< Credits and History

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Contents

Connection Questions

Q) How do I connect to a FTP site?
A) Run NetFinder. In the "New Connection" dialog that appears (if not type command-N), choose the "Protocol" from the popup menu (eg FTP/HTTP/FILE), fill in the fields such as "Server", "Username" and "Password". You can also enter a path if you want to. Click the "Connect" button. NetFinder will then try to connect to the specified server.

Q) How do I connect to a port other than 21?
A) Append a colon and the port number to the end of the hostname in the "Server" field. For example, to specify port 23 on the host archie.au, enter "archie.au:23" into the "Server" field.

Q) I can't connect to a FTP site. What's wrong?
A) There are a number of possible reasons, including: Q) What is this GMT Offset thing I see in the Advanced Options panel?
A) GMT is like a point of reference when it comes to date and time. This can then be used to compute the time in different countries.

Why is this necessary? Well for some people it's useful, for casual users it is probably not so important. The most common scenario is when you upload a file to a server in another country or state with a different time zone, and the server you are getting a listing from does not return the date and time in GMT. Instead it return its "local time" which may be say 3 hours different from your time. What ends up happening is that when you modify the file on the server you may see the modified date 3 hours in the past or 3 hours in the future depending on where you and your server is located. This may confuse you or other systems which may depend on a "correct" time. What the GMT Offset field is for, allows you to compensate for the servers lack of capabilities by converting the time for you as you get the listing, thus removing any confusing when looking at dates in listings.

Q) Can NetFinder connect to my iDisk (.mac) account?
A) iDisk uses the webdav protocol, so you simply need to select the right protocol in the New Connection Window in NetFinder, then enter the following details:

    Protocol: webdav (or webdavs)
      Server: idisk.mac.com
    Username: <your username>
    Password: <your password>
        Path: /<your username>/

NOTE: The '/' characters in the path are important. If you miss one, you may get an error from the server, and thus not get a listing.

Q) Can NetFinder connect to a users Public folder in their iDisk (.mac) account?
A) Sure. Enter the following details in a New Connection Window in NetFinder:

    Protocol: webdav (or webdavs)
      Server: idisk.mac.com
    Username: <leave empty>
    Password: <leave empty>
        Path: /<username>/Public/

For an example, drag the following URL onto the URL field in NetFinder's New Connection Window.


Now hit the Connect button.

Q) Can NetFinder connect to my domain which runs a program called CPanel?
A) Sure. You can connect to your account in a number of ways:

To connect via webdav enter the following details into a NetFinder New Connection Window:

    Protocol: webdav (or webdavs)
      Server: <your domain name>:2078
    Username: <account name>
    Password: <password>
        Path: /

    Protocol: webdavs
      Server: www.mydomain.com:2078
    Username: fred
    Password: fredspassword
        Path: /

Please note the extra ":2078" which is important, otherwise the connection will fail.

Now press the Connect button in NetFinder and you will see a listing of your account.

File Transfer Questions

Q) How do I get a file from a FTP server?
A) There are several ways to do this.

(1) If you have a URL which specifies exactly where the file is, then you either copy and paste it into the New Connection dialog, or drag and drop the URL file / URL text into the dialog onto the URL field, or somehow tell NetFinder to open that URL - for example, in BBEdit, you can command-click in the middle of a URL and it will ask the appropriate program to open it. For FTP URLs, it will ask NetFinder to download the file as long as you have set up the Default FTP Application to be NetFinder. If all goes well, NetFinder will connect then start transferring the file.

(2) You can connect to the FTP server and get a listing of the available files. Browse until you find the file you want. When you have found it, just drag it to a folder on your disk or to the Desktop. NetFinder will then download it to the specified destination. Alternatively, you can double click the file and it will be downloaded to the Default Download Location as specified in Preferences.

Q) How do I get a folder (also known as a directory) from a FTP server?
A) You must first connect to the FTP server and navigate to the directory which contains the directory you want to download. For example, if the directory named "apples" is inside a directory named "oranges" you need to navigate to the "oranges" directory and have it open and displaying the "apples" directory. To then download the "apples" directory, just drag the "apples" folder icon to a folder on your disk or to the Desktop - it's the same easy technique you would use when you copy a folder in the Finder. NetFinder will then download it to the specified destination. Note that unlike for files, you cannot double click the folder icon because that will just open its contents in another window (just like what the Finder does).

