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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors System
I found a simple, relatively quick fix for "Not Applicable" errors when assigning the "Open With:" application to files of known or unknown types. Here is the background:

I recently upgraded the main internal hard drive in my PowerBook G3 from the 10 gig up to an IBM 30 gig. To move my data over, I connected via a portable external USB drive case and formatted the new drive. Then I used psyncx to "backup" all my data onto the new drive (retaining the permissions information). I then swapped drives and booted the computer with only one slight problem, my icon positions were all forgotten. A little bit of Command-J later, and no big deal.

After running for several days though, I had installed some applications for work. When I tried to assign these new applications as the default "Open With:" application, the menu said "Not Applicable." I could not figure out why and nowhere is it mentioned on the web (that I could find after three days of searching). Also, all Open With applications defaulted back to the OS X presets (PDF files opening with Preview instead of Acrobat, that kind of thing). When I tried to change it ... same error "Not Applicable."

Finally, I decided that since this was a type/creator problem, I would harken back to my OS 9 days. The good ol' days when everything could be sorted with a desktop rebuild. Low and behold, when I booted into 9 (not Classic), I noticed that most of the icons had gone generic, a sure sign of Desktop Database corruption. I rebuilt the desktop and booted back into X. I was greeted by files that could be assigned to any program on my hard drive with no problem.

So far, the IBM drive seems to be working well (it's speedy, but only 4200rpm). The only thing seems to be that it is a bit louder than the original drive which will very soon be available on E-bay.

[robg adds: Clearly, this problem should be solvable within OS X, as many machines now won't boot into OS 9 at all. However, in searching the web and Apple's KnowledgeBase, I couldn't find a simple solution. Ideas, anyone? I'll modify the hint if someone comes up with a functional OS X solution.]
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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors | 18 comments | Create New Account
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Rebuiding desktop from OS X
Authored by: PCheese on Aug 24, '04 11:28:00AM

For machines that won't boot into OS 9:
What if you open the Classic Preference Pane, switch to the "Advanced" tab, and click the "Rebuild Desktop" button? That supposedly does the same thing as doing it from Classic. I haven't had this problem myself, however, so I can't test it.



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Rebuiding desktop from OS X
Authored by: gquinton on Aug 24, '04 03:49:35PM

I have been told that if you log out and then log back in to OSX it will rebuild the desktop. That's log out not shut down or restart...



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A fix for the "Open With:Not Applicable" error
Authored by: gourls on Aug 24, '04 04:20:37PM

You can boot from OS 9 if you have a restore CD. I don't know if the CD would help you on X, though. My iMac won't boot from OS 9 unless there's a restore CD. How did you do it?



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A fix for the "Open With:Not Applicable" error
Authored by: diamondsw on Aug 24, '04 06:33:49PM

Not quite sure what the rest of your comment meant, but you cannot boot OS 9 in any fashion from recent Mac's (anything 2003 onward, I believe). Classic under OS X, yes; OS 9 booting itself, no.



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A fix for the "Open With:Not Applicable" error
Authored by: gourls on Sep 18, '04 12:44:38AM
Oh........well, my machine runs X, but it's from 1998 or so. I figured that I can boot OS 9 if I turn the extensions off, but what fun is that? Besides, I don't use it anymore. I'll take your word for it. :)

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if you must speak, speak of topics that may never be discussed again...............cheers, gourls

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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors
Authored by: emale on Aug 24, '04 11:29:11AM

When the desktop rebuilt under Classic helped, maybe it would be enough to delete the "Dektop DB" and "Dektop DF" at the top of your System hirearchy with the terminal? I don't know, but I would presume because the rebuilt within classic is nothing else as deleting them and create a new database...



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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors
Authored by: kikjou on Aug 24, '04 06:35:08PM
I had a similar problem (some files opening with their default applications or folder icons changing to other icons). I simply deleted the two Desktop database files (Desktop DB and Desktop DF) at the root of my startup disk and rebooted. This fixed the problem. I deleted these two files in the terminal by typing
sudo rm /Desktop\ DB /Desktop\ DF
.

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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors
Authored by: peterholdn on Aug 24, '04 02:35:57PM

I have noticed the same thing with MS Word files (with the ".doc" extension that are created on the PC that I have networked with my Mac.

Word files created on the Mac or downloaded via email or from the web are just fine, but files that are saved by the PC into a Mac directory don't show as word files, even after assigning them to Word using the Info "open with." Files saved on the PC and copied to the mac using the Finder don't work either.

Photoshop files created on the PC and saved to a mac directory work just fine, show their custom Photoshop icons, and open with the Mac version of Photoshop.

Rebuilding the desktop in Classic didn't help.

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Relax, it's only ones and zeroes.



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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors
Authored by: elcrazon on Aug 24, '04 03:31:33PM
A quick look around turned up this. I don't know if it's helpful or not.

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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors
Authored by: diamondsw on Aug 24, '04 06:34:56PM

Since it's only applicable to 10.1, I'd say no.



