FAQ: Check here first if you have problems!

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
This thread serves the purpose of providing answers to FAQ to our membership.

If your Computer acts strange or you have other computer related problems, you can check here first.

It's also easier to answer questions when you just can say 'do this, it's in the FAQ'.

Terms of use:

? This thread is only for FAQ.

like 'How can I reset the PRAM?'

? Only post here if you have something to add.

something we haven't covered yet. nothing else.

? If you post, format your submitted text.

do it like the ones before you

? Only one explanation per post allowed

keeps it neat, clean and easier to search


  • Reply 1 of 40
    defiantdefiant Posts: 4,876member
    Deleting your Cache: by Defiant

    Deleting your cache may be necessary if you experience any of the following: [list=a][*]you have more than one of the same preference panel in your System Preferences[*]CD's, DVD's and HD's don't mount properly or don't even show up[*]Applications behave strange[*]etc.[/list=a] Delete everything in ~/Library/Caches/, where '~' is your home folder.

    Deleting your cache isn't dangerous; it only deletes the cache, ie. things who are stored there so that an application has faster access to it, or because it needs to store some things.
  • Reply 2 of 40
    defiantdefiant Posts: 4,876member
    Repairing your permissions: by Defiant

    You should repair your permissions after every update of your OS, or when your applications behave strange or quit randomly.

    Open Disk Utility located in /Applications/Utilities/, select your hard-drive, and switch over to 'First Aid' and press the button called Repair Disk Permissions.

    Now wait until it's finished, then quit it. Done.
  • Reply 3 of 40
    defiantdefiant Posts: 4,876member
    Running FSCK: by Paul

    "FSCK" checks (fixes) the file system (File System ChecK)

    You have to be in single user mode in order for this to work...

    now this can get a little tricky...

    restart your computer and hold down apple-s this will bring up a bunch of text... (single user mode) wait for this to load.

    then type:

    /sbin/fsck -y

    (it will be already written a few lines up so you don't have to memorize it) and just like disk utility it will run through and check the filesystem, only instead of repairing permissions it checks the actual file system.

    after you run it, if it says "The system was modified" run the command again.

    if it says "The system appears to be OK" then type


    and your mac should start up normally

    <courtesy of kickaha:>

    Disk Utility's 'Repair Volume' also checks the file system. The only reason you'd have to resort to single-user boot mode is to perform fsck on the boot drive, assuming you don't have another boot volume or CD to do so.


    This should be done after every OS update and major software installation and if you are having any trouble with your computer this should be the step to try after repairing permissions with disk utility.
  • Reply 4 of 40
    defiantdefiant Posts: 4,876member
    Safe Boot by seb

    What it does:
    • Forces FSCK to run

    • Only loads kernel extensions necessary for the machine to run

    • Disables non-Apple startup items.

    How to do it: Hold the shift key during startup. You can let go once you see the gray Apple and spinning gears.

    "Safe Boot" will appear in the Mac OS X startup splash screen with the progress bar.

    Other uses for the shit key:[list=1][*]What it does: Disables auto-login.

    How to do it: Press and hold the shift key after you see the Mac OS X startup screen with the progress bar. [*]What it does: Disables login items.

    How to do it: Press and hold shift key just after logging in.[/list=1]
  • Reply 5 of 40
    defiantdefiant Posts: 4,876member
    Resetting the Parameter RAM (PRAM): by curiousuburb

    While restarting, to return all memory settings to the factory state, you can "Zap the PRAM".

    Press and hold Command-Option-P-R until you hear the boot sound of your machine.

    Keep held until the fourth boot sound for a full purge.

    Release the keys and allow the machine to boot up.

    Note: This is not the same as Open Firmware reset, but OF is dangerous knowledge if you only have little.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    defiantdefiant Posts: 4,876member
    FireWire Target Mode: by curiousuburb

    Press and hold T just after you pressed the power button on your Mac and wait until you see the FireWire logo on the screen.

    Now connect your Target Mode machine with a FireWire cable to any other Mac.

    And voilÃ*, your Target Mode machine appears as a drive on the other machine, with full access.

    Throw the 'targeted' drive to the trash to eject it. To finish, press the power button on your machine in Target Mode once.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    Enabling Root User by Placebo

    Root User can be a valuable tool for altering and deleting perfectly useless files that the computer won't allow you to delete. You can also look access the contents of other user's accounts. (Remember to respect other's privacy, and only use this when you need to transfer files between accounts.)

    Root can also be used to delete or alter many files that would be better left alone. So before you accidently remove you computer from existence, you should know what you are doing.

    Open Netinfo Manager, located in your /Applications/Utilities folder. Click on the Authenticate menu, and click Enable root user. Netinfo Manager then will prompt you to give a password to root. After you have typed the password twice, click OK.

    To log into root, first log out by clicking Apple menu down to Log out.

    At your login screen, you will see a new option called Other. Click on it, and the computer will prompt you for your username and password. Enter root as your username, and enter your password. The computer will log you in, giving you complete administrator priveledges.

