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Console

From: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics

Video: Console

Behind the scenes, your Mac is like a court reporter. Quietly, in the background, it's carefully taking notes on many other things going on. It stores these notes as logs and the logs can be read by the Console application and we will now fire it up. It's in the Utilities folder but we will launch it from spotlight. And oh my goodness, look at all these stuff. And you could see while a lot of people will open the Console, look at it once and say "I am never coming back in here again," and quit immediately because you can see an awful lot of messages that make no sense to you whatsoever and for most people these things don't make sense, but you can make a little bit of sense of them by choosing entries carefully in order to read out some helpful information.

Console

Behind the scenes, your Mac is like a court reporter. Quietly, in the background, it's carefully taking notes on many other things going on. It stores these notes as logs and the logs can be read by the Console application and we will now fire it up. It's in the Utilities folder but we will launch it from spotlight. And oh my goodness, look at all these stuff. And you could see while a lot of people will open the Console, look at it once and say "I am never coming back in here again," and quit immediately because you can see an awful lot of messages that make no sense to you whatsoever and for most people these things don't make sense, but you can make a little bit of sense of them by choosing entries carefully in order to read out some helpful information.

For example, if you look at all messages as we are now, you are going to become overwhelmed, there is just an awful lot of stuff happening in here. Choose Console Messages however and you are going to see little notes that applications have said "you know, I think we need to keep track of this one," and they will send a little console message to Console, put it in log so that later on, somebody can come back and then check and say "oh wait, wait, wait, there was a problem yesterday, I wonder what that, there seems to be console message here," and this is what the message was. Maybe I can make some sense of it and do something about it, or maybe I don't know anything about this but at least I can tell somebody else like a tech support person that I found this kind of information in the Console.

Here's an example of helpful information. Just the other day, I was trying to launch iDVD. I clicked on the icon in the doc, it bounced a couple of times and then I got a message saying it quit unexpectedly. I wondered what the heck is going on here, I thought this worked. Well, it turns out that some of the elements of iDVD had been tossed out and I hadn't realized it. I was able to go into the Console and again, go through a lot of these gobbledygook but I saw enough to say that certain directories didn't exist, that indicated to me, ah, this needs to be reinstalled because clearly iDVD is not seeing all the things that it needs to see.

Once it saw them, because I reinstalled everything was fine, and that's where the Console helped out. You can also look at log files to see if you can find some information there. For example, under this log file where it says tilde library logs, these are log files created within your user account. Let's take a look at one of them. Under Adobe, Software Updates, we will click one of these and we will see an awful lot of information here. Now, here's an interesting entry, directory does not exist.

That may be perfectly fine for what's going on right here but this is also the kind of thing that could keep an application from running or uninstall if working improperly because it's looking for a particular folder or a directory, it doesn't find it, it crashes or it quits or it says something is not going right here. So, even though I don't have a clue what all these other stuff means, conflicting process I don't know what that is. But if I get to the end and I see ah, directory is missing, okay, well directory does not exist, okay. I know something is wrong here and I can start to try to troubleshoot or if I end up talking to somebody in tech support, I can say the log tells me the directory does not exist, what does that mean, and then maybe they can clue me as to what's going on.

So, outside your user logs, there is also library logs. This is the stuff that happens to everybody on the computer. This is outside your user account and happening elsewhere. Let's go to Adobe again, Installers, Add and Remove here's bunch of stuff in here as well. It's important that you understand that log files don't necessarily mean that there is always a problem. Sometimes it's just to report of hey, this is how the installation went. This is what I did. This can be helpful as well. If you install an application and you are trying to remove it by dumping out the application and that doesn't seem to get rid of it, you can look into a console file and say okay, let me look in the installer, where did you install stuff, oh I see, you have got a hidden thing here and here and here and here.

You can then go and find where that stuff is and then toss it out by hand if the application doesn't have an uninstaller. If you like to find out if your Mac is panicked, well, there will be a panic reporter log. If your Mac has never panicked meaning that gray screen hasn't shown with a bunch of foreign text on it, you won't see this entry. But if you have panicked your Mac, the panic reporter log will appear and then you can look at that and say oh, your Mac isn't behaving as it should, you have talked to tech support. One thing they may ask you to do is send them the log file. How do you do that? Easily done, go to File, save a copy as, and here's the way you save that particular log, and then you can send that log to someone like Apple tech support if something wrong with your Mac, if it's another application, the tech support person may say boy, show what can help me if I had a log file.

No problem, I can generate one, I will email it to you and then you can tell me what's going on. So this is a very handy way to get information that maybe you don't understand into the hands of somebody who does. Finally, there is one other trick you can try, Quick Console Messages. If you have an application that's quitting all the time, you try something, it blows up every single time whenever you perform a certain action, go to Console Messages in the Filter field, enter the name of that application. So let's say iTunes is having a problem and then run the application again.

