I am trying to browse the file system on a mac yosemite mac book air. I am coming from a Windows and Linux background, so I am used to just firing up an explorer window and being able to navigate everything.

In mac finder, all I get is a favourites window which has a bunch of stuff that is not my hard drives entire file system, and I have a devices tab that has "remote disk" which is empty.

Is there a way I can browse the entire file system through a GUI?

  • Nasir's answer will get you into the file hierarchy. If you need/want to dig around in the System itself [with obligatory experienced user warning] then see this Q/A on Ask Different to toggle invisible files on/off - apple.stackexchange.com/questions/177132/…
    – Tetsujin
    May 31, 2017 at 7:14
  • 1
    Use Cmd-Shift-K to see the drives from the desktop. Use the three column view to move easily through directories.
    – mico
    Nov 28, 2019 at 9:16
  • You can have a bread crumb trail type of thing by using Cmd+Shift+P. Not ideal but you can navigate up the folder tree with it.
    – thoroc
    Mar 3, 2022 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


Go to Finder > Preferences and under "Show these items on desktop " select "Hard Disks".

Select your drive from the desktop and you can browse the files.

You can also Finder > Go > Computer to browse the files.

  • On a similar note, if you go to the Sidebar tab while in Preferences there is a Locations section that will list your device name. Checking it off permanently adds it to the Finder sidebar Feb 28, 2022 at 17:15

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