How to - Fix Gaps on Desktop - Unable to Move Icon

The Problem: After upgrading an Apple OS X computer version OS 10.8, 10.9, or probably even some of the older OSes to OS 10.10 (latest version), there may be spots on the desktop you try to place a file, folder, alias, etc. and Finder simply will not let you move it there.  Usually the icon you attempt to move jumps back to its original position.  For example, the folder (1) I attempt to move to position (2), but it will snap back to position (1).  Finder will let me move folder (1) to position (3).

Image of OS X Gap in Desktop where Icons can not be moved

The Solution: If you come across this problem, try the following:

  • Dragging all icons on the Desktop to the left side of the screen.
  • Press Command (⌘) + J and then set Sort By to None.
  • Now, Right-Click (or Control+Click for single button mouse users) the Desktop, hover over Clean Up By and set it to Name.  Also, hover over Sort By and set to Kind (or anything other than Name).
  • Next, change Sort By to None and then change Sort By back to Snap to Grid.
  • Finally, manually move your icons back to where you want them.

NOTE: If you have a lot of icons already arranged on their desktop, you may want to take a screenshot of your desktop prior to sorting.

NOTE: To take a screenshot of your entire desktop, press Command (⌘) + Shift + 3.

Advanced Additional Steps:

In one instance, we had to delete a corrupted hidden file on the desktop (.DS_Store).  Perform these steps, if the above does not work for you:

  • Press Command (⌘) + Spacebar, type Terminal and press Return.
  • Inside of Terminal, type the following and press Return:
    • rm ~/Desktop/.DS_Store
  • Finally, repeat the 'Solution' steps above.