How to keep the Mac Doctors at Bay. - Digital Literacy Dover

Monday, 30 April 2012

How to keep the Mac Doctors at Bay.

Mac's are pretty resilient computers.

But what do you do when you notice that your applications are behaving odd, or your laptop is taking forever to boot up?

Here's three things you need to do to keep your mac performing in peak condition.

Disk Utility & Repairing Disk Permissions

What is it?
Disk Utility is an application that is located in your Applications/Utilities folder. (Or you could just use spotlight to launch it).
When installing applications, Mac OS X will store a “Bill of Materials) file (.bom) in your Library. When you repair disk permissions Disk Utility reviews and compares its list to the actual permissions on each .bom file listed. If the permissions differ, Disk Utility reports the difference and corrects them.
When to do it?
  • your apple-originated software (iLife, iWorks, the OS itself) keeps crashing or does not allow you to save
How do you do it?
  1. Launch Disk Utility 
    (located in Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities)
  1. Select Macintosh HD from the left hand column (if you’ve renamed your HD, that’s okay. Select the newly named one instead)
  2. Select Repair Disk Permissions and allow it to run to completion (this may take a few minutes)
  3. Restart your computer when done.
Note: This is usually done together with Resetting of PRAM / NVRAM. . . >

Resetting PRAM / NVRAM

What is it?
Your Mac stores certain settings in a special memory area even if it is turned off (unless there is a battery issue).  On Intel-based Macs, this is stored in memory known as NVRAM; on PowerPC-based Macs, this is stored in memory known as PRAM.
When to do it?
  • your boot up takes a long time.
  • your mac shows a folder with a “?” in it when starting up
  • your core services are affected
How do you do it?
  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
  3. Turn on the computer.
  4. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.
  5. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
  6. Release the keys. Your computer's PRAM and the NVRAM are now reset to the default values. 
Note: You should only do this when there are problems and not as part of regular maintenance. Continuous resetting of PRAM / NVRAM can be harmful to your computer in the long run.

Installing / Re-installing the recommended Combo Update

What is it?
Major OS X updates that come in a neat little bundle. This is widely hailed as Mac’s ultimate Cure-All.
When to do it?
  • when your laptop keeps hanging and/or crashing
  • when your recent update makes your computer behave funny
  • when Finder is behaving odd
How do you do it?
  1. Backup your important data files (Time Machine is best).
  2. Go to
  3. Depending on your OS, download either
  1. Plug in to power
  2. Run the updater
  3. Restart when prompted.
  4. The restart may take awhile, allow it to run. DO NOT INTERRUPT or force shut down.
Note: Before upgrading to a new version of the OS,  check with your friendly neighborhood Apple Specialist about what’s new in the latest combo updates and whether it potentially causes applications to need patching or outright breaks it.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
~ popular engineer saying

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