Apple PowerBook G4 (15-inch, 1.67/1.5GHz) User manual

The Tekserve Mac FAQ
Mac OS X 10.5 & 10.6
Tenth Edition / Mac OS X 10.5 & 10.6
Tricks and troubleshooting tips for many topics including:
• Crashes and kernel panics
• Computer slow-downs
• Backing up your data with or without Time Machine
• Getting online and AirPort
• Upgrading or reinstalling Mac OS X
• Passwords
• Plus hundreds more questions are answered at
Tekserve Staff Writers: Ben Casey, Sonia Deepak, Aaron Freimark,
Lorna Perry, and Mike Swedene
119 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 929-3645
Printed in Canada
Tenth Edition Mac
Edited By David Lerner and Jazmin Hupp
Tekserve is New York’s largest independent Apple store and service
facility. Tekserve has been serving the local New York City community
for over 20 years, offering the newest family of Macs, iPods, the iPad,
plus the City’s best selection of accessories, cases, bags, and gear.
Tekserve also offers while-you-wait configuration; service and repairs;
software; professional audio, video, and graphic solutions; rentals;
seminars; training; data recovery; on-site service; and good advice.
The Tekserve Mac FAQ / Tenth Edition
The thousands of Mac users that visit Tekserve each week
have one thing in common; every one has at least one
question about using their Mac. The Tekserve Mac FAQ is
our compilation of the most popular questions and the
best tips to keep your Mac running smoothly.
Edited By David Lerner and Jazmin Hupp
The Tekserve Mac FAQ
Edited by David Lerner and Jazmin Hupp
The Tekserve Mac FAQ
10th Edition
Edited by David Lerner and Jazmin Hupp
Updates Contributed by Ben Casey, Sonia Deepak, Aaron Freimark,
Lorna Perry, and Mike Swedene
Copyright 2010 David Lerner. All rights reserved.
Printed in Canada.
Published by Tekserve Corporation 119 W. 23rd St, New York City, NY.
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Where Do I Go for Help?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
When Should I Bring My Computer to Tekserve? . . . . . . . . . . 5
Spills. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
I Can’t Start My Mac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Special Thanks to Mike Edl and Andrea Suarez
Crashes, Freezes, and Kernel Panics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the
publisher, authors, and contributors assume no responsibility for errors
or omissions, or for dangers resulting from the use of the information
contained herein.
Annoyances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Get Ahead by Backing Up. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Upgrading and Reinstalling Mac OS X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Passwords. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
A Full Hard Drive is an Unhappy Hard Drive . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
FireWire Target Disk Mode. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Getting Online and AirPort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Tekserve: New York’s Old Reliable Mac Shop . . . . . . . . . . . 55
The Tekserve Mac FAQ
The first Tekserve Mac FAQ was published in 1998 with 25 pages on
floppy disk drive repairs, SCSI woes, and Apple bombs. Over the
last 12 years, the technology has changed but most of our basic advice hasn’t. We’re still teaching customers how to back up
their computers (page 23), what to do if liquid is spilled on their
laptops (page 10), and how to troubleshoot slow applications (page
20). Although these are timeless lessons of computer ownership,
we’ll be the first to admit that computers have gotten a lot more
complicated since we started.
Our advice for Mac users has grown tremendously, as we’ve
expanded to serve the thousands of customers who visit us every
week. With 200 employees, we have specialists in every field from
Pro Tools to iPad accessories, and a huge knowledge base. In 1998,
our 128kbps ISDN connection was something to brag about.
Today, the Internet is the first resource we check when something
goes wrong with our gadgets.
In the interest of saving more than a few trees, only the first part
of our advice has been printed in this edition. Everything else
is available on our website at There, you’ll
find hundreds of additional questions about getting the most out of
your Mac or iPod’s battery, sharing files with Windows users, printer
troubleshooting, avoiding Spam, recognizing viruses, and much
more. You can also download the previous nine editions, with our
advice for earlier operating systems (Mac OS 8 to Mac OS X 10.4)
and older machines.
This print edition covers the basics of caring for your Mac and how
to troubleshoot anything that would prevent you from going online
to find an answer on We start with Where
Do I Go For Help? on page 3 and When Should I Bring my
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Computer to Tekserve? on page 5.
The next few sections deal with problems you may encounter,
starting with the most critical (I Can’t Start My Mac on page 11),
the simply serious (Crashes, Freezes and Kernel Panics on page
17), and the just frustrating (Annoyances on page 19).
Next we cover a few major Mac ownership tasks with Get Ahead By
Backing Up on page 23, Upgrading and Reinstalling Mac OS X
on page 37, and dealing with Passwords on page 43.
Finally we cover the last two topics that might prevent you from
accessing our FAQ online with A Full Hard Drive is an Unhappy
Hard Drive on page 46, and Getting Online and AirPort on page
We cover the most common questions from new and experienced
Mac users, but you might have one to add to future versions of this
guide. If you think the answer to your question might be useful to
other Mac users, please send your suggestion to
Where Do I Go for Help?
Sonia Deepak, Tekserve Staff
What about Apple’s own support?
Consumer Reports consistently rates Apple as having the best support in the business. One place you can see that is at their website, There is a wealth of good and accessible
information, and you can drill pretty deep. (But they know to start
What if the Apple website didn’t help?
Most new Apple products come with a one-year hardware
warranty, and 90 days of free telephone support.
AppleCare for computers and displays extends the phone support and hardware coverage to three years from the purchase date.
iPods come with only a single support call during the first 90 days,
and there’s a $30 shipping and handling fee for hardware repairs
Where Do I Go for Help?
after six months. AppleCare extends your iPod support and
hardware coverage to two years from the purchase date (with no
shipping and handling fee). If you are entitled to phone support, call (800) APL-CARE, aka
(800) 275-2273.
How do I check my Apple warranty or AppleCare coverage?
Visit with your product’s serial number.
If you aren’t sure how to find your serial number, search for article
HT1349 at
how to access apple support articles
Throughout this book, we’ll refer to Apple support articles by
their six-digit code (e.g. HT1349). To read any article, visit and enter the code into the support search
field. The correct article should be one of the first search results.
Apple couldn’t help, or said it was a “third-party” issue. Now
If it is a “third-party” issue, try to contact the manufacturer or
publisher of the item or check their website. If that doesn’t help,
we always recommend Google. Type the whole question into the
Google search box. If you’re getting a error message, type in the
first line of the error message. We do find complete nonsense on the
Internet, so raise your shields!
Does Tekserve offer telephone support?
We haven’t found a way to provide great phone support to individuals, so we don’t offer it. We’re sorry. If you call, we’re probably going
to tell you to bring it in for us to check it out in person. You can also
find answers to more questions at
Tekserve Managed Services offers our business customers instant
access to our professional technical support staff by phone, email,
and the web. Please call us for more info.
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
How do I get someone to come to my office or home to help me
with the problem?
Tekserve offers on-site Professional Services starting at around $240
for troubleshooting and set-up. We offer on-site training lessons
starting at $119. Call us at (212) 929-3645 to learn more or book
an appointment.
My Mac just died and I need a computer ASAP!
Tekserve not only repairs Apple computers, we rent and sell them
too. Whatever you need, we’ll keep you working with a low-cost
rental or by transferring your information to a new Mac.
When Should I Bring My Computer
to Tekserve?
Lorna Perry, Tekserve Staff
Most repairs fall into one of two categories:
Software Repairs
Software repairs are required when an application, data, or your
operating system is having a problem. For example you can’t open a
file or an application keeps crashing (quitting unexpectedly). These
repairs are usually not covered under warranty and can often be
solved at home. Try calling AppleCare at (800) 275-2273 if you’ve
purchased it for your computer, or try checking Tekserve’s support
database at to solve your problem first. If the
problem is with a specific application, check the manufacturer’s
website for software updates or support. If those resources can’t solve
your problem, backup your computer and bring it into Tekserve.
Or you may also call our Professional Services group to schedule a
Tekserve engineer to visit you.
Hardware Repairs
If your computer is having an electrical, mechanical, or physical
problem we can give you a free estimate for the best solution. If the
When Should I Bring My Computer to Tekserve?
computer and its problem are covered by Apple Warranty, an Apple
Repair Extension, or AppleCare, Apple will pay. If your computer is
out of warranty, we can get it up and running again (or advise you if
it might be time to move on to a new one). We’ll do our best to get
you in and out in 30 to 45 minutes. It can take longer on weekdays
after 5 p.m. and weekends.
What should I do before I bring my computer in for repair?
Make notes about the problem(s) you are having. When a
problem occurs, write a note with the time, what you were
doing on the computer, and exactly what happened (error
messages, odd sounds, shut-down, etc.) If you can, it might
help to take a picture of your computer’s screen with a camera
phone. Or you can save a screen shot to your Mac’s desktop by
pressing command-shift-3.
Back up your computer (if you can). If you are unable to back
up your computer, Tekserve can usually do so for an additional
charge. Many failures and repairs don’t affect the hard drive or
your data, but without a backup you will not be able to access
your data until the repair is completed. See “How to Create A
Bootable Clone Backup” on page 29 for details.
(Optional) If your computer’s password is confidential, change it. We will need to know your administrative password for many repairs, so you may want to temporarily change it. See “How can I change my system
password if I know my current password?” on page 45 for
Bring your power adapter with your portable computer,
Apple display, or Mac mini. We don’t need any cables for other
desktop Macs. Unless the problem you are experiencing is
related to the mouse or keyboard, you don’t need to bring those
with you.
How do I avoid activation problems with iTunes, Adobe
Creative Suite, or Final Draft after the repair?
Before major repairs, you should deactivate any applications that
required online activation when you installed them. If you forget,
you may have to contact the software manufacturer to reset your
iTunes Store: Under the Store menu choose Deauthorize Computer.
After the repair, choose Authorize Computer to play your iTunes
Music Store purchases again. You can authorize up to five different
computers at a time. If you forgot to deauthorize your computer
before the repair, you can reset your authorizations once a year. See article HT1420 for details.
Adobe Creative Suite 2 or later: Go to the Help menu to deactivate
any Adobe software that you have installed. Call Adobe at (800)
833-6687 if you have problems.
Final Draft: While connected to the Internet, choose Deactivate
from the Help menu. Call (818) 789-6281 if you have problems.
Do I need to make an appointment?
We know you can’t predict when you might need help so there are
no service appointments you have to book in advance. Please come
on by; we are open seven days a week. We suggest that you come at
least half-an-hour before our closing time. We do close (or shorten
our hours) on a few holidays, you can check
for store hours and directions.
How much do you charge for an estimate?
We will do an initial evaluation and give you an estimate for free.
Of course, it is an ESTIMATE. A technician may need to revise the
estimate when they get inside the Mac. Sometimes the repair turns
out to cost less than we estimated.
Spills and accidental damage are the main reasons for having to give
a revised estimate on a repair. So if we take apart your portable and
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
When Should I Bring My Computer to Tekserve?
find the food, smell the wine, or see the electrolytic corrosion, we’ll
have to call you back and give you a new estimate.
you as to the best course to take based on your individual circumstances.
How long will the repair take?
My peripheral device isn’t working (printer, scanner, external
hard drive, etc.) Can Tekserve help?
