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Getting Quicksilver to Jive With Snow Leopard

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From what I’ve been reading on support forums, some users of Quicksilver saw no affect from upgrading their machines to Snow Leopard. I however, was not one of those people. And although I am warming more and more to Google Quick Search Box, I still supplement my usage of QSB with Quicksilver where the former is lacking in features. So I tinkered around until I was able to resuscitate and use Quicksilver again under Snow Leopard.

Been having similar problems? Let me walk you through the process.

First, make sure you’ve upgraded to the most current version of Quicksilver. B56a7 is the most up to date version, that is built for Snow Leopard. Download it here if you haven’t already done so. Once that’s done, go ahead and try running Quicksilver. If you’re lucky, that’s all that is needed. If you’re not, don’t fret, because we’ll figure it out in short order.

What I found to be the issue with getting my installation of Quicksilver working, was the huge collection of plug-ins that I’ve installed over the years. Plug-ins (in my opinion) are what have made Quicksilver what it is to so many of us today. They extend it into nearly every nook and cranny of your Mac, allowing you to control everything. The downside, is that some of those plug-ins are broken in OS 10.6’s new underlying architecture.

So let’s fix that.

  • Navigate (using Finder) to ~/Library/Application Support/Quicksilver
  • Open the ‘PlugIns’ folder
  • Select all of the plug-in files, and drag them someplace else (I suggest the Desktop, for easy access, as we’ll be using them again)

Now, let’s make sure Quicksilver opens before we go any further. If at this point the answer is no, I’d recommend posting the question to the Blacktree Quicksilver group on Google. (I’m happy to help too of course, but I’m not that bright, and if I can’t duplicate your setup, there’s a slim chance I’ll be useful on the subject.) If on the other hand, Quicksilver is starting up, let’s continue.

  • Quit Quicksilver
  • Drag the first plug-in (that you moved somewhere, like your Desktop) back into that ~/Library/Application Support/Quicksilver/PlugIns folder
  • Launch Quicksilver

Did Quicksilver remain open? Or did is crash after a few moments? If Quicksilver is still running, then that plug-in was not the culprit, and you may return to the ‘Quit Quicksilver’ step, and repeat with the next plug-in file. If Quicksilver bombed after launch, continue on below. (Does this feel like a choose your own adventure to anyone else?)

  • In the ~/Library/Application Support/Quicksilver/PlugIns folder, delete the plug-in that you just placed there

Unfortunately, that plug-in was no longer valid under the new Snow Leopard architecture. At this point, you should rinse and repeat (so to speak), moving the next plug-in file from your Desktop, into the Quicksilver PlugIns folder, and then seeing if Quicksilver crashes or not. Do this until you’ve deleted the bad plug-ins, and have the rest installed, with Quicksilver running happily again.

As a point of reference, the plug-ins that appear to cause me trouble were:
– Airport Module
– Services Menu
– Text Manipulations (not 100 percent certain about this one)
– Image Manipulations (not 100 percent certain about this one)
– Any interface modules seem to be causing issues as well

The downside is, you may lose some level of functionality (if you were even using that particular plug-in) from Quicksilver. The upside is that you’ll still be able to run Quicksilver, if somewhat pared-down in capability. In my case, I didn’t lose anything I’d been using regularly. In the event that you have actually lost something of use to you, you can either downgrade back to OS 10.5.8 (probably not realistic), or wait on Google QSB to get up to speed, as I have seen some great strides on that application in a short period of time.

27 Responses to “Getting Quicksilver to Jive With Snow Leopard”

  1. Glad I got Quicksilver working again, thanks! To me, the following plugins made it crash:
    – airport
    – file tagging
    – services menu

    The other 89 (how did I get so much :-p ?) plugins are working perfectly (including text and image manipulation).

  2. I really wish abracadabra plugin is ported to other similar apps as well. It’s the only reason I used Quicksilver and I just can’t be bother doing all these things to make Quicksilver work only to worry everytime a Mac OS update comes out. Not worth it.

  3. Christoff

    Thanks a million, the support guy upgraded my computer when I was on vacation and bricked a bunch of stuff. This was super helpful. Working as good as new now!!

  4. Hi,

    Just following up to Anand comment re: iChat module.

    Anyone get it to work properly? Most of it works for me but when enter text and choose “IM to Account” nothing happens. Does “IM to Account” work for anyone else?


  5. netling2

    Thanks for the post! Made me try again – and it works!
    The airport plugin didn’t work for me either.
    Here are the plugins which do work on my MBP with snowleopard 10.6.1:

    Apple Address Book Module.qsplugin
    Apple Mail Module.qsplugin
    Bluetooth Module.qsplugin
    Calculator Module.qsplugin
    Chat Support.qsplugin
    Dictionary Module.qsplugin
    Email Support.qsplugin
    Firefox Module.qsplugin
    iCal Module.qsplugin
    iChat Module.qsplugin
    iPhoto Module.qsplugin
    iTunes Module.qsplugin
    Music Support.qsplugin
    Safari Module.qsplugin
    Spotlight Module.qsplugin


    • I have tried the iChat module, however could not get that to work. I want to launch chat with a contact using quicksilver.
      If that is not possible, please let me know what is the utility of ichat module.

