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Whenever I type File:/// into the URL bar in Chrome, into Text Edit, and more, it crashes the app. I found out about this after reading this blog post.

How can I avoid this crash and make it impossible for apps that get this string whether it's typed, pasted or arrives in a file, message or download?

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Does it crash the app, or does it crash your system? – kojiro Feb 4 '13 at 20:57
@kojiro: the app. In case of programs like Chrome or text editors, this is a VERY severe bug, seeing as you lose all work. – houbysoft Feb 4 '13 at 21:41
I'm not arguing it's not severe, I'm just pointing out that the title and last sentence says system, but it does not, in fact, crash your system. – kojiro Feb 4 '13 at 22:01
Are you more concerned about people typing 8 characters on your computer than you are about them selecting Force Quit or Shutdown from the Apple menu? – Russell Borogove Feb 4 '13 at 23:50
@RussellBorogove The danger is not someone typing on your computer but people sending you a message, mail or document with the text in it. Mail will crash, reopen, crash until you manually delete the file with the dangerous content. – Matteo Feb 10 '13 at 7:19
up vote 19 down vote accepted

It's a bug in 10.8.1 and 10.8.2 only.

The workaround for this pesky bug is to disable two items in Language & Text Preference Pane in System Preferences on affected versions of Mountain Lion:

  • Select (click) on Text in the middle towards the top of the window
  • deselect (uncheck) "Correct spelling automatically"
  • deselect (uncheck) "Use symbol and text substitution"

Credit for this workaround goes to user shess on the open radar web site.

enter image description here

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This doesn't work if it's a message received in – Gert Feb 5 '13 at 8:49
@Gert Nice - it also won't work in some cases where you get a file with that string (or similar string) embedded in the filesystem and the crash code starts getting fancy with what looks like a URL/URI. I would be astounded if the next security or dot update doesn't squash this high profile bug. – bmike Feb 5 '13 at 22:42
let's hope so. Just for the record. To fix, you need to remove your chat.db in ~/Library/Messages/ – Gert Feb 7 '13 at 6:33

bmike has the workaround, I'll provide the "why": According to this article from TheNextWeb, a feature called Data Detectors, which scans text for meaningful formats (dates, locations...) also looks for file URLs. It does this by looking for "file://", case-insensitive. However, later in the procedure, it asserts that the string should start with "file://" lowercase -- and when this is not the case, such as when there is a capital F, it throws an exception, which apparently (and extremely sloppily) brings down the whole application.

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