This varies quite a bit. In general, if we can complete the repair
within half-an-hour and we have the part in stock, we’ll do it while
you wait. If we are replacing a functioning hard drive with a larger
one and transferring the data (or installing a new drive with no
data transfer), we can do it in 24 hours (weekdays). Otherwise, we
usually estimate three to five business days. We offer flat-rate
computer rentals during a Tekserve repair; currently $79 for an iPad,
$99 for a 13” MacBook, $199 for a 15” MacBook Pro, and $299
for a Mac Pro.
What if I can’t back up my data (files)?
Many failures and repairs don’t affect the hard drive or the data,
although you will not be able to access your data until the repair is
done. If you were unable to back up the Mac yourself and need the
data while we are fixing the computer (or just feel better having a
backup) we can help. One of the services we offer is to remove the
hard drive from a broken computer and back up the data, usually to
an external hard drive.
What if the data is very important but Tekserve can’t back up
the computer?
Sometimes the problem is the hard drive itself, or the directory
structures that allow data to be read from the drive. If you want the
data on the computer, but there is a problem with the hard drive or
the hard drive directory, we can perform a data recovery. We charge
a flat rate, based on the size of the drive. If we fail to recover the data,
even after many hours of effort, we will not charge you anything,
unless you asked for rush service.
What if Tekserve can’t recover my data?
If we were unable to recover your data, we have partnered with other
companies that complement our data recovery options. We’ll advise
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
If it’s a hard drive that’s not working and the data is important, you
may want to bring it to us right away. We can test whether the hard
drive’s enclosure or the hard drive itself has failed for a fee. (The
testing fee can then be applied towards a new hard drive
enclosure or data recovery services if you choose either.)
For problems with printers, scanners, and other external widgets,
we’d urge you to try to solve the problem yourself before schlepping
it to us. The first step is usually to check the manufacturer’s website
for software or driver updates. The second step is to do a Google
search on the problem you are having. We just type into the Google
search box things like “Finjet 300 paper jam” or “R3660 problems.”
The third step is usually to call the manufacturer.
These days most ink-jet printers aren’t repaired when they fail;
warranty repair usually means the manufacturer ships you a refurbished replacement. And sad to say, once the warranty is over, it’s
rarely economical to repair a $50-$300 printer or scanner. Although
we can help with connecting to your Mac, we don’t do hardware
repairs on printers, non-Apple monitors, or scanners. There are
some websites full of information, like,
but you can spend a lot of time and money and still end up with
something that doesn’t work, so just be careful.
My whole computer network is down. Can Tekserve help?
Yes, please call our Professional Services group at (212) 929-3645 to
arrange an on-site visit.
Can I set up a corporate account to simplify service?
Yes, please talk to your Tekserve Account Manager, call us at
(212) 929-3645, or email
When Should I Bring My Computer to Tekserve?
I Can’t Start My Mac
Jazmin Hupp, Tekserve Staff
Ben Casey, Tekserve Staff
I just spilled beer/tea/cough syrup on my keyboard (well, my cat
threw up on it).
What if my computer won’t wake from sleep?
On a portable computer immediately do the following things:
Immediately shut down the computer and unplug the power
Remove the computer’s battery (if you can).
Disconnect any peripherals (printers, iPods, scanners, cameras,
Lay the computer upside down on paper towels to get as much
liquid as possible to drip out.
Note what was spilled on your computer.
Bring the Mac into Tekserve as soon as possible.
Do not try to turn it back on. Liquids can help electrical current
move about the components of your Mac in destructive ways.
Don’t shake the computer (this will only spread the liquid around).
Finally, don’t use a hair dryer on it (even at a low setting a hair dryer
will damage sensitive components). Liquid and spill damage is not
covered by warranty or AppleCare (but may be covered by some insurance policies or credit cards). You can learn more about Tekserve’s
spill cleaning service at
If you’ve spilled on a desktop computer’s keyboard, shut down the
computer, unplug the keyboard, and turn it upside down. Wait a
day or few for it to dry. It may all be okay now. If not, buy a new
keyboard. (Former Byte columnist Jerry Pournelle says just to take
it in the shower with you and rinse it thoroughly and then dry it
for a few days, but he also believes in Star Wars missile defenses.)
New Apple USB keyboards start at around $49 and other brands are
available at Tekserve for less.
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Newer Macintosh portable computers may go into “deep sleep”
mode and appear completely dead. Wake them up by momentarily
pressing the power button (only press briefly, don’t keep it held
I press the power button, and nothing happens.
More than we want to admit, the problem is something simple.
Make sure the computer’s power cable is plugged in, your keyboard
and monitor are plugged in, your power strip or UPS is switched
on, and the circuit breaker hasn’t been tripped. An old tech support
joke ends with the punch line, “Of course I can’t read the manual—
there’s a blackout.”
If you have a portable, reset the System Management Controller
(see “What is resetting the System Management Controller?” on
page 16). If you are sure the outlet is good, the computer’s power
supply or logic board may have died. Bring in the computer for an
I turn on my computer and see a blinking question mark or hear
a series of beeps, or I see the power LED blinking a repeating
pattern, or get a picture of a sad Mac on the screen with some
numbers under it.
Every time you start your Mac, it performs some self-diagnostics.
With these signals, the Mac is telling you that it failed to pass those
1.Turn everything off, and disconnect all external USB and
FireWire devices (except your mouse, keyboard, and monitor if
applicable). Disconnect scanners, external hard drives, printers
and so on. Now that your external stuff is disconnected, start
the Mac and see if the external devices caused the problem. If so,
reconnect them one at a time to see when the problem returns.
I Can’t Start My Mac
2. A series of beeps can indicate a hardware problem, usually bad
or incompatible RAM. On some computers, the power LED
will flash as many times as the beeps, plus one, repeating the
sequence every five seconds. Apple sometimes changes the definitions of beeps on new computers, so you may want to check
Apple Knowledge Base article HT1547 (
for your specific computer. If you have an iMac made in 2007 or
later, see article HT2538. The current beep codes for most other
Macs are:
1 beep
2 beeps
3 beeps
4 beeps
5 beeps
no RAM installed
incompatible RAM installed
RAM failed test
problem with the boot ROM on the logic board
processor is bad
If you recently added RAM to the computer, you may want to try
removing it (if you are comfortable doing this and have the right
anti-static equipment).
3. If you still get the sad Mac tones, your problems are more serious—memory, the logic board, the hard drive, or an add-on such
as a PCI card. At this point, if you still have trouble, you should
probably bring the computer in for service.
I turned on my computer and just see a little blinking
prohibitory symbol (a “no smoking” sign without the cigarette),
a flashing question mark, or a blinking folder and happy face.
This means your Mac can’t find a disk with the proper software to
start. There are a few things you can try, but these computers often
wind up at Tekserve for data recovery. First try to zap the PRAM:
Hold down command-option-p-r while turning on the Mac. Keep
holding those keys down until you hear the startup sound chime
two or three times.
If that doesn’t work, try the following instructions to start up from
the System Install disc, this is the first gray disc from the set that
came with your Mac. (If the disc is immediately ejected, you may
have a stuck button on your mouse or trackpad. Turn off the Mac,
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
unplug the mouse, and try the following steps again. It will also
be ejected if it isn’t really a startup disk and is lacking the software
needed to start up your computer. )
In some instances, repair programs will make things worse. Please
read the next section carefully.
1. With the System disc in your computer, restart the Mac while
holding down the “c” key. Wait for the Installer to finish loading.
But we are not going to install the system now, we are starting up
from the disc so we can run Disk Utility.
2. At the first Installer screen, look under the Utilities menu, and
choose Open Disk Utility…
Don’t click Erase—that will wipe out everything on your drive.
3. If you see your startup disk on the left side of the Disk Utility
window, you can try to repair it using Disk Utility. Select your
startup volume by name, then click Repair Disk.
4. When finished, quit Disk Utility. Then look in the Utilities menu,
and choose Startup Disk. If you see your disk in the list, click it,
and click the Restart button. If you still get a blinking icon, you
might need to reinstall your system.
If your hard disk or volume didn’t show up in Disk Utility, you
can try using an application like DiskWarrior. However, make sure
the repair program is up to date and read the next question before
using it.
Can I make things worse by doing repairs with TechTool, Disk
Utility, DiskWarrior, or similar utilities?
Unfortunately, yes. In most instances, these programs are good tools
that help solve problems. But “repairing” certain problems can leave
you worse off than before—in some cases, even destroy a disk from
which a professional could easily have recovered data. Basically,
I Can’t Start My Mac
when your drive’s directory is scrambled, anything that writes to the
disk has the potential to do harm. Running TechTool Pro and some
other utilities can actually write over the directory that it’s fixing, so
occasionally it does damage.
Running a data recovery utility such as Data Rescue should
be fine, if you copy the recovered files to a different drive. If
you recover the files onto the same damaged drive, you will be
overwriting other data you wish to recover, compounding existing
directory damage and making things worse. A few utilities offer to
save an “Undo” file so that you can go backward, but we’ve seen
them crash in the middle of a repair, and the Undo file itself was
corrupted or incomplete.
You can also use DiskWarrior to recreate a disk directory, but don’t
rush to write the new directory to the disk. Instead, click the Preview
button on DiskWarrior’s last screen to mount the volume using the
rebuilt directory and copy your files to another drive. Check the
files thoroughly before you write the new directory or reformat the
original drive.
If you are thoroughly backed up, you can use any repair utility with
confidence. If you are not backed up and your data is essential to
you, consider getting professional help. We’re not trying to scare you
into always hiring us—we’re trying to scare you into always making
lots of backups!
When I start up my Mac it stays on a blue screen for hours and
never shows me the desktop.
We’ve listed some of the best bets below.
1. If you use an Ethernet cable, unplug it and restart. If the Mac
starts up you should carefully check your network preferences for
incorrect information.
2. Unplug any external devices from your system and restart.
3. Check for old and incompatible third-party startup items,
preference panes, and login items. Perform a Safe Boot (see the
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
next question), and look in the following places for items you
may have previously installed.
Drag the suspects to the desktop to disable them. If you are unsure,
it is best to leave the item in place.
Preference Panes
Startup Items
Login Items
Macintosh HD/Library/PreferencePanes
Macintosh HD/Users/myname/Library/
Macintosh HD/Library/StartupItems
Macintosh HD/Library/Launch Agents
Macintosh HD/Library/LaunchDemons
Macintosh HD/Users/myname/Library/
Open System Preferences, then:
Click Accounts, then Login Items
about folders and slashes
We use the forward-slash character ‘/’ as shorthand to indicate
folders on your Mac. This notation is called a path in Mac OS X.
Each word between slashes is a folder name. Start in any Finder
window, and click the name of your startup disk in the left pane (often
Macintosh HD). Then open each folder in order. So for Macintosh
HD/Library/PreferencePanes, open your startup disk, then open the
folder Library, and then the folder PreferencePanes.
What is a “Safe Boot” and how do I use it if my Mac isn’t
properly starting up?
Some applications start as soon as your Mac starts. On rare
occasions, these may cause incompatibilities. We mostly see this issue
after a system update. If your Mac has trouble starting up, you
can use Safe Boot to disable these additions and load only Applerequired extensions.
I Can’t Start My Mac
Make sure your Mac is shut down and then press the power button.
After you hear the startup tone, immediately hold down the shift
key until you see the note “Safe Boot” on the startup screen. This can
take several minutes, so you must be patient.
