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With the release of the Leopard operating system for Macs, Apple has added or updated more than 300 features. In Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Essential Training, Macworld senior editor Christopher Breen explores each of Leopard's vital features. He walks viewers through the installation, then goes over how to use the interface and navigational elements, work with the Dock's stacking feature, and take advantage of the iLife applications, Safari, and Mail. These tutorials are designed for people who are new to the Mac or who are upgrading to the Leopard operating system.
Inside the Applications folder is the Utilities folder that we've not yet ventured into and the reason we haven't is because it's full of tools that are generally pretty advanced, but there's one in there that you should know about and that tool is called Disk Utility. As we're nearing the end of this title, I want to show you a couple of shortcuts so that you can get to these folders much more quickly. Here's one. Double-click on Macintosh HD. Take the Applications folder and drag it into the Dock where it becomes a stack. We can click on that and now we have access to all our applications as well as the Utilities folder. I can click that and then it opens the Utilities folder. I'm going to close those. Here's another keyboard shortcut that's even better. So hold down Command and Shift and type A and there is your Applications folder.
Let's close that. Or Cmd+Shift, hold those down and then press U and that takes you immediately to the Utilities folder. As we look in Utilities folder you see things like ColorSync Utility and Console and Directory Utility and very stern sounding technical things. They're beyond the scope of this title. But, Disk Utility is not. We'll double-click this and Disk Utility does a number of very cool things. For our purposes it does a couple of things that we want to pay attention to you. I will select Macintosh HD.
This is the hard drive that we've booted from. It's right here on the Desktop. There are four tabs up here. We're going to look at the first two. The first one is First Aid and what we do with First Aid is we verify our disk, make sure it's Okay, and we also do something called verifying disk permissions. I'll get back to that in just a second. So I can show you the Erase tab. The Erase tab is for erasing hard drives. You may not you notice, grayed out Erase. You may not erase the hard drive from which you're booted. So there is no way when I'm booted from this Macintosh HD, that I can erase it. And that makes so much sense because you don't want to be able to easily erase something that you're booted from him. However I could erase other drives.
So I have this FireWire drive here that's attached to my Mac and I could erase that if I wanted to. Note that when you erase a drive all the your data is gone and you're never, ever going to get it back. So please be careful when you think about erasing a drive. Why would you want to erase a drive? Well, suppose you're going to get rid of your Mac and you're going to give it to somebody else, you're going to sell it to somebody, you would want to boot from your Leopard disk and then from the Utilities menu, you'll want to go to Disk Utility and erase your Mac's internal drive because you don't want to give somebody else a Mac that has your data on it. Alright, so let's select Macintosh HD and we'll go to First Aid.
Two things you can do here as I said, Verify Disk. What it will do is look at the integrity of your disk and there we are. It tells us sure enough, the volume Macintosh HD appears to be Okay. Now what happens if you see red letters that say This is not Okay? At that point, you want to boot from your Leopard disk. So you insert it into your media drive, push it into your Mac, restart your Mac and hold down the C key. When you do, the Macintosh will boot up from the Leopard disk. You go into the Installer, under the Utilities menu you choose the Disk Utility. You come back here, exactly where we are here, and you will see First Aid.
At that point, you select your hard drive and run Repair Disk, and at that point, Disk Utility will attempt to repair your drive. Now these other two options over here: Verify Disk Permissions and Repair Disk Permissions. Well what's a disk permission? This goes back to the UNIX underpinnings of the Mac OS. There's actually another kind of operating system that lives under Mac OS X called UNIX. Under UNIX you have permissions to use some files but not others, and if those permissions get bollixed up, your computer could behave oddly. So if you notice the your computer is doing very odd things, the very first thing you want to try to do is just restart your computer. That may fix it. If it continues to do some odd bizarre things, like it's really slow or files don't seem to be launching the way they should, or they've lost their attachment to certain applications, it could be that your disk permissions are a little bit screwy. To check to see if they are, come here to Disk Utility, click First Aid and click the Verify Disk Permissions button. First Aid is in there, it's checking the permissions of your files and just as with Verify Disk, it will do its tests and then it will report the results of its tests.
And there we are and actually it tells us that there is a permissions difference, and apparently it's in this area called private/bar and yeah, something that we don't need to know. So permissions are verified. Do we then need to repair them? Well, maybe. Honestly, if your Macintosh is not acting up it's likely be you don't have to do it particularly when you're seeing something like this, where you have no idea what these files are for.
If however you see something like a P list file, which is short for Preference file, and you see the permissions are off there, it's always a good idea to repair P list files if you can and the way you repair disk permissions is you simply click Repair Disk Permissions and I'll do it just to see what happens. And there it is. It will tell you that the permission repair is complete, and you're set to go. If you really have the patience of a saint, you can run disk permission check again to see if it really did fix it, but honestly, not much reason to do that except to verify it for your own peace of mind that it really worked, and that's what you need to know about Disk Utility. Again it is a utility you can use to erase drives, if you need to, and also to check the viability of your drive and to fix disk permissions.
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