Default Folder X FAQ

Here are some questions and problems that people often encounter when using Default Folder X.

Before consulting this list, please check to make sure you are running the latest version, which is Default Folder X 5.5.8. If you need an update, you can get version 5.5.8 using the Download button above. If you have a problem that is not addressed here or feel a question should be here but isn't, please send mail to

General Questions

Default Folder X Compatibility


General Questions

Default Folder X is asking for permission to record my screen. Why?

Default Folder X needs screen recording permission because, in some circumstances, it needs to actually select something from a menu in a file dialog in order to perform an action. To hide the menu when it pops up on the screen, Default Folder X takes a screenshot of the file dialog and displays that in front of the dialog for a fraction of a second. This hides the activity of operating the menu behind a temporary "fa├žade".

This is something that Default Folder X has always done - it's not something new. It's just that Catalina requires that we get your permission now. The screenshot is only stored in RAM, never saved to a file, and is destroyed immediately after it is used.

If you want to see this in action, approve Screen Recording so Default Folder X will launch, then immediately go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Screen Recording and turn it back off. Then bring up an Open dialog in any application (choose File > Open in Safari, for example), navigate to your Downloads folder, and then use the New Folder command to create a new folder. When you click OK to create the folder, watch the file dialog. It'll briefly turn yellow - that's where the screenshot would normally be used, but since you've turned off screen recording, Default Folder X just puts up a yellow window instead.

Default Folder X 5.x is telling me I need to upgrade. What's going on?

If you purchased an older version of Default Folder X before June 1, 2015, there is an upgrade fee of $14.95 (US) for version 5.x. If you are a registered user of a previous version, enter your serial number in the General tab of your Default Folder X 5 preferences and it will check and let you know if you need to upgrade. If you no longer have your serial number, please use our serial number request form to have us look it up for you.

If Default Folder X tells you that you need to upgrade, go to and make your purchase. You'll need to enter the name, email address or serial number from your old license to verify your eligibility for the upgrade.

I updated Default Folder X and it now has labels under its toolbar icons. How do I turn them off?

Just Control-click above the "D" icon in the toolbar and choose "Icon Only" from the menu that pops up.

I have two computers. How many licenses do I need to buy?

Our licenses are "single-user", so you need one per user, not one per computer. You're welcome to use your license on multiple machines as long as you're the sole user of the machines. As long as that's the case, all you need to do is download the latest version of Default Folder X, install it on both computers and enter your serial number in both places.

What applications does Default Folder X support?

Default Folder X enhances the Open and Save dialogs in all Carbon and Cocoa applications, so it should appear in all macOS-native applications. It cannot enhance non-native Java applications, however, if they do not use the standard macOS file dialogs.

Does Default Folder X patch my system?

No. Versions of Default Folder X prior to version 5 injected code into applications to detect when you used a file dialog. Version 5 no longer does this.

Can I rename folders in Default Folder X's Favorites menu?

Yes. Just open your Default Folder X preferences, click on the Folders tab, click on Favorites, and then Control-click (or right-click if you have a multi-button mouse) on the Favorite folder you want to rename.

How do I change the order of my Favorites?

Open your Default Folder X preferences, click on the Folders tab, click on Favorites, and then drag the Favorite folders up and down in the list to change their order. You can also use the utility menu in the lower right corner of the Favorites list to sort them alphabetically or by shortcut.

How do I add Default Folder X's buttons to Path Finder's toolbar?

Default Folder X can add buttons to the toolbar of all of your Finder windows to give you quick access to its menus and drag-and-drop drawer. Unfortunately, it can't do this automatically for the toolbars in Path Finder, a popular app that replaces the Finder. To add Default Folder X's buttons to Path Finder's toolbar, you have to manually follow these steps:

  1. Locate the Default Folder X application in your Applications folder and Control-click on it. Choose "Show Package Contents" from the menu.
  2. When the window shows the contents of the Default Folder X application, double-click on the Contents folder, and then within that double-click on the Resources folder.
  3. Control-click on Path Finder's toolbar and choose "Add Custom Items..."
  4. Use Default Folder X's Finder-click feature to go to the Resources folder you opened in step #2.
  5. Choose the "DFX" application to add to Path Finder's toolbar.
  6. Repeat the "Add Custom Items..." command and add the "DFX Drawer" application as well.

How can I back up my Default Folder X settings or copy them to a new Mac?

Default Folder X keeps its settings in its preference file at:


and in the folder located here:

~/Library/Application Support/com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5/

HINT: You can go directly to these locations in the Finder by selecting "Go to Folder" from the "Go" menu (or by hitting Command-Shift-G on your keyboard) and then entering the file paths given above.

How do I uninstall Default Folder X?

Version 4.x:

Run the Default Folder X 4 installer and click on the Uninstall button. If you no longer have the installer, you can download it here

Alternately, you can just remove these files (HOME refers to your home folder):

HOME/Library/PreferencePanes/Default Folder X.prefPane
/Library/PreferencePanes/Default Folder X.prefPane
/Library/ScriptingAdditions/Default Folder X Addition.osax

Version 5.x:

Just quit the Default Folder X application and move it to the Trash.

Default Folder X Compatibility

Is Default Folder X compatible with Big Sur (macOS 11.3)?

