OS X "Open With" menu screwed up.
May 3, 2006 8:02 PM   Subscribe

My "Open With" right-click menu is acting up.

When I right click/control-click on a document and go to the Open With menu, my computer beachballs for a few seconds and then comes up with a list that includes all of the possible programs two or three times. (Here's a screenshot.) This particular example, an MP3, only took 5 or 6 seconds, but for a JPG it'll find 30 programs and take 20 seconds to show the list. Anyone know what's going on, or how to fix this? I'm running 10.4.6.
posted by danb to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have other copies of these apps, either from an old upgrade (look for a folder called Previous System at the root level of your drive), or on another drive? Maybe an OS backup or something?

OS X indexes those lists on the fly and searches all those external locations, so that contributes to the duplicates and to the slowdown. It's probably worth a bug report if you're a ADC member.
posted by symphonik at 9:19 PM on May 3, 2006

Response by poster: There are no duplicate copies of any of those programs on here. I do have a full backup on an external drive, but that hasn't been connected to the computer for a month or so. If that's the reason, I suppose it hasn't checked since then, or else it doesn't remove old programs when it does its indexing.

I dunno. I feel like that has to be the right answer, but it doesn't explain why some of the programs are listed three times...
posted by danb at 9:52 PM on May 3, 2006

Response by poster: I experimented some more. All of the items on the list work, without the external drive, so it's definitely a case of the same file being listed multiple times.
posted by danb at 10:08 PM on May 3, 2006

Best answer: Yeah, your launch services database is hosed. Type the following in Terminal, all on one line (in case it gets wrapped), and enter your admin password when prompted:
sudo /System/Library/Frameworks/ApplicationServices.framework/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Support/lsregister -kill -r -f -dump -domain local -domain system -domain user
(Warning: This line may be unreasonably long. The last word is "user." Copy and paste is your friend.)

That kills the old database, rescans for applications in the normal places, and dumps a bunch of diagnostic info at the same time.

This also resets the circa-2004 launch security: the first time you open an application via opening a document, the system asks if you're sure you want to do that. It only happens when launching an app for the first time since the reset, and only if launching indirectly (double-clicking the app presents no warning; the system presumes you wanted to open an app if you double-clicked directly upon it).
posted by mdeatherage at 11:01 PM on May 3, 2006

Best answer: A Flickr user pointed me to this, which solved the problem instantly. It looks to be about the same thing as your solution, mdeatherage. Thanks for the help.
posted by danb at 11:08 PM on May 3, 2006

By the by, I ran into this problem today, and figured out that at least on my machine mdeatherage's solution only works without the sudo; it apparently has to be run as my local user, not the superuser.
posted by delfuego at 11:34 AM on January 23, 2007

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