Clear the Finder’s “Open With” Menu

200710161502Over at the Mac Apper Weblog, Ben Miller has put together a nice tip to help limit the size of your “Open With” Menu.

A problem I have had recently is one just small enough to get under the skin. Have you ever right-clicked and selected “Open With” on an image to open it with your favorite editor only to be bombarded with a list of applications you thought you removed ages ago? Maybe even some you never knew existed? There is also the problem of duplicates.

Mac OS X seems to think that some of my applications are more useful than others by listing them twice. There has to be an easy way to fix this right?

The first thing you need to know is that the list is automatically generated by OS X. It depends on what applications you have installed, and if those applications can handle particular files. The problem is that it doesn’t update itself very often, and the list can get very bloated if not cleared out every so often. Everything is stored in a single file located in your preferences folder. Take the following steps to delete this file so the list can get a fresh rebuild.

1. Go to your Home/Library/Preferences folder
2. Find “com.apple.LaunchServices” file and trash it (you can back it up if you want)
3. Test it out!

There you have it. The next time you right-click on an item and select “Open With” in the Finder, only current applications will be listed. Some items may return if the application that controls them adds itself back to the list. You can delete the file again if you are having problems.

If you want to, you can create a script to automatically trash this file for you at any interval you desire. Check out this page for help doing that.


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2 comments

  1. Vito

    This same tip is posted all over the Internet, including Apples Support Article TZ24770: http://support.apple.com/kb/TA24770?viewlocale=en_US
    The only problem with it is that is doesn’t work…at least, not on OS X 10.4.11. Clearly, Apple is the source of this rot.
    This is an especially big problem when you have multiple volumes mounted on the desktop. OS X scans all the volumes for apps that will launch the file in question.

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