Thursday, January 21, 2010

InDesign Crashing and Making me Crazy

So for years, I thought that I knew the way to fix InDesign when it was crashing. Simple, right? Hold down the four buttons in the bottom left keyboard while launching the program. That's what the Adobe help file and forums say. For the past 2 weeks, I have had crashing issues like nothing I've ever seen. Deleting preferences didn't work. Deactivating Suitcase auto-activation didn't work. Uninstalling the program didn't work...

The crashes were so bad that not only did the InDesign "submit crash report to Adobe" dialog box pop up, but another one for Apple came up as well.

So a couple of days of and lost productivity, I finally found a multi-step solution. Perhaps not all of these steps are necessary to fix the problem, but here's everything I did, just in case.
  1. Delete the ID lock files that are associated with the files you were working on during the crash.
  2. Unplug (or force eject) any external hard drives you have plugged (Note: when ID crashed, the files I was working on were located on an external hard drive).
  3. Restart the computer (I had to do a hard shut-down).
  4. Launch ID with the external hard drive unplugged.
  5. You may get a series of errors like, 'The recovery data for "" could not be found. Delete recovery data?" ... or something along those lines. I chose to delete recovery data, just so it would quit looking for those files.
  6. Close and reopen InDesign another time just to make sure it opens without getting any more error messages.
  7. Plug in the external hard drive.
  8. Try opening your selected files again.
Apparently, InDesign saves recovery data in more than one place. I thought that all the recovery data was saved in the lock file, but not so! Even after deleting the lock files, and even unplugging the hard drive, InDesign was still looking for recovery data. Apparently, there is something in the architecture of InDesign that tells it to look for recovery data... even after a complete reinstall!

I am astounded and amazed.

After originally writing this post, I got some additional input from one of my favorite InDesign trainers and a fellow Geek: Anne Marie Concepcion:
"Though I don't think ID stores recovery files in more than one place (and it's not the Lock file). I think if you would've deleted the entire recovery folder that's inside your User > LIbrary > Caches > InDesign folder, and then restarted, that would've done the trick."
Note for Lion users: I recently upgraded to Lion and now the Library folder is hidden by default. Here are the instructions on how to access it in order to delete your recovery files.