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It's easy to jump online and be productive with Mac OS X, but it's also easy to stop there. Many users haven't explored the depth and richness of this powerful operating system and the applications that come with it. In Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics, Chris Breen helps those who are already comfortable with Mac OS X discover new features in everyday applications like Mail, iCal, and Safari. He also explores the often overlooked "power user" tools, including Terminal, Disk Utility, and Automator, and provides troubleshooting and maintenance tips.
Oh no! Blacks. No, wait! You can hear me talking. No this is, it's okay. Your Mac is perfectly fine. You see this black screen because we are now going to talk about troubleshooting and sometimes, you push the Power button and your Mac does not start and this is what you see. Let's bring a little light to the subject of Troubleshooting by talking about the misbehaving Mac. Your Mac can misbehave in a number of ways and we are going to talk about kind of the major categories and things you can do about it. Well first with startup problems, your Mac won't startup.
This is always related to hardware rather than software. First thing you want to do is check the Power. Make sure that your Mac is plugged in, yes you are going feel a little bit embarrassed when you find out you have been pushing buttons and doing everything you an and you are frustrated and you are not sure what to do and then you look in the back and you go, oh wait I need to plug it in. And that's okay because it costs you nothing, you are just a little embarrassed. Next thing to do is make sure that thing it's plugged into was actually getting Power. A lot of times people will plug their Mac into a power strip.
Something has happened they have stepped on the power strip, that cats walked on it or something. And the power strip is now switched off. Make sure the power strip is switched on and this is another one that catches people all the time. If that power strip or the Mac is plugged into an outlet on the wall and that outlet is controlled by a switch on the wall, make sure the switch is slipped in the right direction. And finally listen to the Mac, it maybe on but perhaps the monitor isn't plugged in, it maybe locked up. It may have gone to sleep and it can't wake up. You can tell if a Mac is asleep as you see that little pulsing white light.
The Mac will start up but something bad happens along the way. The Mac may freeze or show a Grey screen and that Grey screen is called a Kernel Panic. This two is almost always a hardware issue and this is how to deal with it. Unplug anything that's plugged into your Mac except the keyboard, mouse and monitor. At that point plug-in one thing at a time and restart so for example if you have three hard-drives changed to your Mac you have got a printer on there you have got a scanner on there, unplug everything except the basics keyboard, mouse, monitor.
Then shut down your Mac, plug in one thing so for example plug in your printer, start it up, see how it acts. Is it fine? Great, shut down again and plug in the next thing. So now you have got both of those things on there. At the point where it blows up, where it's not doing the right thing that means the last device you plugged in is likely the problem. And in some cases the easiest thing you can do is simply download a new driver for that. So you have a printer that's acting up, oh look there is a new printer driver for it, install that and then everything is okay.
If you recently installed RAM and Internal Graphics card or a PCI card in other words if you have been mucking around inside your Mac, powered on your Mac and make sure that everything you have just done has been properly seeded. Press that RAM chip in a little harder to make sure that it really got in there. Pressing that PCI card if you have added a new hard-drive make sure that the connectors are attached properly. Next, try holding down Cmd+Option+PR at Startup- that's called Zapping the PRAM- and wait for the Mac to restart twice.
You can tell that it's restarted because you will hear the startup sound that bong that happens when your Mac starts up. This will clear out something called the Parameter RAM. And sometimes the Parameter RAM can become corrupted and if it does it can prevent your Mac from starting up properly. When you zap the PRAM that can fix the problem. Another thing you can try is hold down the Shift key when you start up until you see the words Safe Boot. Then let go the Shift key and see how your Mac behaves, see if it works okay you have a Startup item that's causing the problem.
When you hold down the Shift key and go onto Safe Boot it disables all your login items and startup items. Toss items out if your accounts login preference as the first step. And you can see where that is, I showed you earlier when we were talking about accounts but here it is. It's in the Login Items tab within your account and here are the items. You would select those, you would press Minus (-) to get them out of there and then you try starting up again. If that doesn't work move items out of the Library Startup Items folder and I will show you where that is.
Within the Library folder at the root level of your hard-drive inside Startup Items, these are items that apply to all users and can prevent your Mac from starting up properly. And then there maybe problems that crop up when your Mac is running, your account acts funky and I don't mean in that good sort of James Brown Funky kind of like but rather in that, oh your feet smell funky which in the bad kind of eek way. If an application quits for example, you are just working and everything seems to be just fine and then suddenly it's gone and up pops a little dialog box.
One of the options in there is a Relaunch button, click that Relaunch button and the application will try to start up again. If it quits again after that you will see yet another dialog box and this one offers you the option to Reset and Relaunch. Click that and what happens then is that the applications preference file also known as a .plist file is tossed out which is a good thing because of corrupt plist file can't prevent your Mac from running the way it should. After that try logging out and then back in again.
If it's still acting funky try restarting your Mac that maybe the simplest solution and it may work. If even that doesn't work we talked earlier about setting up a Troubleshooting account one that you never touched. You have set it up it has admin powers but you haven't mucked it up with anything. Switch to your Troubleshooting account and see how things are there. If your Mac works perfectly well there then you know there is something in your user account that's causing a problem. Again it may be a plist file that could be a corrupt font for example something like that.
Elsewhere in our training we have talked about various things that you can do for example within FontBook to isolate problem items. Still having a problem, check your Mac with Disk Utilities First Aid. We have covered that, launched Disk Utility, going to the First Aid tab and verify your Startup Disk. If there is a problem you need to boot from your Leopard disk and then run First Aid from the Utilities menu. If that can't be fixed, tune into our next lesson in which I talked about Disk Warrior, which is the best troubleshooting repair utility I know of.
If you run into a wall something funny is happening and you just can't figure it out there are lots of good resources out there for getting information other than this title of course. First place to go is Apple's discussion forums. These are forms where Apple users come in, they talk about their problems and people are very-very smart there they offer good solutions or sometimes they go, hmm don't know it sounds like you have got a problem why don't you try reinstalling Leopard or something like that for example. Another place to check is MacFixIt. This is at www.macfixit.com.
This is the Mac premiere troubleshooting site. If people at MacFixIt haven't heard of a problem it doesn't exist. And next and this is kind of a personal plug I write for MacWorld our forms are a great resource for troubleshooting information. We have a lot of very smart people who have come in there and are willing to help you out with your troubleshooting problems. Log into the MacWorld forms ask your questions and dollars to donuts somebody who is going to come up with the good answer. And finally of course there is Google, you can mind anything on Google and it's not a bad idea if you can condense your problem down to a few words to enter it into the Google Search Field and see what you come up with.
Final word it's possible that your Mac is simply broken, it happens and that's why Apple has AppleCare and Apple-Support. If you purchase AppleCare when you purchased your Mac give Apple a call, they will take care of you that walk through steps or troubleshooting the problem. And if it is broken they will provide a way for you to get your Mac to them to be repaired. Also check out Apple-Support Pages and here is the address.
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