OSX Mavericks, IconServicesAgent and Quick Look Issues

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I spent a good amount of time over the past few days trying to figure out why my Quick Look wasn’t working correctly. The following were my symptoms:

  • com.apple.IconServicesAgent process was being very CPU greedy
  • Finder was very sluggish and tempermental
  • I couldn’t use Quick Look to preview files in the finder

I did a lot of googling and found several resources:

Most of these point to either a cache issue, corrupt plist files or kernel extensions being the culprit. I disabled the only kernel extension that I thought might have relevance, and still had issues. Next, the articles indicated I should run qlmanage -r && qlmanage -r cache to try to fix Quick Look. Whenever I would run those, I would receive terminal feedback that indicated (for example), “qlmanage: resetting quicklookd” but then the terminal would hang until I interrupted that process.

I checked the console and found the following:
12/6/13 2:42:54.986 PM Messages[5029]: [QL] Could not locate quick look ui service 1102 (Unknown service name)

When I looked for the daemon files in /System/Library/LaunchAgents I found NO files that started with com.apple.quicklook.

So, I had someone help me get the following .plist files from another Mavericks machine:

  • com.apple.quicklook.32bit.plist
  • com.apple.quicklook.config.plist
  • com.apple.quicklook.plist
  • com.apple.quicklook.ui.helper.plist

I placed them in the above directory then ran:
launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.quicklook.*

I got no errors back, so I ran:
qlmanage -r && qlmanage -r cache

And now all seems well with Quick Look.

I have no clue how or why those files disappeared off of my machine.

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4 Responses to OSX Mavericks, IconServicesAgent and Quick Look Issues

  1. Bryan Hansen says:

    Thanks for these tips! I was having an identical issue and had only seen “An error occurred with the preview of this document” when trying to use quicklook. Once I opened up console I saw the same logging about “Could not locate quick look ui service”, which lead me here. I have no idea why those files were removed either, I have a fairly fresh install of Mavericks (3 weeks).

  2. Rob Wilkinson says:

    I had the identical issue after installing Mavericks and your advice solved it.
    All 4 Quicklook plist files were missing from the Launch list. However, I didn’t need to copy them from another machine. I found all 4 files in a visible folder named Users/myname/tmp-quicklook What created the folder and moved them is unknown.
    The other strange thing was that I could QL files by selecting them and hitting the space bar, but not by right-clicking on their names in Spotlight.
    All good now, including missing photo icons.
    I did have to remove 3 old QL generator files fromLibrary/Quicklook.

  3. Joe says:

    Thank you for sharing, drlidbom!

    With your formula I was able to go back where my problem started.

    Initially, Mac iMac/Yosemite, started not showing the artwork embedded in audio files (mp3, aiff) and pdfs. in any view.
    I started playing with all files related with quicklook to no avail.
    Then I decided to transplant all related files to my Mac from another exactly identical which doesn’t have that problem.
    Then everything got worse.
    Only generic icons everywhere, any view, any file extension!

    With your procedure, I went back to my initial point: no icon preview (artwork) in audio files and pdfs.
    I will continue trying to find a cure for that.

    Thank you!

  4. Angelo says:

    Hi; I have the same issue…the icons preview disappeared; kindly, how can I insert the 4 quicklook files in the path? Thanks

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