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Ask Jacob

Jacob, our Mac Guru, and his team of Mac experts answer your questions about all things Macintosh. Go ahead, ask them anything! If it is a valuable question, it will be posted on the site here! Feel free to browse all of the previous questions.

Resetting my Mac Pro

Backups, Mac OS X, Mac Pro, Yosemite / Comments Off

I have been thinking about giving my year and half old Mac Pro to a grandson then I would get maybe a Mac Air. Anyway if I do this I would like to take it back to how it was when I first got it (new) from Apple. But, course, with the updated OS. I now have Maverick so I assume I could update it to Yosemite when it comes out?

So the question is how do it clean it out myself? I have backed up all that need to put on a new machine.

With machines running 10.7 and newer, Apple has dropped the DVD installation disk completely. However, there is a “Recovery Partition” hidden on the boot drive. This recovery section has several utilities that are quite useful for this task. To reset a machine completely, use Disk Utility to erase the the boot drive. Then re-install OS X, but using the AppleID of the new owner. That should set it up properly. As for Yosemite, I’m not sure if the new system requirements are firmly established yet, but a machine that recent should qualify.


Mavericks vs. Mail

Email, Mac mini, Mavericks / Comments Off

Two related questions:

I “upgraded” (pardoning the expression) to Mavericks on my laptop and my mail folders were ruined. A large number showed up with only addresses and subject, but no content. Additionally, a large number showed up as unread, but no amount of marking or opening would remove the unread stigma. I committed a stupid error by trying to restore mail from the latest time machine backup; that scrambled my mail even more.

Then I made an even more stupid error, and tried to restore from the restore partition of my hard disk; bad idea: all my applications now were gone. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve all applications, some with more effort than others, and even read in (the several thousand) emails. So that now – fingers crossed – my laptop is working properly, to the best of my knowledge, under Mavericks.

However, a funny thing happened to Mail: whenever I reply to an email and use an apostrophe, quotes, or colon, the character is entered but followed by a line feed. This does not happen in mail when I am drafting an original email, and it doesn’t happen anywhere else. I can avoid the LF if I insert a space before the apostrophe.

With that sobering example, I backed up everything “backupable” on my desktop Mac Mini, hoping to make a smoother transition to Mavericks. No such luck – Mail was messed up just the same. So I gave up, restored my mini from the very careful backup, reread all my emails into Mail (Mail is not an application, but a part of the System – did they contract out to Microsoft to do this?), and am happily running OSX 10.8.5.

I shudder at the thought of what the next “upgrade” is going to do!

Any explanations? Suggestions for making the “upgrade” a real upgrade? Home address of the people who did this?

You are no where near the first person that I’ve interacted with that has run into upgrade issues with Mail on Mavericks. The layout is different, and the process can alter your local mail folder behavior. As for why, or how to completely resolve it, is another question. It seems much of this behavior is limited to mail accounts that use the older POP3 mail protocols.

I personally get somewhat nervous with POP3 mail, as it doesn’t retain any mail information on the server-side (ie, what’s read, what’s replied to, and what’s deleted). This makes your machine the single point of potential failure. I did find that Comcast/Xfinity is phasing in IMAP support. This may actually provide you with a solution going forward to keeping your mail account configured, even over multiple machines/devices going forward.

Please review this link provided:


Problems with mail

Email / Comments Off

Two related questions:

Hi Jacob,

For over 20 years I have used Microsoft’s “Entourage” e-mail program. Well, good old MicroSoft has decided not to support or upgrade it any longer. So, I set up “Mail”. After some start-up operator errors, we got along pretty well until about 2 weeks ago.

I began getting messages that my “outgoing” server ID was not correct. I have never touched it and had trouble finding out what they were talking about. The entire “Mail” program has been frozen for over a week. Now, I go directly to Comcast to get my mail.

I spent over an hour with Comcast Support to no avail. The tech heard it might be due to my signature. Really? They said to contact Apple. I’m hoping you can help me before my appointment with them.


It’s possible that Comcast has updated their server configuration. This may lead to sending errors. When I ran into this issue, I went into the account preferences, and clicked the drop down for sending server. In the drop down, is “Edit server list”. Choose that option. Delete the Comcast sending server, and re-add it, based on Comcast’s configuration recommendations. Any existing messages that were created but not sent, should be tossed, as they retain the old server information. This has resolved the issue for me in the past.


Hard Drive Recommendation for iPad

Accessories, Backups, Hard Drive, iPad, Storage / Comments Off

Two related questions:

I am planning to take a long trip and would like to download enough movies to keep me occupied. I have purchased a mophie to keep my iPad charged, but I need a recommendation on an good external storage device in order to download the movies. Can you help?

I’ve read some good reviews on the Seagate GoFlex drive. It creates a small wireless network, and can stream to an iPad. It also has a ten hour batter and USB3.0 for quick copying of files from a computer to the drive.


My mac mini shuts down every time it goes to sleep

Hardware, Mac mini, Mac OS X, Software / Comments Off

If I walk away from my Mac for too long my mini shuts down losing my place. What setting is lousing this up?

The Energy Saving setting in the System Preferences has been at 15 minutes for both the computer and the screen side. I bought the mini in 2011.

Thanks for the help!

Powering completely down during sleep is a normal setting within energy saver. It could be that the SMC controller needs to be reset, that would be my first recommendation. Should the issue persist, it may require some time on the workbench for diagnostics. The SMC reset has resolved this in almost every occasion with which I’ve used it.