Q) How do I store a file (or folder) onto a FTP server?
A) First, connect to the server where the file (or folder) is to be stored. Next, navigate to the directory where the item is to be stored in. Then, just as you would do to copy a file in the Finder, drag the item from your Mac's disk to the NetFinder window where you want the item to be. That's it!

Q) Why can't I put a file onto the server?
A) You may not have access rights to that server. Mail the administrator of the server if you are supposed to have access rights.

Q) Can I override the default upload and download settings?
A) Yes you can. All you have to do is to hold down the Option key when releasing the mouse button after a drag. You will then be presented with a "once off" upload or download window. Change the setting to your liking then press the OK button.

Q) Can I setup a default Upload Permission?
A) Yes you can. Please refer to the "default upload permissions" in the Upload Preferences.

Listing Questions

Q) Why are my labels missing when I login as a different user?
A) Labels are stored on a per user basis. This is by design. We believe each user may have a different opinion on what label to use or comments to write about a file/folder. Just as different users have access permissions, we believe different users should have labels and comments. This can be useful if for example you have a master account and an account for a client, and you wish to show them files on their account, which you labeled and commented as important or updated or some other criteria, however in your master account you labeled/commented an item as say "critical - MUST HAVE PERFECT FOR CLIENT", something which you may not want the client to see.

Q) Why do my listings have garbage in many of the filenames?
A) Just like there are many units of measurement for fluid in the world, eg oz, gallons, liters etc. Your server may be using one type of encoding ("measurement") while you are expecting another encoding. When this happens your not "speaking the same language" and you see garbage on the screen. To ensure you are "on the same wavelength" and "talking the same language", you will need to change the Encoding. You can do this via the New Connection Window, via the Advanced Options button (this will change the encoding for this specific connection), or via the NetFinder Preferences under the Listing Preference Pane - Default Listing Encoding (which changes all new bookmark, mirror etc entries). The default NetFinder uses is Unicode UTF8, which is an emerging "Universal alphabet" encoding system. However not all servers support this. Another common encoding format for western languages is "Western (ISO Latin 1)".

Q) How do I save a Recent Search String in my listing windows search field - pull down menu?
A) Since the listing is filtered as you type into this field, NetFinder cannot tell when you have finished typing your filter string. As a result, to tell NetFinder that you have finished and you wish to save your filter string, simply press the return key on your keyboard. Once you do this, your search text will appear in the Recent Search Strings menu.

Q) I know there is a file there, but it just doesn't show up? Is this a bug?
A) Some servers have bugs that cause them to not show the contents of a directory properly. The work around is to use the "Compatible commands" mode in the Preferences.

Similarly, some server do not recognize the "-alL" option that NetFinder uses to resolve aliases. This also causes some servers to not display a listing. To get a listing from such a server, you need to turn off the "Show target of alias instead of the alias itself" option in the Listings pane in the NetFinder Preferences window.

Also see FAQ NetFinder does not work with a certain site but the other FTP programs I use work fine? What should I do?

Q) The server says "-alL file not found", and I don't get a listing. What's going on?
A) The server does not support the -alL option. To get a listing from such a server, you need to turn off the "Show target of alias instead of the alias itself" option in the Listings pane in the NetFinder Preferences window.

Q) Why do I get "ls: Permission Denied" as the only item in the directory?
A) Some servers do not obey the standard way or returning a list of files, and as a result, NetFinder misinterprets the result as a file. (It may be a file that is just named that way but this is unlikely). Unfortunately, there is no work around for this problem.

Q) Why don't I get nice looking icons? All I see are generic file icons?
A) It is possible that the preferences have changed. Check the Display Preferences to ensure using Generic icons is turned off. You may also wish to check the other settings while you are there.

