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Opening and Saving: Problems Opening Files

The two most common problems you may have opening a file are (1) when you're trying to open a document from the Finder, it opens in an application other than the one you wanted or expected; and (2) a file fails to open, yielding some error message instead. If either of these problems happens to you, here is what you need to know.

"Item {name of item} is used by Mac OS X and cannot be opened"

Many files, particularly ones in the /System/Library and /Library folders, are not intended to be opened, at least not by typical end users.

In general, when you're trying to open a file from the Finder, if you get a message that says, "Item {name of item} is used by Mac OS X and cannot be opened," leave the file be. To see an example of this message, go to /System/Library/CFMSupport, and try to open CarbonLib.

Figure 6.7Figure 6.7 Error messages that may occur when you're trying to open a file from the Finder.

"There is no application to open the document"

If, when you're trying to open a file from the Finder, you get a message stating, "There is no application to open the document {name of document}," this typically means one of two things:

File probably should be left alone. Go into the /System/Library/Extensions folder, for example, and double-click any kext file there. Or go into almost any other folder in /System/Library, and try to open any file with a blank icon. You will likely get this message. In most cases, unless you really need to see the contents of a selected file, simply click OK and go about your other business.

If you really need to see the contents of the file, however (perhaps advice elsewhere in this book told you to open the file and modify its contents), click the Choose Application button that appears in the error-message window, and select the desired application—if you know what application is needed to view the application. If you're in doubt, you can always start with a text editor, such as TextEdit or BBEdit.

Figure 6.8Figure 6.8 What appears if you click the Choose Application button in the error message shown in the preceding figure.

The Finder cannot find the needed application. It may be that the file is intended to be opened by some application, but you do not own the application. This situation could happen if you download a document from the Internet—say, a PowerPoint slide show—but you do not own the creating application (PowerPoint). The most common solutions are:

  • Acquire (purchase, if necessary) the needed application.

  • Determine whether a free reader application (such as PowerPoint Viewer, in the PowerPoint example) can open the document. If so, obtain the reader application (from the Web, for example).

The remaining possibility is to open the file with some application you already own. This method may succeed because certain types of files can be opened by multiple applications. A TIFF document that appears as a Photoshop document, for example, usually can be opened in Mac OS X's

Preview application. In fact, Preview can open most graphics applications. More generally, your options are:

  • Drag the file icon to the icon of the application you want to open it with (such as Preview). Or open the application and then try to open its document from the Open dialog box. If the application includes an Import command, it might succeed if Open does not.

  • Choose the Open with Application tab of the Show Info window for the file, and check the pop-up menu attached to the icon. If the Finder knows that other applications on your drive can open the document, those applications will be listed. Choose any one that is listed, as desired.

  • Use a utility such as Zingg!, as described in "Document opens in the wrong application," later in this chapter.

  • Click the Choose Application button in the error-message window that appears when you double-click the document icon. Select the desired application from the browser list. You also can access this browser list by choosing Other from the pop-up menu in the Open with Application tab of the Show Info window, mentioned earlier in this section.

  • If the application you want is not included in the list of recommended applications, you can choose All Applications from the Show pop-up menu. Be a bit cautious, however. If you try to open a document in an incompatible application, results can vary from the document's opening and displaying gibberish instead of what you expected to see to the document's not appearing at all or the application's crashing.

If none of the preceding tips help, and you have no idea what remaining applications on your drive might open a given document, how can you start narrowing down your choices? Here are some guidelines:

  • For preferences files (files that end in .plist), it typically is best to open them with PropertyList Editor. This application is installed when you install the contents of the Developer Tools CD that comes with Mac OS X. (Updated versions of this CD typically are available at Apple's Developer Connect Web site.) If this application is on your drive, double-clicking a .plist file should launch PropertyList Editor automatically.

  • For log files (files that end in .log), try Console. If double-clicking the file does not open Console automatically, drag the file's icon to the Console application.

