Fixing Jumpy Finder File List Window in Mac OSX Snow Leopard

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After upgrading to Snow Leopard I noticed that when using finder to browse certain directories, especially network file shares, the window would begin scrolling and jumping up and down erratically on its own. I was left scratching my head about this for a while until I finally realized that this only happened when connecting to file shares that we served from hosts that were case sensitive.

Turns out finder freaks out when two files or directories contain the same text but have different case. For example, “test_directory” and “Test_directory”. This is perfectly valid on systems that support case sensitive files but causes odd results in OSX.

The fix that I implemented was to simply identify files and directories whose case would collide in OSX and renamed them accordingly. From a linux system you could use a command like the following to detect and count duplicate files or directories.

ls | tr [:upper:] [:lower:] | sort -n | uniq -cd

This takes the output of ls and uses tr to read everything as lower case, sorts that output and then uses uniq to determine if any duplicates exist.

I haven’t been able to locate a switch in finder to simply enable case sensitivity, if this exists I would love to hear about it