Q) What are those files that have italic text? Are they aliases?
A) Yes they are. If you wish to resolve them so you can see their size, turn on the "Show target of alias instead of alias itself" option under the Listing Preferences. If you have this option on and still see the item with italic text, it's probably because the server does not resolve aliases or the alias on the server cannot be resolved.

NOTE: the "resolve alias" option is only really applicable for UNIX servers. Many other servers do NOT support this feature. If they do, then its a bonus.

Q) Why is the listing so slow?
A) This may be because you have a slow connection (eg modem), or your listing has many types of icons which take time to load, and possibly consumes more memory, slowing your system down. Although this is rarely the case, it is possible for people who have little memory configured on their machine. If this is the case, you may wish to consider using Generic Icons to speed things up for you.

Q) How come the listings are really fast and other times really slow?
A) You probably have directory caching on. Cached directories are displayed faster because the listing is retrieved from your hard disk and not from the server, which is slower of course. When a listing is not in the cache or is outdated, NetFinder then gets the listing from the server.

Q) How come the directory caching doesn't seem to work?
A) It is possible that the directory cache files have become corrupt. If this occurs you need to purge the cache files.

Q) The displayed directory listing is wrong! Some old files are no longer there and there are new files that aren't displayed. How do I fix this?
A) The listing is probably coming from the directory cache that NetFinder maintains when the "Cache directory listings" option is on. To update the listing, you need to select the "Refresh Listing" command from the File menu.

Q) Why are all my window positions lost?
A) Window positioning information is stored in a file called Metadata.nfmd, if this file is deleted or damaged, you will lose all your window positions.

Q) Why do I get a "Bad Data" error when doing a listing?
A) This will generally only occur when you are listing from the cache and the cache entry has been corrupted. One solution is to use the "Refresh Listing" command from the File menu. If this message occurs too often, it may be best to purge the cache files.

Q) Can I list a directory without having to traverse all the intermediate directories?
A) Yes you can. Select the "Go to Folder" command from the "Tools" menu (or Command-Shift-G) and enter the path you wish to go to. The path can be a relative path from the active listing window, or a full path.

Q) I used to be able to see a column in my listing window, but now its gone. How do I get it back?
A) Column information is stored like window size and position, namely on a per window basis. When you close the window, the state is preserved and restored when you next open the window. To show a column that was previously hidden, control-click (or click on the right mouse button) anywhere in the column titles. This will show you a list of available columns which you can toggle on and off.

Q) Why can't I show a column? It's missing from the menu of available columns?
A) Every type of window, whether it's for bookmark lists, mirror list, FTP listing or webdav listings, have different capabilities. As a result, you are only offered the relevant columns available for that specific type of content.

Q) I want to see the exact size of my files in listing windows without getting info on each item. How can I do this?
A) Yes you can do this very simply. Just increase the Size column by moving the mouse over the vertical bar at the end of the size column title, click and move the mouse left or right to resize the column larger. As you can see, NetFinder will automatically show a compact version of the size if the column is too narrow, and an exact size if the column is wide enough.

Q) The Modified Date column does not show the time or is missing some information. How do I show more information?
A) Like the Size column, the Modified Date column can also show more detail as its resized larger. The date can show as little as the date only, to as much as the weekday plus date and the time.

Q) The permissions column is only showing me numbers, it used to show things like "rwx------", what is going on?
A) Like the Size column, the permissions column shows a more compact form when the column is too narrow. Simply expand the permissions column to show more details.

File Manipulation Questions

Q) Why can't I delete a file?
A) You probably don't have permission to delete it. Or you are looking at an "outdated cached listing", and the file does not really exist any more. Refresh the list and see if it's still there.

NOTE: Some servers do not like full paths in a command being sent to them. As a result, they may also cause a delete operation to fail. To see if this is the case, change NetFinder to use compatible commands and try again.

Q) Why can't I rename or move or list a directory? I have permission but I keep getting an error dialog.
A) The directory/file you are operating on may have a "full path" that contains a space in its name. eg "/mac/my file/some programs/". Some FTP servers do not handle this properly, so they return an error. Most Macintosh FTP servers do handle this correctly. You may also need to set NetFinder to use compatible commands.

