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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper System
When everything is seemingly lost, your Finder has crashed, Mirror Agent refuses to quit, and you're just about to pull out your eyebrows ... just calm down, as I have a hint for you. What you need, if you're in that predicament, is Activity Monitor. A wonderful little app that resides in your Utilities folder.

"But wait," you say, "I can't use the Finder! How am I supposed to get to the Activity Monitor?" Right you are, but luckily the Dock almost always works. And if you have Apple's Mail application in your dock, you're in business. First, open Mail if it isn't open already. Then click the New button and then the Attach button. In the resulting dialog, choose the Activity Monitor (from Applications » Utilities). When you see the attachment in the new message, right-click (or control-click) on the attachment. In the menu that appears, choose Open With » Other, and choose the Activity Monitor again. When Mail prompts you, choose the Open button.

When Activity Monitor launches, choose All Processes from the drop-down menu at the top of the window. Type the name of the offending app in the Filter field. Click on the app in the list box and press the Quit Process button then, when prompted, press the Force Quit button. This fixes many problems that may arise from a frozen Finder, so don't forget it.

[robg adds: The interesting thing here, to me anyway, is using Mail to launch pretty much any program on your machine. In the generic version, just attach any tiny document to the new email, control-click on it, then pick the application you'd like to run from the Other option in the Open With menu. In my testing, this worked with everything I tried. Interesting...]
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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper | 23 comments | Create New Account
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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: leamanc on Aug 14, '07 08:07:16AM

Yes, this is neat that you can launch applications from Mail, but wouldn't it be easier to just put Activity Monitor in your Dock for when you need it?



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: maddys_daddy on Aug 14, '07 08:11:29AM

Uh, yeah, I was just about to say the same thing.



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: ashorlivs on Aug 14, '07 11:25:20AM

leamanc, you just ruined the hint.
Excellent!



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Aug 15, '07 03:21:26PM

If you're using a Mac other than your own, you might not automatically add Activity Monitor to the Dock, but Mail's icon is likely to be there.



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: osxpounder on Aug 17, '07 05:38:16PM

Plus, you have to let Activity Monitor take up space in your Dock just for this? I prefer the Mail hint to saving it in my Dock for a rainy day.

I have to wonder if this hint came up because Finder freezes are happening to more people, more often, in recent times. I have been experiencing the occasional Finder freeze for the past 2 months or so, and don't recall that happening very often at all [like, a few times a year vs. a few times a month].

I think, in my case, they are mostly caused because I keep connecting to the old Mac in our home used as a file server and iTunes brain. It's set to shut down at a certain time, and it does, whether I'm connected to it via AppleTalk or not. When it does, there's no saving Finder -- no way I know of, that is, so tell me if there's a way. My MacBook Pro's Finder goes beachball, and only relaunching Finder fixes that, and that doesn't work every time. I sometimes must hold down the power button to force the machine to power down.



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: Anonymous on Aug 14, '07 08:09:49AM

Alternatively, drag the Activity Monitor icon into your dock. Activity Monitor, Terminal, and Console are three good tools to keep handy for emergencies.



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: bugmenot on Aug 14, '07 08:40:11AM

And don't forget about QuickSilver



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: mantrid on Aug 14, '07 08:40:30AM

If anything, my comment would be that this hint is too specific. The approach of using one app to launch another (Mail isn't the only app that can be used) is fairly well known, as kids had been using this trick to get around Panther user limitations.

For troubleshooting in Tiger, even if Finder has crashed, the Spotlight menu (a decent app launcher) often hasn't. If the Dock is running, doesn't everyone already have their Applications folder there anyway? Commonly used apps like Safari, TextEdit and Mail which people might already have running can be used to launch Terminal. If the Apple menu is working in any app, it can be used to launch System Profiler which through "Help", can be used to indirectly launch Terminal too. And with Terminal, you can do anything - even launch Activity Monitor, if that's what you prefer.



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: cybergoober on Aug 14, '07 01:00:13PM
No, everyone doesn't keep the Applications folder in their Dock.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I keep literally no apps in my Dock. I like my Dock to represent only the apps that are running.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who uses the Dock like this.