Not all functions are available in Safe Mode. To return to normal,
restart without holding down any keys.
What is resetting the System Management Controller (SMC)?
When should I do it, and how?
The System Management Controller (SMC) is used to control fans,
heat sensors, and startup. You should not arbitrarily reset the SMC.
However, you may need to reset your SMC if you encounter one of
the following symptoms.
Computer does not turn on when power button is pressed.
Portable computer does not sleep or wake correctly when lid is
opened or closed.
Fans run on high when the Mac is not warm.
Battery is not charging when it should be.
5. Yellow and green indicator light on portable Mac’s power
adapter behaves incorrectly.
6. Display or keyboard backlight adjustment does not work
properly. By default, your screen brightness should change
depending on the brightness of the light around you (unless
you’ve turned that feature off in Display Preferences).
7. System is running unusually slow even when not under heavy
Here’s how to reset the SMC on different Macs. Search for “reset SMC” to get the latest info with
pictures. If you have an G4 or G5 Mac, search for “reset PMU” for
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Intel iMac, Mac mini, or Mac Pro
If it’s on, turn it off. Disconnect all peripherals and the power cord.
Keep it unplugged for at least 15 seconds. Then plug it back in and
Any MacBook or MacBook Pro with a removable battery and
PowerBook G4 (15-inch 1.67/1.5 GHz, 17-inch 1.67 GHz)
If it’s on, turn it off. Disconnect the AC adapter and remove the
battery. Press and hold the power button for five seconds, and then
release. Reconnect the battery and AC adapter, then restart.
Any MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with a battery you
can NOT remove
If it’s on, turn it off. Connect the power adapter to a working
power source. Press the (left) shift-control-option keys along with
the power button once. (You must use the keys on the left side of
the keyboard.) Wait 5 seconds and press the power button to start
the Mac.
Crashes, Freezes, and
Kernel Panics
Ben Casey, Tekserve Staff
My mouse and keyboard stopped working.
It may seem like your computer froze, but quite often it’s the mouse
or keyboard that stopped responding. If your mouse is plugged into
a keyboard or hub, try connecting the mouse directly to the Mac
and restarting. If you use a wireless mouse or keyboard, you may
need to recharge or replace the batteries. If your wireless device uses
Bluetooth to connect to your Mac, make sure you have Bluetooth
turned on in your System Preferences and try to re-connect to the
Crashes, Freezes, and Kernel Panics
It is fine to plug in USB and FireWire devices when the computer
is on. However, storage devices such as flash disks or hard drives
should always be dismounted (drag the icon to the Trash, which
will turn into an eject icon) before you disconnect them.
Some keys on my keyboard are typing numbers, and others don’t
work at all.
You are probably using a portable computer, and have accidentally
pushed the Num Lock function key (F6 on older portables). Push it
again to regain your normal keyboard.
My number keys aren’t working.
You may have accidentally activated “mouse keys” in the
Universal Access preference pane. Open System Preferences, then
Universal Access, then the Mouse tab, and turn off “Mouse Keys.”
My Mac froze up. Now what?
If it’s a desktop Mac, first check if the mouse or keyboard got
disconnected. We like to check that the caps lock key lights up
when we press caps lock. If that works, then your keyboard is working; perhaps your mouse has a bad connection. Sometimes just
unplugging and re-plugging the mouse will cause the Mac to “wake
up.” If you’re sure your mouse and keyboard are working then you
can force-quit the application that froze.
Command-option-escape will let you force-quit any application
(the one that froze). You’ll see a window that lets you select which
application to force-quit. When you force-quit, you lose all unsaved
work in that particular application, but other open applications
remain open and usable.
If these suggestions don’t work, you’ve probably lost all
your work since you last saved. Restart with the power switch
or the reset button or press these three buttons together:
command-control-power button.
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
My screen just got all wonky with a message in English, French,
German, and Japanese, and now nothing responds.
That’s called a kernel panic. The kernel is the innermost level of the
system software, responsible for controlling hardware like PCI cards,
drives, video, networking, and memory. When the kernel receives
instructions it doesn’t expect, it may “panic” and freeze the computer. Your only recourse is to reboot your computer by pressing the
reset button, holding down the power button until it shuts off, or
even pulling the power cable in extreme circumstances.
Kernel panics should be very rare. If they are frequent or repeatable,
first check “kernel extensions” that are installed with PCI cards and
USB hardware. Although they live in Macintosh HD/System/Library/
Extensions, they are intricately connected with your system, and you
shouldn’t just drag them in and out. Reinstall the latest updates to
any third-party hardware you have—use the installers provided by
the vendors. If you have unused drivers to old hardware still in your
system, ask the publisher or developer for a removal utility.
Kernel panics can also indicate a bad RAM (memory) chip that
needs replacing. Tekserve provides a lifetime warranty on all RAM
that we sell. Bring in your Mac (not just the RAM) and we’ll test and
swap the RAM if necessary.
If none of that works, you may have more serious hardware problems, such as a bad logic board or processor. Bring in your Mac for
Ben Casey, Tekserve Staff
My trackpad is jumping around.
Brushing a second finger against the trackpad can cause this.
Make sure you are only using one fingertip at a time to touch the
trackpad. Trackpads also respond to the capacitance of your finger
and are affected by moisture. Try washing and drying your hands.
Recent portables feature a new trackpad that can recognize two or
more fingers as a command for scrolling, zooming, and more. You
may accidentally activate scrolling if you rest or hover additional
fingers too close to the trackpad.
My computer takes several minutes to start up.
If your computer pauses when the gray Apple appears, it is trying
to repair the hard drive’s directory. This usually occurs when the
computer wasn’t shut down properly. If this occurs regularly, read
the question “Why does directory damage occur?” on page 25.
Make sure your Ethernet cable has a good connection, or try unplugging it entirely. Mac OS X doesn’t need a network, but if one is
present it needs to be working properly.
Unless you are on a corporate or educational network, you can safely
delete the Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/DirectoryService folder
to see if that helps. (If you are on a large network, check with your
network administrator to see if they advise against this procedure,
as it will reset your connections to any master directory servers on
your network.)
You may also have a problem with the disks, internal or external,
connected to your Mac. Disconnect external drives, eject CD discs,
and try again. If the problem persists, it’s a great time to back up
your data. Then you can try Disk Utility (covered in the “I Can’t
Start My Mac” section on page 11). It’s even possible that you could
have a hardware problem at this point.
My applications run really slowly.
The attractive interface of OS X comes at a price—every drop
shadow, translucent menu, and spinning rainbow requires
processing speed and memory (RAM) to run. We’ve also noticed
that since OS X is so good at multitasking, users tend to run many
applications at the same time. That, too, requires more memory.
You will probably never see an error in Mac OS X complaining
that your Mac is out of RAM memory. Instead, your system will
begin using more and more of your hard disk as temporary RAM
storage. This is called paging out, and it slows down your Mac
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
considerably. To see for yourself, open Activity Monitor from
Applications/Utilities. This shows every process running on your Mac,
its usage of the CPU, memory, and virtual memory. At the bottom
of the main window, select System Memory. Check that the number
of Page outs isn’t growing quickly over time. Read Apple Support
article HT1342 for more details.
Here are some things to try to speed things up again:
1.Check the Dock frequently to see what is running (indicated
by a small black triangle or blue ball next to the application’s
icon), and quit the applications you aren’t using. Remember that
closing an application’s window does not quit the application. To
quit, click the application’s icon in the Dock, open the application menu (named Word, iTunes, Safari, etc.) and choose Quit
Word (Quit iTunes, Quit Safari, etc.) You can also hold down
the application’s icon in the Dock, and choose Quit in the small
menu that pops up.
2. Always keep at least 10% of the storage space on your hard drive
free. Too little empty space on your startup hard drive will slow
a system to a snail’s pace. (Most computers only have one hard
drive, which is your startup drive. If your computer has multiple hard drives, the top one on your desktop is usually your
startup drive.) To check the disk space, click once on the icon
of your startup disk and choose Get Info from the Finder menu.
Disk space used and available is shown under “General”. You
may need to click the triangle next to “General” to reveal the
information. 3. Open Activity Monitor from Applications/Utilities, and select
the column header labeled “%CPU.” The application or process
using most of your system will be listed first. (Note: “mdimport”
is the process to add data to Spotlight and “WindowServer”
manages your Mac’s graphical interface.) It’s better to quit bloated
applications normally than use the Quit Process button you see
here. If you don’t recognize the process, search for it online to
figure out what it is. Quitting processes can cause you to lose
unsaved work and make your Mac perform strangely.
4. Add more RAM to your system. For OS X 10.5, we recommend
a minimum of 1 GB, but prefer 2 GB. For OS X 10.6, we recommend a minimum of 2 GB. If you are doing any graphic design
or video work, 4 GB of RAM is a minimum. If you bring your
Mac to Tekserve, we’ll help you decide how much RAM you
need and we’ll install it for you while you wait. Tekserve RAM is
guaranteed for life.
5. Revise your expectations. A three-year-old iMac will never be as
snappy as the latest Intel Core i7 hyper-threading processor with
Turbo Boost.
The date on my computer keeps going back to 1-1-1904, or
8-27-1956, or 1969 or 1970.
On some portable models, serious crashes can sometimes
cause the clock to reset. The crashing may be a sign of a
problem, but the clock changing is normal. If a portable
computer’s battery is completely discharged, the clock may also reset.
My computer was just repaired and now I can’t play files I
purchased on iTunes.
Log into your account by clicking on your email address in the
iTunes store (or click the Sign In button). Under the Store menu
choose Authorize Computer. You can authorize up to five different
computers to play your iTunes purchases. Don’t worry if you forgot
to deauthorize your computer before the repair. You can reset your
authorizations once a year. See Apple support article HT1420 for
If you lost the songs themselves, you’re in trouble. We’ve heard
that iTunes customer service may reset an iTunes account once in a
lifetime to let you re-download your songs, but we’ve never had to
do that.
I can’t mount any disk images or I can’t move applications in the
Applications folder or I get errors in iPhoto.
Applications/Utilities. Select the name of your startup disk, and click
Repair Disk Permissions.
What does Repair Disk Permissions do?
Every file, folder, and application on your hard drive has associated
permissions that specify which users can read, write, or run that
file. For example, you can set up your computer so that your cat
can’t delete your dog’s files. These complex permissions can become
confused or corrupt, and even administrators can be prevented from
opening applications.
When your system was first installed, and every time you install an
application or update through an Apple Installer, a receipt is left
on your system. This receipt (in Macintosh HD/Library/Receipts)
lists what files were installed, where, and what the permissions were
supposed to be. Programs that were installed by dragging the
application directly to the Applications folder or using a non-Apple
installer do not leave receipts.
The Repair Disk Permissions function reads all these receipts, and
attempts to reset the files on your disk to match their state at installation. This can be quite useful.
Get Ahead by Backing Up
Sonia Deepak, Tekserve Staff
In this section we’ll cover the basics of data backup, how to choose
a backup strategy, how to back up before a repair, and how to use
Time Machine.
The Basics of Data Backup
What is a backup?
A backup is a copy of your files on another storage device (external
hard drive, DVD, flash drive, or even an online account).
Your hard disk drive’s permissions may need to be repaired. While
booted from your normal startup drive, open Disk Utility in
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Get Ahead by Backing Up
Why should I back up?
