You can't open the application because it may be damaged or incomplete

tijiay

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 10, 2014
4
0
I have a MacBook Pro (early 2009), running El Capitan v. 10.11.6.

Automatic updates from the apple store were installed last night and this morning, every app I try to open won't. I get the message "You can't open the application because it may be damaged or incomplete."

I have a few files on my desktop, and if I click on them, the "damaged or incomplete" apps associated with them open just fine.

The update installed last night was "Security Update 2016-003 Supplemental Update, Version 10.11.6, Installed Jan 19, 2017"

This happened before (January 1st). Same scenario. Not sure what updates were installed then. A buddy helped me get things up and running. What we eventually did was: replace the hard drive and then copy back up files over from superduper and time machine.

All good for the past 2.5 weeks.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,373
2,212
Horsens, Denmark
I have a few files on my desktop, and if I click on them, the "damaged or incomplete" apps associated with them open just fine.
Peculiar. Try opening the apps by right clicking them and picking Open through the finder. Also try clicking "Show Package Contents" navigate to "MacOS" and start the app by opening the executable there. Never heard of or experienced this before, but it's an interesting problem. I recommend filing a bug report with Apple to hopefully prevent it from occurring again. Report back if the files could open doing it this way.

Also. Try running "fsck -fy" from single user mode.
1) While booting the computer, hold cmd+s
2) once the text is done spewing system stuff and is ready for commands, write the command up there ^ "fsck -fy"
3) Write "exit" to get out of single user mode. When you shut off the computer again, it'll do it in verbose mode, showing all the text again, so don't get freaked out :)
 

tijiay

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 10, 2014
4
0
Peculiar. Try opening the apps by right clicking them and picking Open through the finder. Also try clicking "Show Package Contents" navigate to "MacOS" and start the app by opening the executable there. Never heard of or experienced this before, but it's an interesting problem. I recommend filing a bug report with Apple to hopefully prevent it from occurring again. Report back if the files could open doing it this way.

Also. Try running "fsck -fy" from single user mode.
1) While booting the computer, hold cmd+s
2) once the text is done spewing system stuff and is ready for commands, write the command up there ^ "fsck -fy"
3) Write "exit" to get out of single user mode. When you shut off the computer again, it'll do it in verbose mode, showing all the text again, so don't get freaked out :)
Thank you for the suggestions. This is what I did:
(a) apps don't open in finder. It takes a long time for anything to do anything. When I clicked on the Applications folder, all that listed at first was the Utilities folder, which was empty. Going back later, everything seemed to be full populated. I clicked on a couple of different applications to open. No success.
(b) I clicked on "show package contents". The first time - nothing, then when I returned 20 minutes later, there was a "Contents" folder, but it was empty. Trying other apps didn't produce anything.
(c) I will try to figure out how to file a bug report for apple.
(d) I ran fsck -fy, but no difference in how my computer is operating.

I am grateful for your suggestions. If you have more, they are very welcome! Thank you for your help.

Tom
 

Sko

macrumors 6502
Oct 17, 2009
283
55
Germany
(a) apps don't open in finder. It takes a long time for anything to do anything. When I clicked on the Applications folder, all that listed at first was the Utilities folder, which was empty. Going back later, everything seemed to be full populated. I clicked on a couple of different applications to open. No success.
(b) I clicked on "show package contents". The first time - nothing, then when I returned 20 minutes later, there was a "Contents" folder, but it was empty. Trying other apps didn't produce anything.
This sounds so much like a dying hard drive. Backup everything right now, then clone to an external drive - if still possible - and try from there.

Edit: now I see you did already swap the drive, strange.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,373
2,212
Horsens, Denmark
This sounds so much like a dying hard drive. Backup everything right now, then clone to an external drive - if still possible - and try from there.
Yeah - With contents that are there sometimes and not others and generally hard to access, it seems like there are hard drive issues. Aside from that, if it isn't the issue, i can only recommend an OS reinstall, cause this is very funky behaviour if it's not the hard drive dying.
 

CoastalOR

macrumors 68030
Jan 19, 2015
2,582
944
Oregon, USA
It could be a failing internal drive SATA cable. It is not a uncommon problem for older MBPs. You can check ifixit.com for instructions on how to change the cable, cable part number and sometimes it can be ordered from them. It may be easier to just replace the cable than try to test it.

The typical way of testing:
boot from a external bootable drive and see if it works well
or
remove the internal drive, put it in an external enclosure, and boot from the external.

