Category Archives: Snow Leopard

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 🙂

why is my mac running so hot?

I’ve previously covered one issue here about overheating macs, but kernel_task is not the only process that can get out of hand. For example, there’s a known issue with some releases of Parallels that can cause a process called prl_disp_service to run up to 99% too, leaving your mac sweating on the desktop even on a cold Winter’s eve!

In general, ‘hot’ issues can be found by looking at what’s going on in your Activity monitor, and solved by quitting (or force quitting) the process. Also, don’t wait to discover these by how hot your mac feels to the touch. Download and install a free copy of smcFanControl and have it running in the menubar. Now you’ll have a reliable means of seeing exactly how hot your mac is. 🙂

However, some processes may not re-start correctly after being quit in Activity monitor unless you reboot the machine or work a bit of Terminal magic. In the case of Parallels, for example, if you’ve identified prl-disp_service as the culprit, the correct solution is to first stop your VM and quit Parallels. Then, open and follow this procedure:

1. Paste this command into Terminal

sudo launchctl stop com.parallels.desktop.launchdaemon

Press ‘Return’. You will be prompted for your password. Note that when you type it in, your typing will be invisible. Press ‘Return’ again.

2. Now paste this command:

sudo launchctl start com.parallels.desktop.launchdaemon

and press ‘Return’.

3. You need to check that the process has correctly restarted before trying to start up Parallels, so one last command:

sudo launchctl list | grep com.parallels.desktop.launchdaemon

The output should look something like this:

36468 – com.parallels.desktop.launchdaemon

The number on the left will be different, but so long as it is anything except 0, you are good to go!

4. Finally, in Terminal, hold down the ‘control‘ key and press the ‘c‘ key at the same time. Now you can quit Terminal and get back to a cool Mac and your Parallels VM. 🙂

You can use these same ‘stop’, ‘start’, and ‘grep’ commands for other errant processes, but you need to find the correct name of the process. You can do this by first noting its name in Activity monitor, then in Terminal, paste:

sudo launchctl list

Look for a launchdaemon that corresponds with the name you found in Activity monitor. Then use the commands above but replace ‘com.parallels.destkop.launchdaemon’ with the name of the process you want to kill.**


**Warning: The sudo command gives you root privileges to the computer and can cause irreparable harm to your OS if used incorrectly. Never mess around with the sudo command unless you have a recent bootable clone of your system.

Related posts:
Why is my mac running so slow?
kernel_task at 103%!!

how to take a screenshot

We all like to take happy snaps at Christmas 🙂 , but there’s no need to buy expensive software to snap the wonders you or your family produce on your Mac computer screen. Mac OS X has a number of built-in ways to take screenshots. The simplest is to use the universal hotkey combination:


This will immediately take a snapshot of your entire screen and dump it on your desktop as .png file. Try it now and have a look!

If you want to select only a specific region, try this


Move your cursor, and you’ll see it’s turned into a cross-hairs by which you can select any part of the screen you want. You can also press the spacebar after you invoke this command, and the cursor will turn into a camera icon. This lets you accurately select individual windows for the shot, instead of drawing round them.

If you are taking the screenshot to immediately paste it into a post, email or document and you don’t particularly want to keep a saved copy of it, then add the control key to either of the previous commands (e.g., command-control-shift-3). This will dump the screenshot into the clipboard rather than save it as a file. All you do next is go to the window you want to paste it in, and hit Command-V.

Finally, if all these hotkeys are too much to remember for the occasional screenshot, remember you can always access screenshots through the menu (see main image above).

Happy snapping folks! 🙂

Here’s the summary of the main commands:

maximizing screen space in OS X

If you don’t like full-screen apps because they hide the menubar, or you’re using Snow Leopard and you need to increase screen real-estate, here’s a few tricks you can try.

1. Try to maximize the app to take up all the rest of the screen space by clicking the green indicator light in the top left corner (there are three in a row, red, amber, green).

2. You can hide or collapse the toolbar (that’s the top part of the app that the indicator lights and other icons sit in) in some apps by clicking the elongated button on the far-right of the toolbar (if present). Alternatively, if there’s no button, look in the menubar at the top for ‘View > Hide Toolbar‘. While you’re there, look for ‘Hide Status Bar‘, which is the strip at the bottom of an application window.

