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Hack Your Mac With These Simple Terminal Commands: Part 2

Monday, January 13th, 2014 by | Filed Under: Mac OS

Hidden within the confines of the elegant Mac OS X, is a powerful Unix based terminal that allows you to fully utilize your system and its resources. This tutorial is aimed at helping you  become familiar with some useful commands that will help you customize your OS, secure your system and entice you to dive deeper into the operating system. All that’s required is Mac OS X, and a little curiosity.

 This tutorial will be broken up into four parts. The first part explained how to utilize and explore the terminal, This part will consist of security related commands or commands that can be used to secure your system. The third part will deal with the customization of your operating systems, and some useful commands you can use to impress your colleagues and friends. Lastly, this tutorial will explore some of the tools utilized to test your Mac and it’s performance. Just to reiterate, all that is required is Mac OS X and a little curiosity.

Part 2 Security:

Blank Desktop Command is more of a superficial command however it protects your desktop from prying eyes. This will prevent any icons for files showing on your desktop.


Enable Command:

  • defaults write CreateDesktop –bool false

  • killall Finder

 Reversal Command

  • defaults write CreateDesktop –bool true

  • killall Finder

 Note: (The killall Finder commands restarts the Finder manually)

 The  Securely Delete command is a useful one for securely deleting items. Typically when an item is deleted from your Mac, it stays there there and is only overwritten when new data is added.. The following command gives you a way to securely delete free space on your machine. So in the event you were giving away your, Mac or had some information you truly didn’t want anyone to see, you would run this command to securely erase previously deleted items.

Enable Command:

  • diskutil secureErase freespace 3/Volumes/hard-drive-name

 Note: (Replace “hard-drive-name” with the name of your harddrive, this will also take some time so it’s best to run this command when your not actively using your machine.)

Show All Hidden Files,  the last command we’ll explore in the security section, is pretty common, however it’s listed simply because it’s importance can’t be understated, the ability to view hidden files on your Mac. The more you explore your curiosity the more you will be intrigued by what you find.

Enable Command:

  • defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

  • killall Finder

Reversal Command:

  • defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE

  • killall Finder

In part three of our series, we’ll look at ways to customize your OS.

~ Rasheen

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