How do I set a MacBook Pro back to zero?

Backups, Hard Drive, How To, Laptops & Notebooks, MacBook Pro, PowerMax / Comments Off

I’m thinking about sending in a 2011 MacBook Pro to PowerMax as a trade in. How do I erase all my stuff on the the hard drive so that when PowerMax turns it on, it is on the same start up screen as a new MacBook Pro?

On Macintosh machines running 10.7 and later, there is a hidden recovery partition. You can access this partition by powering the computer completely down then powering it back up while holding down the Command key and the letter “R”. You’ll then enter the recovery section. Once you’ve picked the applicable language, it will allow you access to the utilities. There is one called “Disk Utility”. Use this to erase the main boot partition. If you plan to send it on trade, don’t worry about re-installing OS X, as that will tie the installation to your AppleID.


Windows and Mavericks on a Mac mini

Applications, iOS, Mac mini, Mavericks, Operating Systems, Optical Drive, Windows / Comments Off

Hello, I just purchased a Mac mini from your company about a week ago. I was wondering if you can please point me in the right direction as to where I can find bootcamp on my Mac that is running OSX Mavericks? I would like to install Windows natively so I can have both flavors in one machine. Any help and advice is appreciated.

There is an application that is supplied with your Mac mini inside of the Utilities folder. It’s called: Boot Camp Setup Assistant. That Application handles partitioning of the drive, and acquires the proper drivers and software for Windows to recognize the Mac Mini’s hardware profiles. You will, however, need a few things:

1. A retail or OEM Windows 7 or later installation DVD. A DVD supplied from another computer won’t work properly, as it’s hardware locked to the previous machine. This causes validation and activation errors.

2. A 4GB to 8GB USB flash drive. This is for temporary storage of the Boot Camp driver packages needed to get Windows to properly acknowledge the Mac Mini’s hardware.

This process actually makes a pretty impressive Windows machine, as it excludes the bloatware, and unwanted trial software that other PC manufacturers pre-install.


Display Problems

Displays, Troubleshooting / Comments Off

Hi, my main monitor port stopped working all of a sudden: went to black. When I plug my monitor (an Acer) into the other port, I have limited resolution capability (only 800 x 600). Does the port not working mean there is a card issue, or other larger problem?

The first thing you should attempt is to reset the Parameter Memory. Power down the unit. The, hold down four keys (Command, Option, the Letters P and R). Power it back on and keep these keys held down. Once you’ve heard three sets of chimes, release them. This should force the machine to re-create the video settings. Should that not bring the system back to normal, I’d recommend having an authorized service department take a look. It may require hardware service.


Running Windows on a PowerMac

G5, Intel Macs, Mac OS X, Operating Systems, Windows / Comments Off

I have a G5 Power Mac with OS 10.4. I can’t find an update to Leopard 10.5. It has an X drive installed (that’s what its identified as in Finder). Can I install Windows XP on the X drive and keep the MAC OS on the other drive? I was given this computer and I am not at all familiar with MAC Hardware or Operating systems.

Those G5 towers were very stout machines. However, the chipset that they were built around (PowerPC G5) isn’t compatible with any current, or prior versions of Microsoft Windows. Later models of Apple Computers are built around the Intel architecture. Intel Macs do support both OS X and Microsoft Windows.


Running OS 9 on Intel Mac Pro

Applications, Compatibility, Intel Macs, iOS, Mac OS 9 / Classic, Mac Pro, Operating Systems / Comments Off

I would like to install Mac OS 9.2.2 on the New Mac Pro “soda can Mac” natively and install the original Mac OS X server software. How is this possible?

I have found a virtualization/emulation that’s reputed to be able to accomplish this. It allows you to run Mac OS 9 as an application. It’s not a bootable solution as MAC OS9 was only coded for PowerPC processors.

The PowerPC emulator is called SheepShaver. It’s not exactly reliable though. You would also need to bring your own Mac OS9 Retail installation DVD. I’d recommend reading through the support forums there to make sure it’s a good fit.


Cat Spilled Liquid on my Laptop

Backups, Hard Drive, PowerBooks, Repair, Troubleshooting / Comments Off

I bought my laptop in 2005 directly from Apple so I hope you don’t mind me taking time to ask your opinion. I’ve always liked doing business with you and would like to see what you have to say.

My PowerBook was working fine until July of 2012 when my girlfriend’s cat spilled part of a drink on it. It hasn’t worked since then — all it will do is power up, make the “happy Mac” sound, and then blink between a Mac face logo and a question mark.

I have rebooted it from a system disk but I cannot access the hard drive. I assume it’s a hard drive problem then, right?

There is a lot of information on that hard disk that I would really love to have: old photos, personal documents, music, etc, etc. Where do I go from here? Should I send it in to Apple (or you) to see what they say or is there another route I should consider?

Liquid contact is pretty much a computer’s most difficult scenarios. It tosses just about any semblance of reliability out. The machine may work fine once dried out, but then fail terribly in a month, or a few months. This aside, the issue you’re seeing now appears to be a complete drive failure (doesn’t show up in Disk Utility, or via target disk mode). It could be that the drive’s interface board shorted from the liquid contact. However, that’s merely speculation without having an opportunity to bench test the unit. Typically, when there is a failure such as this, and the data needs extraction, we would refer a user to a service like Drive Savers. The expense of recovery varies, depending on what level of heroics are required, and the quantity of data to be retrieved.