3. Try either right-clicking or ‘control’ clicking anywhere on the toolbar and experimenting with the options. Some apps will let you hide the toolbars (like Office for Mac), while others give you options such as ‘use text only’ to remove icons which will reduce the size of the toolbar. Experiment to see what works best.

why is my mac running so slow?

UPDATE: Please also see How To Troubleshoot Your Mac with FT2.

There can be various reasons why your Mac starts running slowly. Some of these can be app-related – especially if you are making multiple changes in programs that have autosave enabled. Other problems could be due to running processor-heavy apps that need more RAM than you’ve presently got. Before you dash off to Crucial to check out your RAM upgrade options, here’s a few basics to run through:

1. Applications > Utilities > Disk
How old is your HDD drive? Click on the top-most hard disk icon in the left column and check the S.M.A.R.T status at the bottom right of the window. Does it say ‘verified’? If it says anything else, back up all your important data and start thinking about buying a new hard disk. If the S.M.A.R.T status is verified, have a look at how much space you’ve got left. A nearly-full disk will slow you down. Generally, it is recommended that you have at least 10% free, but I’d work on getting that closer to 25% for optimum performance. If you have less than that, think about what can be archived onto a backup disk (or two..), such as photos, movies, and even your songs.

2. Applications > Utilities > Activity
What’s using all the CPU time? Is it something you need to be running? Select any obviously unnecessary resource hogs and hit ‘Quit Process’.

3.  > System Preferences > Users & Groups
How many apps are in your ‘Login Items’? Remove anything that is not absolutely necessary at start up time.

4. Have you downloaded MacKeeper or other Anti-virus software?
If so, remove it.

5. How recently did you upgrade to Lion and are you using Time Machine?
If you’ve only recently upgraded in the last day or so, or turned your Mac off not long after upgrading, perhaps Spotlight is still indexing (indicated by a dot in the middle of the ‘spyglass’, top right of your screen) or TM is still updating (indicated by the TM indicator spinning in the menubar). Either or these will eventually finish and return your system to (about) normal, but you should let your system run (leaving it in ‘Sleep’ mode will do the trick) for at least 24 hours if you’ve only just upgraded.

6. Did you repair system permissions after upgrading?
Even though the Lion installer should fix system permissions after an upgrade, if you then added any other 3-rd party apps or restore something from Time Machine, repairing permissions is always a good idea. Doing so is harmless, and rules out permissions as a possible factor of poor performance. Do Step 4 here. Unless any are indicted in red type, don’t panic about the permissions errors that come up in the ‘details’ window – many of these can be safely ignored.

7. Clear out your caches
Caches, in general, help to speed your computer up. However, if you’re a heavy internet browser and you’ve never cleared your caches or your history (I mean like in several months), then this is worth doing from time to time. You can clean out Internet caches in Safari or Firefox by choosing Safari > Empty Cache or Firefox > Tools > Clear Recent History > Everything. Your computer has other caches that can usefully be cleared out periodically, too: use OnyX to do so.

8. Is the system slow with just one particular program or while trying to open some particular window?
A couple of things could be going on here. If its your browser, try killing some of those extensions/add-ons – every one of them slows you down just that little bit, and many slow you down a lot. Another possibility is a corrupt ‘plist’ or preference file associated with a particular app. Curing this is a bit more tricky and requires knowing your way around the hidden Library folder. If you think this is your problem, leave a comment below to get further instructions.

featured picture Speedo ©2011 Phil Stokes

Related Posts:
why is my mac running so hot?
FastTasks – download the free OS X utility app from Applehelpwriter

how to fix permissions (Permissions Pt 2)

(This post continues from here on file permission problems.)

Did you know there are two levels of permissions on your mac? User level and system level. Most discussions of fixing permissions only discuss the latter, but you may also need to fix the former (also sometimes called ‘ACLs’) for some problems caused by upgrading Lion on top of Snow Leopard.

4. System Level Permissions
You can safely repair your system level permissions at any time, and doing it once in a while is a good maintenance activity even if you’re not experiencing any problems. It’s also the first thing to do as soon as you notice any problems with apps launching, file access problems, or your computer seems to be running unusually slow.

