For the last three years I’ve been happily seeing folders at the top of all file lists in my Mac’s Finder windows, thanks to a wonderful little free utility called XtraFinder.

Then came El Capitan, with its extra security features, and boom! No more ExtraFinder. Well, if you disable the new security features, XtraFinder will still load, but the ‘Folders On Top’ option has disappeared.

What to do? Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth.

One option is to disable the new security features and then buy TotalFinder for about $12 and use it until its developer stops supporting it (which he says will be quite soon). Being a total freetard open source advocate, that didn’t satisfy me.

So I found a way of getting close to what I needed, and here it is.

  1. Disable the new El Capitan security features by booting into Recovery Mode (restart and then hold down CMD-R immediately until the recovery console comes up), starting a Terminal window and typing csrutil disable . This doesn’t make your Mac insecure, it just makes it no more secure than Yosemite. Once you’ve done this, restart your Mac normally.
  2. Open Terminal and paste this, then press Enter. You’ll be asked for your password, so enter it. Then close Terminal when done.
    sudo /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "Set Folder \" Folder\"" /System/Library/CoreServices/; killall Finder
  3. Open a Finder window, press CMD-J and then select ‘Arrange by: None’ and ‘Sort by: Kind’. Bingo. Folders before files. This does mean that the files below the folders will be sorted by type, but if you can live with that, then you’re sorted.
  4. If you ever want to reverse it, use this Terminal command.
    sudo /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "Set Folder \"Folder\"" /System/Library/CoreServices/; killall Finder