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Keeping your computer healthy

From: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics

Video: Keeping your computer healthy

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.

Keeping your computer healthy

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.

Show transcript

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 · 26777 viewers

Christopher Breen
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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