Default Folder X 5.5 is compatible with macOS 11.3 Big Sur. If you're running an earlier version of Default Folder X, please update to version 5.5 by choosing "Check for Updates" from Default Folder X's menu in your menu bar, or by clicking the "Download" button above.

Does Default Folder X work with El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina and Big Sur (macOS 10.11, 10.12, 10.13, 10.14, 10.15 and 11.3)?

Version 5 of Default Folder X is compatible with El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina and Big Sur. Version 4 is not, unless you turn off System Integrity Protection (which we don't recommend).

I turned off System Integrity Protection to get Default Folder X 4 to work. Now that I've upgraded to Default Folder X 5, how do I turn System Integrity Protection back on?

To turn on System Integrity Protection, do the following:

  1. Boot into the recovery partition by holding down Command-R while restarting
  2. Choose Terminal from the Utilities menu in the menubar
  3. In the Terminal window, type the command "csrutil enable" and hit the Return key
  4. Restart your Mac

What version of Default Folder X do I need?

For 11.3 (Big Sur), 10.15 (Catalina), 10.14 (Mojave), 10.13 (High Sierra), 10.12 (Sierra) and10.11 (El Capitan), use Default Folder X 5.5.8.

For macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) , 10.7 (Lion), 10.8 (Mountain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks), and 10.10 (Yosemite), use Default Folder X 4.7.4.

If you are still using Mac OS 10.5, have a PowerPC Mac or run PowerPC applications in Mac OS 10.6 using Rosetta, you'll need to download Default Folder X 4.5.12.

If you've got a really old Mac, you can still download Default Folder X 4.3.10 to run on Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger).

Note that we no longer officially support versions 4.5.12 and 4.3.10, but they work just fine on older versions of macOS.

Are there any applications that are incompatible with Default Folder X?

Not that we're aware of. If you run into any sort of trouble, please contact us through the Support Page.


I just upgraded Default Folder X and the Finder-click feature seems to have stopped working.

Starting in version 5.3.7, Default Folder X's Finder-click feature no longer shows windows that aren't actually visible on-screen. So if the Finder is hidden or if the windows you're looking for are in other desktop spaces, they'll appear in Default Folder X's Finder Windows menu, but won't automatically highlight as you move the mouse around on the screen.

If you'd like to revert to the old behavior where all windows were shown even when they were in other Spaces or the Finder was hidden, do the following: Hold down the Option key and choose Preferences from Default Folder X's menu in your menubar. In the "Additional Settings" sheet that appears, turn on "Finder-click shows windows from all Spaces", then click OK.

In System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Accessibility, I can't give Default Folder X permission to run. The checkboxes are always disabled.

You need to unlock your Security settings before you can modify the checkboxes. To do this, click on the lock icon in the lower left corner of the window.

Please note that if you don't have a password for your administrator account, the checkboxes will only enable momentarily and will then disable themselves again. Please see this Apple support document to find out how to work around this problem:

Default Folder X's controls have stopped appearing in Open and Save dialogs. What's wrong?

We've seen problems in Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office 365 apps immediately after they've been updated by their respective auto-update mechanisms. It appears that the updaters relaunch the apps in such a way that macOS doesn't send a "this application just launched" notification to Default Folder X. That prevents DFX from seeing the file dialogs when they appear.

To fix this, just quit and relaunch the application in which you're not seeing Default Folder X's controls.

When an Open or Save dialog appears, my entire screen turns gray. How do I stop this?

What you're seeing is part of Default Folder X's "Finder-click" feature.

Whenever you move the mouse over a Finder window, Default Folder X draws a gray shadow over the window. This shows you that clicking on the window will switch to that folder in the file dialog.

There's an option in your Default Folder X preferences called "Choose the Desktop when you click on it." This makes Default Folder X treat the entire screen as a window showing the Desktop, so it grays out the entire screen to show you that clicking there will do something. Turning off this option will stop the screen from turning gray. Alternately, you can turn off "Highlight Finder windows when you mouse over them" if you prefer to keep the behavior but don't want the visual effect.

Default Folder X won't let me click on some Finder windows. Why?

Default Folder X's Finder-click feature doesn't support Smart Folders (including All My Files) or search results. These windows don't have a "location" - the files listed there are in various folders and are just listed together as the result of a search. So when you click on that window, there's nowhere for Default Folder X to "go," and it doesn't have a way to replicate the whole search in a file dialog window. So it doesn't show those windows as being "clickable" because there's nothing it can logically do with them.

Try it for FREE for 30 days

Download Version 5.5.8 
For macOS 10.10 - 11.3 

Older Version 4.7.4 
For macOS 10.6 - 10.10 

Buy Default Folder X Now
Single-user license: $34.95/each
2+ licenses: $29.95/each
Educational Discounts
More Information
About Default Folder X
What's New
User Manual
Follow us on twitter
Reviews and Comments
As a long-term Mac user, i have installed demo software beyond count. Yours is one of the few that I've seen the worth in investing in.
- Daniel Kennish
It's one of those programs that I wonder how I lived without for so long. Before I was constantly clicking through directories every time I wanted to open, save or attach a file. Now I do almost everything in just a few clicks.
- Ethan Annis
System Requirements
macOS 10.10 through 11.3

Home | Apps | Store | Support | Contact | Blog

© 1996-2021 St. Clair Software