Despite all the advances in modern technology, a single fact
remains true: Sooner or later everything breaks. Even the most reliable
computer can fail or experience data corruption. Computers can be
left in taxis, dropped, or damaged in fires. You could accidentally
delete your baby pictures. A warranty may cover failure of computer hardware but there is no warranty protection for the operating
system, applications, data loss, or corruption. While there are many
causes of software and hardware problems, the solution is simple.
Back it up!
We recommend making two, or even three, backups of precious
files. We also suggest keeping at least one copy at a different location
in case of fire or theft. It is a disturbing fact to face but, sooner or later you are guaranteed to lose data. Protect yourself before it happens.
What makes hard drives prone to failure?
The most common causes of hard drive failure are:
1. Mechanical failure of the drive caused by being dropped,
bumped while in use, manufacturer defect, or even simple day
to day wear and tear.
2. Data corruption or directory damage caused by forgetting
to eject disks before unplugging or powering them down,
computer crashes, power loss, or plain bad luck.
3. Environmental disasters like fires, floods, power surges, or
extreme heat and humidity.
Drive technology is improving all the time—they have “loading
ramps” and “Sudden Motion Sensors” and “Perpendicular Recording” and other new features. Every day they figure out how to cram
more data into less space, so while they are making the drives smarter and safer, they are also making the data denser and more fragile.
Backups are the safety net that can turn a disaster into no big deal.
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Why does directory damage occur? Is it my fault, and can I
prevent it?
The computer’s operating system is responsible for reading and writing data to your drives. Besides writing the actual data, the OS has
to update the indices that keep track of which file is where, like a
table of contents for your data. If the computer crashes, loses power,
or experiences another problem, it’s possible that a file is written
properly, but its index gets corrupted.
There are a few precautions you can take. It’s best to not move a
computer while the drive is spinning. Ideally, you would put a portable computer to sleep before moving it. When you are finished with
an external hard drive or USB flash drive, you should always eject
the disk by dragging it to the Dock’s Trash icon (which will change
to an eject symbol) before disconnecting that external drive. Or
select the drive and hold down the command and “e” key. Properly
ejecting disks makes sure that their directories are properly updated
before you disconnect them. If you are shutting down the computer,
the system automatically ejects all disks when shutting down. Finally, if your computer starts to shut off, crash erratically, or you think
you’ve lost data, you should quickly find and solve the cause of those
failures. Little problems can grow into big problems.
What should I back up my data onto?
We recommend an external hard drive at least twice the size as your
internal drive for incremental backups, such as Time Machine.
Select your hard drive and hold down command-i to see your hard
drive’s capacity. If your Mac has a FireWire port, we recommend
purchasing a drive with that type of interface, as it is faster than
After you’ve got that set up you have lots of options. DVDs allow
you to store data cheaply and are easy to store. USB flash drives are
ultra-portable and are a great way to keep your documents with you.
If you have a fast upload speed on your Internet connection (or are
very patient) you can use an online storage service like MobileMe,
Drop Box, or CrashPlan. A free alternative (if you can remember to
do it frequently) is to email files to yourself on a service like Gmail.
Get Ahead by Backing Up
If you travel often or just don’t have a lot of space, take a look at a
portable external hard drive.
If you are backing up your files by hand, make sure to copy the
following folders:
Not only computers need backing up...
We recommend backing up all your digital devices with valuable
data. Your iPod, iPad, and iPhone should already be backed up to
your Mac (sync them frequently). If you don’t sync your cell phone,
sit down with it tonight and enter all your contacts into Address
Book. You can also check with your cell phone provider to see if they
offer an online contact backup or a way to connect your cell phone
to your computer.
Music, movies, or
applications that you
have downloaded
Keep and back up all the original files that
you download (especially if you paid
for them).
Address Book data
Macintosh HD/Users/yourname/Library/
Application Support/AddressBook
iCal data
Macintosh HD/Users/yourname/Library/
How to Choose a Back Up Strategy
Mail data
Macintosh HD/Users/yourname/Library/
Safari bookmarks
Macintosh HD/Users/yourname/Library/
Firefox bookmarks
Macintosh HD/Users/yourname/Library/
Application Support/Firefox/Profile
Here are the three methods of backing up data. Choose a style that
suits your needs and an external hard drive to go with it. Time
Machine, included with OS X 10.5 Leopard and later, is a great
primary backup solution for most people (except FileVault users). We strongly recommend using two of the methods below on
two separate storage devices and keeping one backup in a separate
Simple Copy Backups are the simplest and quickest method.
Just drag and copy your most important files to a CD/DVD, a
USB thumb drive, or an external hard drive. (You can’t drag your
computer’s entire hard drive to an external hard drive because it
will create an alias to the drive instead of copying it.) Drag your
entire user folder (Macintosh HD/Users/yourname) to grab the most
important files. This folder icon often looks like a house. You don’t
need any special software to do this.
Pros: This is the least expensive data backup method. Discs and USB
thumb drives are easy to store off-site.
Cons: You may miss something important and you may forget to do
it regularly.
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Complete Bootable Clones are an exact copy of everything on your
computer, created by using special software. This ensures that you
have a copy of absolutely everything on your computer just in case.
We’ve had good experiences with SuperDuper! for making bootable
clones. Read our step-by-step instructions under “How to Create a
Bootable Clone Backup,” page 29, to set one up.
Pros: If you lose all your data to a thief or a hard drive crash, this
backup is the fastest way to restore all your files and applications. A
bootable clone can also be used to troubleshoot your Mac (especially
useful if you’ve lost your system installation disc). Finally, a bootable
clone can allow you to keep working if your Mac has to go in for
a repair. You can use the bootable clone with any similar Mac to
continue using your applications and files.
Cons: A clone is out of date almost as soon as it is made. You need to
remember to periodically update the backup. This method also only
backs up the current versions of your files, if you accidently deleted
a file three months ago, you won’t find it on your backup.
Get Ahead by Backing Up
Incremental Backups make an initial full copy, then incrementally and automatically copy changes. Old files, even ones you have
deleted, are kept around for a while. Time Machine, one of the marquee features of Leopard and Snow Leopard, automatically backs
up your entire hard drive every hour. In rare cases if one backup
increment becomes corrupted (incorrect) you may not be able to
restore files created after that point. Which is why you should test
your incremental backup periodically by trying to restore files.
Pros: Automatically backs up your work in progress, so you don’t
need to think about it. Recovery of an individual file is quick and
Cons: Requires lots of disk space to keep around so many versions
of the same files. If you need to restore all your files at once, it can
take a while.
How often should I back up?
The answer to this question really depends on how often you use
your computer. Think about what you did with your Mac in the
last 24 hours, the last few days, the last week, and the last month. If
you would be unhappy losing data created within the last 24 hours,
you should back up at least once a day. If you wouldn’t start to sweat
unless you lost at least two weeks of data, you should back up once
a week. Time Machine will create backups for every hour of the last
24 hours, every day of the last month, and every week past that until
your backup disk is full.
The important thing is to REMEMBER to back up. Either use software that automatically schedules itself to back up frequently or put
reminders in your calendar.
Why should I make multiple backups?
Most people don’t test their backup until their computer fails and
they need the data. Often we see them find out (too late) that there
was an error that made their only backup unreadable and they have
lost all their files even though they thought they were backing up.
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
We recommend keeping a second backup in a different location
(work, safety deposit box, Mom’s house) in case your computer is
in a flood or fire or if your backup drive is stolen along with your
How To Create A Bootable Clone Backup
We recommend making a bootable clone backup before any repair
if you can. In most cases, you can continue to use your applications and data normally with any similar Mac during the repair. You
can rent a Mac from Tekserve if you don’t have a spare. Follow the
instructions under questions A through C to set up, create, and test
your first bootable clone backup.
You’ll Need:
1. 1 to 5 hours (about 30 minutes of setup and hours of waiting,
depending on how much data you have on your hard drive).
It’s usually easiest to set it up to run overnight.
2. Blank external hard drive at least as large as your computer’s internal hard drive. (Select your hard drive and go to
File>Get Info to see your hard drive’s capacity.) If your
computer has FireWire ports, get a FireWire external hard
drive, if your computer only has USB, get a USB external hard
drive. Stop by or call us to order one and have it delivered.
SuperDuper! from This shareware application is around $30 but you can use it for free to create your
first bootable clone. We sell it at Tekserve too.
For Users with Windows installed via Boot Camp
If you have Windows installed on a separate hard drive partition
using Boot Camp, these methods won’t backup the Windows partition of your computer. You need to back up any files, applications,
or settings from Windows separately.
Get Ahead by Backing Up
A. Reformat and partition a new drive for backup (bootable
clone or Time Machine).
Depending on the type of external hard drive you purchase, it may
not be formatted properly to work with your Mac. The easiest thing
to do is to reformat any external drive before you use it.
Download and install SuperDuper! from It’s
free to create your first bootable clone without activating it (but well
worth the $30 if you plan to continue using it).
1. Select your computer’s internal hard drive (usually Macintosh
HD) in the left drop down menu labeled “Copy.”
Formatting the drive will erase any data on the drive. Make sure
you back up any data you want to keep before proceeding.
2. Select your newly created backup hard drive in the right drop
down menu labeled “to.”
Connect the external hard drive to your Mac with the FireWire
or USB cable (if you have both, use FireWire). Some hard
drives need to be plugged into a power outlet or have an “on”
switch hidden somewhere.
Open Disk Utility from Applications/Utilities.
3. You should see the external hard drive listed in the left pane
of Disk Utility. It will usually be listed twice. Once with the
capacity of the drive and its technical name and then indented
below, you’ll see the drive’s name as it appears on your desktop.
Select the first listing for your drive with its capacity and technical name. Then select the Partition pane from the options in
the upper center area.
4. In the pop-up menu under “Volume Scheme,” choose One
Partition and then name it.
5. MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Select the Options button
below the partition boxes. If you are using the drive with
Intel-based Macs select “GUID Partition Table.” If you are
using the drive with older PowerPC-based Macs (G4, G5),
select “Apple Partition Map.” Click OK.
6. From the Format pop-up box, select “Mac OS Extended
7.Click Apply and then after reading the confirmation dialog,
click Partition.
B. Create the bootable clone backup.
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Start the backup by pressing Copy Now.
The first backup should take several hours, be patient.
C. Test the bootable clone backup. (Also how to start up your
Mac from an external hard drive.)
1. Connect the external hard drive to your computer with the
appropriate cable. Restart your computer and hold down the
option key as the computer restarts.
A gray screen with two (or more) hard drives will appear. Select
your backup drive.
3. The computer will then start up from your backup drive instead of its regular internal hard drive. You may notice activity
lights flashing on the external drive.
4. Go to the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen
and choose “About This Mac”. In the resulting window, make
sure your backup drive is listed as the “Startup Disk.” If your
backup drive isn’t listed there, then you haven’t started up from
the external drive, try again.
5. Once booted from the external hard drive, open a few files
and applications to make sure everything is working. If
everything looks good, you’re done! Shut down your computer,
unplug the backup drive, and put the drive in a safe place.
Don’t leave the clone connected to your Mac, since it can get
confusing very quickly!
Get Ahead by Backing Up
Time Machine
How do I start using Time Machine?
