Closed Folders Extension Icon

 Closed Folders

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This freeware utility consists of two items working together -- i.e., [1] a system extension (INIT) + background-only application (BOA) combo file, and [2] a companion control panel (CP) file -- and is designed for use under Mac OS 8.5 -- 9.2.x.  It strives to complement the functionality provided by the '(Remember) Recent ...' features of the standard Apple Menu Options (AMO) CP included in Mac OS Classic versions [and possibly augmented by Turlough O'Connor's FinderPop CP], or of the powerful third-party standalone Apple Menu and Open/Save dialogue enhancers such as Fabien Octave's BeHierarchic CP and St. Clair Software's Default Folder CP, etc. Specifically, it keeps track of local or remote folders that were recently closed (rather than opened), including folders which had been opened directly in the Finder itself.
There are a few minor limitations in utilities such as
AMO (or even BeHierarchic, Default Folder, etc.). These CPs cannot usually remember certain recent items in "converse", i.e., local or remote folders that have been recently closed (rather than opened). They also do not usually allow "extended" tracking, i.e., remembering folders that were opened directly in the Finder itself. The Closed Folders (CF) utility is for anyone who'd like to have this combined "converse" & "extended" memory.

A typical scenario would be that you've been busy opening lots of local and/or remote folders in the Finder (or via the Apple Menu, etc.), and have been working with their contents for a while, perhaps window-shading some of them to reduce the clutter. At some point, you accidentally closed one of those folder windows (especially one that had been opened long ago at the start of the work session). Then, you discovered that you couldn't easily reopen it because it's no longer in the Recent Folders/Servers lists (i.e., it's been "pushed out" by more recently opened ones), or perhaps it was never put there at all because it was opened directly in the Finder. If that local or remote folder is buried several levels deep in its parent volume, it can be quite a frustrating task to dig it out all over again (even if you use the Finder's '
Spring-loaded folders' feature, or BeHierarchic's wonderful "Deep Level" contextual menu & Apple Menu capabilities, etc.), particularly if you can't remember exactly where that folder is located!

A workaround for this snag would be first to identify those local & remote folders which are the most painful to "lose", and then to use some mechanism to remember them. For instance, you could do one or more of the following:-

  • Convert some or all of the folder windows into Pop-up or "tabbed" windows.
  • Simply increase the item-limits for AMO's (or BeHierarchic's or Default Folder's) Recent Folders/Servers options; this would be applicable to folders that are opened via some means other than directly in the Finder.
  • Place aliases to entire volumes in the Apple Menu (an especially useful option with BeHierarchic, which avoids the slowdowns prevalent with AMO); this would work well for folders whose locations are well-known.
  • Manually create the corresponding aliases, or add those folders to your Favourite items, or record/write AppleScript scripts to allow reopening them instantly. The aliases and scripts could be kept somewhere convenient (e.g., on the desktop, or in the Favourites menu, or in the Scripts subfolder of the active System Folder for use with Leonard Rosenthol's OSA Menu utility).

There are many other possible approaches, involving varying degrees of manual labour and/or the fine-tuning of features in the Mac OS itself or in your favourite third-party utilities. Depending on your computing habits & work flows, any of these approaches could be an eminently workable solution. If not, CF offers an alternative method.

CF Minusses: At this point, we should mention that there are quite a few drawbacks with CF. For one thing, you'd be loading yet another system extension, with all the myriad potential conflicts that accompany these little critters. Also, CF is not very useful if you like to tunnel down through folders in the Finder (via the 'option + command + down-arrow' or 'option + File|Open' sequences, or the Finder's 'Spring-loaded folders' feature), automatically closing the intermediate "parent" windows. Unfortunately, CF would faithfully track all those auto-closed parents, which could quickly render its cache useless. [Although, it is possible to work around this latter issue. E.g., you could temporarily bypass CF by pressing certain keys.]

CF Plusses: However, if you have a habit of accidentally closing various difficult-to-resurrect folder windows that you need again almost immediately, then CF could be just the ticket. And, for those of you using Mac OS 9.x, it's worth mentioning that CF is also Multiple-Users--savvy.

Let your decision be guided by your specific needs and your level of tolerance for potential havoc. ;-)


Thanks are due to Apple for creating the nifty Start Manager and Trap Manager hooks in Mac OS Classic, which allow system extensions to work their magic. ;-) However, although we mourn the death of these hooks (and thus of all classic-style system extensions) in Mac OS X, we do also appreciate Apple's need to isolate the OS from wayward little critters. Indeed, every time we run Mac OS X on our own computers, it's such a pleasant change not having to reboot just because some errant application or system extension crashed the OS (we haven't even had any "kernel panics" yet, in several months of sustained usage, and our Macs are old beige G3 models with USB add-in cards!). In any event, if there is sufficient demand, and a comparable "hook" technique can be found, there just might be a version of Closed Folders for Mac OS X in the near future.

Needless to say, the numerous insights gleaned from the Apple Developer Connection (ADC) Sample Code have been invaluable over the years. In particular, the Files group offers the essential MoreFiles library which helps to make the Mac OS File Manager accessible to us mere mortals. In addition, the Human Interface ToolBox group contains several useful examples, ranging from implementing control panels to managing preference files. In addition, we gained much invaluable insight from looking at the patching techniques in the open source code for Wolf Technologies' Respond! CP (now defunct, formerly available at <>).

Thanks are also due to Andrew Gapstr, who originally suggested the idea for the CF utility, way way back on 2nd December 1999, in his Want a script to reopen the last folder closed thread on MacNN's {now-obsolete} Developer Forum. We had subsequently promised to try to implement such a utility, given the necessary free time. After completing some urgent projects at our then employer, we began working on CF seriously in late June 2000, just before relocating from the USA to Guyana in early August 2000. Unfortunately, things have been a bit unsettled since, and what with one thing or another there never seemed to be enough time to finish CF. it was not until September 2001 that work was actively resumed on the utility. Our humble apologies! 

This utility was built with Metrowerks CodeWarrior Pro 5 & 6, and Apple's Universal Interfaces 3.3.2. It is written in plain C {not C++}.


 What's new in version 1.0.1?

Closed Folders Extension Icon
Closed Folders Control Panel Icon

 Download Closed Folders 1.0.1  (English)  (220 KB)
(BinHexed Stuffit archive; requires Aladdin Systems' free Stuffit Expander 5.0 or later)

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