When you share files and other services from your Mac on the local network, the systems on the network will use your computer's name to distinguish it from others that are available. In general, computers usually have unique names, but if the system detects the name is already in use then it will dynamically assign a sequential number to itself so network services may still be used. For example, if you purchase a new computer and call it "My Mac" similar to your old one, then it will rename itself "My Mac (2)" and appear … Read more
For those of you who own one of Apple's new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro systems that were released in June, Apple has made a software update available. The update is around 127MB in size and includes bug fixes and performance enhancements for the systems' graphics, and their ability to communicate with some USB devices.
While Apple didn't reveal the specific problems addressed by this update, recently a few owners of the new MacBooks have reported noticing flashing displays when waking the system, washed-out or high-contrast colors when using external displays, and odd graphical artifacts when using some … Read more
While slowdowns in a Mac system are likely caused by errors, be it corruption in the file system or a similar problem that ought to be addressed, over time as program and OS developments demand more out of a system, you may find an older system simply does not seem to keep up. While the system may not severely bog down, you might find many tasks begin to take a little longer. While purchasing a new system is one solution to this problem, it often is not a feasible or even necessary option.
In many cases, older systems do have … Read more
Often when saving and managing files you may need to quickly access certain folders. In OS X, in general, user folders are located within your home directory, and the standard way of accessing them is to open a new Finder window and navigate to the desired location. However, there are some perhaps quicker alternatives. Not only does the Finder offer some shortcuts for getting to favorite folders, but there are some additional ways in OS X such as accessing recent items and using hot keys coupled with custom services to quickly open directories.
Finder default location In prior versions of … Read more
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.
This week, readers wrote in with questions about MacBook systems not booting on battery power, how to deal with advertisements in Safari, how to restrict printing with an administrator password in OS X, and fonts not displaying properly in Apple's Font Book utility. I welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Laptops not booting when on battery power MacFixIt reader Robin asks:I have two MacBooks, but they … Read more
In the past month a new multiplatform malware package called Jacksbot has been discovered, and while it was initially deemed a minimal threat, it might not stay that way for some Mac, Windows, and Linux users.
Jacksbot is in part a Java-based remote access Trojan (RAT) that appears to be built by a hacking group for the purpose of causing all-too-common malicious activity, including stealing passwords, forcing URLs to load (likely for click fraud), deleting and corrupting files, taking screenshots, logging keystrokes, and otherwise getting personal information.
Java is an attractive platform for criminals to use because being cross-platform means … Read more
FileVault, in OS X Lion and later, is part of a volume management technology called CoreStorage, which includes a full-disk encryption option that functions underneath the operating system, allowing it to be transparent to the operating system's functions and encrypt all data on the drive. This is a convenient way to secure OS X, but in order to work, it does need to have an unencrypted section of the drive that it uses to store the encryption keys for unlocking the drive.
Any drive encrypted with FileVault will have a small hidden partition that contains these keys, and for … Read more
With Apple's firmware password feature on Mac systems you can lock down the options to select an alternative startup disk, boot to Safe or Single User modes, reset the PRAM, and otherwise start the system in ways that can bypass the security features of OS X.
However, as a security measure the firmware password has been met with some criticism because it could easily be bypassed by someone who has physical access to the system. In earlier Intel-based Macs the firmware password was stored in the PRAM of the system, and was simply read by the system's EFI … Read more
When using current programs on your Mac to manage files generated from an older system, you may run into some errors in which the libraries and services used in the current program cannot properly interpret details of the files. This usually results in a formatting issue similar to a missing font, but it can also result in crashes or hangs.
Recently MacFixIt reader John wrote in regarding such an issue:I have been trying to work with some PowerPoint presentations in Keynote in order to covert them to a Keynote presentation. I keep receiving an error that PICTD has quit. … Read more
After performing an upgrade or other major system modification, sometimes people experience odd mouse input behavior on their OS X systems. In some cases the system may show a sudden change in speed and acceleration properties of the mouse, and at other times the mouse may appear more or less sensitive to clicks, where single clicks may result in double clicks, or where double clicks may not register.
Unfortunately these behaviors are rare and different enough that there is no single cause and direct solution available for affected users. However, in most situations a configuration error with specific software or … Read more