  • For font files (in the Fonts folder), try the freeware program X Font Info (discussed in Chapter 4) or another font-viewing utility.

  • For text files, including many of the files in the Library folders and in the invisible Unix directories, try a text editor such as BBEdit.

It's a Unix application. Some "applications" on your hard drive are really Unix programs and run only in the Unix environment, as accessed via Terminal. Most of them normally are invisible, so there is little chance that you will try to open them accidentally. Occasionally, however, you may download a Unix program from the Web, thinking that it is in fact a normal Aqua-based Mac

OS X application. Also, the Developer Tools CD contains a folder called Tools that holds Unix programs. Double-clicking these programs in the Finder will lead to the "There is no application..." message. In this case, there is no way to open this application directly in Mac OS X, but it will run from Terminal.


  • "Technically Speaking: Copying from Terminal," later in this chapter, for an example of using CpMac, a Terminal "application."

  • Chapter 10, for much more information on running Unix software.

Document opens in the wrong application

In some cases, if you double-click a document in the Finder, it will launch and open an application, but the application may not be the one you want to use. A PDF document may launch in Preview rather than Acrobat Reader, for example. This section covers what to do in such situations. Some of the solutions are the same as those in the preceding section for documents that do not open.

Drag and drop. If you are unconcerned about any general issue of why the wrong application opens and simply want to get the document opened in the desired application, drag and drop the document icon over the icon of the desired application—either in its Finder window or in the Dock.

This method usually solves the problem. Occasionally, a document may still refuse to open, even if you are certain that the application can access that document. I have seen GoLive refuse to open HTML files downloaded from the Internet when I tried to open them by dragging the document icon to GoLive's Dock icon. In such a case, continue with the following options until you find one that works.

Use a utility such as Zingg! The Zingg! shareware utility adds an Open With... command to the contextual menu for a file. The utility displays a sub-menu that lists every application that Zingg! believes can open the file safely and successfully. Choose the one you want, and the document will open in that application.

Figure 6.9Figure 6.9 The (left) Show Info and (right) Zingg! menus, listing recommended applications for opening a document.

Open from within the application. Launch the application, and locate the desired document from the application's Open dialog box. This method almost always works. If the Open dialog box has a pop-up menu of the types of documents it lists as available for opening, choose the one that matches what you are trying to open. If all else fails, and you see an All Documents option, choose it.

Bypass Classic. Occasionally, if you have both a Classic-only and a Mac OS X version of an application, when you try to open a document created by that application, it may launch the Classic version erroneously, rather than the Mac OS X version. In general, you can prevent this problem by using the preceding techniques.


"Launching Applications" and especially "Take Note: Applications Packages with Two Application Versions Inside," in Chapter 9, for related information.

Delete Launch Services database files. If you have two Mac OS X versions of the same application on your drive, you may find that double-clicking documents created by the newer application incorrectly launches the older version. If the icons are different in the two versions, the documents may also display the older version's icons. You may even be unable to get a document to open by dragging the document icon to the application's Dock icon.

To solve this problem, follow these steps:

  1. Delete the older version of the application from your drive.

  2. Delete the LS (LSApplications, LSClaimedTypes, and LSSchemes) preferences files from the Library folder in your Home directory.

This procedure deletes the Launch Services database files and re-creates new default copies, and it should fix the problem.

It is important that you delete these files in such a way that a default copy is created, rather than the original version restored. You can accomplish this task in various ways. The simplest is to drag the files to the Trash, log out, log back in, and then empty the Trash.

If this method does not work, an alternative is to delete the files as a root user. Log in as a root user, navigate the relevant Library/Preferences folder, and delete the files. Yet another alternative is to log in via the >console command, described in Chapter 5. After the files are deleted, log back in as normal, and launch the application from its Finder icon. All should work as expected.

It may also help to delete the related file in the ~/Library/Preferences folder.


"Take Note: Type and Creator vs. File Extensions," in Chapter 3, and "Log in as console," in Chapter 5, for more details.