  6. Robin Scanlon

    Thank you for your post. I’m so hooked on Quicksilver that I don’t like working on a computer that doesn’t have it installed. Really appreciated finding this.

  7. I found that the Services menu plugin causes a crash a while after launching.

    Of the two plugins I tested, the Text Manipulation Actions could cause QS to hang, and the Calculator Module does not function.

    My guess is that the text input method is busted.

  8. Thanks for this post. The only plugin I had was the Address Book one, and already it seems to be a bit more responsive… Let’s hope that was the only thing.

  9. Hmm. I erased my hard drive and did a clean install of Snow Leopard. I then used Time Machine to restore my files, settings, and apps, and Quicksilver (the old “non SL” build ) is working just fine. Of course, I use mostly basic plugins. I’m too scared to update to the SL version after all the problems I’ve heard.

  10. You are my hero.

    I upgraded to 10.6 on my first machine yesterday afternoon, and then set it to backup while I played on the laptop (which hasn’t been upgraded yet). Stepped over to the iMac this morning, went to open Firefox and … horrors … QS was “missing.”

    After “struggling” through the process of finding my Firefox app, googling “quicksilver and snow leopard,” and opening the first hit (yours), half an hour ago … well, you’re my hero.

    I check you on …

    AirPort Module.qsplugin
    Services Menu Module.qsplugin

    And don’t check you on …

    Text Manipulation Actions.qsplugin
    Image Manipulation Actions.qsplugin

    Well, installing them doesn’t crash my QS, anyway, but then again, I don’t use them.

    Yes, the interfaces are a problem, but really, I don’t mind the little bit of trash at the top of my favorite cube. It doesn’t effect performance.

    Thanks for posting this fix on the very day when I needed it.

  11. Hi,

    Copy/paste from Dictionary: “Affect and effect are both verbs and nouns, but only effect is common as a noun, usually meaning ‘a result, consequence, impression, etc.’: : my father’s warnings had no effect on my adventurousness.”

    I think you want to use the word “effect” in the first paragraph of you post.

  12. I was devout Quicksilver power-user for years. Until I upgraded to Snow Leopard. I had the occasional crash, but it wasn’t frequent enough to drive me away to Launchbar – no, it was the speed. It was the horrible horrible speed. I grabbed the newest open source version; it did not help matters. I did a fresh install of Snow Leopard, with the open source to help eliminate cruft, it still did not help matters.
    This day was a long time coming, ever since Alcor gave up active development, QS has never been the same. QSB was my runner up, but is still too under-powered for me to officially adopt. Butler was a little… “weird”. I’m still not 100% satisfied with LaunchBar, but it’ll do for now.

  13. I found that after upgrading to Snow Leopard my 17″ MacBook Pro was not any faster and in fact started to get annoyingly slow. Even though QuickSilver was working, my preference pane no longer worked. I downloaded the latest version of QuickSilver and now the preference pane appears. On top of that, my computer is much, much faster. I don’t know if it was QuickSilver or something else, but that was quite a coincidence.

  14. Don’t make it so hard. When you move all the plugins out, don’t move them back just one at a time. That takes too long. Do it in binary: drag half back in. Crashes? Drag half of those back out again. Doesn’t crash, drag half of what’s left back in. Rinse and repeat. For N plugins, it will take on the order of log2 N steps instead of N steps (e.g. 5 instead of 32).

  15. One of my favorite interface plugins HUD no longer worked with Quicksilver B567a7 (the Snow Leopard build). I found over on minimal mac a link to a working version of that plugin.

    The Article:

    The **New** Bezel HUD Theme:

    QS is still slow and less responsive after upgrading to Snow Leopard. It’s somewhat stable for me when trying to find new items that were dropped into my Applications folder and occasionally mine crashes on me. I am only using one plugin at the moment and that’s Bezel HUD.

  16. Thanks for the post. I followed your tips, but even after moving the plug-ins, QS crashes on startup. Perhaps strangely, the old version (B54) had been working absolutely fine on my new SL running machine. So I went back. But now, when I try to launch QS preferences, there is an empty window and the QS icon sits determinedly in the dock.

    Anyone have any experience or advice on this? Thanks in advance.

  17. Thanks for your advice, I think there should be a list of incompatible plugins for snow leopard at the projects site… but looks like you started doing it here. Add this one to the list: File Tagging Module. I’m gonna miss it, although I didn’t use it too much it used to let me tag several files at a time with the same words, something the Finder, incredibly, doesn’t allow to do.