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Ask Max: Hard Drive Icon Missing From Desktop - What Gives?

Asked on 01/15/2009:

Some many months ago the hard drive icon on my iMac (10.5.5) disappeared, yet my Time Machine HD icon and my iDisk icon remain. If I open Applications, my HD icon is present in the left sidebar, and I can work with it as normal. I have tried most everything I can think of in System Preferences as well as resetting PRAM, running First Aid, and running the latest version of Cocktail. I have spoken to Apple techs over the phone several times, but nothing works to restore the HD icon on my desktop. I am sure it will be a simple solution once found, but I have not stumbled upon it yet... do you have any suggestions.

BTW, whenever I run First Aid or repair permissions on Cocktail, it takes hours to perform the task; do you think there is any connection, or could it be that I am running Time Machine at the same time?


I believe this is a preference setting for Finder. It is often overlooked, but the Finder is an application running on your Apple Computer. The Finder application is brought to the active foreground when you click on the Desktop or the Finder icon on the Dock, The icon looks like a two-toned blue face.

Although it is an integral part of the Operating System, it is still just an application and therefore has its own preferences. The System Preferences under the Apple Menu are specific to the computer in general. The Finder preferences are found under the Finder menu. Under the General tab, there are four checkboxes in the Show These Items on the Desktop section. I would recommend marking all four checkboxes. Take a look around at the other settings in there; I think you will be surprised at all the options.


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