Change the file's extension. Sometimes, changing a file extension for a document can change which application opens the file. Typically, I would avoid using this approach. More likely, the document will open in the same application, but the application will consider it to be a different type of document.


"Technically Speaking: How the OS Selects a Document/Application Match: Using XRay," later in this chapter, for more details.

Change the file's settings. If you want to open the document (and others like it) in the desired application simply by double-clicking the document, you will need to change the file's settings in the Show Info window. Open the Show Info window for the file, and choose Open with Application. Then you have two choices:

  • Change the application for this specific document.

  • Click Change All so that this document and all documents like it open in the newly selected application.


"Open with Application," in Chapter 3, for more details.

For even greater flexibility in assigning documents to open with specific applications, use a utility such as XRay. This utility not only allows you to make the same sort of changes you can make in the Show Info window (including changing the file extension) but also allows you to change type and creator settings.


  • "Technically Speaking: How the OS Selects a Document/Application Match: Using XRay" and "Take Note: Can't Lock Folders from Show Info," later in this chapter.

  • "Take Note: Type and Creator vs. File Extensions," in Chapter 3, for much more background information.


How the OS Selects a Document/Application Match: Using XRay

XRay is one of several utilities (FileXamimer is another) that allow you to change a file's settings in ways that exceed what you can do with Show Info. I use these utilities for two main functions:

  • Extending the options accessible via the Show Info window's Open with Application tab

  • Extending the options available via the Show Info window's Privileges tab.

Here, I focus on the first of these two functions. The second one is covered in "Permissions/privileges problems with opening files" and "Permissions/privileges problems with copying/moving files" later in this chapter.

XRay basics. To use XRay, follow these steps:

  1. Drag the icon for the document you want to modify to the XRay icon (or if XRay is open, drag the icon to the XRay window).

  2. Choose Type Creator & Extension from the Show pop-up menu.

  3. Make whatever changes you want (as described in the following paragraphs).

  4. Close the window.

  5. Save the changes you made when you are prompted to do so.

Modifying Type, Creator & Extension settings. The Type, Creator & Extension window includes four categories that you can modify, listed in the order of priority in which Mac OS X checks them. That is, when deciding which application matches which document, the Finder first checks the top item in the list. If it does not find a match there, the Finder moves to the second item in the list, and so on. If it finds no match anywhere, the Finder will likely tell you that it cannot identify an application to open the document. Following are the details on the four categories:

  • Bind This Item To. This category is equivalent to the Show Info window's Open with Application option. the XRay presents pop-up menus listing every native and Classic application on your drive and lets you pick the one you want. It is much more efficient than using the Show Info window.

If you make a selection, the Bind All Similar Items button at the bottom of the window is enabled. This button works similarly to the Show Info window's Change All button. Any other documents that match the creator, extension, and type settings of this document will be "bound" to open with the selected application.

  • Creator. The creator refers to the Mac OS 9 four-letter code that typically tells the Finder what application goes with what document. If you don't know what code to use, don't worry; XRay will help you out. Simply choose the desired application from the pop-up menu, and XRay will fill in the correct code for you. If you have not selected a specific application for the Bind This Item To option, the Finder will use the creator code to decide what application goes with the document.

  • Extension. This category refers to the file extension—usually, three or four letters that appear after a dot in the file's name (as discussed in "Take Note: File Name Extensions" earlier in this chapter). Changing the extension here changes the extension in the file's name, as you can also do in the Name and Extension tab of the Show Info window or in the Finder directly. In XRay, a pop-up menu lets you choose an extension that works with the application specified by the creator or binding option.


By removing a file's creator (such as choosing No Specific Creator from the Creator pop-up menu), you force the Finder to rely on the extension to determine a matching application (assuming that you did not bind a specific application). This method can be useful if you do not want a given file to open with the application designated by the creator. I give an example of when this technique might be useful in "Take Note: Type and Creator vs. File Extensions" in Chapter 3.

XRay also includes the same Hide Extension option that is available in the Show Info window's Name & Extension tab.

