[HOWTO] - Install Snax and replace your OSX finder


Help Guide Coordinator
Snax is a Finder "utility" as the creators like to call it, but I liked the app so much I decided to replace the Finder completely with this very cool, OSX 10.1 savvy program. This How-to will detail all the info you need to get Snax up ad running both as the "utility" and as a complete Finder alternative.

First things first, goto http://www.cocoatech.com/ to view Snax and decide whether it is something of interest to you. I'm sure you'll be intirgued just as I was, so go ahead and download it. It's harmless, really.

I downloaded the .dmg version of the app, just because I have never had a poblem with images of this type, for that matter I've never had problems with .tgz files either but they're a little newer to me.

Anyhow, mount the disc image usiing Disc Copy which is located in Applications/Utilities/. This installs by default so if you double-click the image it should automatically mount. If it does not then you may have fuddy duddied something up with the way your machine handles disc images.
Open the mounted image and drag the Snax application to your applications folder. Double click the Snax application icon and it will present you with a window similar to a Finder window but with MANY more cool features which will make you woonder why Apple didn't include them in the Finder. It's really cool.

In preferences you can select choose to have Snax open on startup. This is cool but, I want to use ONLY Snax and not have the Finder using any of my 1.5g of ram since I won't be using it.
So, here how to get Snax running at startup and replcaing the Finder.
Again, go into Applications/Utilities and open terminal.
At the prompt enter the following:

defaults write com.apple.loginwindow Finder /Applications/SNAX.app

That is all you need to do!
Logout and on login you will be running Snax and not the Finder.
Alas, there are some trade-offs. Such as no desktop picture pref and no trash warning (but who uses that warning anyway?). If I find any other lost functions I will update this post. Now give it a shot, if you are comfortable and let us know how it goes for you.

If you wish to switch back to the finder than simply enter this in the terminal:

defaults delete com.apple.loginwindow Finder

Then you are back in the original configuration.
A few liabilities of the 1.1.0 version of Snax-
-Cannot view as columns
-Cannot set desktop prefs
-Cannot add items to the dock

My suggestion to those who desire these features is to run Snax on login but not as the Finder replacement. Rather, have a default window of the Finder and Snax open in a "stacked" fashion so you can still get all the additional features of Snax w/o losing the Finder features. View my screen shot below for a better idea of what I mean.
Just remember to not close the windows but minimize them so they retain their properties.


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I have communicated with Snax's creator and he has said that "column" view will be implemented in this coming weeks update.
Originally posted by beef
anyway to add pic(s) (multiple monitors) on desktop... or at least a pattern?

Not with the current release but I have communicated with the developer and he is working on updates regularly and hopes to implement all features which are offerred by the Finder and then some.
this has to be the most useful and awesome post I've seen on macosx.com. I've been searching fruitlessly for a way to replace the finder, but nothing seemed "good enough". I'd toyed with my OSX Server cd trying to get the server finder (which imho looks better than the new version) and got it mostly working (well, launching anyway) but I hate hacks.

the only other useful customization I can think of is skinning OSX (officially, since Apple keeps killing the ability to skin when folks figure out how to), but one step at a time :) thanks for this tip!
Unbfortunately I made the bonehead mistake of clicking on a 65MB Photoshop PSD file while I had the Preview tab opened... SNAX crashed after trying for a long time to generate a preview.

(I lost my 512MB stick of RAM, so I've only got 128 until tomorrow. :( Ceratinly that contributed...)
Love it, Its GREAT..

This has made me go crazy on hacking my operating system, My freinds are going to think I am running some MacOSaleXor something!


I have a few questions, seeing how I probually over looked them all, Im sure you guys can help me.

1. I want to see the icons on my desktop, I switched the option to show desktop to on.. and i get my desktop picture, but not the icons..

2. I love Apple, but That finder icon on the bottom of the dock, if I am using this, it needs to go... So- hack me up a hack to remove the finder icon!

I love you all, =D this is so great lol!

Have fun!
Originally posted by Alex
Love it, Its GREAT..

1. I want to see the icons on my desktop, I switched the option to show desktop to on.. and i get my desktop picture, but not the icons..

2. I love Apple, but That finder icon on the bottom of the dock, if I am using this, it needs to go... So- hack me up a hack to remove the finder icon!

Currently you can't see icons on the desktop unless you're running the Finder. But, if you pay the $25 for SNAX the author is extremely responsive to requests and bugs. He is anyway, I just think it's well worth the few bucks for his time. In any event, there is a suggestions link within SNAX.

As for the finder icon on the dock, I've no clue how to get rid of it. I like it as a quick way to get to the finder since there are still somethings you need the Finder for, like burning CDs from the Finder, browsing computers, etc.
Just wanted to say that SNAX is well worth the shareware fee. This guy is a machine, coming out with requested features and bug fixes as fast as I can download a new version.
I just thought it is worth noting that the name of Snax has been changed to Path Finder and the new version (2.0), out today, is awesome. Among many other things, it now has the ability to show files and volumes on the desktop. And the developer really listens! Something I can't expect from Apple if I send in requests concerning the Finder... :(

Edit: I couldn't get this hack to work though in Jaguar. I looked at the com.apple.loginwindow.plist file and the Finder has been correctly replaced by /Applications/Path Finder.app, but it still won't work. The Finder launches at login.

This is sureal seeing this thread come back to life after MORE than a year...

I don't even remember that thing about me running with only 128MB of RAM. Considering I have 1.128GB or RAM now, I can hardly imaging what that was like.