Q) Can I change the permissions of a file/folder?
A) Yes you can. All you need to do is select the file/folder you are interested in, use the "Get Info" command (from the "File" menu) on that file. Then change the permission in the window you are presented with, close the window and save the changes.

TIP: If you selected a folder, in the Get Info window, if you control-click (or right-mouse-button click) the button next to the permissions string, you will be given a menu with more options, one of which allows you to set permissions recursively.

Q) Why can't I change the permissions of a file or folder?
A) There could be a number of reasons:

Q) Can I set the permissions of all files and folders within a folder to a specific permission?
A) Yes. See the FAQ question "Can I change the permissions of a file/folder?" above.

Q) Can I duplicate a file/folder?
A) You can duplicate a file/folder using the "Duplicate" command from the "File" menu. This will work for all protocols you connect with.

Q) Can I create an alias to a file or folder on the server?
A) In theory, yes you can. But NetFinder does not support it because almost no server on the internet has the required setup. It is likely that no one will want such a setup because there are security loopholes in such a setup.

TIP: If your server supports ssh, then you can use the "Open in Terminal" command to achieve this.

Q) Can I change the owner or group of a file or folder?
A) In theory, yes you can. See "Can I create an alias to a file or folder on the server?" above for reasons why NetFinder does not support it.

Q) Can I rename a file or folder?
A) You sure can. Just do what you do in the Finder. For more details, read the section on renaming.

Q) Why can't I rename a file or folder?
A) It is likely don't have permissions, which is likely to be the case if you are connecting to a public server with guest/anonymous access.

If however this is not the case, then it is possible that:

Bookmark Questions

Q) How do I save a bookmark from the "New Connection" dialog?
A) You can achieve this is a number of ways: Q) How do I save a bookmark to a directory listing window?
A) You can achieve this is a number of ways: Q) How do I save a bookmark to a file or folder in a directory listing window?
A) You can achieve this is a number of ways:

Mirroring Questions

Q) How do I set up NetFinder to mirror a site?
A) Chapter 5 has a details description regarding Mirroring. Look there for more details.

Q) How do I stop a file from being uploaded?
A) Use Labels in the Finder or use No Upload Placeholder files. For more information see the Mirroring section in Chapter 5.

Q) I'm mirroring a site and have deleted some files locally since they are out of date, but the files still exist remotely. How do I get NetFinder to delete these old remote files?
A) You can get detailed information in Chapter 5 in the Mirroring section.

Q) I modified a file but NetFinder doesn't upload it?!?
A) You probably have the Mirror Item's 'Mirror By' option set to 'Name Only'. You need to make it 'Name And Size'. Note that if you modify a file but the size of its data fork does not change, then NetFinder will not be able to detect that it has changed and will not upload it, so you will have to use the next option up, namely mirror by "Name Size and Modified Date".

Q) Why doesn't NetFinder mirror just my file?
A) NetFinder can only mirror folders, not files.

Q) I like the Quick Sync feature, but it only works on a selection, and I need to sync the folder the window is viewing, and I don't have permissions to see one folder up. What can I do?
A) If you click on the Tools menu, then press the option (alt) key, you will see the item "Quick Sync…" change to "Quick Sync With Listing Window…". Select "Quick Sync With Listing Window…" and you are done.

Routers, Proxy Servers and Internal Network Questions

Q) I have a router that allows me to access the internet, but I can't seem to get a listing or transfer a file. What can I do?
A) Depending on your setup, your router may "hide" the fact that your internal network is a custom network (ie not a "registered" set of IP addresses). If this is the case, the use of the PORT command will not work, since your network is not really on the internet. As a result you will have to get NetFinder to use PASV when performing all data transactions like directory listings and file transfers. PASV basically gets the server to tell you who to connect to, as opposed to you telling the server who you are. See the Firewall Preferences to enable PASV mode.

Q) Why does my friends router work with FTP PORT mode?
A) Some more sophisticated routers intercept and change the commands on the fly between applications like NetFinder and your server, thus giving a better user experience, as you think "it just works". Although this tricky technique works for traditional (insecure) FTP, it is not possible for non standard FTP ports or secure FTP.