In both cases you're running the OS from the external, thereby removing the internal SATA cable from the equation. Unfortunately, running the OS from an external drive will be slower because of the performance of the external ports.
 

rockinmyshoe

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2012
27
0
It could be a failing internal drive SATA cable.
I don't think it is a hardware issue. I just experienced the same fault. I have the same MacBook Pro newer release.
Apple MacBook Pro - OS X El Capitan 10.11.6
I just completed a apple "Security update 2016-003 Supplemental Update" upon reboot all applications disappeared. Even System Preferences. But...... the App Store works fine. Interesting. Tried to open an installed App from there. Did not work. Next tried installing a App from the store and launching. Did not work.

I noted I can download OS X 10.11.6 (El Captain), will see if it can re-install. If not Maybe downloading Sierra to see if it will install. Interesting no apps work, but App Store does.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,373
2,212
Horsens, Denmark
I noted I can download OS X 10.11.6 (El Captain), will see if it can re-install. If not Maybe downloading Sierra to see if it will install. Interesting no apps work, but App Store does.
I have seen similar behaviour to what you're describing here, where the problem in fact was hardware, and was the SATA cable, albeit weird symptoms for it.
 

MacForScience

macrumors 6502
Sep 7, 2010
481
5
USA
Run SMART Utility if you can and check for a failing hard drive. Get yourself a copy of DiskWarrior and run that. Also check for a bad hard drive cable. What you are describing is classic bad hard drive. In SMART Utility you want to look for CRC errors as an indicator of bad cable. Otherwise general drive status is what you are looking for. Don't rule out bad hard drive just because the drive is relatively new.
 

jpete

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2017
12
7
07731
Not a failing hard drive! Actually, it might be - I have no way of knowing for sure, but I've been told this by Apple Care but it wasn't the case... TWICE. I'm on MacOS Sierra version 10.12.6. Try clearing cache files first - seriously! Go > Go to > /var/folders > find any folders except for zz (should be a couple or a few folders besides zz, such as l7, 0b, etc.) > then go into the folders until you get to the O, C, and T folders and clear them. Then empty your recycle bin and restart. You should see your app icons again and be able to open them.
 

RosieOsie

macrumors newbie
Jan 18, 2018
1
1
Not a failing hard drive! Actually, it might be - I have no way of knowing for sure, but I've been told this by Apple Care but it wasn't the case... TWICE. I'm on MacOS Sierra version 10.12.6. Try clearing cache files first - seriously! Go > Go to > /var/folders > find any folders except for zz (should be a couple or a few folders besides zz, such as l7, 0b, etc.) > then go into the folders until you get to the O, C, and T folders and clear them. Then empty your recycle bin and restart. You should see your app icons again and be able to open them.
I literally just made an account on this forum to thank you because it worked!!! I have a late 2011 MacBook pro, last week updated to High Sierra and this morning I woke up to all my app icons replaced with question marks, and pretty much all files either “damaged or incomplete”.
Clearing those cache files worked perfectly! Thank you :D
 
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jpete

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2017
12
7
07731
I literally just made an account on this forum to thank you because it worked!!! I have a late 2011 MacBook pro, last week updated to High Sierra and this morning I woke up to all my app icons replaced with question marks, and pretty much all files either “damaged or incomplete”.
Clearing those cache files worked perfectly! Thank you :D
[doublepost=1516325873][/doublepost]You're welcome! I'm so glad it was helpful.
 

cat_ass

macrumors newbie
Mar 3, 2018
1
0
Not a failing hard drive! Actually, it might be - I have no way of knowing for sure, but I've been told this by Apple Care but it wasn't the case... TWICE. I'm on MacOS Sierra version 10.12.6. Try clearing cache files first - seriously! Go > Go to > /var/folders > find any folders except for zz (should be a couple or a few folders besides zz, such as l7, 0b, etc.) > then go into the folders until you get to the O, C, and T folders and clear them. Then empty your recycle bin and restart. You should see your app icons again and be able to open them.
Just replaced an HDD with a SSD on a mid 2012 mbp and was getting the "damaged or incomplete" thing as well. I followed this advice blindly (had everything backed up so wasn't too worried about it) and it worked perfectly- care to explain (to an idiot) what those folders are and what I did by clearing them? just curious. Thanks for the help!
 

jpete

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2017
12
7
07731
Just replaced an HDD with a SSD on a mid 2012 mbp and was getting the "damaged or incomplete" thing as well. I followed this advice blindly (had everything backed up so wasn't too worried about it) and it worked perfectly- care to explain (to an idiot) what those folders are and what I did by clearing them? just curious. Thanks for the help!
You're welcome! So glad it helped. I'm an idiot too, btw. :D So my understanding is that these temp cache files can be corrupted, which in turn will disrupt links to all apps running on your Mac - no damage to any data or the apps themselves, just to the links that your Mac uses to access the apps. Don't know what the zz folder contains, but plenty of forums are devoted to figuring this out, unsuccessfully I might add.
 