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Due to recent security updates
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on Aug 24, '04 04:21:00PM

The "Not Applicable" label is placed on files to applications you haven't opened yet. The recent security update to fix the unknown file opening an application and doing harmful things, lead Apple to implement the now familiar dialog "The document you are opening will open the application (fill in the blank) for the first time. Are you sure you want to open this application?"

If you haven't opened this application since the last login, you will get this dialog, and also files that belong to the application will be marked "Not Applicable" in the Get Info window's Open With pane.

To get around this, open the application you want first, and then you will find you are able to change the Get Info information.

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G4/466, 1 GB, Mac OS X 10.3.5



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Due to recent security updates
Authored by: xpander on Aug 24, '04 08:41:23PM

The equivalent to rebuilding the desktop is the flush or rebuild the launch services database.



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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors
Authored by: IslandDan on Aug 25, '04 08:46:12AM
From: http://developer.apple.com/carbon/tipsandtricks.html#RebuildLS

How do I rebuild the LaunchServices database?
So you've just added a beautiful large icon to your application but it's not showing up. The problem may be that the LaunchServices database needs refreshing. The best way to force LaunchServices to rebuild its database is to delete its files by do the following: From the "Terminal" application:

cd ~/Library/Preferences/

rm LS*
rm .LS*
Then log out and log back in.

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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on Aug 25, '04 10:14:32AM
That page must be old. Apple hasn't used the LS files for a while. Running that in the terminal returns "rm: LS*: No such file or directory" and "rm: .LS*: No such file or directory" This might work on Jaguar (which I doubt) but doesn't work on Panther.

This has been covered here before. The correct way to do this is:

/System/Library/Frameworks/ApplicationServices.framework/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user

Keep in mind that after you rebuild your LaunchServices database, it will also reset the warnings asking if you want to open that file with that application, as I mentioned above.

As I mentioned, the reason for "Not Applicable" being listed in the "Open With..." list is due to not having opened that application since the last time the database was rebuilt. It has nothing to do with Type/Creator codes or the LaunchServices database needing to be rebuilt, since rebuilding it will just make you have to reenter much of this data all over again. Type/Creator codes just bypass the data base, since the OS doesn't have to look up the file extension. Apple started doing this after the Safari exploit, where an "unknown" file could be downloaded, mount a disk image, and launch a terminal script without your consent. Now instead you get the notice asking if you want to launch that application. "Unknown" applications cannot be assigned to a file in the "Open With..." pull down, so you get "Not Applicable" instead. Try launching the application first, and then you will see that you can now assign it to a file.

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G4/466, 1 GB, Mac OS X 10.3.5

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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors
Authored by: gvitale on Aug 25, '04 11:52:30AM

David,
the lsregister DBs are driving me crazy after the last security updates: every time I launch some (specific) files (word. powerpoint and other carbon apps) I repeatedly get the first time launch dialog, so it seems that some application-file combinations do not manage to register as trusted in my system (PBG4 10.3.5)!
Any idea of what the reason could be?
Thanks in advance,
gaetano



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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on Aug 25, '04 12:13:11PM

gaetano, I find for the most part that they stick for me. It's important to launch the program first, then select one of the files associated with that program, Get Info and change the "Open with:", and click the "Change All" button to make it the default.

The only time I have problems is with Classic apps, and/or different versions. For example, PageMaker 6.5 files still require me to dismiss the dialog before PageMaker 7 will launch in Classic.

You can try rebuilding your database, but you will have to reset all your custom file/app combinations (i.e.PDF files default to Preview) and once again open most of your applications and reset the Open With setting.

It seems possibly that files that can be opened by more than one application need to be set, and files that only open on one application do not. Also files with Type/Creator codes, which many applications still use in OS X, seem to override the need to set this.

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G4/466, 1 GB, Mac OS X 10.3.5



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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors
Authored by: jgilmorebaldwin on Aug 25, '04 09:56:02AM

If classic is running, you can rebuild the Classic desktop by going to the Advanced tab of the Classic system preference and pressing the "Rebuild Desktop" button at the bottom. Perhaps that would help.



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A fix for an 'Open With: Not Applicable' errors
Authored by: hal_eckhart on Jan 22, '05 10:00:47AM

I just ran into this problem on a new install of Panther on a G4 Dual 450. Quark would repeatedly get the "the document you are opening will open the application for the first time" BS when double-clicking a Quark file no matter how many times I opened it or rebooted. And of course, there were 2 separate and identical copies of Quark showing up below the inevitable "not applicable" box. No amount of tweaking the get info box or even the otherwise trustworthy RCDefaultApp.prefPane would make the stupid thing go away.

It turns out that this tip:
http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20031215144430486
did the trick. The tip by IslandDan about rebuilding Launch Services seems to be bogus, however. At least it makes no sense to me, because there aren't any files that would be removed by that command. But the same note is still on the Apple Developer site, so perhaps I'm wrong. Or it may refer to an OS prior to Panther, despite the copyright of 2005.



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