You’ve recieve a Stuffit archive (.sit) that contains crucial files for your project. But when you expand that archive, Stuffit Expander ends up giving you an apparently empty folder, or only shows a couple of your needed files.

This is one of those problems we get a lot of calls about from frustrated designers. Certainly more designers suffer in silence.

In this tip we’ll not only explain what’s going on, we’ll give you three easy ways to fix the problem for good!


The Problem: Stuffit and Mac OS X 10.4

There is a known problem with all versions of StuffIt running on Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) when you expand .sit archives. Expanded folders are either empty, or have fewer items than expected.

This issue only occurs when you are viewing a window in Icon view, and the “Show Item Info” option is turned on in the Finder’s “Show View Options” dialog. Most commonly, designers have this option turned on for their desktop view, and that is also where they decompress a lot of .sit files.

The good news: In reality, all the items are expanded, they just do not show up as visible in the Finder.

Three Easy Fixes:

Fix #1: Turn off “Show Item Info.” The easiest way to prevent this problem in the future is to turn off the conflicting preference. In the Finder, view a window in icon view (or select your desktop), and choose “Show View Options” from the Finder’s “View” menu. Uncheck the “Show Item Info” checkbox.

Fix #2: Create a new folder in your problem folder. If you’ve already expanded a .sit archive, the quickest way to make any hidden files show up is to create a new folder in the folder that contains the “missing” data. This is enough to make the Finder suddenly show all the previously invisible files. You can also drag another file into your problem folder to accomplish the same thing.

Fix #3: Switch to The Unarchiver and stop using Stuffit Expander. Our final fix is to switch to another free expander utility that does not exhibit this annoying bug. The Unarchiver is a free utility that we’ve recently started using at Creativetechs. The latest version (1.4) adds the ability to expand .sit files, although it does not expand the newer .sitx format.

Source: This tip inspired by sporadic annoyances caused by this StuffIt bug. Most recently this problem surfaced on one of our own computers while creating a Microsoft Word letterhead template for a client of designer Chris Brems.