Q) I setup the proxy server setting in System Preferences, but NetFinder just doesn't work. The proxy server works with my web browser though! Is this a bug in NetFinder?
A) No, it is not a bug in NetFinder. The reason why it does not work is because the proxy server you entered is specifically for web browsers. Hence it "speaks a different language" to FTP proxy servers. This is why it does not work.

Also see I can't connect to a FTP site. What's wrong? for more reasons.

Q) Your program is broken! I can't connect to any sites, including your Quick Public Sites, but like addresses work OK. All I get are connection errors. Is there a fix?
A) If you can connect to IP addresses, that is servers of the format, then it is likely the program is working just fine. However, if you cannot connect to servers with names, like ftp.linksys.com for example or any other word like address, it is highly likely that your DNS (Domain Name Server - which converts word like names to IP addresses) is not configured properly in your Operating System.

In OSX, go to your System Preferences > Network settings, then click on an interface (Airport, Modem, Ethernet), then:

OSX 10.4
  1. Press the Configure button
  2. Select the TCP/IP section
  3. Edit the DNS Servers section and add a DNS provided to you by your ISP or system administrator.
    An example DNS server should be of the format:
OSX 10.5
  1. Press the Advanced button
  2. Select the DNS section
  3. Under the DNS Servers table, click the + symbol then type in your DNS Server provided to you by your ISP or system administrator.
    An example DNS server should be of the format:

Miscellaneous Interface Questions

Q) What's the difference between a Shortcut and a Bookmark?
A) A bookmark is only a file which contains information which when opened will establish a connection to a server and open a listing window (or download a file). A shortcut however, is a reference to "anything", a bookmark, an application, etc. Basically anything you want to access quickly. See the Shortcuts section of the documentation to see how you can reap the power of the Shortcuts menu to your advantage.

Q) My copy of NetFinder is missing menu's. Is the application corrupt?
A) No. NetFinder will show you the most commonly used items when you click in the menu bar. However there are items that are less commonly used which are available to you as an "option" when you press the option or alt key on the keyboard. Try it now, you will find lots of useful additional commands. Note, although the menu is not shown by default, many have an associated keyboard shortcut assigned to it so you can simply press the keyboard sequence to initiate it. You may even want to press other modifier keys (control, or shift) while pressing the option key to see if there are even more options, however this is very rare.

Q) Can I change the name of Labels in the Label Menu?
A) Sure. Simply go to the Finder and edit the preferences under the Labels section. When you next start NetFinder you will get the new label names.

Q) Can I change the color of the Labels in the Label Menu?
A) No. In theory it is possible, but to be consistent with OSX and the Finder, we do not allow the user to change the color. It is possible the reason why you can no longer can change the label color is because in older versions of the operating system, when a user changed the color and/or label name, then the label color and name could be different on another machine, thus causing confusion and problems. Hence for consistency between machines, the operating system maintains at least one attribute (the color) fixed between machines so there can be no confusion or ambiguity.

Q) I changed/added some items to NetFinder's Automation Components, but the menus are not updated? Do I have to restart NetFinder each time?
A) Currently each time you do any modifications to the NetFinder Automation Components, you will have to manually refresh the menu from NetFinder (or restart the application). To refresh the items in NetFinder manually, simply click in the Tools menu then press the option (alt) key. You will see the menu item "Organize Automation Components…" change to "Refresh Automation Components". Select "Refresh Automation Components" and the components will be reloaded.

Q) How do I get other programs to use NetFinder for FTP transfers?
A) Go to the General Preferences Pane in NetFinder and change the "Default FTP Application" to NetFinder.

Q) I want to record the file transfers. Can this be done?
A) To record the file transfers, turn on Transfer logging in the Connection pane in the NetFinder Preferences window.

Q) Is there an updated version of the program? Where do I get it?
A) We will maintain the latest versions at the following site:


TIP: If you don't want to always check manually for updates, you can always turn of the preference allowing NetFinder to check for updates for you, and notify you of any new updates.

