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What was that?

All IDEs based on IntelliJ platform have a global setting telling whether to treat file systems as case-sensitive. The setting depends on OS: by default, Mac OS X and Windows are case-insensitive, Linux and friends are case-sensitive.

Unfortunately, life is never that simple. The warning you've seen means that on opening a project an IDE has performed a quick check and found you guilty that case-sensitivity of a file system, on which the project is located, doesn't match aforementioned setting.

Is it bad?

Well, this won't set your computer on fire, but certain undesired things may happen - missing files, undetected external changes, file cache conflicts and excessive indexing among them.

How to deal

You can either move your projects, or tell an IDE to change its mind.
For the latter add the following line to idea.properties file (see this article for details):

Use true if your projects are located on case-sensitive FS, false otherwise. Then choose File | Invalidate Caches and restart the IDE.

That's all?

Nope. Setting the global property is a temporary solution; vote/watch this issue to be notified when a permanent fix will be in place.

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15 Comments

  1. Best is not to add this to the IDE_HOME/bin/idea.properties directly since this will break the code signature of the app. You should copy the idea.properties from the IDE_HOME/bin/ to ~/Library/Preferences/<appFolder>/idea.properties and edit the copy.

    So for IntelliJ IDEA 14 this is: ~/Library/Preferences/IntelliJIdea14/idea.properties 
    For Android studio this is: ~/Library/Preferences/AndroidStudio/idea.properties 
    For android studio preview release 1.2 this is: ~/Library/Preferences/AndroidStudioPreview1.2/idea.properties 
    For App Code 3.1 this is: ~/Library/Preferences/appCode31/idea.properties (not sure why the first letter is lowercase and if this will change in the future).

    1. Breaking the code signature of the app means that you'll get (among other things) a prompt every startup asking whether or not it's OK to accept network connections.

      To fix this in the community edition of IDEA IntelliJ 14, the correct path for the properties file seems to be:

      Note that my comment (and Wessel's above) are specifically referring to Mac OS X.

  2. Since the application is able to detect the situation, I think it would be best if it did not require the setting, especially since different projects might be on different filesystems.

    1. I 100% agree with Harald's comment, but will offer that even if you wish to keep the system property, it would be great if there was a mechanism through which the pop-up warning could fix the installation itself, without requiring one to open the idea.properties file by hand.

  3. This also applies to Pycharm, in which case the paths are something like

    /Applications/PyCharm.app/Contents/bin/idea.properties

    and

    ~/Library/Preferences/PyCharm40/idea.properties

    on Mac OSX. Remember that Command+Shift+G in Finder will allow you to paste a file path and go there.

  4. Adding that line to idea.properties no longer seems to work in El Capitan. I have added it and invalidated numerous times this morning, and each time I open my project I am told it is a case-insensitive file system.

    Any help gratefully appreciated, indexing takes such a long time now - so far 20 minutes and only 1/4 of the way along the progress bar :(

    1. Richard,
      if you're told it is case-insensitive FS then you don't need the property at all (case-insensitive is the default on OS X).

      1. Sigh, thanks Roman.

        I obviously wasn't awake enough to read it properly. I reformatted when upgrading to El Capitan and apparently forgot to make my drive case sensitive! <shakes head>

        Cheers!

        Richard

      2. Oh boy now I have projects on two drives, one drive is case-sensitive and one which is not. 

        Sigh

  5. For PHPStorm on a Mac things are different:

    1. Go to user specific settings directory:
      - PHPStorm 8: ~/Library/Preferences/WebIde80
      - PHPStorm 9: ~/Library/Preferences/WebIde90
      - PHPStorm 10: ~/Library/Preferences/WebIde100
    2. Create the file "idea.properties" with the following line as content:
      idea.case.sensitive.fs=false
    3. Restart PHPStorm
  6. Just upgraded to PHP Storm 10.0.2 on my Mac OS 10.11.2 (El Capitan). The path that seemed to have any effect was  ~/Library/Preferences/PHPStorm100. After I created this path and started PhpStorm, this path got populated with a nubmer of files and directories. PHP Storm also appeared to have forgotten all of its settings, and I had to enter the license info again. There is a file 

    ~/Library/Preferences/PHPStorm100/IdeaIC14/idea.properties, that appears to be the one that needs editing. I added a line

    to this file. But it appears that PHPStorm 10.0.2 still does not pick it up and still gives me  a warning "The project seems to be located on a case-sensitive file system...." . Something is not working here, the instructions and paths need to be improved. Can someone from IntelliJ help with this issue? 

    1. Editing 

      /Applications/PhpStorm.app/Contents/bin/idea.properties directly seems to work and does not cause any problems related to signed app 

    2. If you are OS X user you may check the path that phpstorm/pycharm/any other jetbrains product is trying to find with the following command:

      After that run phpstorm and find in the output list of paths used by program to find your config.

      In my case the output is

       

      So, I should edit or create ~/Library/Preferences/WebIde100/idea.properties file.

  7. I'm working on the Android source code in a specifically case sensitive filesystem - because that's part of Android's build requirements - but normally I work on a native Mac case (ugh) insensitive system.

    Surely the correct behaviour is for IntelliJ to be able to cope with this on a global, project, and directory level.

  8. In the latest IntelliJ IDEA, go to Help -> Edit Custom Preferences... in the menu, and it will open the right file for editing. Don't edit any file under /Applications, it will be overwritten during the next software update.