Upgrading to Mavericks

Applications, Compatibility, Mac OS X, MacBook Air, Mavericks, Upgrades / Comments Off

Do you recommend upgrading a functionally adequate MacBook Air running 10.6.8 to Mavericks? If so, does PowerMax have that upgrade available in the shops on some kind of disk so I can avoid using my stone-axe server at home? I actually have three Macs that need this, so any suggestions you could give on speeding things up would be heartily welcomed?

OS X 10.6 was the last version that was available only on DVD as an installation. Since then Apple has moved OS Upgrades to their App Store and dropped the upgrade price down to zero. The benefit is you don’t need to secure a DVD for installations. The downside: you need a fairly reliable network connection in order to acquire the very large installation file. If your home network isn’t quite up to the task, you may be able to take the MacBook Air to a location with a more robust network and pull the installer down at that point. You’ll need to be signed in with your AppleID in the App store before you can begin.


KeyPad for MacBook

Uncategorized / Comments Off

Do you recommend and/or stock any sort of number pad to use with a MacBook 1.1 (vintage 2006-7)?

I managed to track down two different ones, that have some options. One is BlueTooth wireless, and one is USB connected. Either should work well with your MacBook.

iCalc Bluetooth Keypad

Kensington KeyPad w/ USB Hub


Solid State Drive for Older MacBook

Accessories, Compatibility, Flash Storage, Hardware, MacBook, Solid State Drives, Storage, Upgrades / Comments Off

I have a 13-inch, late 2009 MacBook. Which SSD hard drive will fit my laptop?

The MacBook you have uses a fairly standard 2.5” SATA drive interface which makes upgrading to an SSD internal drive pretty easy. For reliability and compatibility, I suggest one of the Mercury Electra 3G SSD drives.


Upgrading to Snow Leopard on older iMac

How To, iMac, Intel Macs, iOS, Mac OS X, Operating Systems, Optical Drive, Snow Leopard, Upgrades / Comments Off

I have an older iMac that is running os 10.4.11 and I want to upgrade to snow leopard. I have the snow leopard CD but can’t insert into my iMac. How can I download this new operating system? I purchased an external cd driver but when I put the snow leopard cd in the driver it tells me to restart my computer to install the program. When I restart it, the wheel on the screen just turns and turns and does’’t restart my computer.

My computer is so fragmented and I need to defragment, but can’t run a utility program until I have snow leopard installed.

Place the 10.6 DVD in the drive, then power the computer all the way off. Once it’s off, hold down “Option” and power the unit back up. You should see two different icons, on for the DVD, and one for the Internal drive. Release Option, and click on the DVD. It should then boot up on the DVD.


Deleting Personal Data from an iPod

Accessories, Backups, iPod / iTunes / Comments Off

Can you tell me how to delete my personal data from an old iPod – iPod 60GB Video – 5th Gen (Click Wheel)? I am wanting to get rid of it, but not until my personal data is removed.

You can plug the iPod into a computer that is running iTunes. While connected, go to the device section, and click the iPod icon. There should be a button labeled “Restore iPod”. If you click that button, it will erase the iPod, and lay down a fresh format. Once the iPod restarts, just disconnect it from the system.


Mac Pro Power Supply Problems

Mac Pro, Troubleshooting / Comments Off

I’ve got a Mac Pro tower (version 3,1 – early 2008). It shuts off after only a few seconds during boot up. It always starts, unlike some posts I’ve read, but never completes the boot up. I read a lot about this online and think I’ve tried every trick to come to the conclusion it is my power supply.

I’ve reset PRAM, punched two small buttons on the logic board, removed peripherals, graphics card, tried a different (known working) graphics card… etc.

Everything I’ve read seems to point to the power supply, although a few things suggest it might be the logic board. How can I tell for sure? Also, where can I buy a replacement power supply? A few shops I’ve called (in Boston) say they can swap it out, but can’t just sell me the part (I live in Oregon). I’ve looked online, and it looks like I’ll spend over $200 for this. I’d like to be sure before I spring for it.

It’s quite possible, that the power supply is having issues. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a viable “home test” to verify this. Ideally, it should get placed on the test bench and have the full diagnostic testing performed. This would prevent having to replace multiple components. It would also have the peace of mind of having the repairs warrantied. It’s also not easy to secure replacement parts outside of an authorized service provider that are certified to work with your machine. These points aside: we are also in Oregon. Our service location is here in Lake Oswego. If you’re in the area, we’d be happy to get the diagnostics completed and get to the root of the trouble for you. Please feel free to get in touch, with any additional questions. I can be reached at 888-769-7629, ext 202.


How do I make two hard drives act as one?

Backups, G4, Hard Drive, Hardware, How To, Mac OS X, PowerMac, Server, Storage / Comments Off

How do I make two internal hard drives act like one on a PowerMac G4 running OS 10.4.11?

I believe you’re referring to what’s called a “RAID” volume (Redundant Array of Independent Disks). While most versions of OS X are capable of running a RAID volume, the startup disk cannot be included in the RAID on a PowerMac G4 as it lacks the required hardware (RAID card). If you’re running three internal drives you can run disk Utility. Disk Utility has a RAID section. You can select the two non-startup drives and have them placed into an array. However, this does destroy any data currently on the drive. I’d recommend reading over the wikipedia article relating the the technology. Also note, some methods have risks due to lack of redundancy.


