Frequently asked questions

Please note, this FAQ list is for previous versions of Growl. You may also benefit from the newer list here.

Questions Problems

What is Growl, anyway?

Growl is a notifications system. When something happens in one of your applications, that app can tell Growl, which will then turn around and tell you.

The advantage of this is that you can configure how Growl tells you when things happen. You can have it show a bubble that fades in and out, or play a sound, or read the notification to you, or even send you an email message. You can even have Growl ignore any notifications of specific types—it's all up to you.

For more information, see our About page.

Growl doesn't work!

Cause #1: You have more than one copy of Growl installed

Older versions of Growl allowed you to install it in either your Home folder's Library, or in the Library at the root level of your hard disk. Nowadays, our Installer package only allows you to install it at the root level.

The downside to this is that if you upgraded from an old version that you'd installed in your Home folder, you can end up with two copies of Growl installed, which can confuse some applications and older versions of the Growl framework, and cause them to use the wrong Growl—which, when it sees that another Growl is already running, will exit without showing the notification.

We've fixed this for 1.1.3, but either way, you should make sure that you only have one copy of Growl installed. If nothing else, this will keep your system efficent; you don't want to have an unnecessary Growl process starting and stopping every time something posts a notification.

Cause #2: Logitech Control Center version 2.4

If you're using Logitech Control Center version 2.4, then that's the most likely cause of the problem.

Logitech Control Center includes a program called LCC Scroll Enhancer, along with an Input Manager hack to load the Scroll Enhancer into every program you run. The problem is that, in version 2.4, the Scroll Enhancer has a bug that breaks a number of applications, including TextMate, CrossOver Games, and Growl.

The solution is to upgrade to version 2.5 or later.

Growl sure uses a lot of memory!

To check Growl's memory usage, launch Activity Monitor, which is in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder at the root level of your hard disk, then type GrowlHelperApp into the search field.

Assuming that Growl is running, the search will match exactly one process, which is the one you're interested in.

The number for Real Memory should not be more than 50 MB, and is usually less. As you'll see when you run Activity Monitor, this is typical for most applications.

OK, it's using more than 50 MB. What do I do?

First, make sure you're using the current version of Growl. Go into the Growl preference pane and click the “Check Now” button on the About tab.

Second, try a different display style. Some styles are based on WebKit, which means that every notification window is a little web page. Others are pure Cocoa. If you're using a WebKit-based style, try one of the Cocoa-based styles instead.

  • AboveTheNight
  • Candybars
  • Crystal
  • NotifyOS9
  • NotifyOSX
  • Plain
  • Pseudo-Coda
  • Bezel
  • Brushed
  • iCal
  • MailMe
  • Music Video
  • Nano
  • Smoke
  • SMS
  • Speech

Smoke is the style that Growl uses by default. Also, if it's not on the above list, it doesn't come with Growl, and there's a good chance that it's WebKit-based. (One more thing: MailMe, SMS, and Speech are not visual displays, so they are not replacements for WebKit-based styles.)

Growl dumps a lot of .growlRegDict files in my Trash!

The situation: Every time you log in to or start up your Mac, you find that your Trash contains a Recovered items folder, which, in turn, contains a bunch of .growlRegDict files.

The most likely cause of this is that you have more than one copy of Growl installed. Look in both of these locations:

  • The PreferencePanes folder in the Library folder in your Home folder
  • The PreferencePanes folder in the Library folder at the root level of your hard disk

Current versions of Growl only allow you to install it at the latter location, but older versions let you choose either one. So, if you upgraded from an older version of Growl, you may still have it in your Home Library.

The safest solution is to look in both locations, and delete whichever Growl is older. This will probably be the one in your Home Library.

Hey, can you add support for application XYZ?

No, we can't. It's not that we don't want to; we really can't.

You see, Growl does not (and cannot) actively seek out information about things happening; it waits for the information to come to it. It comes in the form of notifications: Applications tell Growl when something happens.

This means that if an application doesn't have Growl support, it won't tell Growl anything—which means that you won't get notifications from that application.

So you need to ask the developers of that application to add Growl support. There's nothing we can do about it.

How do I add an application to the list in the Growl Preferences?

You don't. Applications register themselves with Growl; you don't have to do anything and you can't do anything. If an application doesn't register, then it isn't communicating with Growl at all, and you registering it yourself would not make a difference.

Some applications don't show up in the list because they require other software in order to support Growl. Here's a handy table:


The adapters that are included with Growl are in the Extras folder on the Growl disk image.