You will need a Mac running OS X 10.5 Leopard or later, and an
external hard drive or Time Capsule to use Time Machine. (You can
also use an additional internal hard drive on a Mac Pro or a networked drive, but an external hard drive is simple and portable.) The
capacity of your external hard drive determines how far back Time
Machine will keep data backups for you. We generally recommend
an external hard drive twice the size of your computer’s hard drive.
First you’ll want to follow the instructions under how to “reformat
and partition a new drive for backup” on page 30. Then with the
drive plugged into your computer, go to your System Preferences and
select the Time Machine icon. There you can turn Time Machine on
and select your external hard drive as the backup disk. The first Time
Machine backup will usually take hours, so you may want to set it
up to run overnight. You can continue to work on your computer
while the backup runs.
Time Machine will continue making automatic backups for every hour of the last 24 hours, every day of the last month, and
every week past that until your backup disk is full. Just plug in the
drive whenever you want Time Machine to work. You can tell it is
working by looking at the “counter-clockwise” icon in the menu bar.
If you do not want an hourly backup then you can turn Time
Machine off in System Preferences, and manually tell it when
to backup by selecting its icon in the menu bar and selecting
Backup Now. If you choose to do this you are responsible for
remembering to backup on your own (and it’s easy to forget). (where the file was located) or adding search parameters by
pressing the plus (+) button.
Open Time Machine (from the Dock or Applications folder.)
3. Use the arrows and the timeline along the right side of your
screen to browse through the Time Machine backups. Your
search is performed in every window.
When you find the item you want to restore, select it and click
Restore. You can then choose to replace the current file with the
restored backup or keep both files.
If you don’t know what the file you are looking for is called or what
terms to search for it (i.e. a random photo stored in your iPhoto
library) you can still restore it with Time Machine. Open the Apple
application that the file used to appear in and then launch Time
Machine. You can then browse backward through time and see how
your files appeared in iPhoto, iTunes, Mail, etc. When you find the
missing item, click Restore.
How do I restore my user account using Time Machine?
If you want to restore your personal files but not the operating
system, you can use Migration Assistant.
1. While connected to the Internet, run Software Update from
the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen. Install
everything available and restart your computer if required.
2. Connect the external hard drive with the Time Machine backup to your computer.
How do I restore individual files from a Time Machine backup?
3. Open Migration Assistant from Applications/Utilities. Enter
your administrative password if required.
This is the fun space part. The fastest way to recover a missing item
is to use Time Machine together with Spotlight.
4. Under the migration method choices, choose “From a Time
Machine backup or other disk.”
1. Open a Finder window and type a word or phrase from the
missing file into the search field in the upper-right corner. You
may want to focus the search by selecting a search location
5. Select the external hard drive containing the previous Time
Machine backups (it may take some time to scan the disk.)
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Get Ahead by Backing Up
Select which “User Accounts” you would like to restore.
How do I restore my entire system using Time Machine?
You’ll need your Time Machine backup drive and a Mac OS X
Install disc to restore your system. (Disc one of the gray DVDs that
came with your Mac works just fine, as long as you’re using the same
operating system that came with your Mac originally.)
Restoring your entire system will erase all existing data so make
sure to back up any new data. If you excluded your Applications
or System folder from Time Machine backups, you should restore
user accounts instead.
Connect your Time Machine backup disk to your computer.
2. Insert the Mac OS X Install disc, and double-click the install
Mac OS X icon. (If your computer does not have an operating
system installed, you’ll need to start up the computer from the
disc by holding “c” while you turn on the computer.)
3. Once the Installer loads (you may need to select a language
first) choose Restore System from Backup from the Utilities
4. In the Restore Your System dialog box, click Continue. Then
select your Time Machine backup drive.
5. Select the Time Machine backup you want to restore (usually
the most recent one.)
Follow the onscreen instructions.
how many weeks you are able to browse through. If you don’t mind
loosing the older data, then you don’t need to do anything. If you
want to save the older files, you’ll need to connect a new backup
disk. After you connect the new disk, open Time Machine preferences and click Change Disk to choose it as your Time Machine
backup disk. You’ll be able to access your older backups anytime
by connecting your old backup disk (store the old backup disk in
another location in case of a disaster).
Time Machine fills up my backup drive too fast. What can I do?
If your external hard drive is at least twice as large as the amount
of data you are backing up, you should be able to get through at
least a month of backups. If you can’t, there are a few very specific
types of files that may be causing your problems and need to be
excluded. You can exclude items from future backups to save space.
Open Time Machine preferences and click Options. Then click the
plus (+) sign to add items that you don’t want backed up. Make sure
you have a separate backup plan for anything you exclude.
An incremental backup works by storing all the files you’ve added or
deleted since the last backup. This works well with small individual
files because each file is stored separately. This works very poorly
with applications, like Entourage, that use one large database file
to store all your information (This was fixed in the 2011 version of
Outlook for Mac.). With an application such as Entourage, every
time you receive an email, it changes the database file. Time Machine treats the changed database as a new file and backs up the
entire database file. If you have a large email database, this can fill
up your backup drive pretty fast. You can exclude database files but
make sure to setup another backup plan for any files you exclude.
What should I do when my Time Machine backup drive fills up?
If you edit a lot of large files (1GB+), you can end up filling up
a backup drive pretty quickly. This is because every time you edit
a large file, Time Machine will save the new version as a separate
file. You may want to exclude some files or use a different backup
As your backup drive fills up, Time Machine will delete older backups to make room for new ones. Launch Time Machine and check
If you run Windows with Parallels or VMWare, your computer
stores a large disk image of the entire operating system installation.
Time Machine will perform a full backup of your system after it finishes the restore. This is normal and won’t delete your older backups
(unless you’ve run out of space on your backup drive.)
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Get Ahead by Backing Up
This file changes every time you do anything in Windows and will
fill up your Time Machine drive fast. You’ll want to exclude the disk
image from Time Machine backups and use Parallels or VMWare’s
snapshot feature to backup your Windows installations separately.
If you use Parallels, exclude the file ending in .hdd from Macintosh
HD/users/yourname/Documents/Parallels/virtual machine name. If you
use VMWare, exclude the file ending in .vmwarevm from Macintosh
HD/users/yourname/Documents/Virtual Machines.
Customers tell us they’ve had good experiences using CrashPlan
which offers unlimited backup storage space for all your home computers at around $100 per year (Windows & Linux as well). However you must install CrashPlan to access your files from another
computer. Drop Box is another popular choice offering 2 GB of
online storage space for free and more for a monthly fee. Similar to
MobileMe’s iDisk, you can access your stored files through any web
browser or through the Drop Box application.
When I try to backup with Time Machine it fails immediately or
after copying some of the data.
Remember that backing up over an Internet connection is much
slower than transferring files to an external hard drive. 100 GB
of data could take a month to backup online, but after the initial
backup, updates are much faster. If you have a lot of large files or a
slow Internet connection, an external hard drive will make a better
primary backup. Once you do get all your files uploaded, you’ll have
an updating off-site backup that you can access around the world. Most likely your external hard drive isn’t formatted properly. Follow
the instructions under how to “reformat and partition a new drive
for backup” on page 30.
I use FileVault and Time Machine doesn’t seem to work.
Time Machine only backs up user data protected by FileVault when
you log out. You also won’t be able to explore your past backups
in the cool time travel window. So if you only plan to use Time
Machine to restore your entire system and you don’t mind logging
out to backup, then you’re OK. If not, you’ll want to choose another
backup solution.
Upgrading and Reinstalling
Mac OS X
Time Machine is giving me an error when I try to backup.
This article is for users who are upgrading their operating system to
the newest version as well as users who need to reinstall their operating system. If you are reinstalling the same operating system that
you currently have on your computer, you can skip to step three.
First make sure your software is up-to-date by choosing Software
Update from the Apple menu. If you’re using a Time Capsule, make
sure to install any AirPort firmware updates. If that doesn’t resolve
your issue, check out Apple support article HT3275 for resolutions
to specific Time Machine error messages.
Online Backup
Today, more and more people are acknowledging the need for an
offsite backup, in the event of fire, theft, or natural disaster. Online
backup has emerged as a potential solution that allows you to access your files from anywhere you can get online. Apple’s MobileMe
provides 20 GB of online storage space with iDisk for $99 per year.
But keep in mind files must be smaller than 1GB.
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Sonia Deepak, Tekserve Staff
How do I upgrade or reinstall Mac OS X?
You cannot install an operating system that is older than the one
that came on your computer originally. For example, if your Mac
came with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, you cannot downgrade to
10.4 Tiger.
1. Check the system requirements. Every operating system has
minimum requirements that your computer must meet. Check
the side of the retail box or included documentation to see if
your computer has enough memory (RAM), hard drive space,
Upgrading and Reinstalling Mac OS X
and a compatible processor. Even if your computer meets the
requirements, you may not be happy with the performance—we
find that installing the latest operating system on a Mac that’s
more than four years old can result in a slow user experience.
2. Check your current software and accessories. Some software
will work with a new operating system and some will need to be
upgraded to continue working. Go to the website of your software manufacturer to see if an upgrade is necessary to run on
the latest operating system. Some software manufacturers may
charge for updates and some older software may not be available
for a new operating system at all. For example, OS 9 Classic is
not supported in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. After you upgrade,
you will no longer be able use any OS 9 applications. You also
need to check for new drivers for your printers, scanners, and any
other third-party peripherals you plan to continue using.
3. Backup your entire computer. Although many operating system upgrades go off without a hitch, it is better to be safe than
sorry. We suggest using a backup application and external hard
drive to create a complete bootable clone of your hard drive.
That way you have absolutely everything from your computer in
case a file is lost, gets corrupted, or the install fails. If you value
your data, back it up before you continue. (See “How to Create a
Bootable Clone Backup” p. 29)
4. Clean house. Take a few moments to organize any files you
have laying around, delete unnecessary items, and empty your
Trash. Disconnect any external hard drives or peripherals. You
should only have a power cord, mouse, keyboard, monitor, and
Internet connected at this point.
5. Update. While connected to the Internet, go to the Apple menu
in the upper left corner of your screen and choose Software
Update. Install all the Apple updates available and restart your
computer. (This is to make sure that you have the latest Apple
Firmware updates for your computer.)
6. Insert the OS X DVD that you want to install. After a few
moments the disc will mount on your desktop. Double-click the 38
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Install Mac OS X icon and then click Restart to begin. If you
cannot start your Mac normally, follow these instructions. With
the disc in your Mac, hold down the option key as you start the
Mac. After a few minutes you’ll be able to select starting up from
the DVD on your screen.
7.First you’ll be required to choose a language. The Installer
will display instructions, read them, and click the Continue
button. Then, you will have to agree to the software terms and
conditions. The Installer will scan your computer and ask you to
select your hard drive, but don’t click Continue yet!
8.This next step is specifically for installing Mac OS X 10.5 or
earlier, if you are installing 10.6 or later, then Apple has made the
installer more simple and you should skip to step number nine.
Options—in the lower left corner of the select a destination screen is an Options button. Click it to choose one of the
a.Upgrade Mac OS X: Use this option if you are working on
an older version of OS X and would like to upgrade. This upgrades your system software, while preserving your personal
b. Archive & Install: Use this option when you are having
software problems and would like to try to resolve them
without reinstalling everything. This option moves your
existing system files to a folder named Previous System while
retaining your personal data. A new copy of Mac OS X is
installed, replacing the now-archived system files. Make sure
you select the checkbox labeled “Preserve Users and Network
Settings” so that the Installer knows not to touch any of your
personal data. If this sub-option is not selected, the Installer
will archive your user data too and install new user folders.
