If you find that Finder on your Mac or Macbook has started hanging or freezing (giving you the spinning disk or beach ball of death), try these steps. These have worked for us, and others.
First, it may be a problem with a networked app such as Dropbox or iCloud, so try logging out of both of those and rebooting (this almost instantly fixed the problem on one of our Macs). You will find your iCloud settings under the Internet & Wireless settings in System Preferences.
And, speaking of networking, the hanging or freezing Finder problem can also be caused by a known problem with having File Sharing using SMB (a protocol for sharing your files with a Windows computer) set to on. So, to disable this, go to System Preferences > Sharing:
And see if “File Sharing” is checked. If it is, click on “Options”:
And uncheck the SMB option:
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Next, run your Disk Utility (found in Applications > Utilities) and run “Repair Permissions” on your hard drive:
Hopefully all or some combination of these will take care of the problem. However, if you are comfortable working under the hood of your Mac, you can also try the following:
Open a terminal window, and either sudo into a shell (we like doing ‘sudo bash’ because after that all of our commands are automatically in sudo mode), or otherwise do all of the following preceded by “sudo” (if you don’t know what we mean by “sudo”, then you should not be trying this).
Then, with the editor of your choice, edit the file /etc/auto_master, and comment out this line:
/net -hosts -nobrowse,hidefromfinder,nosuid
So that it now looks like this:
#/net -hosts -nobrowse,hidefromfinder,nosuid
Save the file, and then execute (remembering either to be in a sudo shell, or to prepend “sudo” to the command):
(This flushes the automount cache.)
Reboot your computer.
It is true that any one of the above measures may fix the problem, so by all means try them one at a time.
No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free? Thank you!
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