Mac OS X and mounted image disks

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
September 7th, 2003 • 6:09 pm

Many Mac OS X downloads come in the form of an “image disk”, i.e. typically a “.dmg” file which, once downloaded, mounts on your desktop as a read-only volume containing the files you need to install.

There is a small problem with the Mac OS X’s behavior with such mounted image disks, however.

Say you have an image disk that’s mounted in Mac OS X, and the contents of the image disk are displayed in a Finder window (which was opened either automatically when the image disk was mounted or manually when you double-clicked on the mounted disk icon).

If you then choose to log out of your Mac OS X environment, Mac OS X records each Finder window that’s currently open, with a view to reopening it automatically the next time you log in.

The problem is that, the next time you log in, the Finder will not automatically mount whatever image disk was mounted at the time you logged out. Yet the Finder still “remembers” the window that was displaying the contents of the image disk that was mounted.

So what does the Finder do when you log back in? It opens the window that was displaying the contents of the image disk, but since the image disk is no longer mounted, instead it displays in this window all your currently available volumes in icon view. (Since typically the Finder window for a mounted image disk is in icon view mode.)

If you had several disk images mounted on your desktop and therefore several open windows displaying the contents of these disk images at the time you logged out, then when you log back in Mac OS X’s Finder will have several windows open that display the exact same thing, i.e. all your currently available volumes in icon view.

I don’t really see what the purpose of leaving all these windows open is. It seems to me that, if a Finder window displaying the contents of a mounted disk image was open when the user logged out, then when the user logs back in, this window should no longer be open, since its contents are not longer available. (The disk image is not mounted.)

It might sound like a small, inconsequential thing. But it’s something that I encounter regularly, and, until today, I was wondering where these Finder windows were coming from. And I had to close them one by one in ORDER to reduce screen clutter. It’s a small detail, but it should be fixed nonetheless.

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