Remember that archived data is still accessible and still on
the hard drive but is not in active use. Some peripherals and applications may not work after an Archive & Install and
you will have to reinstall them.
Upgrading and Reinstalling Mac OS X
c.Clean Installation or Erase & Install: If you have already
tried an Archive & Install to solve your software problems or
want to cut to the chase, perform a clean installation. This option erases the hard drive and installs a completely new
version of Mac OS X. WARNING: Your data, applications,
and settings (everything on this drive in your computer) will
be completely erased! You will need to reinstall all of your
extra applications from their original discs and reintegrate all
of your personal data from a backup copy somewhere else. If
you do not have the restore discs that originally came with
your computer, you will also lose the iLife applications included with your computer (iPhoto, iMovie, etc.)
9. Customize (Optional). After you’ve chosen your install
type and clicked Continue you can choose to customize the
installation. Most users will just continue and allow the
operating system to do an easy install with all of the normal files.
However you may want to slim down your install by choosing the
Customize button. Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard installs about 5.3
GB of printer drivers, additional fonts, and foreign languages. If
you don’t think you will need some of those items, deselect their
checkboxes before clicking the Upgrade button.
10.Let the games begin. Hit Install to be on your way towards
a new operating system. Make sure your computer is plugged
into an outlet and let it do the work. Installations can take quite
a while.
11.Once you restart with the newly installed OS X, you’ll want to
do another update. While connected to the Internet, go to the
Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen and choose
Software Update. Install all the updates available and restart your
computer if required. Then check Software Update again until
you’ve installed them all.
I’m upgrading to a new Macintosh, how do I copy my files over?
When you first start up the new Mac, the Setup Assistant will offer
to transfer your old files from your old Mac. If both computers have
FireWire, you just need a FireWire cable to connect them. If your
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
new computer doesn’t have a FireWire port, you can use an Ethernet
cable or wireless network to migrate files, as long as both computers
are running Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11 or later. See Apple support
article HT3231 for instructions.
After your files are finished transferring and your Mac restarts, you’ll
want to install updates to most of your software. Printers, scanners,
and other peripherals may require installing updated drivers from
the manufacturer’s website.
We offer a setup service if you are buying a new computer from Tekserve. You can also transfer files after you’ve already set up your new
Mac by launching Migration Assistant (in the Applications/Utilities
After a data transfer or clean installation, how do I get my files
and applications working again?
If you were able to use Apple’s Setup or Migration Assistant, this
doesn’t apply to you. If you were forced to do a “clean” install to
solve serious problems, you may need to do this. This could also be
useful after some data recoveries.
This is a complex operation and prone to error, which can leave
your computer in a dysfunctional state and compromise your data.
We highly recommend making separate external backups of both
your “new” system and your transferred data before attempting to
integrate them. Unless you tend toward geekiness, we strongly suggest getting professional help with this.
The challenge is to get your old working software back without
bringing back old problems. Here are some hints:
• Make a backup of your new, working system before you begin
bringing back old software.
• Copy as little as possible. It is better to install from downloads
of the latest software or original CDs than to copy over your old
software. We highly recommend reinstalling all applications from
original discs or downloads rather than trying to copy them over.
Upgrading and Reinstalling Mac OS X
• Move only a few files at a time. Test after each move, so you can
isolate any problems that may arise.
• Before you replace an existing file with your saved copy, think
carefully. In all likelihood you should keep the newer, fresh copy,
avoiding possible corruption.
I’m being asked for my password and I don’t know it. What’s my
Mike Swedene, Tekserve Staff
You won’t need to move all your folders into your new system. Here
are a few of our favorites:
It’s your dog’s name. It’s your high school’s mascot. It’s your favorite
of the Three Stooges.
• If possible, use Import under the File menu in applications such
as Mail, iPhoto, and iTunes to get your old data into your current
• Most of your preferences will live in the Macintosh HD/Users/
MyName/Library. Copy those over first. This will include Mail
and bookmarks.
• Some applications store important preferences in either
Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences or in Macintosh HD/Library/
Application Support, so move those as well.
Seriously, if you have forgotten your password, don’t fret. There
are four types of passwords that you can forget and each requires a
different tactic to recover.
Additions to System Preferences are often in Macintosh HD/Library/
PreferencePanes. These are frequently incompatible with new
versions of the OS, so now is a great time to check for updates. You should NOT move these, but
rather reinstall from original or updated installers.
Applications infrequently put invisible but important applications
in Macintosh HD/Library/StartupItems. This is uncommon enough
that you may not have that folder at all. But again, we suggest
reinstalling all applications from their original discs or downloads,
not trying to copy them over. So don’t copy these either!
We strongly recommend against copying kernel extensions or anything else from your old Macintosh HD/System folder, since they
may not be recognized by the new system and could get you in big
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
1. System password: This is the password that you need to log in
to your machine as a specific user, to install new software and
even to change preferences on your machine. See the question,
“How do I reset my system password?” on page 44.
2. Login keychain password: This is the password that allows
you to access your keychain, which stores all the passwords
you asked your Mac to remember from websites and other
applications. See the question, “How do I reset my keychain
password?” on page 44.
3. Website and email passwords: See the question below to
recover a password you asked your Mac to save for you.
FileVault password: The encryption for FileVault is very strong
and there’s not much you can do if you forget your user
password and master password.
How do I recover a password I forgot for a website or email
There is a good chance that your Mac may have remembered it. Take
a deep breath and then open the Applications folder. Find and open
the Utilities folder, from here launch Keychain Access. This keychain
is where your Mac keeps your passwords when you allow it or ask it
to “Remember this password.” Sometimes, it even saves them if you
don’t ask it to. Scroll down through the entries and double click the
password you want to recover. Select the Show password checkbox
at the bottom of the window. Enter your keychain password (this is
the same as your user account password). Type in the password here
and click Allow Once or Allow. You should now be able to see the
password for this site at the bottom of the window.
Many websites offer an “I forgot my password” or a “password hint”
option. Each one is different and can usually be found somewhere
on the login page of the website.
How do I reset my system password if I don’t know it?
Insert your Mac OS X System disc. Reboot your Mac, while holding
down the “c” key. This forces your Mac to start up from the disc.
After selecting a language, look in the Utilities menu and choose
Reset Password. Select your hard disk, and create a new password for
yourself. Then click Save, close the window, and quit the Installer to
restart (don’t reinstall Mac OS X).
Now your keychain password and system password are different
(when you first created your user account, they were the same).
Your Mac will ask you for your old keychain password every time
you open an application or website that uses stored passwords.
Follow the instructions in the next question to reset your keychain
How do I reset my keychain password?
You can not recover your keychain password, but you can sideline
it. By deleting the keychain, it puts the original default keychain
password file aside and creates a new one. (If you have a burst of inspiration and recall the old password, you can reactivate the old file.)
Reset your keychain by opening Keychain Access in Applications/
Utilities. Select the login keychain from the left side and then go
the File menu and choose Delete Keychain “login”. When prompted,
select Delete References to allow the keychain file to stay on your hard
drive for future re-activation.
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
How can I change my system password if I know my current
Select System Preferences from the Apple menu and then click the
Accounts pane. Then select your account from the left and finally
click the Change Password button on the right. This will automatically change your login keychain password as well.
How can I change another user’s password?
Log on as a user with administrative privileges (usually the first
user set up on the computer), and use the Accounts pane of System
Preferences as above. If you are not an administrative user, then you
shouldn’t (and can’t) change someone else’s password.
What is the best password?
The most commonly used passwords are “password,” birthdays, anniversary dates, home towns, and pet names. So don’t use any of
those! Create a more secure password by mixing 8-16 letters, numbers, and punctuation marks together. This should stop most people
from being able to guess your password.
Now that you have a perfect password, I have some bad news.
You shouldn’t use the same password across lots of websites. The
current trend in online account theft is that hackers attack a website
with lots of members to steal usernames and passwords. They take
that login information and try it across email, financial, and social
networking websites.
So you need to use secure passwords and you’ll need lots of them.
You can use the Keychain Access application to generate random
passwords and save them to your Mac. Open Keychain Access and
press the plus (+) button, then click on the key icon to generate a
random password. If you need to access your passwords across multiple computers, you’ll need MobileMe or a third-party password
manager like 1Password. Just make sure you can remember the password that you used to protect your password manager. Once a year,
print a copy of your passwords and store it with your confidential
A Full Hard Drive is an Unhappy
Hard Drive
Mike Swedene, Tekserve Staff
I just got a message that my “startup disk is almost full.” What
does that mean?
Think of your hard drive as a file cabinet. If you jam-pack your file
cabinets, it creates clutter and crowding, which can make reaching
in to grab the correct file a slower task.
“Startup disk is almost full” means that you are running out of space
on your hard drive, and it’s making your Mac run slowly. Macs
usually only have one hard disk drive, and that is the startup drive.
If you have more than one drive, the startup drive is usually the icon
in the upper right corner of your desktop.
To see how much space you have left on your internal hard drive,
select its icon on your desktop. Then go to the File menu and choose
Get Info. The info window will show your hard drive’s capacity and
available gigabytes. We recommend that you leave 10% of your hard
drive free for daily use. (For example, if you have a 200 GB hard
drive, you should keep about 20 GB available.)
If you have less than 10% of your hard drive’s capacity remaining,
you have a few choices:
Remove extra applications and data from your hard drive
(see instructions under the next questions).
Purchase external hard drive(s) to provide additional
storage space for your files.
Have Tekserve upgrade your computer to a larger internal
hard drive (usually completed in one business day).
If you have a Mac Pro, Tekserve can add additional internal hard
drives to your computer while you wait (unless you already have the
maximum number of hard drives installed).
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
How do I remove extra files from my hard drive?
Take your time and be careful to only delete what you intend to.
Do not move or rename files that you didn’t create. Mac OS X
needs a lot of special files in special places, and it put them there
already. Leave them be.
If you have files that you don’t use frequently, you can transfer them
to an external hard drive or burn them onto CD/DVDs. For important files, you should do both. This is because external hard drives
can fail and discs will eventually become as obsolete as floppy drives.
After you’ve confirmed that the files are working from an external
drive or disc, you can delete them from your hard drive. Remember
that moving files to the Trash doesn’t make more room – you also
have to choose Empty Trash from the Finder menu.
If you use iPhoto, you should check the trash of your iPhoto library.
Deleting a photo in iPhoto moves it to the iPhoto trash, which is
only emptied into the main computer’s trash when you select Empty
Trash from the iPhoto menu.
If you have a very large iTunes library you may want to get an external drive to store it and free up space on your internal hard drive,
check out Knowledge Base article HT1449 from
An easy way to figure out what is taking up the most space on
your drive is with the shareware application What Size or GrandPerspective. They examine all the files on your computer and let
you see which are the largest. You can find both applications by
searching at These applications will show you
many system files that your Mac hides from you (for good reasons).
Don’t move or delete any files that you didn’t create.
How do I remove extra applications from my hard drive?
