Generally, Apple releases reliable software that’s been properly tested and is bug free. Rival companies like Microsoft can’t exactly make that same claim. But everyone once in awhile, a major bug makes its way into one of Apple’s programs and leaves many people scratching their heads and calling tech support.
Users of Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro may have encountered the “Unable to Connect to Background Process” error when trying to submit video files to the Compressor utility. This is a common problem caused by older versions on the Compressor application being accidentally installed over a newer version. The only way to prevent this issue is to run custom installs of all of Apple’s Pro Applications and related updates and de-select Compressor. However, for many of us, it’s too late for that.
Apple is aware of the issue and has a support article on their website called Compressor – Cannot submit job from Batch Window. In the article they make some suggestions on how to fix this “Unable to Connect to Background Process” problem. Apple’s solutions are to trash preference files and reinstall everything.
Apple’s suggestions suck for several reasons:
- they are very time consuming
- don’t always work for every situation
- don’t address the real issue
The real issue has to do with the Compressor running as a background process. That’s why the error window says “Unable to Connect to Background Process.”
The best solution is to install a newer version of Compressor and overwrite any older software components. Compressor comes with Final Cut Studio. Upgrading to a newer version of Compressor is your BEST solution to this problem.
However, if you don’t feel like shelling out lots of money for the upgrade, here’s a solution that could fix several of the “Unable to Connect to Background Process” problems you might encounter.
WARNING: Only advanced users should attempt this. If you attempt this hack, you must be prepared to undo it!!! (see below for undo options). Don’t do this if you are on a tight deadline or in the middle of a major project.
- Click on the Finder icon in your Dock
- Select “Go to folder” from the Go menu. (Go > Go to Folder)
- Type “/etc/” (without the quotes) and press return
- Find the “hostconfig” file and COMMAND drag a copy to your desktop.
- Rename the file to “hostconfig.old”
- Drag the “hostconfig.old” file back into the etc folder. You may be prompted for an admin username and password.
- Restart your computer
- Open Compressor and submit a batch.
Hopefully Compressor should work fine now.
If your computer restarts in Command Line Mode, you can rename the “hostconfig.old” file back to “hostconfig” from the Command Line if you don’t have a Journaled hard drive.
Just do the following:
- type “mount -u -w root_device” at the prompt (without the quotes)
- press enter
- type “cd /etc”
- press enter
- then type “sudo mv hostconfig.old hostconfig”
- press enter
- provide your admin password if asked
- type “reboot” and your done
The other undo option is to connect a second computer to the problem machine with a Firewire cable. Restart the problem machine and hold down the “T” key to boot it in Target Mode. The problem machine will mount as an external hard drive. Go into the computer and rename the “hostconfig” file and restart.
Good luck! Maybe someday Apple will fix this problem.