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The Mystery of the Recalcitrant Photoshop Files

[Cue film noir music and fade in on a 1950’s-style office, the illumination from twin LCDs reflected in the perspiration of a man’s brow. When he speaks, his voice is rough with fatigue and frustration.]

On Sunday, everything was working fine. On Monday – I hate Mondays – double-clicking a Photoshop file in the Finder would launch Photoshop, but wouldn’t open the file. Dragging the file to Photoshop’s Dock icon or Finder icon had equally little effect. But opening files from within Photoshop continued to work properly. Peeved by Photoshop’s hesitation to open files from the Finder, I stuffed my iPod in my pocket and set out to investigate.

First I turned to "Ted Landau’s Mac OS X Help Line, Tiger Edition", a 1,200-page tome that has answers to most Macintosh troubleshooting problems. The hard part is asking the beefy book the right question. I was lucky. My first query struck paydirt. I knew the Finder relied on Launch Services to connect documents with their applications. Pressed, the fat volume produced the info I needed – the whereabouts of the Launch Services plist and easily corrupted cache file.

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I found them, one lounging in my user’s Preferences folder, the other hiding out in the shadows of the Library’s Cache folder. Neither would divulge the information I was looking for, even after I explained just how unnecessary they were to my continued happiness. So I drove them to the city dump and told them disappear. I knew there would be another plist and cache file ready to take over as soon as I returned to the city. Perhaps I could lean on the new guys.

Unfortunately, the lowlifes who took over Launch Services were clueless. I was back to square one, and the Photoshop documents still weren’t opening from the Finder. It was time to hit the streets and talk to my informants. A few days and a lot of beers later, I finally found a mole inside Adobe willing to talk… for a price. A high price. I bought him another beer and described my visit to the city dump. He talked. The problem was a missing person – the Adobe Unit Types file. It belonged in the Library’s ScriptingAdditions folder, but it was AWOL.

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I slid a few more bucks to my stool pigeon, who told me where to find the pasty-faced Adobe Unit Types file. A case surrounding a panicking Mac OS X 10.4.6 had blown up in my face a few weeks earlier, and I’d had to call in some reinforcements to smooth things over with an Archive & Install. My assistants are normally thorough, but Adobe Unit Types had managed to avoid their sweep and was sitting pretty, drinking whiskey by the pool in the Previous System/Library/ScriptingAdditions folder. I paid him a call, and my suave manner, backed up by the bulge in my jacket pocket, convinced him to return to his post. He wasn’t happy about it, but when I next double-clicked a Photoshop file, it opened as it should in Photoshop.


The week was almost over, the mystery was solved, the case was closed, and I could finally get back to editing my graphics.

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