Make sure you have the original installation discs and installation codes for any applications you may want to run again. If
you’ve downloaded any important applications online, it’s a good
idea to burn copies of the installation files to a CD or DVD just in
A Full Hard Drive is an Unhappy Hard Drive
case. Once you’ve confirmed that you have everything you need to
run that application again, you can uninstall it.
or looking at family photos. Let’s face it, you want to get online,
but how?
Some applications have an uninstall utility, which is usually located in the Applications folder. Applications that don’t come with
their own uninstall utility, will need to be removed manually. Drag
the application’s icon from the Applications folder to the Trash.
There will be small support files and any files you created using
the application left over. If there are preference files, support files, or
a cache that the application has created, those will not be removed
by deleting the application. You can check the application’s website
for uninstall instructions or use the cheap utility AppZapper from
The Internet is a great thing, but it is not free. You need to pay for
access. You need an Internet service provider (ISP).
What are my options to connect to the Internet?
There are several ways to get connected to the Internet:
At Home: A high speed connection is available in
most homes through your ISP, typically a telephone or
cable provider. This is called Broadband Cable or DSL.
In Town & Traveling: You can use a wireless hotspot. These can be found in airports, most libraries, and coffee
shops. The word “Wi-Fi” is usually posted on the door
of the establishment or on the menu to let you know it is
At Work: You can usually connect at work, but you may
need permission from your IT person. Also double check
the acceptable Internet usage policy at your office.
Outside: A cellular modem for your Mac or cellular
Wi-Fi hotspot will allow you to get online most places.
Some cell phones can be connected to your Mac (called
tethering). Your Mac can then use the cell phone’s
wireless data connection, but extra charges may apply to
your cell phone bill.
FireWire Target Disk Mode
Jazmin Hupp, Tekserve Staff
How do I use FireWire Target Mode?
FireWire Target Disk Mode allows a Mac to mimic a FireWire external drive so you can access its data through another Mac. Use this
technique to quickly transfer data between Macs or backup data from
an ailing Mac. First, connect two Macs with a FireWire cable. (Unfortunately, there is no way to do this with USB.) Then hold down
the “t” key while you start the Mac you want to transfer data from.
The computer should enter a special FireWire Target disk mode, indicated by a FireWire icon floating around the screen. It will show
up as an external hard drive to your other Mac and you’ll be able to
access its data. You can also run data recovery or repair applications
on a drive this way, if your computer won’t start up.
Getting Online and AirPort
Mike Swedene, Tekserve Staff
There are plenty of things you can do on your Mac, but now it’s time
to start thinking outside the box. There is a whole wide world out
there just waiting for you to explore. Whether it is looking for old
friends, playing video games with people from around the world,
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
What are my options for Internet service providers (ISP)?
Most people use their Cable TV or telephone company for
Internet service. These companies tend to offer reduced rates when
you subscribe to both of the services through them. The main thing
to remember is that there is usually a monthly fee associated with
any (or all) choices. Most of these services are “wired” access and
require a piece of equipment (modem) in your home from that company. This modem is then connected to your computer using the
built-in Ethernet port on your machine. These days, most people
Getting Online and AirPort
prefer to connect wirelessly. See “How do I create a home wireless
network?” on page 52.
How do I connect my Mac to a Cable modem?
Most companies will come in and set this up for you the first time
but you may need these instructions to connect a new Mac later.
If these instructions don’t work, you’ll have to ask your Internet
provider if they require you to enter a specific IP address, subnet
mask, router address, and/or DNS server addresses to connect.
1. Start by turning off all the computers connected to the
cable modem. Cycle the power on your cable modem by
turning it off for a few minutes and then turning it back
on. Make sure an Ethernet cable is securely connected
between your Mac and the cable modem.
Wait for the modem to connect to the Internet (as indicated by its flashing lights) and then turn your computer(s)
back on. Try to open a website now. If it works, you’re
good to go, if not, keep reading.
Open your System Preferences and select the Network pane.
Select your Ethernet port from the left bar.
4. In the Configure pop-up box select Using DHCP, if you
receive your IP address automatically. Choose Manually if
your service provider gave you a specific IP address, DNS
server, or search domain to use. Enter those items into the
so-named fields.
5.Click Apply.
If these steps don’t work for you, you’ll have to contact your Internet
service provider’s technical support.
How do I connect my Mac to a DSL modem?
Most companies will come in and set this up for you the first time
but you may need these instructions to connect a new Mac later. In
order to connect to a DSL modem directly, you’ll need to know the
user account and password for that DSL account. Some DSL pro50
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
viders also require certain Domain Name Server (DNS) address(es)
and/or a static IP address to be entered. Most providers will give
you a software setup CD that will help you do this but here’s how
to generally connect to any DSL modem that uses PPPoE (Verizon,
AT&T, and some others):
1. Verify that your computer is connected to the modem
securely with an Ethernet cable.
2. Turn off your DSL modem and computer for a minute.
Restart the DSL modem and make sure it connects to
the Internet based on its status lights. Then turn on your
Open your System Preferences and select the Network pane.
4. Click the plus (+) sign in the lower left corner. Choose
PPPoE from the Interface pop-up, select Ethernet from
the second pop-up menu, then name your connection.
Click Create.
Type in your account name and password in the appropriate fields. If you want all users of your computer to use
this connection, select the checkbox labeled “Remember
this password.”
6. If your Internet service provider gave you a static IP address, you’ll need to do some additional steps. Click the
Advanced button. Then click the TCP/IP tab and choose
Manually from the Configure IPv4 pop-up menu. Enter
the static IP address in the IPv4 Address field.
7. If your Internet service provider requires a domain name
server address(es) to be entered, follow these steps. Click
the Advanced button. Select the DNS tab and click the
plus (+) button in the lower left corner to add address(es).
Click Ok.
8.Click Apply. If you aren’t automatically connected, there
is one more step. You may need to click the Connect
Getting Online and AirPort
button near the area where you entered your username
and password in the Network Preferences.
When I go to select a wireless network, the AirPort menu always
says it’s “scanning” or “looking for networks”.
If these steps don’t work for you, you’ll have to contact your Internet
service provider’s technical support.
Don’t worry this is a normal. Every time you go to select a network,
your Mac rescans to check if any new networks are available.
How safe is a DSL or a cable modem?
How can I ask my Mac to prefer a certain AirPort (Wi-Fi)
network or forget one?
With the DSL and cable modems, your computer is always connected to the Internet. With some cable modems, other users
in your neighborhood may be able to access your shared files or
networked printers. You should turn off file sharing and web sharing, or at least set complex passwords. You can turn on Mac OS X’s
software firewall in the Security Preference pane, but that doesn’t
solve all problems. Depending on the importance and secrecy of
your files, you may want to get a hardware firewall. An AirPort Base
Station provides some firewall functions such as network address
translation (NAT). If you are not using AirPort, a router provides
these services (and more) while allowing you to share a single cable
or DSL connection among multiple computers.
How do I create a home wireless network?
Once you have a wired Internet connection established with your
ISP, you’ll need to connect a wireless base station like an AirPort
Extreme or Time Capsule. To configure your wireless base station,
please refer to the user manual for instructions or manufacturer’s
website. Once you have your wireless network configured at home,
all you have to do is connect your Mac to it.
How do I connect my Mac to a wireless network?
Look in the upper-right corner of your Mac’s menu bar, click your
AirPort status menu and select the wireless network you have created. If prompted, enter the password for your wireless network.
Check the box “Remember this network” to have your Mac
automatically join your home wireless network.
You can ask nicely or you can tell it that certain networks are friendly
and need to be connected to when you are in their proximity. You
can set up a list of “preferred networks” by opening your System Preferences. Select the Network icon and then select AirPort from the left
bar. Click on the Advanced button, which can be found in the lower
right. On the AirPort tab you can drag your preferred networks to
the top of the list. If you no longer want your Mac to connect to
a network automatically, select it from the list and press minus (-).
My AirPort reception is very inconsistent and sometimes drops
This is a very common issue, especially with people who live in
apartments in NYC. You may be experiencing interference from
wireless phones or other wireless networks in your building or even
your neighborhood. Home networks use radio frequencies, and
most wireless base stations default to the same channel or two. You
can manually adjust your base station’s frequency, and this may help
with your reception problem.
If you’re using an Apple wireless base station, open AirPort
Utility from Applications/Utilities. Select your base station on the left
and choose Manual Setup. Choose the Wireless tab and pick a new
number from the Channel pop-up menu. If you want to be more
scientific and check which channels are being used near you, download iStumbler (donation requested). If you have
a third-party wireless base station (made by anyone else but Apple),
you will probably need to configure the base station through your
web browser; refer to the manual for your particular device.
If that doesn’t help, try turning on Interference Robustness in
the AirPort menu. You should also try to place your base station
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
Getting Online and AirPort
higher up and away from microwave ovens, cordless phones, and
fluorescent lamps, all of which can provide local interference.
Are AirPort, Wi-Fi, and wireless networks secure?
It is not the most secure network available. During the 1980s my
friend could listen in on wireless phone calls using a baby monitor. Just keep in mind when your data is traveling on a wire, an intruder
would have to tap it; definitely possible, but a bit of a hassle. With
AirPort, your data is a radio transmission, still not totally in the
clear, but a whole lot more available to the world. If the information
you transmit online is confidential, you should use an encrypted
wireless network or another form of encryption. Secure HTTP sites
(pages beginning with https: - like banking websites and such) and
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide an extra layer of security
even if you’re using an unencrypted wireless network.
You can encrypt your wireless network by following your router’s
instructions on password protecting your network. No wireless encryption standard is unbeatable but the newer WPA encryption is
much harder to beat than the older WEP (if your router offers both).
How can I stop others from using my AirPort wireless network?
Some of us “free information” types try to keep our wireless
network open to help out passing travelers. However, a freeloader that
downloads tons of files may slow down your connection speeds.
Macs also make it really easy to connect between computers on the
same network, so a freeloader could access your home computers if
they can guess your user password.
Every wireless base station manufacturer uses a slightly different
process. If you’re using an Apple base station, open AirPort Utility
from Applications/Utilities and select your device from the left side.
Click Manual Setup, the AirPort icon, then the Wireless tab. In the
Wireless Security pop-up menu choose WPA2 Personal.
A thirteen character password comprised of both letters and numbers is pretty secure and cross-platform compatible. In addition,
current AirPort software will allow you to restrict access to your base
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
station based on the MAC address (or “AirPort ID”) of the AirPort cards you have in your computers. You can find the unique
12-character AirPort ID on the label of each AirPort card or in the
Apple System Profiler. Or, you may choose to openly share your
broadband Internet connection with friends and neighbors.
If you do choose to share your connection openly, make sure
you’ve set-up a good system password. Mac OS X Leopard makes
it very easy to browse any files on the same network (if you
know the other computer’s username and password.) So if your
computer is named JohnDoe, your username is John, and your
password is blank, read “How can I change my system password if I know my current password?” on page 45. You can also
prevent anyone from browsing your files over a network by turning off “File Sharing” in the Sharing pane of System Preferences.
Tekserve: New York’s Old Reliable
Mac Shop
If you’re in New York and need help with your Mac, or want to
buy a Mac or anything that works with it, please stop by. If you are
outside New York City, you can shop on or give
us a call.
119 West 23rd Street
between 6th & 7th Avenues
New York, NY 10011
Phone: (212) 929-3645 • Toll-free Sales: (888) 929-3645
Fax: (212) 463-9280 •
What services does Tekserve offer?
