Monthly Archives: January 2012

how to remove Lion Recovery disk



If you have reverted your mac to Snow Leopard from Lion, its important that you also remove the Recovery HD, as it can compromise the security of your Snow Leopard installation (for security issues with Lion, see here). Reverting to SL via Time Machine or restoring from a clone will leave the Recovery partition in place, meaning anyone can boot into it and reset your Snow Leopard passwords merely by restarting your mac while holding down the ‘option’ key.

To remove the Recovery disk follow this procedure:

1. Revert back to Snow Leopard using Time Machine or a clone.

2. Once you’re up and running and have confirmed everything is good, go to Terminal (Applications > Utilities > Terminal) and paste/type this command to confirm the presence of the Recovery HD:

diskutil list

then press ‘Return’. If you see a partition labelled something like this

Apple_Boot Recovery HD (see image above)

then you will need to continue with the rest of the procedure. If the Recovery HD is not listed here, you do not have the Recovery partition and need not worry further.

3. If you find the Recovery HD in the list, paste the following command into Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility DUDebugMenuEnabled 1

Press ‘Return’.

Now open Disk Utility (Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility). In the menubar at the top, choose Debug > ‘Show every partition’

On the left in the main Disk Utility window, you’ll be able to see ‘Recovery HD’ (it’ll be greyed out). You can click ‘Mount’ in the taskbar to make it active, and you can now delete it using control-click/right click – erase or by using the ‘erase’ tab in DU’s window.

If you want to confirm that the Recovery disk is no longer present, go back to Terminal and type the command from step 2.


Related posts:
how to secure your mac (OS X Lion)

how to restore Bounce in Mail



If you were a fan of the ‘bounce’ feature in the previous version of Mail, you may be disappointed that it has been removed in Mail Version 5.x

If you want the feature badly enough, you can either

1. Use this add-on for Mail.app in Lion
Restore Bounce Mail Button To Lion’s Mail

or

2. Use Mozilla’s Thunderbird.app instead of Mail, and get the ‘Mail Redirect‘ add on.


Office not working on Lion?



If you are having trouble opening any Microsoft Office apps — Word, Excel, Powerpoint — on your new OS X Lion installation the problem is most likely that you have Office for Mac: 2004. One of the main shifts from Snow Leopard to Lion is that the latter does not support what is known as PowerPc apps, and significantly that includes the 2004 edition of MS Office.

If you want to stick with Lion you have three options:
 
1. Upgrade to Office 2008 or 2011
The simplest solution, but of course it adds to the cost of the Lion upgrade.
 
2. Download the free Office suite LibreOffice
LibreOffice is not only free, open source software, but it will both import and export to all Office formats. The interface may look a bit dated, but the functionality is just as sophisticated and arguably even more powerful in some respects than Office.
 
3. Buy Apple’s equivalent software from the App Store
Apple offers ‘Numbers’ (for spreadsheets), ‘Pages’ (for word processing) and ‘Keynote’ (for powerpoint) as their own alternatives to Microsoft’s signature software package. These will all import your old 2004 Office files and export to MS format. Currently these are retailing at $19.99 each in the App store, so if you only use one of the MS programs this could be significantly cheaper than upgrading to the latest version of Office. You’ll also get Autosave, Versions and full screen functionality built in.

If you are loathe to part with your Office for Mac: 2004 for some reason, then the fourth option is to revert to Snow Leopard. This should be possible so long as you didn’t buy a new Mac that came pre-installed with Lion.

Related articles:
running PowerPc apps on Lion
will my old apps work with Lion?
how to turn a Lion into a (Snow) Leopard

featured picture: Office for Mac alternative icons by deleket

Mail won’t remember passwords




Sometimes, Mail keeps asking you for a password that you know it already has. It asks if you want it to remember the password in the keychain, and you say Yes! And still, you keep getting those password requests…

If you look in Mail > Preferences… > Account Information, you may be surprised to find the password field blank. You may be even more surprised that when you enter it, click out of the tab and hit ‘Save’, the field is blank again the next time you look!

There are a couple of different solutions to this problem, and both revolve around the keychain. One solution is to try a keychain repair. If the repair indicates nothing is wrong, then you have a problem with the access controls. Let’s deal with each in the order you should do them.


Verify and Repair Keychain
1. Go to Applications > Utilities > Keychain.app and double-click to open it.

2. From the menubar, choose Keychain Access > Keychain First Aid

3. Type in your admin password in the field, and click Start to verify the keychain. If the keychain needs repairing, click the radio button for repair and click Start again. Run the ‘Verify’ task one more time.


Repair Access controls
If the above didn’t solve your problem, or the keychain verify/repair task indicated no problems, then you’re going to need to look at the access controls on each Mail keychain.

4. In the left-hand pane, click login in the top panel, and Passwords in the bottom panel.

5. Look for your Mail/imap keychains. Click on one of them, and then press command-i on your keyboard, or click the little ‘i‘ at the bottom of the Keychain window.

6. Click the Access Control tab in the window that pops up. Click ‘Confirm before allowing access’, and make sure Mail is in the list of apps in the window underneath that is always allowed access. Go and do the same for any other Mail/imap keychains in the window, and your problem should be fixed.

7. If the settings above were already configured correctly or they do not resolve the problem, click on the Attributes tab (next to the Access Control tab).

8. Click on the ‘Show password’ box. If everything is OK, you should get a request to put in your admin password. Chances are, though, if you’ve got to this stage you will instead get a message saying ‘Access is restricted’ and no option to do anything about it.

9. If you don’t get asked for the password, close the information box (red radio button, top-left), and control-click on your mail/imap keychain in the Keychain window. Choose ‘Delete <name of keychain)'. Do the same for any other keychain's exhibiting the same problem.

10. You can now go back to Mail, and enter your password in the Account preferences box.

Problem solved! 🙂


frozen menubar, disappearing icons



An out-of-control mds process can show itself with a number of symptoms across the menubar:

— disappearing or frozen Spotlight icon in the right-hand corner
— the menubar clock stopping
— other menubar icons like TM frozen or failing to appear

Try this quick-fix solution with the Activity Monitor:

1. Open Activity Monitor.app (Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor.app)

2. Select ‘All Processes’ from the drop down menu next to the search bar (called ‘Filter:’) and type in ‘mds’.

3. Select the process name ‘mds‘ with user ‘root‘. Click the ‘Quit Process’ button at the top. You will be asked to supply your password.

write the way you think with Scrivener

Since first writing with a computer nearly 25 years ago, I have used a variety of tools to craft thoughts into text: Impression Publisher, WordPerfect 5.1, Microsoft Word, QuarkXPress, Scribus, LibreOffice, Nexus Writer; I’ve even tried out LaTeX and FrameMaker. What all these programs have in common, however, is far greater than anything that sets them apart. Despite all the bells, whistles, ribbons and menus, the essential method of writing on a computer has barely changed from the first WYSIWYG programs of the 80s.

That is until Scrivener came along. Scrivener is one of the very few text creation tools that approaches writing in a completely different way from those mentioned above. More important than merely being different, what makes Scrivener noteworthy is that it is designed around the way writers think, rather than the way computers work.

Read the full review…

easiest way to find your serial number

Click  > About This Mac… then click on the greyed out text underneath the black ‘Mac OS X‘.

It probably says ‘Version 10.7.2’. When you click on it, it will change to the OS build number. Click on it again and you’ll see your serial number. Easy 🙂




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