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File Buddy and Launch Services

How droplets and the contextual menu plug-in work
File Buddy droplets and the File Buddy contextual menu plug-in both work by passing items to File Buddy along with instructions for how to process those items. When a droplet or the File Buddy contextual menu needs to send files to File Buddy, it uses a part of the operating system known as Launch Services to obtain a reference to File Buddy which it then uses to pass the items that need to be processed to File Buddy.

What can go wrong
Unfortunately, there are times when Launch Services can fail to locate File Buddy (yes, even when it's running), returning instead an "application not found" error. When this happens, the File Buddy contextual menu plug-in will fail silently and do nothing. File Buddy droplets will display an alert stating that File Buddy could not be found.

Why File Buddy can't be found
There are two possibilities:

First, if a new copy of File Buddy has been installed but never launched, Launch Services won't find it for other applications. This is part of a security measure implemented by Apple in Mac OS X 10.3.5 to prevent potentially destructive applications from being launched without your knowledge.

Second, there's a general consensus among developers that Launch Services, like many parts of Mac OS X, can get confused at times. It's not known if this is due to corruption in the Launch Services database, incorrect entries in the Launch Services, or a bug in Launch Services when it searches its database. In any case, there are times when by all rights Launch Services should be able to find an application such as File Buddy but claims it cannot.

Your options
Now that you've gotten the technical background, here's what you can try. Keep in mind that you really shouldn't have to do any of this, but Mac OS X is not without its problems, so here goes:

Make sure you only have one copy of File Buddy 8 installed. If you have to remove any additional copies, move them to the Trash and empty the Trash. Once you've removed the extra copies of File Buddy, launch the remaining copy by double-clicking it. Then ensures the remaining copy is "trusted." If this doesn't fix the problem...

Option-drag File Buddy into another folder to get the Finder to make a copy of it. This causes the Finder to update the Launch Services database. As soon as the copy is complete, you can Trash the copy and empty the Trash. If that doesn't work...

You can get more serious. Serious means deleting the Launch Services database and restarting. This has been known to fix problems like this in the past. In fact, I just had to do it the other day because my droplets couldn't find File Buddy. There are downsides to getting serious, though. If you delete the Launch Services database:

  • None of your applications will be considered trusted until they've been launched at least once. This means that the first time an application is opened indirectly by opening a file which opens in that application you'll get an alert asking if you want to allow that application to run. (Applications opened by doubling-clicking them don't cause the alert to appear.)
  • If you've customized which applications should open specific types of files using the Finder's Open With option in a Get Info window, all of those customizations will be lost.

If you decide the serious approach is necessary for whatever reason, here's what you can do:

  1. Choose Cleaning > QuickView™ > Caches from File Buddy's Cleaning menu.
  2. Disclose the contents of the /Library/Caches folder and locate this file:
  3. Press Command-delete to move it to the Trash (or move it there any other way you wish). The Finder will ask for your administrative password before moving it.
  4. Restart your Mac.

©2006 SkyTag Software, Inc.
Last updated February 26, 2005