Warranty and non-warranty repair on all current Macs, and older
models going back many years (but we’ll try to dissuade you from
spending hundreds of dollars to repair a computer no longer worth
that much). We do hardware repairs, hard drive and memory
upgrades, software work, and data recovery. We also offer out of
Tekserve: New York’s Old Reliable Mac Shop
warranty iPod/iPhone repairs and battery replacements. Our Professional Services group offers desk-side, network, and audio/video
support. Tekserve Professional Services also has a team of engineers
who specialize in configuring everything from a Final Cut Pro
System, to an HD-capable Xsan, to a DigiDesign Icon–based audio
production facility.
Does Tekserve sell Macs and other products, too?
start editing. For corporate purchasers, we can configure and ship
computers to multiple locations, with your standard software install
already loaded and asset tags in place.
Our motto—borrowed from an old Walker Evans photo—is
“Honest Weights, Square Dealings.” If you are ever dissatisfied in
any way with our service, please let us know and we’ll try to make
it right.
Yes. In addition to our depth of technical talent, we have a
strong team of systems consultants, account executives, and a huge
inventory. We have a 25,000 square foot walk-in store and warehouse in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. We stock virtually every
current Apple product, and thousands of related hardware, software
and accessory items. We sometimes have special inventory of discontinued Apple products as well.
What if I just don’t have time to wait for a repair?
We don’t sell everything—we sell products that we are comfortable
recommending that will work well with your Mac.
Do you provide a messenger service to pick up and deliver stuff?
Do you offer corporate accounts?
Yes. First, we’d like to team you up with one of our corporate
account executives, so you have a single point of contact. Please email to get connected. We accept written purchase
orders from Fortune 1000 companies, governmental entities, and
most educational institutions. If your company’s structure requires
that you be billed and you have an excellent D&B rating, email and we’ll send you a credit application. We
also accept corporate credit cards and company checks (subject to
What makes Tekserve different?
What we think sets Tekserve apart is that we started out as a
service provider, and we still lead with service. We have over 40
certified technicians, including several data recovery experts, and we
maintain a very large inventory of parts. Our approach to sales is
based on service—not just trying to move boxes, but actually meeting the customer’s needs. For instance, we offer turnkey Final Cut
Pro video editing systems with everything you need to plug in and
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
If you need to keep working while you wait for your repair, let us
know. We offer a wide variety of rental computers and can even
help you transfer your data in some cases. For more information
about rentals and how Tekserve can assist you, give us a call or check
Forgot a cable? Need a new computer but don’t want to carry it
home? Call us to have your purchases delivered within a few hours
anywhere in NYC. If sending us computers to repair, we prefer that
you use your own messenger service, but we can arrange to pick up
and deliver (for an additional fee). If you send us stuff by messenger,
please attach a note telling us who, what, when, where, and why.
You’d be surprised at the mystery parcels we receive. Do you offer financing on new computers?
For corporate purchases from $2,500 up to millions of dollars,
we offer leasing plans from Apple Commercial Credit and others. Please visit to apply for a
business lease. All financing is subject to credit approval (and lots of
other fine print).
Tekserve: New York’s Old Reliable Mac Shop
activation problems, 7
Adobe Creative
Suite, 7
connection problems, 52-54
getting online, 4849
preferred networks, 53
scanning, 53
security, 54-55
AppleCare warranty,
3-6, 10
after a data transfer, 41
before a repair, 7
deleting, 47-48
force-quitting, 18
frozen, 18
slowness in, 20-21
stalled or frozen,
unable to move, 18
Archive & Install, 39
before a repair, 6,
can’t, 8
cell phone, 26
complete bootable
clones, 27-31
how often, 28
importance of,
14, 24
incremental, 28
simple copy, 27
strategies, 26-28
Time Machine and,
Windows and, 29,
not charging, 1617
replacements, 57
beeping, 11-12
blinking, 11-12
blue screen, 14-15
booting (see startup)
cable modems, 50-52
Classic environment,
Clean Install, 40
cleaning spills, 10
clocks, inaccurate, 22
Consumer Reports, 3
corporate accounts,
avoiding, 24, 42
data, 24
permissions, 25
crashes, 13, 17-22,
data backup (see
data recovery, 8-9,
12-14, 46
Data Rescue, 14
date/time settings, 22
DHCP, 50
diagnostics, 11
Digidesign, 56
digital video, 56
disk image,
can’t mount, 22
Windows 35-36
Disk Utility (See
disks (See hard disks/
DiskWarrior, 13-14
displays (see monitors)
backing up, 25-27
location of, 26
kernel panics, 19
printers, 38, 40-41
removal, 19
updating, 9
upgrading OS X
and, 41
DSL, 49-52
wireless networks,
applications, 47-48
data, 47
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
DSL/cable connections, 48-52
transferring files,
14, 20
extensions, 15, 19, 42
external devices,
11, 14
directory damage,
14, 20, 25
permissions, 2223
full, 46-48
view capacity, 25,
29, 30, 46
repair disk in Disk
Utility, 13, 22-23
housecalls, 5
files (see documents,
FileVault, 26, 36, 43
Final Cut Pro, 56
Final Draft, 7
financing, 57
disconnecting, 11,
transferring files,
versus USB, 25
FireWire Target Mode,
48, 62
Firmware Update,
36, 38
folder permissions,
force-quitting, 18
freezing up, 17-19
iCal, 27
iMac (see desktops)
iPod, 2-4, 26, 56
image (see monitors)
operating system,
software updates, 5,
33, 36, 40
Internet, 2, 4, 48-55
iPhoto, 22, 33, 40,
42, 47
iTunes, 7, 32, 39,
42, 47
iTunes Store, 7, 22
hard disk/drives
data recovery (see
data recovery)
kernel panic, 19
not working, 17-18
spills, 10
languages, 40
liquid (see spills)
logic board, 11-12, 19
Mac Pro (see desktops)
MacBook (see portables)
MacBook Air (see
MacBook Pro (see
memory (see RAM)
messenger service,
microwave ovens, 53
modems, 49-55
backlight, 16
repair, 6, 9
motherboard (see
logic board)
mounting disk images, 22
freezing up, 17
stuck buttons, 12
looking for, 53
prefer, 53
technical support,
transferring files,
wireless, 52-55
Operating Systems
earlier, 2, 37
paging out, 20
Parallels Desktop,
parameter memory
(PRAM), 12, 62
changing, 43-45
choosing, 45
email, 43-44
FileVault, 43
forgotten, 43-45
keychain, 44
security, 45
website, 43-44
PCI cards/slots, 12,
applications, 20-22
FireWire and USB,
RAM, 20-22
permissions (see corruption, privileges)
phone support, 3-4
Pournelle, Jerry, 10
Power Manager Unit
(PMU), 16
battery, 2, 10, 22
clock, 22
keyboard, 10, 1718
Power Manager, 16
spill, 10
System Management Controller,
trackpad, 12, 1920
PowerBook (see
PPPoE, 51-52
PRAM (see parameter
data transfers and,
location of, 15, 42
printer drivers (see
printer repair, 9
pro audio & video, 56
programs (see applications)
question mark, blinking, 11-12
adding, 22
beep codes, 11-12
incompatible or
bad, 12, 19
not enough, 20-22
OS X requirements, 37-38
hardware, 5-6
software, 5
preparing for, 6-7
estimate, 7-8
external hard drive,
printer, 9
scanner, 9
external hard drive,
disk permissions,
repair programs,
Safe Boot, 14-16
scanners, 9, 38, 41
setup service, 40-41
slash (/), 15
sleeping, won’t wake,
11, 16
spills, 2, 7-8, 10
SuperDuper!, 27-31
software (see applications)
passwords, 45
wireless networks,
beeps, 12
FireWire Target
Mode, 48, 62
from external
drive, 31
kernel panics, 19
key combinations,
no video at, 11
problems at, 11-17
slow, 14-15, 20
startup disc (system
install disc)
startup items, 14-15
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
storage devices (see
external devices)
system install disc,
12, 27, 35
System Management
Controller (SMC),
system software, 18,
versions, 3
viruses, 2
warranties, 3-6, 9, 10,
19, 24, 55-56
won’t wake from
sleep, 11, 16-17
TCP/IP settings, 53
TechTool, 13-14
Tekserve, 2-5, 7-10,
12, 19, 22, 29, 41,
46, 55-57
time (see clocks,
Time Machine, 23, 25,
28, 30, 32-36
tools (see utilities)
trackpad, 18-20
unhappy Mac, 11
Universal Access, 18
unsaved work, 18
uninstall, 46-48
upgrade operating
system, 37-40
USB, 18, 19, 25-26,
User folder, 26
Disk Utility, 13,
20, 30, 46
DiskWarrior, 13-14
TechTool, 13-14
Command Key Combinations
Startup Manager
Option while booting, allows you to choose which
volume to start up from if you have more than one
startup volume or CD
Start Up from
Optical Disc
“c” while starting up
This tells the computer to start from the CD or
DVD (like a system or utility disc) instead of the
hard drive
FireWire Target
Mode (also called
Target Disk Mode)
“t” while starting up
This temporarily turns a Mac into an external
FireWire drive that you can mount on the desktop
of a second Mac to copy data or even run utilities.
When you are done, eject the “disk” and press the
power button on the FireWire Target Mode Mac to
shut it down.
Ignore internal
hard disk drive
z-option-shift-delete while booting (some Macs
ignore selected startup device)
Eject all removable Press and hold mouse button while starting up
Safe boot
Shift key while starting up, only loads essential
extensions at boot and disables login (startup)
items; try this if you just installed a new extension
or driver and got a kernel panic
Verbose Startup
z-v (shows what’s going on during startup)
Single User
Startup Mode
z-s (brings you to Unix style text prompt
For many more keyboard shortcuts, check out Dave Polaschek’s
“Magical Macintosh Key Sequences” page at
Tekserve’s Macintosh FAQ •
The Tekserve Mac FAQ
Mac OS X 10.5 & 10.6
Tenth Edition / Mac OS X 10.5 & 10.6
Tricks and troubleshooting tips for many topics including:
• Crashes and kernel panics
• Computer slow-downs
• Backing up your data with or without Time Machine
• Getting online and AirPort
• Upgrading or reinstalling Mac OS X
• Passwords
• Plus hundreds more questions are answered at
Tekserve Staff Writers: Ben Casey, Sonia Deepak, Aaron Freimark,
Lorna Perry, and Mike Swedene
119 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 929-3645
Printed in Canada
Tenth Edition Mac
Edited By David Lerner and Jazmin Hupp
Tekserve is New York’s largest independent Apple store and service
facility. Tekserve has been serving the local New York City community
for over 20 years, offering the newest family of Macs, iPods, the iPad,
plus the City’s best selection of accessories, cases, bags, and gear.
Tekserve also offers while-you-wait configuration; service and repairs;
software; professional audio, video, and graphic solutions; rentals;
seminars; training; data recovery; on-site service; and good advice.
The Tekserve Mac FAQ / Tenth Edition
The thousands of Mac users that visit Tekserve each week
have one thing in common; every one has at least one
question about using their Mac. The Tekserve Mac FAQ is
our compilation of the most popular questions and the
best tips to keep your Mac running smoothly.
Edited By David Lerner and Jazmin Hupp