  • Type. Type is another code initially used in Mac OS 9. Type identifies the format of the file; it does not necessarily specify an application to work with that format. Microsoft Word, for example, can open many formats/types of files: Word documents, plain-text documents, Rich Text Format documents, and so on. Thus, type overlaps with file extension, which ideally should match. A document with an extension that specifies plain-text format should also have a plain-text type code. If a disparity occurs, the order of priority comes in: The extension takes precedence over the type. Again, XRay gives you a pop-up menu listing all the types associated with the creator or extension you selected.

If you don't select a binding or creator option, the OS will search for any applications that claim the extension (if one is listed) or type (if one is listed and there is no match for the extension). If a match is found, that application will be listed at the bottom of the window. If more than one matching application is found, the OS will select native applications over Classic ones and newer versions over older ones.

To understand what claimed types and claimed extensions are, click the XRay Application button at the bottom of the window. This button will open the application listed to the left of the button. Go again to the Type, Creator & Extension window, which will be quite different from what you see when you select it for a document. You will not be able to change much of anything; the window is mainly for viewing. But the two pop-up menus (Claimed Extensions and Claimed Types) will show you what the application will accept as a document that it can/will open.

There is more to XRay that I can explore in this book. Just play around with it and experiment with what changes do. As long as you work with a copy of the file you are modifying or do not save changes, you can do no harm.

Figure 6.10Figure 6.10 XRay's Type, Creator & Extension window for documents: two examples.

An application takeover. Sometimes, after you install an application, you may find that the application takes over opening certain documents that previously opened with something else (or with nothing at all).

I found that after installing the shareware program Font Checker, for example, almost all files in /System/Library that had a type of BNDL were assigned to be opened by Font Checker. (You can determine type by using a utility such as XRay,) Previously, these files had not been assigned to any application, and trying to open them would have led to the "There is no application..." message. Getting things back to the initial "no application" state can be tricky, because the Show Info window offers no option for this purpose. If getting this situation fixed is important, you can delete the application from your drive and restart. Otherwise, you may be able to use XRay to bind to no specific application.

Or you can choose to ignore the problem, which affects only what happens if you double-click a document. And in the Font Checker case, you would likely never double-click those documents anyway. If you ever need to open an affected document in a different application, follow the general advice given earlier in this section for documents that open in the "wrong" application.

In another, more-serious example of a takeover, after I installed iDVD, attempting to open a System Preferences window, which should have launched the System Preferences application, launched iDVD instead.


"Take Note: Type and Creator vs. File Extensions," in Chapter 3, for the solution to the iDVD/System Preferences problem.

File is corrupted

Occasionally, an application will not open because it is corrupted. Usually, this problem occurs with a file that you have downloaded from the Internet. Either the file only partially downloaded or an error was made during the copy process. In either case, the file cannot open because of the missing or corrupt data.

For downloaded files, the usual solution is to try to download the file again. In some cases, you may have greater success by holding down the Option key when you choose to download the file. Otherwise, try shifting to a different browser. If the URL begins with ftp, rather than http, you may also have better luck by using an FTP client, such as Fetch, rather than a Web browser. And when you use an FTP client, if it fails to work at first, use passive FTP transfer (typically, an option in the FTP preferences settings) and try again.


"Take Note: Troubleshooting Downloading Files," in Chapter 8, for more on this issue.

If the problem persists, there may be a problem with the server that contains the file. If so, you might check on MacFixIt for possible confirmation and a solution. Otherwise, check with the site's Webmaster for advice.

If the problem occurs when you're copying files from one volume to another, the drive itself may have a corrupted directory or a hardware problem. In this case, it is time to attempt disk repairs.


  • Chapter 5 for more information on repairing disks.

  • Chapter 8 for more information on Internet-related problems.

File is compressed or encoded

A file, especially one you download from the Internet, may download in a compressed or encoded format. If you do not have the proper application to decompress or decode the file, you will not be able to open it.