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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: rhowell on Aug 14, '07 01:40:54PM

"...Safari, TextEdit and Mail ... can be used to launch Terminal."

How can you launch Terminal from Safari and TextEdit?



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: bugmenot on Aug 14, '07 02:55:15PM
By using the telnet:// or ssh:// URL handlers. In TextEdit, type telnet://localhost, then right click on the URL and open it. In Safari, just type that URL into the address bar.

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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: ebernet on Aug 14, '07 10:05:24AM

Or better yet, place your application folder in your Dock and then you can run any application you have easily....



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: r00st3r on Aug 14, '07 12:02:51PM

This is a huge security hole on par with the swiss cheese software produced by microsoft called internet explorer and outlook/outlook express.
All a malicious person has to do is figure out how to script this and then email it to a Mail.app user. Next thing you know, Address Book's in Mac land are being harvested, spammed and sent "purty wee packages" of self replicating malware. It may sound doom and gloom, but this sort of access is ideal for malware.



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: Anonymous on Aug 14, '07 12:45:51PM

How is this a "huge security hole"? Attachments can't automatically open.



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: ParadisePete on Aug 14, '07 12:56:54PM
This is a huge security hole on par with the swiss cheese software produced by microsoft called internet explorer and outlook/outlook express. All a malicious person has to do is figure out how to script this and then email it to a Mail.app user.

Chicken Little, If "all" you have to do is get a script to run, this "huge security hole" is irrelevant. If the script is running it can already do all sorts of things.

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How come no-one's mentioned...
Authored by: Mr. H on Aug 14, '07 01:47:53PM

...Command-option-escape? Is there something wrong with use the force-quit dialogue to force-quit something? Perhaps it's too obvious?



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My reply...
Authored by: tbg10101 on Aug 14, '07 09:59:45PM

Thanks for the feedback but...
1. Many non-power-users do not place Activity Monitor, Terminal, or Console in their dock.
2. Yes, this is a "kid level" trick but it is still valuable for those who don't know about it. I am a kid and I use it (through AppleWorks though).
3. Command+Option+Escape does not work for Mirror Agent because it does not appear on the list.



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My reply...
Authored by: Mr. H on Aug 15, '07 04:49:21PM

"3. Command+Option+Escape does not work for Mirror Agent [or other daemon-type apps] because it does not appear on the list."

Good point!



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: nekomatic on Aug 15, '07 03:02:00AM

Think before you condescend - if you can get a script to run, you can launch an app from it directly without going through Mail. I don't see how this enables any security hole that doesn't already exist.



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sorry...
Authored by: nekomatic on Aug 15, '07 03:03:33AM

...last post was directed at ParadisePete above!



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: thomasbosboom on Aug 15, '07 05:20:52AM

You could also use spotlight to find the app and launch it from there, spotlight is independent from the finder.


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"Security is like an analogy. It only works up until the point that someone considers an angle or



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: imperialline on Aug 15, '07 11:47:21AM

With all due respect, I think that it is a convoluted way of doing things.
There are various and obvious ways such as using spotlight, qucksilver, menubutler, dock, etc. to launch an app.



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Use Mail as a last-gasp frozen Finder repair helper
Authored by: KristiLis on Jul 05, '10 02:49:22AM

I think the readers here really need to pay attention to the title of the post. It is a "last gasp" approach, meaning that they've tried absolutely everything else. When finder isn't working, a user is limited to any alternate route that they can find.

I'm having this problem right now. No, my spotlight isn't working either. No, I didn't put my applications folder in the dock. No I don't have disk utility, activity monitor or terminal in the dock. Now do I think that those are good ideas? Yes. Do I wish I would have done that yesterday when my finder worked? Yes. Do I think that this is a rather odd way to go about this? Yes. However, if it works for someone who has no more options, it doesn't matter if it's strange.

Unfortunately, it did not work for me. I'm going to try opening terminal from safari tomorrow afer a good night's sleep. That was a helpful suggestion. Wish me luck!



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