Finder is finally a Cocoa app, but anyone expecting a raft of new features will be disappointed. There's needless animation sprinkled about (do we really need crossfading on Desktop item renames?), a lack of context menu add-ons, and an icon view slider that enables icons to be shown at a maximum size of 512x512 pixels. This enables you to preview file content, but you're better off using Quick Look, since Finder windows of massive icons soon become unwieldy.

Most of the other changes are smaller, but more practical. Column view now offers sorting options, disks in use when you try to eject them actually tell you which app's holding things up, and Finder's 'Advanced' preferences enable you to set the scope of the search field to the current window.

Snow leopard: finder dock and stacks

SNOW LEOPARD: Relatively minor Exposé and Dock changes make a huge difference in terms of workflow

Changes to the Dock and Exposé are similarly slight, but impact positively on workflow. During Exposé, windows now line up in a neat grid, show their titles, and can be zoomed using the Space bar. Minimised windows are finally allowed to join the party, and are displayed neatly under a subtle horizontal line.

Click-hold a Dock icon and the new Dock Exposé is triggered - essentially a means of accessing Exposé's 'Application windows' setting without first switching to an app. This feature's also drag aware, enabling you to, for example, drag an item to Mail, trigger Dock Exposé and then drop said item into a waiting Mail message.

A new Dock preferences option enables minimised windows to be sent to their parent app's Dock icon rather than the Dock's right-hand side, which is logical, neat and should appeal to Windows users. And, at last, Dock stacks in grid view are finally useful, since you can scroll stacks with dozens of items and dip in and out of folders from within the stack. It's just a pity Apple added yet another style to the system with the new 'smokey' Dock menu that proves visually irritating in use.