Many compressed-file formats (files with .sit, .hqx, and .bin extensions, for example) can be expanded with the StuffIt Expander utility, which is included with Mac OS X. If the file does not expand automatically on download, drag the file to Expander or launch Expander and select the file.

A few compressed-file formats do not open in Expander. In such cases, try the shareware utility OpenUp. With Expander, Disk Copy, and OpenUp, I have never failed to get a compressed file to open.

Figure 6.11Figure 6.11 A .dmg file and an alias of the image that opens when you open the file in Disk Copy; you can open the image to access its contents, just as though it were an external drive.

Files with .dmg or .img extensions are disk images, which you typically mount by using Disk Copy. This method opens a virtual volume that behaves as if though were a physical disk. The application or document you seek is actually on the image. So you have to open the image window, locate the file, and either launch it directly from the image or copy the file to your hard drive and then launch the copy.

Occasionally, a compressed/encoded file may download erroneously as a text file. If you double-click it, it may open in a text editor, such as TextEdit or BBEdit. You can work around this problem by dragging the file to the required application (such as Disk Copy or Expander). If this problem happens with many files, you may want to make a change, via the Show Info window or a utility such as XRay, so that similar files open correctly in the desired application.

Finally, your browser may give you a message that it does not recognize the file type of the file you are trying to download. It may offer to search for a needed plug-in or other helper file. If you just want the file to download, the best advice is to choose whatever option allows you to ignore the warning and download the file; then drag the downloaded file's icon to the desired decompression utility. The cause of these problems is either at the server end (someone mislabeled the file, for example, in which case you can do nothing to fix the problem) or possibly with your browser settings (especially the Helper settings). The latter problems can be fixed, but this topic gets beyond the Mac OS X-specific scope of this book.


  • "Take Note: Mounting Disk Copy Image Files," in Chapter 3, for one example.

  • Chapter 8 for more information on Internet problems.

Problems with .app files

Launching an application generally creates fewer problems than launching documents. In a few instances, however, things may go wrong.

Most Mac OS X applications are actually package files (also referred to as bundles). A package (covered in Chapter 2) is actually a folder. You can view the contents of the folder by choosing Show Package Contents from the contextual menu that appears when you Control-click the icon of the application. If Show Package Contents does not appear, the application is not a package.


Most Open dialog boxes, as well as the Finder itself, will not allow you to navigate inside packages. This situation is part of maintaining the illusion that a package is really a single application file. The Show Package Contents option is the main way to access these files. An exception is the excellent BBEdit utility, which includes an Open Hidden command that allows you to navigate to almost every location on your drive, including inside a package.

The .app extension. Package applications have an .app extension. The Finder keeps this extension invisible, however, even if you enable the Finder preference to show file extensions. The main way to confirm that the extension exists is via the Name & Extension tab of the Show Info window. If you do this for the Mail application, for example, you will see that its real name is

If you were to eliminate the .app extension via the Show Info window, the Finder would change the application to a folder, which also means that the "application" would no longer launch. Clearly, you would ordinarily not want to do this. Fortunately, if you add the extension back, the folder reverts to an application; its icon returns, and it will launch properly when you double-click it.

Figure 6.12Figure 6.12 The Show Info window for the Mail application, showing that its true name is


Turning a folder into a functioning .app package by adding the .app extension works only if the folder already contains the elements it needs to function as an application: the Contents folder, with the .plist files inside it, and so on. Thus, simply adding a .app extension to a folder with several Word documents in it will not turn the folder into a functioning application.

Applications as folders. Occasionally, applications may appear as folders rather than applications, even though you made no apparent change to cause this. If this problem occurs, you usually can fix it by deleting the LS preferences files in the Preferences folder of your Home directory.


  • "Delete Launch Services database files," earlier in this chapter.

  • "Take Note: Type and Creator vs. File Extensions," in Chapter 3, and "Log in as console," in Chapter 5, for related details.