How to do it:
— 1. Go to Applications > Utilities > Disk and double click the app to open it.

— 2. Click your HDD icon in the left column (if you have more than one, click the one that contains your startup disk).

— 3. If it is not already selected, click on the ‘First Aid’ tab. Choose the ‘Repair Disk Permissions’ button near the bottom of the window (see the larger of the two windows in the screenshot above).

— 4. Wait for the process to finish (it could take ten minutes or more), then quit Disk Utility. You can ignore most of the error messages that appear unless they’re in red.

5. User Level Permissions (ACLs)
These permissions apply only to your ‘Home’ folder and its contents, and if you have more than one user you will need to do this procedure for any user experiencing a problem. However, unlike system level permissions, repairing ACLs isn’t something you should do unless there is a specific issue to be solved. Problems that this repair might help with include permission conflicts inherited from an earlier Snow Leopard or Leopard installation, such as Finder always asking for your password when you try to delete, move or copy a file.

To reset the ACLs in Lion: (To reset the ACLs in Leopard/Snow Leopard have a look here.)

— 1. Remove the current ACLs by opening (Applications > Utilities > and copy and pasting this command:

sudo chmod -RN ~

Press return. You’ll be asked for your password. Notice that when you type it in you won’t see anything on the screen. Press return again. If you get an error message, you probably didn’t type in your password correctly. Repeat this step till its accepted. It will take some time to complete. Then paste this command into Terminal also:

sudo chown -R `id -un` ~

and press return. Enter your password again if necessary.

— 2. Press the Power button on the computer and choose ‘Restart’. When the screen goes blank, hold down the ‘command’ and ‘R’ keys on the keyboard until you hear the start up chime. In the menu bar at the top, choose Utilities > Terminal

— 3. At the Terminal prompt type


Then hit ‘Return’

— 4. Forget about resetting your password; what you’re looking for is your hard disk icon at the top. Hit that, and then from the drop-down menu select your user account.

— 5. Go to the bottom of the dialogue window – leaving all password fields blank – and choose ‘Reset’ under ‘Reset Home Folder Permissions and ACLs’ (see the smaller of the two windows in the screenshot above, inside the red dotted line).

— 6. When the process finishes, quit everything and restart your Mac. 🙂

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why does Trash ask for a password? (Permissions Pt 1)

There are several reasons why Trash may ask for your password. Let’s deal with the obvious ones first:

1. FileVault is turned on
Solution: either turn FileVault off, or put up with the behaviour.

2. If you are using an account with ‘Parental Controls’ enabled, the person who set up your account may have denied you permission to delete, modify or move some or all files.
Solution: Speak to mom!

If 1 and 2, aren’t your problem, then you may have some permissions errors.

3. Check Permissions on .Trash
— 1. Open a Terminal window (Applications >Utilities > and check the permissions by typing/pasting in the following:

ls -al

You should end up with a long list, among which will be the permissions for your .Trash folder. Mine looks like this:

drwx—— 2 SnowLpd staff 68 29 Nov 15:33 .Trash

— 2. What’s important here that the name after the series of ‘drwx’ letters is the same as your user name (my user name, as you can see, is ‘SnowLpd’). If it is, then ignore the rest of this post and go to the post Permissions Pt2.

If the name is not the same, then you need to type this command into Terminal:

sudo chown -R your_username .Trash

Where you replace your_username with (surprise…) your user name, which is also the name of your home folder (note there’s a space both before and after your_username). Thus, for example, if in the previous step it said ‘root’ instead of my username, then I’d type in ‘sudo chown -R SnowLpd .Trash’.

—3. Now press ‘Return’. You will be prompted for your admin password. Type it in, but notice that you won’t see anything as you type, so type carefully. Hit ‘Return’ again. You should be returned to the Terminal prompt pretty quickly. Quit and see if your problems are solved.

4. If your .Trash permissions were OK, then you may need to fix either system permissions or ACL permissions. To do that, go to the next post.

