Some of the problems with the Mac OS X Finder are debatable. Others aren’t.

One of the OS X Finder’s indisputable problems is that its display is often woefully out of sync with the actual state of the file system. New files aren’t displayed, changes aren’t reflected. Even the most ardent defenders of the OS X Finder have to admit this stinks.

The only true solution to the problem is for Apple’s Finder team to fix it. (John Siracusa covered one possible mechanism for this, based on a new low-level asynchronous event notification facility in FreeBSD, in his Ars Technica Panther review.)

In the meantime, however, Rainer Brockerhoff has released Nudge, a freeware ($5 donations accepted) contextual menu plug-in that forces the Finder to refresh a view.

For example, a few days ago, I had a Finder window in list view, sorted by date, most-recently-modified files at the top. There were well over 100 files in the folder. I ran a multi-file search-and-replace from BBEdit, which modified around a dozen of the files. I needed to upload the modified files to an SFTP server.

The Finder should have automatically re-sorted the window, moving the just-modified files to the top of the list — but, of course, it didn’t, because it never noticed that the files changed.

Now, with Nudge, I can nudge the parent folder, and the Finder will update the list to reflect the current state of each item. Sweet.