File:/// crash in Mountain Lion workaround

Update: For a much more in-depth analysis of the problem, head over to Naked Security where Paul Ducklin explains the bug in much more detail.

Gizmodo recently published an article about OS X Mountain Lion crashing when the text File:/// is typed into TextEdit, Spotlight, Mail or some other OS X apps. It’s also reported that Safari and Chrome also crash though I haven’t personally tested them.

I did some sniffing around with gdb and the problem seems to come down to an Apple framework called DataDetector. A bit of Googling shows that this private framework is responsible for looking in text for text that might be ‘special’ such as dates and giving them special options.

It seems that the data detector for URLs is broken and will crash when called upon. The workaround is to remove it from being run. Open Finder, open the Go menu, click Go to Folder and put in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DataDetectorsCore.framework/Versions/A/Resources/ then rename the file called com.apple.datadetectorscore.cache.urlifier.system to com.apple.datadetectorscore.cache.urlifier.system.backup

You can also do all of this in one handy terminal command:

sudo mv -v /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DataDetectorsCore.framework/Versions/A/Resources/com.apple.datadetectorscore.cache.urlifier.system /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DataDetectorsCore.framework/Versions/A/Resources/com.apple.datadetectorscore.cache.urlifier.system.backup

You may need to reboot afterwards. This was tested to be working on OS X 10.8.1.

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