    When you are finished, log out of root.

    To disable root, go to Netinfo Manager, and from the Authenitcate menu, select "Disable root". This will remove the Other option from your login screen.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Faster Enabling Root User: by Eugene

    As a user with Administrator privileges, open Terminal, type sudo passwd root, and enter your own passphrase at the prompt. At the next prompt, enter the desired root passphrase.

    The end.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    Reseting Power Management Unit by penseive

    iBook (Dual USB), iBook (Late 2001) and iBook (14.1 LCD)

    1. If the computer is on, turn it off.

    2. Disconnect the AC power adapter.

    3. Remove the battery.

    4. Press and release the reset button (shown in Figure 2) located above the Audio/Video port on the left side of the iBook (Dual USB) computer by inserting the end of a paper clip into the small hole and gently pressing the switch once.

    5. Wait 5 seconds.

    6. Reconnect the AC power adapter.

    7. Put the battery back in the computer.

    8. Press the Power button to restart the iBook computer.

    iBook (14.1 LCD 32 VRAM), iBook (32 VRAM), and iBook (Opaque 16 VRAM), iBook (Early 2003), iBook (800 MHz 32 VRAM), iBook (900 MHz 32 VRAM), iBook(14.1 LCD 900 MHz 32 VRAM)

    For iBook (16 VRAM) computers and later models of iBook, there is no physical reset button.

    1. If the computer is on, turn it off.

    2. Reset the power manager by simultaneously pressing and then releasing Shift-Control-Option-power on the keyboard. Do not press the fn (Function) key while using this combination of keystrokes.

    3. Wait 5 seconds.

    4. Press the power button to restart the iBook computer.

    PowerBook G4 (DVI) and PowerBook G4 (1 GHz/867 MHz)

    1. If the computer is on, turn it off.

    2. Disengage the two keyboard latches located between the Esc and F1 keys, and the F11 and F12 keys. (You may also need to disengage the keyboard locking screw located between the F5 and F6 keys.)

    3. Lift the keyboard.

    Note: To ensure no harmful static electricity is transferred to the computer, properly ground yourself before performing this procedure.

    4. Press and release the reset button located on the upper right side of the logic board near the power button.

    5. Wait 5 seconds.

    6. Press the power button to restart the computer.

    PowerBook G4 (12-inch), PowerBook G4 (12-inch DVI), PowerBook G4 (15-inch FW 800), PowerBook G4 (17-inch) and PowerBook G4 (17-inch 1.33GHz)

    1. If the computer is on, turn it off.

    2. Reset the power manager by simultaneously pressing and then releasing Shift-Control-Option-power on the keyboard. Do not press the fn (Function) key while using this combination of keystrokes.

    3. Wait 5 seconds.

    4. Press the power button to restart the computer.


    If you're having trouble with the battery on your laptop (funny gauge readings, not charging, etc.), try this first. I choose to only include the most recent models.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    Port Mapping/Forwarding through an Airport Base Station by penseive

    If you want to run a server from a computer connected to an ABS, you need to set up port mapping. It's confusing as hell, but hopefully, this will help the process.

    [list=1][*]Open up the Airport Admin Utility[*]If you're using firmware version 4.0.8, click on "Show all settings"[*]Click on the "Port Mapping" tab[*]Click on "Add" and in the "Public Port" field, put in the port number you want to open up. In the "private address" field put in a number greater than 56 (Airport automatically assigns 1-55. I use numbers above 200 just 'cause.) In the "private port" field, put in a port number you want to use. It's easiest to use the same number as used in the public port field. Click ok.

    [*]Repeat as needed for your serving needs.

    [*]Restart the base station.[*]Next, open up your network preferences pane. You need to manually assign your IP address. Use the same IP number you used in the previous settings.[*]This is important. Make sure you put the ABS' IP as your DNS server and your router. If you don't, it won't work.

    [*]Apply now.[/list=1]

    Keep in mind that you will not be able to connect to your serving computer via the real (what whatismyip.com would show you) IP address from within your local subnet. If you can connect to the internet using your computer, it will work. HTH.
  • Reply 11 of 40
    costiquecostique Posts: 1,084member
    Problem: when trying to repair disk permissions with Disk Utility, it spits out myriads of "User differs on /path/to/a/file, should be 0, owner is 501. Owner and group not corrected on /path/to/a/file, reason Operation not permitted" messages.


    1. Quit Disk Utility.

    2. Launch Terminal found in /Applications/Utilities.

    3. Type:

    sudo chown 0 "/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility.app/Contents/MacOS/Disk Utility"

    then press Enter, enter your admin password and press Enter again.

    4. Type:

    sudo chmod 4775 "/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility.app/Contents/MacOS/Disk Utility"

    and press Enter.