The application is in the "application." The fact that the .app file is really a folder implies that the actual application that launches when you double-click a .app file is contained within the folder/package. This is true. In fact, sometimes more than one application is contained in the folder.

You may have two versions of the same application (such as a Classic and Mac OS X version, as is the case for AppleWorks). In such cases, you may want to launch an application directly from within the package, rather than from the package file itself.


"Take Note: Applications Packages with Two Application Versions Inside," in Chapter 9, for an example of this situation.

In other cases, a helper application for the main application may be included in the package. iTunesHelper, for example, is included in the iTunes application package, because iTunesHelper is designed to launch only at startup via the Login Items setting. As there is no need for the typical end user to see it in the Finder and double-click it, iTunes keeps the helper hidden. But should you want to launch it directly (perhaps the iTunesHelper process quit, and you want to relaunch it), you can do so by entering the package.

Figure 6.13Figure 6.13 The hidden location of iTunes Helper inside the iTunes package.

.app files and installing Mac OS X updates. Apple's Mac OS X Installer leaves much to be desired. (I've probably said this before, but it bears repeating.) Suppose that you install a Mac OS X update, and the update includes a new version of an application (such as Mail). The application will likely not get updated properly if you moved it to a location other than the location where it was installed (typically, the Applications folder). If only some of the files in the application package are being updated, and only those files are included in the Mac OS X update, those files—and only those files—will be placed in the Applications folder, where the Installer expected to find the old version of the application. The old version of the application, located wherever you moved it, remains untouched. Thus, you wind up with a nonupdated version of the application and a partial updated version that will not work. What can you do in this situation? You have these choices:

  • You can move the original application back into the Applications folder, delete the partial update, and attempt to reinstall the Mac OS X update. In some cases, this method may not work; the updater may refuse to run, believing that the update is already installed. If this situation occurs, you can try to work around it by fooling the Installer into running. Or you can downgrade to or reinstall a version of Mac OS X that you can install, and reupdate again from there. Or you can erase your hard drive and start over. But before you reach that extreme, consider the next alternative.

  • You can open the packages of both the updated/partial and old/complete Mail.apps. Copy the new files from the updated application to the old one. Now you should have a complete application that will work.

In some cases, the updater may contain a complete copy of the application, but the installation messed up something anyway. In this case, you can simply extract the application from the update package file. The easiest way to do this is via the shareware utility Pacifist, which lists all files contained in an update package file and lets you extract the ones you want.


Chapter 2 for more information on fooling the Installer, selective reinstallations, and using Pacifist.

Application must be in required folder. Some applications will not launch unless they remain in the folder where they were first installed. In rarer cases, the application will only work if installed in a specific folder, most often the /Applications folder. In such cases, the Read Me file for the software, or its Installer utility, should inform you of this. But it may not.

Can't open a copy of an application. If you Option-drag an application package to another folder on the same volume or drag it to a new volume, the Finder creates a copy of the application. Similarly, pressing Command-D makes a duplicate of the file. Ideally, in all these cases, the resulting application should launch and run identically to the original. Problems occur occasionally, however.


  • "SetUID and 'Items could not be copied' error," later in this chapter, for details on these problems.

  • Chapter 5 for more information on what to do if a file crashes on launch.


Opening .app files from Within Terminal

If you search the Contents/MacOS folder of some package applications, you will find a typical launchable application. Acrobat Reader 5.0 is one example; the actual Acrobat application is in that folder.

In other cases, however, the MacOS folder will contain a document with the name of the application, rather than an application. If you double-click this document, it will produce the error message,"There is no application available to open the document."

But you can usually launch the application from this document if you use Terminal.

Normally, you can open an .app application from Terminal by using the Open command for the overall package. To launch Print Center, for example, type: <open "/Applications/Utilities/ Print">.

Should this command fail, however, you can execute/run the aforementioned Print Center document. To do this, launch Terminal and type: <cd /Applications/Utilities/"Print"/ Contents/MacOS> to navigate to the relevant directory. Then type <./"Print Center">. That's it.

