If you are concerned about your Mac starting to run slow or become unstable, you may have looked into regularly running maintenance routines to clear caches, log files, and other temporary items from your system. You may have even seen advertisements for programs that automate these tasks. While such routines can be beneficial if a system is experiencing slowdowns, and should not adversely affect the system if implemented correctly, there is potential for something to go awry. This is especially true if you use an outdated version of these software packages that may have a bug or two in it.… Read more
If you purchase an external drive for your Mac, you might be doing so to free up space on your boot drive, or to provide a central and unrestricted area for all user accounts to access. While this is a common and often recommended practice, if you simply purchase an external drive, plug it in, and start using it, you might be overlooking a detail that could result in slower performance or even data loss.
When you purchase an external hard drive to use with your Mac, it is likely going to be formatted with a FAT32 file system. Since … Read more
The included Recovery partition in OS X Lion and Mountain Lion provides tools for repairing a damaged hard drive, restoring from backup, and reinstalling OS X if needed, among other options. If your system needs any of these tasks performed, then you can usually load the Recovery partition by holding Command-R at startup. However, there may be times when this will not work, and instead of loading the recovery tools the system boots to the standard OS X installation.
If you find you cannot load the OS X Recovery partition, then there are several things you can look into as … Read more
To partition and format a disk in OS X, you generally open Disk Utility, select the disk in the tool's sidebar, and click use the Partition tab to select and apply a partition scheme; however, there may be times when this will not work, and Disk Utility will give you an error such as the disk cannot be unmounted, or that the resource is busy.
Sometimes when errors like this occur, it suggests the drive may be failing; however, this is not always the case. At other times, the drive may simply be experiencing some partition table troubles or … Read more
With its comprehensive features, good design, and easy-to-use menu, VirtualLab Data Recovery for Mac offers a great tool for those who need to restore files and drives. With its additional ability to recover iPods and partition drives, the program incorporates nearly everything a user would need for recovery.
Upon startup, VirtualLab Data Recovery for Mac guides the user on how to start their first recovery by pointing them to the recovery modules on the left. The program also gives the link to its user guide for those who might need it, but most won't with the program's well-designed … Read more
Disk Utility's format- and partition-checking routines can be run from various locations in OS X, such as within the main boot drive, from the recovery partition, or when using an alternative boot drive. You can also load your system into Safe Mode (holding Shift at startup), where similar routines will be run automatically.
These approaches to verifying the drive and partition tables should all show the same results, but this may not always be the case. In some cases, one routine such as using Disk Utility on the boot drive will show the drive as being perfectly fine, but … Read more
When you boot OS X or attach a hard drive, the system will automatically try to mount any available volumes so you can access or format them for use. However, there may be times when you don't wish this to happen.
For example, if you have a dual-boot setup such as OS X 10.7 on one partition and OS X 10.8 on another, then you may wish to prevent one boot volume from being easily modified and perhaps corrupted when you are in the other operating system.
To do this, you will need to make use of … 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
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 inability to format a drive due to "partition map" errors, how to determine what is using up space rapidly on the hard drive, how to restore a missing Safari program, and the options for tackling an iMac that continually shuts off in the middle of use. I welcome contributions from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Unable to format a … Read more
A full-featured disk management utility is something most experienced Windows users need, whether it's to add and format a new hard drive, configure a USB drive, or copy partitions or whole drives and move them to new drives. MiniTool Partition Wizard is a powerful but easy-to-use partition manager that does all that and much more, and it's free, too. It supports FAT, NTFS, EXT, and Linux Swap file systems, and all hard-disk types recognized by Windows, including RAID arrays. It's also compatible with both MBR and GPT partition tables. Partition Wizard supports hard disks of up to … Read more