Related Posts
how to fix permissions (Permissions Pt 2)
‘delete’ doesn’t send files to Trash

how to back up your Mac – the best way!

iCloud? Time Machine? Noooo……! We’re talking about the best way to backup your precious data, not the most convenient way…

What’s wrong with using the cloud? The fact that you need an internet connection, a password to be accepted, to act in accordance with the T&C of your cloud provider, the fact that someone – government, corporation, hacker – could interfere with your data, lose it or just add unwanted stuff to it. Also, if you want to backup your whole system then the various free storage offers are not going to be big enough to do the job, and you’re going to end up paying a lot more than if you backup your system properly.

How about Time Machine? Yes, it’s simple and convenient and pretty much automatic, but its not secure. TM has three major problems. First, it doesn’t allow proper archiving so anything you delete from your HDD will eventually get deleted from TM. Second, it doesn’t tell you what it’s doing before it does it, meaning you are at the mercy of its automated decisions. Third, it’s not bootable. If your whole system crashes or your HDD just fails, Time Machine won’t help you. You’ll have to restore the system or replace the HDD before you can use your machine again.

But there is a much better way, and aside from you providing the hardware (a couple of external hard disks), one that’s also free. The most secure system is to run an hourly or daily scheduled cloner on one disk, and a weekly cloner on the other. You can use SuperDuper or, my own favourite, Carbon Copy Cloner.

If you want to read up on and understand the various backup options and what they entail, you can’t do better than to read this superb post by Apple Discussions member ds store.

how to uninstall MacKeeper – updated


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Last updated: June 16, 2018

If you’re unfamiliar with the reputation of MacKeeper but have come here because you downloaded it – or it downloaded itself after you were inadvertantly redirected to some unwanted website – and are now wondering whether you made a mistake, let me present you with a few facts.

MacKeeper is one of the most infamous pieces of software on the macOS platform. This post itself was first published in September 2011, and has since received over 2 million hits from people wishing to uninstall MacKeeper from their computers.

When I ran MacKeeper’s free trial version on a brand new clean install of macOS, it told me that my system was in ‘serious’ condition and that I needed to buy MacKeeper in order to solve all my problems.

MacKeeper on Mavericks

It seems, then, that MacKeeper thinks macOS, freshly installed, is a poor piece of software engineering, but the feeling is mutual. macOS doesn’t like MacKeeper much either. macOS provides the following warning about MacKeeper:

12/05/2015 17:48:00.946[1]: (com.mackeeper.MacKeeper.Helper) This service is defined to be constantly running and is inherently inefficient.

If you have installed MacKeeper and wish to remove it, read on.

i. If you have used MacKeeper’s encryption feature, be sure to unencrypt before you uninstall MacKeeper. You should also check whether any of your personal files are stored in /Documents/MacKeeper Backups.

Backups & other disks
ii. If you have any disks connected to your mac, including Time Machine, eject them before you start the uninstall procedure.

iii. If you have anything in the Trash, empty it now before you start.

You are now ready to uninstall MacKeeper.

The Easy Way

As I’ve been involved in helping people uninstall MacKeeper for over 5 years, I eventually got round to the task of automating the process so that folks who were not that technically proficient with computers could take advantage of the information on this page.

If that sounds like you, then the easiest way to uninstall MacKeeper is to use my app DetectX. This is a shareware that can be used for free 😀. You do not need to sign up to anything, subscribe to anything or give anyone your email address. Just download the app, run it, remove MacKeeper and be on your way.

After several years of testing and refining my app’s removal procedure, I now recommend using it even for proficient users as it is simply faster, more reliable and less prone to error than doing it any other way. The only people who should really consider the manual option are those that are running versions of macOS that are too old to run DetectX.

Please note also that the list of filepaths below is somewhat out of date. Follow the instructions, but consult my post here for the most recent update to the list of MacKeeper filepaths.

The Manual Way

If you need to remove MacKeeper manually then follow these instrutions carefully. They’ve been refined over the years by many people who contributed in the hundreds of comments that follow this post and have been proven to work without exception. However, bear in mind that the onus is on you to follow the instructions to the letter. For that reason, go slow, read carefully and don’t do anything if you’re not sure what you’re doing. If you have any doubts, post a question in the comments.

Here we go!