Apple MacBook Buying Advice

Backups, Batteries, Compatibility, iOS, Laptops & Notebooks, Mac OS X, MacBook, Migration Assistant, Software Update, Trackpad, Transfers / Comments Off

I’m helping out a friend who has a Early 2008 13″ MacBook (W88340KK0P2). The track pad stopped working. Since she is very dependent on this machine, and the fact that running Quicken (under Rosetta) is very important to her, I thought I’d get her set up with the newest replacement machine possible that is just like her old one. I’ll then look into fixing her original which could then become her warm spare.

I’ve got a bootable copy of her system using SuperDuper. She’s currently running 10.5.8 (9L30). The goal would be to simply restore her system to the replacement machine.

We’re looking at the newer 13″ MacBooks. I was thinking a mid 2009 would be a safe choice for the latest possible machine, since the original OS was 10.5.7. If I understand this article it seems like I shouldn’t have any problems since her current OS is newer than what the mid-2009 shipped with.

Sound reasonable?

First thing, I’d pull the battery from the 2008 MacBook and see if the trackpad resumes working. I’ve had a number of calls lately resulting from a swollen battery pressing up against the trackpad mechanism. If the issue is a swollen battery then it may be as easy as replacing the battery and she can resume working again. As for a potential replacement unit, you can use your duplicate drive image. Instead of “duping” back to a new unit, use the Migration assistant. This way, you can go up to 10.6.8 and still retain rosetta functionality. An entire system duplicated may lack some of the support for newer hardware and video chipsets. I hope this has been helpful for you.


Mac mini Optical Drive Problems

G4, Mac mini, Optical Drive / Comments Off

I put a National Geographic data disc in my G4 Apple Mac mini which I have been doing for years (to create maps for work) and on this occasion it made a really horrible noise (a high speed spinning noise). After a while it stopped and then I powered off. I tried to reboot a couple of time to no avail — I surmised because my disc was still inside.

I searched the web on how to eject and found “hold F2 and the reboot.” It worked and disc ejected. Now the Mac mini is running really slowly to the point that every command literally takes hours to respond. For example, the clock and desktop looks ok, but if I try to open a folder or document the wheel spins.

This has all the hallmarks of a failing optical drive or severely corrupted drive. If you have the correct system DVD set you can re-initialize the drive, reinstall, and see if that restores the functionality. I suspect, however, that the drive may require replacement — it’s not uncommon over the life of a machine, to require this. Drives are fairly inexpensive, and labor is usually thirty to forty-five minutes, plus system installation.


External Display Issues

Accessories, Displays, Hardware, MacBook Pro, System Settings, Troubleshooting / Comments Off

I am having issues with my MacBook Pro not sending a data to my external monitor from the mini display port to DVI. When it is plugged into the monitor, the monitor doesn’t read that there is anything connected. It will send data through an HDMI cable, but the picture quality is really awful (looks over-sharpened and color is off).

If you have the Mini Displayport to DVI adapter and DVI display connected, then proceed into the System Profiler. Check under “Graphics and Displays” and expand all the disclosure triangles. Does it show the adapter? Does it show an external display? That may help us pin down the issue.


MacBook Pro Drive Upgrade

Accessories, Backups, Hard Drive, Hardware, How To, MacBook Pro, Uncategorized, Upgrades / Comments Off

Thinking about upgrading my drive on my Apple MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009) and wondering if the drive from it could then be installed on my powerbook G4 (5,3). I am definitely going to upgrade the memory on the Pro as it only has 4G, and because I am running into constant requests to make more room on the HD, I am seriously considering upgrading the drive to a much larger one.

The MacBook Pro uses a fairly standard 2.5 inch SATA drive, and we have many upgrade options. It is recommended to have a service technician perform the drive swap however, as it’s nested a layer or two down inside the unit. The PowerBooks, however use a different type of drive connection, that would prevent compatibility of a direct transplant. If you upgraded your MacBook Pro’s drive, you could use the original in an external enclosure for additional storage, as well.


Using Migration Assistant

Accessories, Backups, Hard Drive, Hardware, How To, Mac OS X, MacBook Pro, Networking, Transfers, Uncategorized / Comments Off

I’m just now purchasing a 13″ MacBook Pro w/Retina Display. I am trading in my current 27″ iMac.

I have a WiFi network. I also have ethernet cables. I DO NOT have firewire cables.

Using Migration Assistant, which is the easiest and fastest “connection” for me to use to migrate data from my existing iMac to the new MacBook?

Apple has provided several methods for accurately migrating data from an existing machine to a new machine. The fastest would be a direct machine to machine transfer via firewire. You can also migrate from an existing Time Machine backup drive with either a USB or firewire cable. It is possible to also migrate through your local network — this can be done wirelessly or through Ethernet. This method is slower and I recommend beginning the migration late in the day or evening and letting it progress overnight.

Additional Note:  The Migration Assistant will provide you with a time estimate during the transfer. This estimate is just that, it’s merely a guess, and isn’t accurate.


Format my hard drive without a working logic board?

