In System Preferences, you have a few options in positioning the Dock. You can set it to reside along the bottom, right, or left edge of the display, and you set it to remain visible or hidden until you need it. By default, there's about a half-second delay for the hidden Dock to appear. I've never liked this delay; I frequently wait for iPhoto to spring to life, and there's always a delay when opening iTunes, so why do I need a delay for the Dock? To be sure, it's an admittedly short delay, but I'… Read more
Unlike previous versions of OS X that came on a separate installation disk, which could be used as a recovery and diagnostics tool, Lion is distributed through the Mac App Store and therefore does not have the option of a separate boot medium. To give people a similar option, the Lion installer creates a small "Recovery HD" partition that you can boot to by holding Command-R at startup.
This recovery partition is convenient, especially because it is faster than conventional optical media; however, some people may have problems with their systems either missing this partition, or having multiple … Read more
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.
This week people wrote in with questions about the options for performing a clean install of OS X Lion, restoring an iTunes library after formatting and reinstalling the OS, and whether virtual machines will be affected after reinstalling OS X. In addition, some people have wondered about Intuit getting other older PowerPC-based software packages running in Lion, and whether Address Book contacts can be shared among local user accounts. We welcome alternative approaches and views from readers, so if you have any suggestions, then post … Read more
Apple's FileVault technology is a method of automatically encrypting your files so you do not have to worry about data theft should your system be stolen. In its first iteration FileVault was just used to encrypt the user's home directory, but in OS X Lion Apple introduced a second-generation full-disk encryption scheme that has been dubbed FileVault 2.
Many people who are considering using FileVault 2 have been asking about questions such as whether or not the encryption is needed, and expressing concerns about its security.Is FileVault needed? This is perhaps one of the most common questions … Read more
Apple has released version 5.1.4 of its Safari Web browser, which addresses a number of bugs in the browser in OS X Lion, Snow Leopard, and Windows. The update should be available via Apple's Software Update utility, but can also be downloaded from the Safari Web site.
The update will be between 36MB and 48MB in size depending on the platform you are using, and will require the latest versions of either OS X Snow Leopard or Lion to install; the Windows versions require Windows XP SP2 or later.Safari 5.1.4 for Mac Safari 5.1.4 for Windows … Read more
When OS X Lion was released, Apple dropped all support for the PowerPC processor by removing the Rosetta dynamic translator that allowed PowerPC code to run on Intel-based Macs. Unfortunately this move did prevent a number of older software packages from running in Lion, with one of these being the popular Quicken 2007 personal finance software for OS X.
While Intuit has developed Quicken Essentials for OS X that uses Intel-native code, the program is missing a number of features from the older Quicken packages, making it an unattractive option for those who have heavily used Quicken in the past. … Read more
Apple historically has sold OS X through its Apple Store and third-party vendors on physical media and included a classical End User License Agreement that limited users to one installation of the software on one Apple-branded machine. Given that people own multiple Macs, Apple introduced family pack licenses with installations for up to five systems. This offered individuals with multiple Macs a discount for upgrading.
The availability of these past options have confused people about the licensing for Apple's latest OS X Lion, since it's available as an download from the Mac App Store instead of being distributed … Read more
With two new desktop operating systems on the horizon from the big hitters, you might be wondering how best to check them out. Microsoft's Windows 8 was just made available as a public preview, and Apple has released its own developer preview of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion to a select group of testers.
Unfortunately, as with any prerelease software, these previews are likely to be fraught with bugs and other details that must be tested and ironed out, so even if you have the option of installing these operating systems, you might not want to do so … Read more
When managing fonts in OS X, conflicts or faults in font files can result in a number of odd problems such as misaligned characters, garbled characters, and improper fonts being used when documents are displayed, converted, or printed. In addition, font problems can result in applications or even the system crashing or hanging.
These problems can happen if there are conflicts from old font files, duplicates of the same font file in different locations in the OS, or even missing fonts that ought to be installed and active in the system.
Generally font problems are not too common since most … Read more
Apple has released a supplemental update to OS X 10.7.3 that addresses problems some people have had when trying to use Time Machine to restore their Macs.
The update is a 24.55MB download that is available via Software Update, but can also be downloaded at the update's Web page and manually installed.
The update requires OS X 10.7.3 to install, so if you are running prior versions and are thinking about updating, you'll need to first update and then check Software Update again or manually apply this patch to ensure your system is … Read more