Shahad

macrumors newbie
Mar 22, 2018
1
0
Not a failing hard drive! Actually, it might be - I have no way of knowing for sure, but I've been told this by Apple Care but it wasn't the case... TWICE. I'm on MacOS Sierra version 10.12.6. Try clearing cache files first - seriously! Go > Go to > /var/folders > find any folders except for zz (should be a couple or a few folders besides zz, such as l7, 0b, etc.) > then go into the folders until you get to the O, C, and T folders and clear them. Then empty your recycle bin and restart. You should see your app icons again and be able to open them.
OMG Thank you so much! I was about to format my iMac, you are the most wonderful person on the planet! I made this account just to thank you! You saved me time and effort thank you thank you
 

jpete

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2017
12
7
07731
OMG Thank you so much! I was about to format my iMac, you are the most wonderful person on the planet! I made this account just to thank you! You saved me time and effort thank you thank you
LOL, you're welcome - I'm glad you found the post and fixed your problem. Your reaction reminds me of my own relief when I realized I didn't have to take my iMac in for repairs while a project deadline loomed. Best of luck!
 

nicho

macrumors 68030
Feb 15, 2008
2,862
1,364
LOL, you're welcome - I'm glad you found the post and fixed your problem. Your reaction reminds me of my own relief when I realized I didn't have to take my iMac in for repairs while a project deadline loomed. Best of luck!
saved me hours of work too! thank you!
 

gimmeaipod

macrumors member
Jun 2, 2010
87
0
Not a failing hard drive! Actually, it might be - I have no way of knowing for sure, but I've been told this by Apple Care but it wasn't the case... TWICE. I'm on MacOS Sierra version 10.12.6. Try clearing cache files first - seriously! Go > Go to > /var/folders > find any folders except for zz (should be a couple or a few folders besides zz, such as l7, 0b, etc.) > then go into the folders until you get to the O, C, and T folders and clear them. Then empty your recycle bin and restart. You should see your app icons again and be able to open them.
Thank you, worked for me as well!!
 

angelitabcc

macrumors newbie
Jul 20, 2018
1
0
Not a failing hard drive! Actually, it might be - I have no way of knowing for sure, but I've been told this by Apple Care but it wasn't the case... TWICE. I'm on MacOS Sierra version 10.12.6. Try clearing cache files first - seriously! Go > Go to > /var/folders > find any folders except for zz (should be a couple or a few folders besides zz, such as l7, 0b, etc.) > then go into the folders until you get to the O, C, and T folders and clear them. Then empty your recycle bin and restart. You should see your app icons again and be able to open them.

Hi, I tried to follow your recommendations. There is just two folders p8 and zz, but it isn't impossible to delete p8, so still I can't open any application. Indeed my system was just restarted in an apple store because the operative system failed. I installed microsoft and I was re-installing my programs when I had the problem about the apps not opening because they are damage or incomplete... Do you have an idea about what to do, I have a deadline and I'm desperate....thank you
 

jpete

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2017
12
7
07731
Hi, I tried to follow your recommendations. There is just two folders p8 and zz, but it isn't impossible to delete p8, so still I can't open any application. Indeed my system was just restarted in an apple store because the operative system failed. I installed microsoft and I was re-installing my programs when I had the problem about the apps not opening because they are damage or incomplete... Do you have an idea about what to do, I have a deadline and I'm desperate....thank you
[doublepost=1532150670][/doublepost]Sorry to hear you're not having any luck. While I've never seen a p8 folder, I would still try, if you haven't already, to go into that p8 folder and try to find the O, C, and T folders. Clear those folders rather than trying to delete the p8 root folder. However, I will say that the fix that has worked for me typically involves cache clearing, not any activity during a re-install. Good luck though - I'm sorry but that's the extent of my ideas.