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Automator Script



Software: Lion Network Home Folder Launch Services Fix

Download Automator Script


What does it do?

A simple Automator program that essentially tells Lion to rebuild the Launch Services database.


What does it work with?

It should work on any version of OS X 10.7 Lion, however, I have only tested it on 10.7.3 and 10.7.4 clients.


Why was it created?

There appears to be a bug in OS X Lion when using network home folders hosted on a Mac Server via AFP that causes it to ignore user-set launch services, such as the users preferred browser and email applications, as well as filetype associations such as Always Open PDFs With Adobe Reader instead of Preview, etc.

When the user restarts their Mac and logs back in to their network home directory, these preferences are ignored and the default launch services are used instead, meaning that Safari and Mail are used as the default browser and email applications, and double clicking PDFs opens in Preview instead of Adobe Reader. Interestingly, if the user simply logs out and back in instead of restarting, the problem doesn't occur, only a restart (or shutdown and startup) causes it.

Although far from a critical issue, it can be frustrating for users who prefer to use Firefox or Chrome as their browser, and designers that prefer PDFs to open in Acrobat Professional, JPGs to open in Photoshop instead of Preview, and so forth. By running this Automator script each time the user logs in, the issue can be avoided.


Who is it useful for?

Any environment that uses OS X Lion clients with network home folders stored on a Mac Server via AFP. Note - the server version doesn't seem to matter as I've experienced this with both 10.6 and 10.7 servers, however the issue does not occur with 10.6.x clients.


How do I use it?

Setting it as a Login Item in each and every users account (that uses Lion) to run this script every time the user logs in. This is what you need to do:

  • Download and decompress the above Automator script (which I've saved as an Application) for each of your users that runs Lion. My advise would be to save it to the Applications folder on their local hard drive, but I don't see any reason why you can't save it to their Desktop for example, so long as they don't delete it
  • Then add it to their Login Items, which you can find in System Preferences > Users & Groups. You may need to click the padlock first and enter the administrators username and password
  • Give it a restart and make sure it works.
  • Any previously set launch services shouldn't have to be redone, unless you have deleted it's preference file: /~/Library/Preferences/
  • Note - you could also set this as a Login Item for all users in a group simultaneously. This is done from a client machine using the Workgroup Manager application.


What exactly does this script do?

When launched it simply runs the following command in Terminal:


How much is it?

Free of course.


Who made it?

Stuart Snow.


The usual disclaimer

This software is 'use at your own risk.' While every effort has been made to ensure the safety of this software and its contents, the creator or Mac Manager cannot be held liable for any problem, damage, deletion etc. that is caused by the use of this script.



If you have any questions, please email me.



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