Accessories, Backups, Hard Drive, Logic board, MacBook Pro, Storage / Comments Off

My logic board died on me last night, but got someone that wants to buy it from me for parts. Is it possible for me to format my hard drive without a working logic board? Model: A1286 MacBook Pro 2011! Thanks

Sent from my iPhone


Jacob is currently wearing many hats here at PowerMax, so I thought I may be able to address your question. A logic board failure often makes the computer unusable. This makes re-formatting a drive difficult. Of the times this has occurred to clients, I’ve recommended physically pulling the drive. It’s fairly accessible, and you can place the drive into an external enclosure. In most cases, when a logic board goes, the data on the drive is still intact. This way you have access to the data when you connect the enclosure to another computer. This also safeguards that your personal data, and information remains in your possession. Let me know if you need any additional help on this.

Dennis Beaman
PowerMax Support

Optical Drive + SSD

Uncategorized / 0 Comments


I need an new optical drive in my mid 2010 27″ i7 imac. … QP0331XHDNR

I am curious about adding a SSD while the thing is open.
Read More »

iPhoto 6.0.6

Applications / 0 Comments

Dear Jacob,

My iphoto 6.0.6 is acting strangely of late. When viewing the thumbnails & clicking the picture I want to appear in the lower window pane sometimes the picture is not there. There is only this gray area with an explanation mark in the center with a border that looks like perforations with rounded corners. This is becoming more prevalent lately with some of my later pictures although not all of them, what’s going on? Sometimes we get a message to optimize iphoto and rebuild the thumbnails, is this what will correct our problem. It is extremely frustrating to not be able to view, correct, export my pictures. Help!


Good morning Terry,

Jacob’s currently wearing many hats here at PowerMax, so I thought that I may be able to address your question.
iPhoto creates thumbnail images of your original photographs, to improve handling performance. It’s possible, that these thumbnails are becoming corrupted over time, causing them not to display properly. Have you checked the original images, to make sure they are not corrupted as well? If the original images are intact, then rebuilding the thumbnails would be beneficial. Are you noticing any other anomalous behavior from this machine as well? You may want to run disk utility, and verify the status of the drive as well. Should you run into questions, I can be reached at 888-769-7629, ext 202.

Dennis Beaman
PowerMax Support

iPad 3 Javascript

Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Hi, I use windows xp on my netbook. My wife has a new apple ipad 3 sometime i try & use hers to get into my certain websites(ie) my radio stations my bank account etc etc I find apple ipad a very clumsly computer it just keeps saying enable javascript but never tells you how to enable whats the secret!!!!!!. sure could use some simple common advice re my problem.. Could you E mail me with some directions how to enable javascript. regards Bill Roeder

Good morning Bill,

Jacob’s currently wearing many hats here at PowerMax, so I thought perhaps I may be able to address your question.

The iPad’s operating system (IOs) has many of the application preferences grouped together with the iPad’s system settings. The Settings icon, is a square with gears in it. If you touch that to launch, you’ll notice the sub-settings in the column on the left. In that column, is “Safari”. This is where Safari’s settings are located. Touch that, and the third item from the bottom, is the “Javascript” toggle. This setting should resolve the Java errors you’re experiencing.

Dennis Beaman
PowerMax Support

Downloading YouTube Videos

Uncategorized / 0 Comments


The summation of my question is this: is there a way to monitor Safari’s (version 6.0.x) Activity in such a way as to download items in the page, such as Youtube videos?

The extended version has some history (and a cool tip, I think), as follows…

I found a podcast a few years ago by a young fellow named Heath Mound, who called himself the Macster. He showed how one could download videos that were being played on pages such as YouTube, and I summarized the instructions for my family (see below *****), and got it to work. I am not a web page writer (or whatever that would be called by those who are), so I know only a little about this stuff, but this seems to have only been available in Safari versions prior to the one I have now (6.0.2), or possibly this changed between OS 10.6 and 10.7.

The upshot is this: The “Activity” window is no longer available, but there is a “Develop” menu and “Web Inspector.” I could navigate neither to find what I was looking for, but does this possibly hide the key to the lost ability?

-Bill Smith
Radcliff, Kentucky

To Download Youtube videos in Safari (Lion):

1. Install Perian (it’s free & you only need to do this the first time). It works as a plug-in for QuickTime.
a. Website:
b. Open the downloaded disc image & install
c. Perian will operate when you open QuickTime, and shows up in System Preferences. Once installed, you never have to mess with it again (it may occasionally update).

2. Access YouTube. Because this process is fairly attention-taking, CLOSE ALL OTHER SAFARI WINDOWS & TABS!
a. Before you play the video, go to the Window menu (in the Safari toolbar) & click “Activity.” This will open a window that you’ll want to see as the video begins to play. Place it beside the active Safari window (half-screen each will work best).
b. Begin playing the video. You will see many things happen in the Activity window
- Look on the far right side of the window for the largest file size (usually greater than 5 MB; it varies in proportion to the length of the video).
c. This part is different in Lion, as you can’t get the contextual menu if you “right-click” any of these links:
-click the largest file-sized link once to highlight it (preferably while it’s still loading), then
-Hold down the “option” key and double-click it (preferably while it’s still loading), then
-Look wherever Downloads are saved to see if there is any activity with a file named “video player,” “get_video,” or anything like that: this should be the video. This can be in the new Download button in Safari, or glance in the Downloads file in your dock.
-If nothing is happening, you have to experiment with the functional keys (fn, control, option, command) until you get results. That’s what I did.