1. If MacKeeper is running, quit it. From the sidebar in any Finder window, choose your hard disk icon and go to your Library folder. Look in the Application Support folder for the folder inside it called ‘MacKeeper’:

/Library/Application Support/MacKeeper

Drag this folder to the Trash.

2. Still in Library, look for and trash any of these you find in the same way:



3. If you are using OS X Lion 10.7 or later, use the ‘Go’ menu in Finder’s menubar and hold down the ‘option’ key. Choose ‘Library’ from the menu (yes, this is a different Library folder from the one you were just in). If you are using Snow Leopard or Leopard, just click on the little ‘Home‘ icon in the Finder sidebar and navigate to the Library. Then trash any and all of these that you find:







Be careful not to delete the wrong files: only those that have got the words ‘zeobit’, ‘MacKeeper’, ‘911’ or ‘911bundle’ should be trashed.

Update May 2015:

Due to recent changes in MacKeeper, the following files should also be searched for and removed:

~/Library/Application Support/MacKeeper Helper






~/Documents/MacKeeper Backups





The last item above will require removal in Terminal or turning on of invisible files in the GUI (various 3rd party apps can do this, including my own DetectX and FastTasks 2).

4. Go to Applications > Utilities > Keychain and double click on it. Notice the padlock in the window is up there on the left, rather than down the bottom. Click on it and enter your admin password. Now go through all the items in the ‘Keychains‘ list (such as Login, System, Root) with ‘All items’ selected in the ‘Category’ list. Anything you find related to ‘MacKeeper’ or ‘zeobit’, click on it, then choose Edit > Delete from the menu.
(Thanks to Al for also mentioning this point in the Comments below! 🙂 ).

5. Open the Activity Monitor utility (Applications>Utilities>Activity In 10.10 Yosemite or later, select the View menu and choose ‘All Processes’. For earlier versions of macOS, select ‘All Processes from the drop down menu just over on the right of the dialogue box. Next, scroll down the list of items shown and see if any processes called ‘MacKeeper’, ‘zeobit’ or ‘911 bundle’ are still running. Older versions of MacKeeper may have a ‘WINE’ process running, so also look for ‘wine’. Anything you find, click on it and hit the ‘Quit Process’ or ‘X’ button (Yosemite) in the top left corner.

6. Go to your Applications folder from a Finder window and select MacKeeper. Then, hold down ‘command’ and press ‘delete’ once. If you assigned MacKeeper to be pinned in the Dock, be sure to also drag the icon off the Dock and release it anywhere over the desktop. It will, satisfyingly, disappear in the ‘poof’ of a cloud. 😀

7. When you’re done filling up your trash can with all this junk, click on the Finder> Empty Trash.

8. Go to

 > System Preferences > Users & Groups (or ‘Accounts’ for Snow Leopard) | Login Items

If you see anything to do with MacKeeper in the list of items there, highlight it, then click the little minus ‘-‘ button near the bottom of the list.

9. Restart your Mac. Everything should be back to normal, but check the Activity Monitor one last time to be sure.

Supplementary: If you have a problem with MacKeeper pop-ups while using your browser, try clearing out the caches, like this:

In Safari menubar, choose ‘Safari > Reset Safari’. Make sure all the options are checked.
This will not only clear out your caches, but everything else stored by the browser. Don’t worry, it won’t affect your bookmarks, but it will reset your ‘top sites’ and history.

In Firefox menubar, choose ‘Tools > Clear Recent History…’ and choose ‘Everything’. Again, it’ll clear everything out but won’t delete your bookmarks.

Obviously, if you use any other browsers like Opera or something you’ll have to find the same options for those too.

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1. If you have any problems carrying out the steps, try starting your Mac up in Safe mode, and then running the procedure.
2. You can safely ignore any MacKeeper files that are in the BOM or Receipts folders.
3. If you have only downloaded the MacKeeper package but not ran the installer, you only need to send the .pkg file in your Downloads folder to the Trash. That’s it!

4. If you are seeing ads on this site, we recommend that you use an adblocker!

This post has been refined and improved over time thanks to suggestions and replies made in the Comments and on Apple Support Communities. Thanks especially to Al, Lyndon and Jack.

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