Joe Maller.com

Setting icon position and window size on disk images

Setting up icon placement and window sizes on a disk image isn’t as easy as it should be. Here’s part of my solution for automating a designed disk image with AppleScript.

Fixing Window Size

According to this thread on Apple’s Installer-dev list, window size isn’t written until there is some user interaction, specifically clicking either the green zoom button or the little resizing thingie in the lower right corner. I was unable to get UI Scripting to dependably click the resizing corner, but I did notice that two clicks on the zoom button, after setting a window’s size, toggles between the set size and the zoomed size. So I specified my desired window size, then had System Events click the zoom button (button 2) twice:

set bounds of window 1 to {50, 75, 580, 680}
tell application "System Events" to tell process "Finder" to click button 2 of window 1
tell application "System Events" to tell process "Finder" to click button 2 of window 1

Forcing .DS_STORE to Record Icon Positions

The Finder’s .DS_STORE files are a bit of a mystery. The binary format is closed and there is no programatic way of forcing these files to update. Some smart people have suggested some harebrained workarounds for dealing with this problem, but I wanted something cleaner and more flexible.

My solution was to start fresh by obliterating any .DS_STORE files that might be on the disk image; this appears in the window-layout script before doing anything else:

do shell script "rm " & quoted form of POSIX path of dmgPath & ".DS_STORE"

Next the window is sized, icons are positioned and background image is assigned. Then the script waits to eject the disk* until the .DS_STORE file has been created (open in Script Editor):

set waitTime to 0
set ejectMe to false
repeat while ejectMe is false
    delay 1
    set waitTime to waitTime + 1
    if (do shell script "[ -f " & quoted form of POSIX path of dmgPath & ".DS_STORE ]; echo $?") = "0" then set ejectMe to true
end repeat
log "waited " & waitTime & " seconds for .DS_STORE to be created."
eject dmgPath

On my MacBook Pro, it usually takes 4 seconds for the file to appear. First deleting the file makes sure that the resulting file contains all the new placement information.

Next the disk image gets run through DropDMG and is ready for uploading. I’m ejecting the disk image before converting because I’m getting filesystem errors when I try converting while the source DMG is still mounted. I don’t remember that happening in the past, but it’s probably a good idea to eject first anyway.


  • http://www.myphotobook.co.uk rich

    Thanks, good tip about “System Events”! Not tried but looks like that solves my window sizing problem. Am also trying to automate a .dmg creation process.

  • http://www.tomrobinson.co.nz Tom Robinson

    Thanks for the workaround to save the Finder window after resizing with AppleScript. I was using the ‘toggle toolbar’ fix , but your method disturbs the resulting window position less.