3. Convert the video.
a. Once the file has finished downloading (it should have the extension “.flv”), you have to tell the system what application to open it with. (You might want to rename the video file to something recognizable at this point.) Now you can “right-click” it, and select “Open with…”
b. Check the box that says “Always open this file with this application,” (or similar), then locate QuickTime Player in the list of applications and select it.
c. By this point, you should be looking at the video in QuickTime. There are two options from here: Share or Export. Share has its own button in the QT toolbar; Export is under File. Either choice will probably only have limited options for how the video is converted.
1. “Export” will simply create a file that you can work with further, if you want to.
2. “Share” will convert the video & place it wherever you’ve selected.
d. You can delete the original file, and repeat this process from step 2 for another video.

Good afternoon Bill,

Jacob’s currently wearing many hats here at PowerMax, so I thought perhaps I could address your question. I’ve heard of this method of acquiring Flash video, and converting it over to a Quicktime/iTunes compatible format prior. The method outlined can work, however when YouTube changes formats, it would most likely have to be revised. I have however run into a number of specific applications that handle downloading and converting at the same time, and if maintained, would allow for YouTube updates.
TubeSock, is one of the more popular options, as it’s versatile, and easy to configure.
There are a large number of freeware, and shareware software titles available that have similar capabilities as well.
MacX YouTube Downloader received good reviews as well.

I believe those options may save steps, and give you more control of the file output options as well.

Dennis Beaman
PowerMax Support
888-769-7629, ext 202

LG Burning Out

Hardware / 0 Comments

Hey — I have a 19″ LG monitor hooked up to an older model Mac Mini for about 5 years and the monitor is constantly flashing. I don’t know if the problem is the monitor or the Mac. I wanted to bring the monitor into your shop, hook it up to a Mac and see which it is. If it’s the monitor, then I’ll buy a new one from you guys. If it’s the Mac, I’ll pony up for a laptop.

Let me know what you think — thanks!
Randall Hall

Good morning Randall,

Jacob’s currently wearing many hats here at PowerMax, so I thought that perhaps I may be able to address your question.
The display flashing could be related to a few different things. It could be an issue with the power supply within the display, The power source (power strip, outlet) or it could be related to the Mac Mini itself. Testing the display on another machine would be one good option, or testing the Mac mini with a different display may also point to the source of the trouble. Do you have someone that you know that has a notebook with a compatible display connection? That would save packing up the display for transport, and provide some of the testing needed. At present, we’re open Monday through friday, 8:00am to 5:30pm.

Dennis Beaman
PowerMax Support
888-769-7629 xt 202

Converting Files in iTunes

How To, iPod / iTunes, Mac OS X / 0 Comments


I’m looking to convert my iTunes Library from AIFF files to Apple Lossless as I understand there is no loss in Sound Quality and that the Lossless files are roughly 50% smaller. I tried a sample on an album by using “Select All” then Right Clicking on the highlighted areas, then “Convert To Apple Lossless” and this does the job. The only problem is that it leaves the original files in tact (does not delete them) and since I have over 6,000 songs having to manually delete the AIFF files one by one would be a major pain, so is there a way to covert without retaining the AIFF files?

To be honest, iTunes default behavior is a little too cautious. The conversion process is designed to be non-destructive. You may possibly be able to craft an automator script in OSX 10, that would convert a file, then move the original to a different folder that you can toss once the process is completed. That may shave some work time off of the conversion process.

iMac Not Waking Up

iMac, Power Supply, Uncategorized / 0 Comments


I normally leave my iMac on 27/7; but it does go to sleep during most of each 24 hour period. Recently, I have noticed that the iMac will not wake up from sleep in the mornings when I want to check for emails. In fact, it appears dead. I cannot hold down the button at the rear to get it started. I must first pull the plug and wait for a few seconds before plugging the power cord back in. Then I can press the power button at the rear and it comes up. However, a meaasge appears saying that the Mac was not properly shut down.The iMac does not feel hot, only slightly warm along the top. It appears that I have a power supply problem. What do you suggest?

While it may indeed be an issue with the power supply unit within the iMac, it may also be that your PRAM/PMU battery has stopped holding a charge. This can cause issues like failing to wake from sleep, forgetting what the time/date is if the unit’s unplugged, and even failures to start up normally. It would be a low-cost option to test prior to having a power supply replaced. Should a battery not resolve the issue, then the only other real option would be to check it into an authorized service center to have the unit bench-tested.

Frozen 2008 iMac USB ports

iMac, Mac OS X, Networking, Troubleshooting / 0 Comments

2008 iMac Core 2 Duo

Okay, last night I guess I loaded some shady applicationd onto my 2008 iMac. I restarted it, and when the computer loaded up again, the mouse was frozen in the corner but there was no LED light coming off from the keyboard or mouse. I connected my iPod with the USB cable and it wasn’t charging. I then put in a disk (if I can ever get it out again) to see if the computer was working other than the USB ports, and yes, the computer works otherwise. So I’m assuming that my iMac USB ports are frozen, and I’ve restarted numerous times. No luck. Do you have any advice?

Jacob’s currently wearing many hats here at PowerMax, so I thought that perhaps I may be able to address your question directly.
Since the USB system bus is hardware controlled, it’s unlikely that a piece of software has rendered it inoperable. I’d try first, an alternative mouse. Perhaps borrow one from a friend and see if it lights up. I’d also try bypassing the keyboard, and connecting directly to the iMac, to make sure that the USB port on the keyboard hasn’t failed. Should none of these resolve the issue, I’d recommend having an Apple Hardware specialist take a look at the unit.

