Earlier this week I accidentally copied something to my Desktop that caused the Desktop itself to no longer be recognized by OS X as a folder. It turned into a “package” instead. All of the icons on my Desktop disappeared and the link to my Desktop from the Finder’s sidebar no longer worked. Here’s how I fixed the problem.

The first action that got my attention was when I clicked the Desktop link from the PLACES section of the Finder sidebar, and got the error There is no default application to open the specified document “Desktop”.

When I tried to access my Desktop in a different manner, by selecting my home folder and then Desktop from there, the Preview: pane displayed my Desktop “kind” as a package instead of displaying the contents of what should have been a folder. By clicking the More info… button…

… I was presented with the full information for the Desktop. And sure enough, OS X believed it to be a package, not a a folder. It wanted to know what to open “package” files with (the Open with: menu).

The solution: download and install File Matey. To install, just open the downloaded zip file, and drag File Matey to your Applications folder. Launch it from there, and click the Later button.

Right away, File Matey will ask you to select an object to analyze and work on. Navigate to the folder that OS X thinks is a package. For me, I had to go to my home folder and select Desktop that way – selecting Desktop from the left shortcut pane resulted in another error.

In the Attributes: menu, the Desktop had the Has Bundle bit option selected. Remove that check. Then click Save.

Restart Finder by opening a Terminal (Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal) and enter the command: killall Finder

Now Finder and OS X once again recognize the Desktop folder as a folder, instead of a package. The shortcut link in the Finder window once again works, and all of the items displayed on my Desktop re-appeared.

That’s it! Hope it helps 🙂