These applications (particularly the ones above) show up in the Applications list under their own names. You'll probably never see “Mail” or “Safari” in the list: you'll see “GrowlMail” or “GrowlSafari” instead, because that's the name of the adapter program.

If you're using another program that claims to support Growl and it doesn't show up, look around in its Preferences. A few programs make you turn on an option to use Growl. If you find no such option, or you find one and it's on, contact the application's developers.

The ultimate test is to use the Simplest Notifier Evar. This is a very tiny app that does only one thing: Sends a Growl notification. We know for a fact that it supports Growl and works correctly.

If one application you have doesn't work with Growl, and the Simplest Notifier Evar does work, then the problem is with the other application, and you should contact its developers. If neither application can get a notification through, then the problem is with Growl, and you should contact us.

Why does GrowlMenu use 8 GB of memory?

It doesn't.

You're almost certainly talking about the “VSIZE” number in top (or, on Leopard, the “Virtual Memory” number in Activity Monitor). That number is nearly meaningless; it includes much more memory than what the application has actually allocated. Specifically, it indicates the full size of the process's address space, not how much of that space it's actually using.

GrowlMenu, starting in version 1.2, uses the garbage collection feature introduced in Leopard. The garbage collector reserves 8 GB of address space for future use, but it does not allocate the memory. Thus, it gets counted under VSIZE, but GrowlMenu is not actually using it, and does not have that memory allocated to it. (The vmmap tool will show the memory as “unallocated”.)

In simple terms, GrowlMenu 1.2's address space (on 64-bit Macs) is over 8 GB, but there's an 8 GB hole in the middle. This is just how the garbage collector works; it is not a problem and not a bug in either the GC or GrowlMenu.

The above also applies, to a lesser extent, to GrowlMenu's “VPRVT” (“Virtual Memory” in Snow Leopard's Activity Monitor) as well. That number will be hundreds of MB, but does not accurately reflect how much memory GrowlMenu is really using.

The amount of memory GrowlMenu really uses is much, much less. Look at the “Real Memory” number in Activity Monitor (“RSIZE” in top). It should be no more than a dozen MB.

Why does Growl have an update every day?

It doesn't.

Assuming that you have updated and are still getting update notifications, the most likely cause of this problem is that you have multiple copies of Growl installed, and the one that is running (and shows up in System Preferences) is an old one.

One likely cause of this is that Dropbox installed the older Growl on your system without your permission.

The solution is to uninstall Growl (which should take both of them out) and, if you want Growl, reinstall the current version. Both the uninstaller and the Installer package are on the disk image that you can get from our front page. The uninstaller is also available separately on our page about applications installing Growl without your permission.

If you continue to have this problem after uninstalling (and reinstalling, if you do that), please contact us; we can help you troubleshoot from there.

Adium isn't posting Growl notifications!

By default, current versions of Adium are configured to use Growl if it's available. So, first, make sure that your Adium is up-to-date. You can do this by checking the Adium website.

If your Adium is up to date, make sure that it really is set up to post Growl notifications. The Adium website has instructions on configuring Growl in Adium.

Finally, make sure that Growl's own preferences are set to allow Adium to post notifications. You may have disabled one or more of Adium's notifications, or the entire application, and forgotten it. You can check this in the Growl preference pane, on its Applications tab.

The Installer says “Install Failed”. Why?

Please send us a full-detail Installer log:

  1. Attempt the installation and get it to fail.
  2. Choose “Installer Log” from the Window menu.
  3. In the Installer Log window, change the detail level to “Show All Logs”. The easiest way to do this is to press ⌘3.
  4. Click the Save button.
  5. Send that file as an email attachment to the Growl discussion group.

I finally got it to install, but the prefpane still says 1.1.2!

This happened when you installed Growl 1.1.2 to the PreferencePanes folder in the Library folder in your Home folder, then installed a later version to the PreferencePanes folder in the Library folder at the root level of your hard disk. You'd have two Growl prefpanes installed, and the one in the Home folder always takes precedence.

The 1.1.2-that-won't-die problem was a defect in our installer package for 1.1.3. We fixed it in 1.1.4, so please make sure you are installing the current version.

Is Growl compatible with Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard?

  • Growl: Yes.
  • Growl preference pane: Yes.
  • GrowlMail: Usually, yes.
  • Growl framework (for developers): Yes. Versions 1.2.1 and later are also 64-bit-compatible.

One complication is Cocoa-based displays for Growl (.growlView plug-ins) that are 32-bit only. If you've written such a display, please make and release a new, 64-bit-clean version.