Hidden Dashboard Preferences?


Exploring the Dashboard, I found that screen positions and a list of all opened widgets are written to the file "Users/Library/Preferences/com.apple.dashboard.plist" everytime a widget is moved on screen or the Dashboard is closed.

The strange thing is that the Dashboard does NOT load that file it wrote to when it's opened again. You can delete that file, and the last settings are still present, obviously being loaded from another source.

Does anybody know which preferences file is loaded when the Dashboard starts up? Knowing that file would be essential for loading "Widget Sets", certain combinations of widgets defined by the user. One could easily create different preferences files by just arranging desired widgets on the screen, then copying the actual prefs files to different folders (for example named "Weather" or "Travel" or "News"), then create simple Automator actions to copy these files to the source location, overwriting the old prefs.

This way you'd get full control over all your widgets, being arranged in groups which make sense, avoiding to stuff the screen with chaos. Any chance to solve that problem? THANKS!!!

Greetings from Helmut, Bavaria, Germany

P.S. Unfortunately Apple did not implement such a "Build Widget Set" feature in OS 10.4.2.
When you make the Dashboard go away by hitting F12 or clicking out of it, it is still loaded. My guess is that all that data about widget positions is held in memory so it doesn't get loaded every time.

Each widget is actually still running(but sleeping) in the background even when Dashboard isn't showing, so they would have position data stored in each widget's memory probably.

What happens when you log out and back in or restart? This is when the Dashboard actually gets unloaded and when logging in is when it would read the file.

Probably when that happens and there's no file there, you will get the default Dashboard again.

What you want to do is possible but you would have to restart Dashboard after each change to the preference file to make sure it's read in.
Guess you are right. The content of the plist is being kept in memory all the time. That's why the plist is changed everytime a widget is being moved on screen, not when the Dashboard is finally closed. No chance to achieve what I'd like to do. Thanks for your helpful hints!
Sure there is! The Dashboard is a Dock process, so if you kill the Dock, it ought to reopen automatically with your newly updated preference file.