DS_Store files are created by Mac OS X for storing metadata information. They are important files and exist in every folder which is accessed by Mac OS X Finder. The Mac OS X Finder is the primary method used for managing all of your files and applications on a Mac PC. The Finder is automatically launched every time you boot up your PC and accesses folders, network volumes, and external devices.
In terms of content, DS_Store files contain information related to folder level customizations and data related to icons, backgrounds, list views, and other information associated with window placement. The files are typically hidden from the userâ€™s view and contain a dot in front of the name to communicate to UNIX file systems on a network that the file is hidden. From the end users standpoint, the files are never seen and there is no way to deactivate this type of file.
Files with the file extension .DS_Store should never be deleted since it means your PC will lose the capability to access the necessary data discussed above. The only exception to this rule applies to network administrators who must delete DS_Store files in order to facilitate a shared networking environment among Windows and Mac PCs.
How to Open DS_Store Files
If you use Mac OS X, all of the file extensions that begin with a dot such as .DS_Store are hidden file types. They are hidden because a typical Mac OS X user really does not need to open and modify this type of file. By keeping them hidden you reduce the amount of file clutter in your operating system.
If there is a need to view DS_Store files such as in the case of network administrators that must search the UNIX file system to work with .HTACCESS files, it is possible to open and view DS_Store files. HTACCESS files are configuration files used on Apache Web servers for launching server software. They are files that control server functionality for 404 errors, password protection, and hot link protection. For this reason it would be necessary for network administrators to access and view DS_Store files or to locate a file that a MacOS X user accidentally lost by placing a dot before the extension.
The easiest way to access and view DS_Store files is by using the Terminal feature located under Applications and by clicking on Utilities. Once the command prompt is open, you must enter defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool YES and then press the Return key. When you want to hide the DS_Store files, again follow the same process, except enter the following information into the command prompt: defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool NO.
You can also create a keyboard shortcut by pressing Command+Shift+. (dot) in the Open and Save dialog boxes and then press the same keys again to hide the files again.