Apple's Disk Utility program is the built-in drive and volume management tool for OS X that is included not just in the working OS X installation but also in the OS X installation and recovery volumes for an OS X system. While useful for checking system file permissions and fixing formatting errors, there are some instances where it may not properly manage some custom drive setups on iMac and Mac Mini systems.
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer Mac-related questions e-mailed in by our readers.
This week, readers wrote in asking about the potential drawbacks from using Little Snitch to block updates from XProtect, the media browser not properly handling Aperture libraries, the OS X Trash hanging when instructed to empty, and a problem with incoming network connection requests flashing too fast to make changes.
I welcome contributions from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Potential drawbacks from blocking XProtect updates MacFixIt reader Paul asks:… Read more
The Common Unix Printing System (CUPS) is a collection of utilities and background services (along with their configuration files) that OS X uses to manage printers attached to your Mac.
If you are having difficulty configuring your printers or even just printing to them in OS X, one thing to try is to reset the print system, which will clear out your printers and allow you to set them up again from scratch. This service may appear to only remove your printers, but it in fact does a number of checks on the system and restores configuration files to factory … Read more
Apple has released a firmware update for the Thunderbolt controllers in its Mac systems, which should address problems with using Target Disk Mode to mount a Mac's internal drive on another system as an external drive. Target Disk Mode is commonly used for troubleshooting hard-drive function, or when migrating data to a new Mac.
The update is a 1.22MB download that can be obtained by running the Software Update service in OS X (in the Apple menu), or by downloading it from Apple's Support Downloads Web site and applying it manually.
Though small, the update contains firmware … Read more
Menu extras in OS X are small menu bar additions that appear on the far right of the system menu; they include a number of built-in controls such as the volume, Wi-Fi, and date and time menus. Third-party developers can also create their own menu extras. I've written about managing menu bar additions before -- usually you can just hold the Command key and drag the menu extra off the menu bar to remove it. But sometimes, depending on the development method used to create it, the menu extra won't allow you to disable or delete it.
These … Read more
OS X is a multi-user platform, where each user account has its own settings and documents separate from those of other accounts, allowing for both customization differences but also for security and privacy. Not only do password requirements prevent other computer users from accessing one another's account data, but it can help deter unauthorized users from accessing the system.
While keeping the system secured with a log-in password is highly recommended for most cases, sometimes this password requirement can be a burden. For example, if you have a Mac set up as a kiosk presentation system or as a … Read more
Running Windows on your Mac's hardware makes it possible to run virtually any program, regardless of what platform it was coded for. While virtualization is a closer-to-seamless approach to this, Apple's built-in Boot Camp feature offers a quick way to set up Windows in a secondary partition. When you run the Boot Camp Assistant, the system will create a partition to use, and then install Windows from your installation media. However, when doing so you may run into a problem in which the Windows installer claims, "We couldn't create a new partition or locate an existing … Read more
When connected to a Wi-Fi hot spot, especially if the hot spot uses multiple access points and there are multiple networks in the vicinity, you may encounter a problem where your Mac keeps losing its network connection and then attempts to establish a connection with a network for which you do not have access.
Additionally, even after you have selected a working connection, if you put the system in sleep mode, restart it, or if you just temporarily lose your connection for some reason, the system will again attempt to connect to that network. Having to continually select your Wi-Fi … Read more
The default size of the mouse pointers in OS X should allow them to be viewable in most situations, but there could be some instances in which the cursor can be difficult to locate. For example, if you need to dim your screen, it might be difficult to find the pointer; and sometimes, optional pointers -- such as those for text input or crosshairs -- can become lost among the textures of images on the screen.
This might be especially true when using projectors and large-format displays, where the relatively small cursor can be difficult to locate.
While you can … Read more
A virtual private network, or VPN, is a method of securely connecting to a network from a remote location, and is commonly used in work environments. While some institutions require the use of third-party VPN client software, others allow the use of Apple's built-in VPN clients.
In these cases, you can choose to enable the VPN menu in the OS X menu bar, and can then use it to quickly establish a VPN connection. However, if you are regularly connecting to your VPN, you may choose to also implement a hot-key shortcut to speed things up a bit more.… Read more