Miscellaneous Functionality Questions

Q) I like the Create Droplet feature, but it only works on a selection, and I need to create a droplet of the folder the window is viewing, and I don't have permissions to see one folder up. What can I do?
A) If you click on the Tools menu, then press the option (alt) key, you will see the item "Create Droplet For Selected Directory…" change to "Create Droplet For Listing Window…". Select "Create Droplet For Listing Window…" and you are done.

Q) Why do you have "Open In Terminal" when you have a nice user interface to manipulate files on the server?
A) Some protocols have limited features and capabilities, this feature allows advanced users to perform actions that the protocol or NetFinder is currently not able to provide. Please note that not all servers have a terminal/shell access due to security issues. Please consult your ISP or hosting provider to confirm you have ssh access.

Q) I tried the "Open In Terminal" command and it does not work?
A) Not all servers have a terminal/shell access due to security issues. Please consult your ISP or hosting provider to confirm you have ssh access.

Q) I love the Create Archive feature, but it is only available in file:// protocol mode. Can you make it available for all the other protocols?
A) Well, it's your lucky day! With NetFinder Automation Components, you can create an archive for any selection using one of a number of formats (.zip, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2) for any protocol which supports uploading files (which is just about all protocols). To create an archive, select what you want archived in a listing window, then go to the Tools menu and then go to the "Process Selection then Re-Upload [N-1]" menu. From there, locate and select the appropriate archive action you wish to perform. Note, you will need to refresh the listing manually to see the new archive, as you may be in the middle of doing something while you are archiving and do not wish the listing to be refreshed.

Q) These NetFinder Automation Components are cool! Can I create my own?
A) Sure you can. You simply need to create an automation application (not workflow) using Apple's Automator.app (/Applications/Automator.app). To get started you can make a copy of a component pre-installed by NetFinder and open it in Automator.app to see how easy it can be. Once you understand the power of what you can do in Automator.app, then integrate it with NetFinder's Automation Components, you will have a very powerful and extensible system. For differences in 10.4, and 10.5 and power user who wish to write scripts or even custom command line applications as NetFinder Automation Components, please see the full documentation. If your proud of your new automation and wish to tell someone about it, we would love to see it.

Miscellaneous FTP Questions

Q) How do I use passive connections to transfer files?
A) See the Firewall Preferences to enable PASV mode.

Q) NetFinder does not work with a certain site but the other FTP programs I use work fine? What should I do?
You have probably found a server that NetFinder does not support. Please send an email to with the details. Our support team will try to fix the problem.

Alternatively, if you feel you are a power user, you can try to create a Server Listing Parser Plugin for NetFinder.

Q) What is this "UMASK" command I see being sent to the server?
A) This command enables you to set a default "Upload MASK". That is, the default permissions that every file and folder you upload or create will have.

NOTE: some servers do NOT support this command.

Q) What is this "CHMOD" command I see being sent to the server?
A) This command enables you to "CHange the MODe" of a file or folder. ie Set the permissions for a specific file or folder.

NOTE: some servers do NOT support this command.

Q) What is this "MACB" command I see being sent to the server?
A) This command tells the remote server to enable/disable "MACBinary" mode. This results in servers (generally MacOS based ones) to package up a file so that you do not lose essential bits of data.

NOTE: Most non-Mac servers do NOT support this command.

Q) Why do I get the message "Can't establish data connection" when I perform a listing or try to transfer a file?
A) This is generally because the server is too busy. Alternatively you may have to use PASV instead of PORT commands.

Miscellaneous General Questions

Q) What type of security features does NetFinder support?
A) NetFinder support a large number of security features ranging from OTP to SOCKS to SSL. For a full list of features including security see the Full Feature List.

Q) What kind of scripting support can NetFinder offer?
A) NetFinder supports a number of AppleScript routines and a comprehensive C-ish like scripting language (built-it) called ICI Script, NetFinder also supports RubyCocoa scripts, however you need to enable it as its disabled by default. See the Script section for more information.

Registration Questions

Q) How much does NetFinder cost?
A) See the Registration section

Q) How long do I have to wait before I get my serial number after I Register?
A) If you provide an e-mail address, you will usually get your serial number via e-mail within a short period of time after the transaction has been approved.

Q) How do I purchase the program?
A) See the Registration section.

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