If Terminal says you do not have permission to do this, try it again with root access, typing <sudo ./"Print Center">. Actually, this is a practical use of the technique. In the latest versions of Mac OS X, you cannot use Terminal's open command to launch an .app file with root access. That is, <sudo open name of> will not work. In such cases, using sudo with the file within the .app package will still succeed. It is thus an alternative to using a utility such as Pseudo.


"Take Note: Root Access," in Chapter 3, for more background.

Permissions/privileges problems with opening files

Occasionally, you won't be able to launch a file because you do not have sufficient permission/privileges to do so, and you get an error message to that effect. Similar problems can occur (and occur more often) when you're attempting to copy or move an application. I cover this topic in great detail in the sections on copying and moving files later in this chapter. For now, here are some specifics as they apply to opening files.

Figure 6.14Figure 6.14 The insufficient-privileges error message and two related messages, all of which appeared during an attempt to modify a file or folder in the /System folder or in another user's Home folder.

Can't access secondary folder/file. If launching the application requires accessing files or folders beyond the application itself, such as a preferences file or a file in your Documents folder, you may not be able to launch the application if you do not have permission to access the required folder or file.

I saw one odd instance in which a user could not launch iTunes. Whenever he tried, he got the insufficient-privileges error. There seemed to be no problem with the privileges settings for iTunes itself, so I looked elsewhere. I found the answer in the iTunes folder located in the Documents folder of the user's Home directory. Somehow, the owner of that folder was listed as his son (who also had an account on the system).

You cannot fix this problem from the Show Info window, as only the owner of a file/folder can change settings there. This dilemma has various solutions (as I have covered at various points in this book). The one I recommend, however, is a utility such as XRay or FileXaminer. Follow these steps:

  1. Drag the iTunes folder to the XRay icon.

  2. In the window that appears, choose Permissions from the Show pop-up menu.

  3. Click the lock icon to unlock all fields.

  4. Enter your password (assuming that you are an administrator).

  5. From the Owner pop-up menu, choose your own name.

  6. Save the change.

    The iTunes application will launch.

A similar situation may occur when you're trying to install an update to an application on your drive. I know of a case in which the owner of the Adobe folder located in /Library/Application Support was somehow changed to "unknown." This change prevented the successful update of an Adobe application that needed to access this folder but did not have permission to do so. The solution is to change the owner of the Adobe folder to system or to your administrator name.

Access set to None. Virtually all applications should have at least Read Only access assigned to Everyone (as set in the Privileges tab of the file's Show Info window). This access is the minimal access needed to launch the application. If the privileges setting for Everyone is None, and especially if you are not an administrator, you may not be able to launch the application. If you find this None access, here's the solution:

  1. Drag the application icon to the XRay icon.

  2. In the window that appears, choose Permissions from the Show pop-up menu.

  3. Click the lock icon to unlock all fields.

  4. Enter your password (assuming that you are an administrator).

  5. In the World section, make sure that the Read and Execute checkboxes are checked.

  6. Save the change.


"Permissions/privileges problems with copying/moving files," later in this chapter, for related information.

Figure 6.15Figure 6.15 The Permissions tab of XRay.


Default Settings of Applications

For applications installed by Mac OS X in the Applications folder (such as Mail and Preview), the default settings, as displayed in XRay, should be the following:

  • Owner and Group: Read, Write, and Execute all enabled

  • World: Read and Execute enabled

  • Group should be "admin"

  • Owner should be "root (System Administrator)"

Files that you install in the Applications folder by using other installers or by dragging them to the Applications folder may list your user name, rather than root, as the owner. Otherwise, the settings will likely be the same as for Mac OS X-installed applications.

If Mac OS X-installed applications in your Applications folder have their permissions settings changed for any reason, you can return them to their default state by using a utility such as XRay or FileXaminer. Also note: Apple has created an application called FixApplicationsFolderPermissions that fixes these settings. It is available from Knowledge Base document 106609 (

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

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Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020