Do you want to use the Dock the way it was meant to be used or do you want to fight it forever?
If you’re a lover, not a fighter, and ignoring one of the most useful organizational tools any OS has ever presented to ordinary users strikes you as a waste, drag your hard drive icon into the right side of the dock and leave it there. Forever. Apple should ship all Macs this way, by the way. Are you listening Cupertino?
Then just click and hold on the hard drive icon now safely tucked in the wonderful Dock to get a hierarchical menu of everything on your Mac or click it once to open it up. Then you can turn off “Show hard disks on the desktop” in the Finder’s Preferences if you like. (If you are a long time Mac user, you may not be able to bring yourself to do this, so leave the hard drive icon on the desktop, too, if you can’t bear it not being there.) We know we can’t do it; our hard drive icons are all in the dock and on the desktop, too. We do have one machine without hard drives on the desktop and we’re slowly getting used to it! Oh, the humanity!
With you hard drive’s icon in the dock, it will always be accessible no matter what. And, for Steve’s sake, turn OFF Magnification in the Dock and make the Dock as small as possible – the text labels of the icons should be enough to identify the icons, if you can’t seem to remember which icon is which. Without magnification, it’s a lot easier to click a static icon than trying to click a moving target all day long. OS X will seem a lot less tiring this way.
See the Mac OS X Dock in action and learn more about the Dock here.