO I want to know how to manually uninstall TotalFinder so that there will be no trace left on my system.

In this way, I will know what cause the problem

Can you email me how to uninstall TotalFinder completely and manually?

Thank for support


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