Dennis Beaman
Ask Jacob Team

Display Compatibility with New Mac Mini

Compatibility, Displays, Mac mini / Comments Off

Will my 30″ Apple cinema display work at full resolution on the newest Apple Mac mini? Apple Cinema Display

The 30″ Apple cinema display uses a version of DVI called “Dual Link” that provides the bandwidth needed to support such large resolution. To connect the current model Mac mini with your current display, all you need is a Mini Displayport to Dual link DVI adapter.

The display settings should auto-configure as the adapter and display are discovered by the Mac mini.

Dennis Beaman
Ask Jacob Team

Optical Drive in iMac not Accepting CD/DVD

iMac, Intel Macs, Optical Drive, Troubleshooting / Comments Off

Optical Drive - iMac Intel Core i3

I can not get the optical drive in my iMac to accept a CD or DVD. I ejected the CD I was just using and now the drive won’t accept anything. I have an iMac Intel Core i3.

- Dennis

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External Hard Drive Not Appearing on Desktop

Hard Drive, iMac, LaCie, Troubleshooting / Comments Off


LaCie External Hard Drive

I accidentally disconnected a LaCie external hard drive from my iMac (os 10.7) and got a warning that it wasn’t disconnected properly. It sporadically reappeared on my desktop for the next couple days but it hasn’t shown up for work for the last few days. Any idea what’s going on and how I can get LaCie back in action.



Read More »

Connecting a Digital Projector to an iMac

Hardware, How To, iMac, Projectors / Comments Off

I just bought a new 27″ iMac and I want to hook it up to my digital projector that has a DB-15 VGA port. What adapter is needed to connect the iMac to my projector?


The 27″ iMac can use the Apple Mini-Displayport to VGA video adapter for use with VGA compatible projectors. You will also need a VGA display cable (see image below). Now, VGA may not always pass through plug-and-play information from the projector, so you might have to go through some configuration manually.

To do that, go to System Preferences > Displays > Detect Displays.

I hope this has been helpful for you.

Dennis Beaman
PowerMax Support

What is a Start Up Disk?

Backups, Hard Drive, How To, Storage, Troubleshooting / Comments Off

I’m trying to download a movie from iTunes but I keep getting a message that my startup disk is full and that I should delete files to create room.

What is a startup disk? Read More »

Kernal Panic and Ram Problems

How To, iMac, RAM, Troubleshooting / Comments Off

In the last month, for some unexplained reason, my one year old 21.5-inch iMac will get a RAM warning (three beeps, pause, three beeps). Then, sometimes it is a kernel panic. This happens about three or more times a week. I took it in to Apple and they said they could not duplicate the problem I was having and handed it back to me. The iMac is under warranty till 2014.

So what next?

Best regards,


You are correct in that it’s indicating a RAM error. Three beeps, pause, etc. Now, often a RAM issue can be resolved by re-seating the RAM. This is because it may have been nudged around during shipping. To re-seat, you can remove and then re-insert the RAM.

I would also check that the environmental conditions in the location where it’s reporting the error have adequate airflow to keep the machine cool and ideally, not in prolonged direct sunlight. In cases were a RAM card has failed, it usually is a permanent failure. This scenario however, suggests that perhaps the card is not completely seated.

I hope this information has been helpful for you.

Dennis Beamen
Ask Jacob Team

Data Transfer from MacBook Pro to External Hard Drive

Backups, Hard Drive, How To, Transfers / Comments Off

Please let me know how to transfer data from a MacBook Pro to an external hard drive as per the following scenarios:

1. MacBook Pro’s (mid 2009 model) USB ports are not working but it has Bluetooth capability.

2. I have  a new 500 GB Iomega external hard drive that is not yet formated for either a Mac or PC.

a. Can this external hard drive be partitioned in 2 sections of 250 GB each? If so, how would I partition it?

b. Can one partition of 250 GB be formatted for a PC and the other 250 GB be formatted for a Mac, so that one external hard drive can be used for both PC and Mac files transfers. How would I do this?

Thank you in advance for your answers.



If your new Iomega external drive has both USB and FireWire ports, you can use a FireWire cable to perform the partitioning and backup. If your hard drive only has a USB port and the USB ports are disabled on your Macbook Pro, you may have to find an alternative way to transfer, such as going machine to machine, using FireWire Target Disk Mode.

As for Partitioning the drive, there is an application, inside the Utilities folder on your Mac, called Disk Utility. Disk Utility has the ability to help you format your hard drive and partitions. For Windows machines, the format is NTFS. For Macs, it’s Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Your Mac can view both partitions, however the Windows machine can only see the NTFS partition.

I hope this information has been helpful.

Dennis Beaman
Ask Jacob Team

MacBook Fan Running at High Speed

How To, MacBook, System Settings / Comments Off

Over the last few months my MacBook has developed the “habit” of the fan periodically running at high speed. I wenFan Running on MacBookt online to see if I could get any help for the problem there and it seems to be a common problem for a number of people. On one forum I found the advice to “reset the System Management Controller” which, another person on the forum said worked for them.  Mine looks as though I have a removable battery but I’ve never taken it out before so I have several questions:

  • How do I know if I have a battery that I can remove myself?
  • Is there any trick to removing it? (It looks like a press and slide kind of deal, like the back of a cell phone)
  • Is “resetting the System Management Controller” the solution to my fan problem?
  • If not, can you tell me what would be?