Let it blow up and in all likelihood, some console messages will be generated. You will see only those messages for iTunes appearing in this window as long as you filtered it out. In other words, you are not going to see scads and scads and scads of messages that are unrelated to that app, you want to see just the messages that have to do with iTunes. And that is a basic look at the Console with the idea that you can make sense of a lot of complicated information.

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This video is part of

Image for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics

76 video lessons · 26675 viewers

Christopher Breen
Author

 
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  1. 2m 34s
    1. Welcome
      2m 34s
  2. 7m 20s
    1. Getting settled into the interface
      3m 47s
    2. Moving more quickly on your Mac
      3m 33s
  3. 18m 44s
    1. Changing languages with the International system preference
      7m 28s
    2. Adding security with the Security system preference
      5m 30s
    3. Configuring a firewall with the Security system preference
      5m 46s
  4. 28m 26s
    1. Adding a Bluetooth device with the Bluetooth system preference
      4m 6s
    2. Configuring your display with the Displays system preference
      6m 46s
    3. Configuring your input devices with the Keyboard & Mouse system preference
      5m 43s
    4. Printing and faxing with the Print & Fax system preference
      8m 15s
    5. Setting the Sound system preference
      3m 36s
  5. 35m 18s
    1. Setting up your MobileMe account with the system preference pane
      8m 36s
    2. Configuring your network connection with the Network system preference
      15m 46s
    3. Sharing your computer with the Sharing system preference
      10m 56s
  6. 41m 33s
    1. Understanding the Accounts system preference
      5m 46s
    2. Creating a new account with the Accounts system preference
      5m 31s
    3. Limiting access with the Parental Controls system preference
      10m 18s
    4. Updating your Mac with the Software Update system preference
      3m 54s
    5. Using Speech
      4m 19s
    6. Changing your startup disk with the Startup Disk system preference
      3m 17s
    7. The Universal Access system preference: The basics
      5m 44s
    8. The Universal Access system preference: VoiceOver
      2m 44s
  7. 33m 14s
    1. Tweaking your account settings
      6m 53s
    2. Organizing and viewing messages
      3m 30s
    3. Filtering mail with Rules
      11m 45s
    4. Importing and exporting mail
      3m 52s
    5. Mail tips
      7m 14s
  8. 14m 2s
    1. Creating complex iCal events
      4m 17s
    2. Publishing and subscribing to calendars
      4m 39s
    3. Importing and exporting calendars
      1m 47s
    4. Expanding iCal
      3m 19s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Creating complex contacts
      4m 22s
    2. Importing, exporting, and sharing contacts
      5m 10s
    3. Organizing with Groups and Smart Groups
      7m 15s
    4. Printing from your Address Book
      2m 8s
  10. 17m 17s
    1. Doing more with Bookmarks
      3m 27s
    2. Covering your tracks
      3m 26s
    3. Working locally
      3m 54s
    4. Expanding Safari with Saft and PithHelmet
      6m 30s
  11. 54m 3s
    1. Monitoring your computer with Activity Monitor
      8m 31s
    2. Configuring an airport base station with Airport Utility
      4m 10s
    3. Configuring manual settings on an airport base station
      6m 16s
    4. Copying files with Bluetooth File Exchange
      2m 36s
    5. Setting up a partition with Boot Camp Assistant
      2m 36s
    6. Console
      5m 40s
    7. Storing your passwords with Keychain Assistant
      3m 45s
    8. Using keychain access for more than just passwords
      4m 22s
    9. Transferring user accounts with Migration Assistant
      4m 0s
    10. Monitoring your network with Network Utility
      6m 43s
    11. Using System Profiler
      5m 24s
  12. 23m 3s
    1. Understanding Disk Utility
      2m 18s
    2. Verify and repairing with Disk Utility
      3m 14s
    3. Formatting and partitioning with Disk Utility
      4m 28s
    4. Configuring a RAID with Disk Utility
      4m 13s
    5. Creating disk images with Disk Utility
      5m 34s
    6. Burning CDs with Disk Utility
      3m 16s
  13. 18m 18s
    1. Introducing the Terminal
      1m 36s
    2. Essential Terminal commands
      9m 58s
    3. Using the manuals
      1m 20s
    4. More useful Terminal commands
      5m 24s
  14. 7m 9s
    1. Changing permissions
      4m 27s
    2. Enabling the root user
      2m 42s
  15. 19m 18s
    1. Automator essentials
      1m 18s
    2. Creating an Automator workflow
      6m 52s
    3. Mailing images easily
      2m 42s
    4. Creating a timed backup system
      3m 10s
    5. Playing songs randomly from iTunes
      2m 27s
    6. Recording automation
      2m 49s
  16. 16m 13s
    1. Using the Calculator
      3m 16s
    2. Using Font Book
      3m 25s
    3. Importing and managing fonts in Font Book
      5m 1s
    4. Syncing your devices with iSync
      4m 31s
  17. 20m 13s
    1. Keeping your computer healthy
      8m 15s
    2. Using Disk Warrior
      3m 41s
    3. Using Onyx
      8m 17s
  18. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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