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All of my Finder windows show this big huge question mark, it doesn't matter which drive or directory I'm in. If I click on the question mark, it says, "The item can't be found". What is this image supposed to be, and how do I fix the error?

image of strange question mark

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

You probably dragged/dropped an application or any other file there, and deleted it in the meantime.


To find out what the item was, right-click the toolbar and select Icons & Labels to display toolbar labels. It should display the file name of the document or application you put there.

To find out the exact file path, open Terminal and enter the following, substituting name by whatever was displayed as label in the previous step:

defaults read com.apple.Finder | grep "name"

It will look somewhat like this:

$ defaults read com.apple.Finder | grep "LaunchBar"
"_CFURLString" = "file:/localhost/Users/danielbeck/Applications/LaunchBar.app";

To get rid of the toolbar item, just right-click it and select Remove Item, or hold Cmd and drag it from the toolbar.

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Thanks. I didn't realize that anything could be added to the Finder windows' toolbars. –  stimpy77 Apr 16 '11 at 8:14

Now it looks like you need to hold: option + command and click; in order to drag it off of the finder window.

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