    5. Launch Disk Utility and repair permissions as usual.

    If you are absolutely incompatible with Terminal, follow the link to get Mark Douma's little utility to help you out.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    cubedudecubedude Posts: 1,556member
    Resetting Your Password: by CubeDude

    If you need to reset your password for whatever reason, you need the Mac OS X install CD(only the first one) or the Software Restore CD(or DVD) that came with your Mac.

    1. Boot off of the Install* CD. To do this, insert the CD, and shut down. Then hold down the C key and power up. Or, if you are using the retail install CD, you can insert the CD, while the computer is running, and double-click on the "Install Mac OS X" icon.

    2. Click on the Installer menu. Open the installer menu. It's next to the Apple logo in the top-left corner. It's also known as the Application menu.

    3. Click on Reset Password. Follow the instructions in the resulting window.

    4. Reboot to your hard drive.

    You do NOT need to reinstall.

    *These same directions apply to the Software Restore CD.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    cubedudecubedude Posts: 1,556member
    Booting from a CD/DVD: by Cubedude

    Sometimes you need to boot off of a CD to fix ceartin problems.

    1. Insert the CD.

    2. Reboot holding down the C key until you see the start-up progress bar.

    This applies in both Mac OS 9 and X.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    cubedudecubedude Posts: 1,556member
    Moving your iTunes Library: by CubeDude

    Sometimes you don't want to keep your music in your home folder.

    1. Open iTunes.

    2. Go to the Preferences.

    3. Click on the Advanced button.

    4. Under the iTunes Music Library Location settings, click on the Change button.

    5. Point iTunes to your new location.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    cubedudecubedude Posts: 1,556member
    Moving your iPhoto Library: by CubeDude

    1. Move your iPhoto Library.

    2. Highlight the folder in the new location and select "Make Alias".

    3. Move the alias to the old locatioin and name it iPhoto Library.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    cubedudecubedude Posts: 1,556member
    Moving your Home folder: by CubeDude

    Sometimes its useful to keep your Home folder on its own hard drive, seperate from the System folder.

    1. Open Netinfo Manager. It's located in /Applications/Utilities.

    2. Authinticate yourself. To do this click on the Security menu and then on Authinticate... Enter your password.

    3. In the center column, click on "users". Then find your user name in the right-hand column.

    4. In the box underneath the three columns, find the "home" property.


    5. Highlight that property/value.

    6. After it is highlighted, double click on the value. Make sure you double-click on the value, or you could ruin your user. This should allow you to edit the value.

    7. Type in the path to your new home folder.

    It should look something like this:


    Obviously, you should replace VOLUMENAME and USERNAME with their respective values.

    For example:

    /Volumes/Macintosh HD/Users/Joe

    8. Move over all the contents of the old folder.
  • Reply 17 of 40
    Viewing Invisible Files & Folders with Finder: by Tidris

    Making Finder display all invisible files and folders can be useful to UNIX gurus. Even if you aren't a UNIX guru, it can save you the trouble of having to use the "Go to Folder..." menu item in Finder in order to reach invisible folders, such as the .Trash* folders. To display invisible items, enter the following commands in the Terminal application:

    defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true

    killall Finder

    To make Finder stop displaying invisible items, enter the following commands in Terminal:

    defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles false

    killall Finder

    When displaying invisible items, avoid tampering with files and folders unfamiliar to you in order to stay out of trouble. Remember that with power comes responsibility.
  • Reply 18 of 40
    cubedudecubedude Posts: 1,556member
    My Mac won't boot: by CubeDude

    Power up and hold down the Option + Command + O + F keys(if you can't do that you have major hardware problems).

    (Skip to the next paragraph if you have a slot-loading CD drive that doesn't already have a non-bootable disc in it)

    If/when you get to the OF screen, type


    eject cd

    and press Return(if your CD tray does not pop out, or an already-inserted CD on a slot-loading drive does not pop out).

    Put in the Apple Hardware Test CD that came with your computer, OR the Restore Disc that came with your computer, OR the Installer disc for your current OS if it's more current than what came with your computer.

    Then type



    and press Return.
  • Reply 19 of 40
    How to join 128-bit encrypted wireless network run on Base Station(s) from a PC ? by piwozniak

    Apple Base Stations have unique feature of creating an 128-bit encryption based on string you specify as a password. It can be an 'common sense' string like appleinsider

    Windows based computers usually require 13 ASCII characters or 26 hex characters string to access 128-bit encrypted networks.

    Launch AirPort Admin Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities), and select your Base Station.

    Click on configure button, and enter your password.

    Now click on Password icon.

    Right down hex equivalent of your password. if your password is exactly 13 characters long you will be provided with ASCII string as well, otherwise only hex value will be shown.

    Use this hex password to authenticate from your Windows computer.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    Rebuilding your LauchServices database

    When you see duplicates in the "open with" menu and/or long-deleted apps, you may have an out-of-date LaunchServices database that needs to be rebuilt.


    /System/Library/Frameworks/ApplicationServices.framework/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user

    edit: That's a one-line command.
Sign In or Register to comment.