The System Management Controller, is a componant that manages functions like, sleep, wake from sleep, thermal controls, remembers the time, as well as volume settings. In some cases, the SMC may become corrupted and begin to exhibit unusual behavior.  On the bottom of your computer, there is a coin-screw that can be turned 90 degrees. This releases the battery. It shouldn’t require any real amount of force to remove. Once the battery is out, you can perform the SMC reset process.

To reset the System Management Controller for Laptops:

  • Shut down the computer
  • Disconnect the MagSafe power adapter from the computer- if it’s connected.
  • Remove the battery
  • Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds
  • Release the power button
  • Reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter
  • Press the power button to turn on the computer

The SMC reset may indeed provide the solution but keep in mind, certain applications generate more heat and will kick the fan up. With my MacBook, I’ve noticed that any web-page running flash for more than a few minutes kicks the fan up.

I hope this information is helpful for you.

Ask Jacob Team

Data Transfer from G4 iBook to a MacBook Air

Backups, G4, How To, MacBook Air, Transfers / Comments Off

Our new MacBook Air will be delivered today so I’d like to know how data (pictures & bookmarks) in a used G4 iBook running OS 10.3.9 can be transferred to the new MacBook Air. New MacBook Air

I have 400 to 800 FireWire cables from the last time but forgot how to specifically do it.

Any suggestions appreciated.


The new MacBook Air that you’re receiving has an application that provides for “Over the Air” network-based migration, as the MacBook Air does not have a FireWire port included. However, in order to use the “over the air” method, the originating machine must have an operating system of 10.4.6 or later. Because your iBook G4 has 10.3.9 installed, the automatic migration isn’t an option.

Should I have this same situation, I’d use a manual migration method. Using a USB external drive, back up your data from your home folder. Then go through the standard setup process with your MacBook Air. Once your account is created on the new machine, you can connect your external drive and move the backed up data to the correct folders. It’s not exactly seamless or automatic, but it can provide a safe way to move your data and build a nice, stable system.

Ask Jacob Team

Amber Light Flashing on Apple Time Capsule

Networking, Time Capsule, Troubleshooting / Comments Off

Apple Time CapsuleI just hooked up a Apple Time Capsule to my Cable Modem and I want to use it as a wireless router for my house. The amber light keeps flashing, even though everything is set-up and I am connected on my new wireless network. The airport utility is saying that my Apple Time Capsule airport device does not have a valid IP address. What can I do? I want to fix the problem so everything runs like it is supposed to and I have the green light on the Time Capsule instead of the amber flashing light.


Read More »

Safari and iChat Quitting Unexpectedly

Applications, Browsers / Comments Off

Safari has been quitting on me and iChat has been having some trouble staying connected. Any reason why this would happen?


Read More »

External Hard Drive Not Registering on Mac

Backups, Hard Drive, Hardware, How To / Comments Off

My external hard drive no longer comes up on my Mac when I plug it in and I’m afraid I’ve lost all of my backed-up files forever. Since I’ve only used it on a Mac, I’m not sure where to go where they’ll plug it into a Mac for diagnostic service. I don’t want it to get plugged into a PC and reformatted and then I’m really out of luck.

Any advice on what company to use for this? I’ve heard this type of service can be very expensive. Thanks in advance!


Well most Apple Authorized service centers can help you. You can find the nearest location here.

You can also try and repair the drive with Disk Utility, found in the OS X Utilities folder which, is in the Applications folder. If Disk Utility fails to see the drive, you can try removing the internal drive from the external drive case. It could be that your external hard drive is OK but the drive enclosure has failed. To test this, you can connect the raw drive to your computer with a Newer Universal Drive USB 3.0 Adaptor.

As a side note, you said “I’m afraid I’ve lost all of my backed-up files forever” which would indicate this drive was your backup drive. In a good backup process you need to have at least two copies of every important file. It is not backing up if you move a file to an external hard drive and then delete it off of your internal hard drive. That is not backing up, just changing locations. Any hard drive will fail eventually. So to be backed up, please make sure you have at least two copies and preferably three copies with one being at a different location than your computer.

You may also view this Ask Jacob post for my recommendation on a back up drive.

- Jacob

How To Migrate Contacts from Outlook to Gmail

Hard Drive, How To, Microsoft Office, Troubleshooting / Comments Off

I am attempting to migrate from PC to Mac.

Do you know of a seamless/easy way to import all your Outlook2007 Contacts/Categories without re-typing/formatting many hundreds of MBs?

CME [Convert My Email dot com] claims to be able to import Outlook2007 email folders, archives, contacts (including categories), calendar etc. into Entourage 2008.

When I tried it, just as their program attempted to import the translated data Entourage crashed.
I am continuing to work with them by running their debugging program and sending logs.

Is there an easier way?

What do you recommend for all those Mac converts out there who can’t face re-typing their Outlook data?


It is sometimes nice to use a third party to be the intermediary in the transfer process. I like to use Gmail for this. Here is Microsoft’s pages on how to get your contacts loaded into a free Gmail account:

Export Outlook contacts to Google Mail
Transfer contacts between Outlook and Google Mail

Then in your Mac’s Address Book Application, go to the Preferences. Under the Accounts tab mark the checkbox for “Synchronize with Google” and enter the credentials for your Gmail account. This will let you transfer your Outlook contacts over the network. