Compressor hatred. Resolved?

As mentioned in an earlier post or two, I hate Apple’s Compressor. Not because it doesn’t compress well but because it suddenly stops working and will not submit a batch to be processed. The earlier version would see errors like: unable to connect to background processes. The current version (v.3.0.x running under Leopard) might produce this one: Unable to submit to queue. Please restart your computer or verify your Compressor installation is correct. Maybe this hasn’t happened to you. Consider yourself lucky as there’s a lengthy fix from Apple that doesn’t always work.

After having this happen for the 5th time I did a lot of research on how to repair the problem. I’ve tried Apple’s troubleshooting guide only to have it not work on 2 occasions. The easiest fix, a terminal command, didn’t work for me after the upgrade to Final Cut Studio 2 with Compressor 3. What did finally work? A combination of the Apple troubleshooting guide, a reply in this thread and a little application called Pacifist.

First, I did what Apple suggested in the troubleshooting guide: confirm versions and computer’s name in Sharing, delete user preferences and repair permissions. Then comes the process of removing Compressor, Qmaster, the Batch Monitor and all of their supporting files. I say all of them as there are a lot of files to be removed including a number of files in hidden folders. If I knew how to write applications I might write one that automated this process because it takes a while. It also asks you to trash Motion as well, so I did. Then instead of a normal reinstall from the Final Cut Studio disks I skipped over to a step found in this support forum thread suggested by a user named Jason Toth. It uses Pacifist to look in the installer package on the FCS install disk and selectively install just what you need:

From the support forum thread:

Download PACIFIST.

1) Insert your FCS 2 Disk
2) Open up Pacifist
3) In Pacifist… open the FCS 2 install package
4) Once opened find… “Contents of AppleQmaster” select it
5) Click the install icon in the upper left… it will verify the files
6) Once verify completes install BUT make sure you use the REPLACE button
7) Once completed do the same thing for the “Contents of Compressor” Package
8) Open up the compressor application then close compressor
9) Use software update to get compressor to version 3.0.1
10) Grab a beer.

I did what was suggested with a couple of exceptions:


I twirled down the Content of MotionGroup package and selected only the Contents of Motion.pkg and not the 7.8 gigs of Motion content as that is already on the drive. I then selected the Contents of Compressor and Contents of AppleQmaster and hit Install. As mentioned in the forum reply, when prompted by Pacifist I had it “replace” instead of just install the contents just to make sure it wiped everything out once and for all. Once you get rolling it’s a quick install as everything is on the first install DVD. You do have to do the DVD-swap-dance when you tell Pacifist to first open the package by inserting each Final Cut Studio DVD and letting Pacifist read the disk but it is a quicker install that I experienced when doing it the “normal” way. Once the install was done I did a software update to get to Compressor 3.0.2 and viola:


Will it work forever? Will it break next time I click the mouse button? Who knows. I’ve had to reboot a couple of times as well as a shut down when a storm came through and as of this writing it’s still working. Let’s hope this fixes it once and for all. If it doesn’t I’ve always got the address for Episode Pro. Or Squeeze. Or BitVice. Or MPEG Streamclip. Or VisualHub.