Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps System 10.4
Tiger only hintFellow Macworld employee Jonathan Seff pointed me to the following problem/fix; I haven't experienced it myself, so I can't vouch for the solution at all, though it worked for Jonathan. I thought it was worth sharing, so here it is. Have you ever had the problem where you can't make every file of a certain type open with a particular application? That is, the file type currently opens with the 'wrong' app, so you use Get Info on a file of that type, and change the Open With app setting to the preferred application and click on Change All, only to see the Open With value snap back to the previous app. To those who've been affected, it's quite frustrating. (Note that his wasn't an issue under 10.3, it seems; just in 10.4.) As covered in great detail in this thread on Apple's Discussions board, it seems this isn't Apple's fault. Instead, it appears to be the fault of application you're trying to assign. I'll try to summarize what's in the discussion, but it's worth a visit to the original for additional details if you're having this issue...

These troublesome apps don't have a value set for the CFBundleIdentifier key. If you set one, apparently the problem goes away. So how do you go about fixing this problem? Control-click on the application in question and choose Show Package Contents. Inside the Contents folder, you should see an Info.plist file. You need to open this with the Property List Editor (included with the Xcode Developer Tools) or Plist Edit Pro, or even TextEdit or some other pure-text editor. You then need to add a new key and string to the file:
The first line is easy, as it's always the same. The second line, though, will vary by program. To try to figure out exactly what to put there, take a look in your user's Prefernces folder, and try to find the prefs file for the application in question. If the program you were trying to set up was (completely fictitious data follows) called Sneakers and was written by CoolMacWare, you might find a file called com.coolmacware.sneakers.plist in your Preferences folder. If that were the case, then the second line above would be com.coolmacware.sneakers. It's a bit of a black art, it seems.

After making this change, you need to reset the LaunchServices database. A logout/login should do the trick, or you can try this Terminal command, taken from the Apple Discussions thread:
Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill \
-r -domain system -domain local -domain user
Please note that I have not tested the above command. If everything worked right, you should now be able to use Get Info and reassign the files in question to the previously-non-usable application.
  • Currently 3.00 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (5 votes cast)

10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps | 20 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the '10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: LoonyPandora on Nov 04, '05 06:34:12AM

In addition to this, OS X seemingly will not allow you to set an application that has never been opened before. (You get the message "Are you sure you want to open this application for the first time" when you try to open an app for the first time)

Manually launching the application, and confirming this dialog box will allow you to set the "open with" section reliably in future.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: frankko on Nov 04, '05 08:38:21AM

On my machines, this is always the problem/solution.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: Zo-1 on Nov 04, '05 08:20:53PM

This is a seperate issue, which began with the one security scare I can remember in all my years on Mac -- a fix was issued in about five minutes, but now, it seems, we have to live as though it's going on forever.

Beware emptying your LaunchServices cache, which is where these connnections are kept, or you will have to approve the opening of every app you want to open on your own computer all over again.

This kind of intrusiveness is uncharactistic of Mac and totally annoying - and don't get me started: For some reason it is "Widgets," a preferences pane, that kindly allows one to disable one of the stupidest behaviors yet foisted upon us: This download contains an app, are you sure you want to continue? I certainly hope it contains an app because that's what I clicked on. This level of being taken care of by Apple I do not need--nor does anyone else. If we cannot be responsible for our own choice of download, maybe Apple shouldn't trust us with their great big scary ol' computers. Sorry to see creeping Windoze-mania, especially when it is illogical.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: dr_turgeon on Nov 12, '05 01:55:24PM

Continuing off topic...

What if you think you're downloading something that isn't an app? Is it not a good idea to warn the user of a lurking executable in this case? I don't get those warnings, since I don't use Safari very often, preferring FireFox.

But the other thing I really do like that you lament: The first launch warning. To me it makes great sense to have that option. It prevented for me the launching of apps that may have altered the launch-services settings -- malicious or not.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Catch 22
Authored by: festivus on Nov 04, '05 08:10:48AM

This hint doesn't work. My .plist files are opening with Stuffit Expander, and this bug occurs when I try to change them to use Property List Editor, which does in fact have a valid CFBundleIdentifier.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Catch 22
Authored by: LoonyPandora on Nov 04, '05 08:20:41AM

Try opening Property List and doing File->Open, or dropping the .plist file onto the Property List itself. You should be able to do the hint then :)

[ Reply to This | # ]
Authored by: assuna on Nov 05, '05 01:41:10AM

It doesn't work for me neither.

my css files open with skripteditor instead of whatever else i would like (eg. bbedit or dreamweaver). both of the apps (bbedit and dreamwaever) HAVE a valid CFBundleIdentifier key in the Info.plist.


[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: zimmerleut on Nov 04, '05 08:39:01AM
When I had this problem, I remember SubEthaEdit was an affected application. It actually DOES have that property set.

