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Sometimes I launch dired, then rename a file, or add a new file, and dired doesn't see the changes until I relaunch Emacs. Is there a way to configure dired to refresh itself more quickly, either through polling or file system hooks?

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Use revert-buffer. Default binding g. – KAction Mar 16 '13 at 20:48
@KAction Upvote. Very useful, but not automatic. – mcandre Mar 17 '13 at 22:40
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Add a hook.

;; Auto-refresh dired on file change
(add-hook 'dired-mode-hook 'auto-revert-mode)
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