I think I fixed this with Onyx, clearing all the Caches etc.


[ Reply to This | # ]

10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: Han Solo on Nov 04, '05 08:48:41AM
Interesting!! I had long suffered under this bug, but I do remember seeing it in 10.3.9 -- and it persisted following a 10.4 upgrade. The problem for me was manifested in TeXShop, and none of the solutions that involved deleting preference, cache or other files worked. Neither did installing and playing around with RCDefaultApp (unfortunately). I haven't had the problem reoccur since moving to a new Mac, but I will bookmark this hint in case it returns.

Until you suffer from it, you have no idea how absolutely maddening this problem can be!

[ Reply to This | # ]

10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: redsweater on Nov 04, '05 09:07:29AM

Great tip! This has been infuriating me for some time. Clearly there are more causes than just this for the type of behavior we're observing, but I'm happy to report that this trick worked for me.

The app in particular that was suffering from it was Resorcerer, which I'd like to use to open my .rsrc files. In Resorcerer's case, because it's a non-bundled application, I had to add a 'plst' (0) resource to its resource fork. In the contents of that resource, just paste the entire contents of the desired plist file.

For mine, I just include a single key for CFBundleIdentifier, and because I don't think it has a staked out identifier of its own, I just called it "com.resorcerer.hack".

Thanks again for sharing this tip!

Daniel Jalkut

[ Reply to This | # ]
Actually, I have a different solution
Authored by: GregLink on Nov 04, '05 09:14:12AM

I've had the same problem, and never knew such a thread existed. My solution was different, and relied on assuming the problem was bad files, not bad apps. Essentially, for all the affected files, I would do the following (in pseudo-tcsh style):

foreach badfile (`find ./ -name "*.footype"`)
ditto $badfile ~/temp.temp
ditto --norsrc ~/temp.temp $badfile

This, as you might notice, does involve over-writing the existant copies of the file with one that doesn't have the same meta-data, so I beg you to back up the files you're about to play with before you accidentally overwrite them.

This fixed the problems with all the files I had, and the problem usually stays fixed for weeks at a time. Eventually, it happens again, so I just re-run the script again.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: nmerriam on Nov 04, '05 10:54:34AM

I know for a fact that this existed in 10.3, as that's when i bought my current mac and this was one of the behaviours that puzzled me to no end. I haven't run across it in some time, though.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: JohnITG on Nov 04, '05 04:39:05PM

Definitely been seeing this for some time now (X3 and X4) tried the .plist fixes and other things but it kept coming back. Then one day I tried FileXaminer, not only did it fix the problem, it fixed it permanently.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: Han Solo on Nov 05, '05 07:26:48AM
What exactly did you do with FileXaminer that fixed this problem?

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: spier on Nov 05, '05 08:43:01AM

The problem disappeared right after installing 10.4.3 update.
I checked this on my PBG4 as well as PM G5.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: Han Solo on Nov 07, '05 10:02:03AM

Interestingly, I have seen other people corroborate this solution on the TeX for Mac OS X mailing list. I have not yet installed 10.4.3, but in light of this information I just might make the leap. It would be useful if others who have suffered this problem could confirm or refute the claim that 10.4.3 eliminates the problem for them as well.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for certain apps
Authored by: rpaege on Nov 07, '05 03:21:08PM

Happily, this worked for me, and I've passed this hint on to the developer of the problem app.

My question is: Does it matter where in the info file one pastes the missing lines? Is one place better than any other?

Thanks for a great hint that's been driving me crazy; I no longer have squash flies with a sledge hammer by using RCDefaultApp.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Fix 'Open With for all' the easy way (maybe)
Authored by: bbowden on Nov 16, '05 02:28:07PM

Here's one more solution that just worked for a colleague after upgrading to 10.4.3 failed. She couldn't change .htm files to open in Dreamweaver by default but found that if she got Info for a .htm file that was already associated with Dreamweaver, she could sucessfully use 'change all' to fix all other .htm files.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Worked for ".sql" with vim
Authored by: comprock on Nov 23, '05 03:24:05PM

I was having trouble getting my ".sql" files opening with by Adding the identifier line to the Info.plist and restarting services has me up and running again.

On the first time after setting "Change all", the are you sure you want to run the application warning came up. Since then, no issues.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Enable 'Open With for all' to work for the SAME apps?
Authored by: DeminJanu on Jan 16, '06 01:36:08AM

I have two different versions of Mplayer on my comp ('cuz the newest Tiger ones are crummy, but still run some things nicer). So both info.plist files (in the b8r5 version and the b6.5 version) have teh Same CFBundleIndentifier string.
Can I change one of them to maybe have a "2" at the end, would this fix the problem of "Change All..." always snapping back to the b8r5 version? Btw, both plist files have different version numbers, so that's not the problem...

[ Reply to This | # ]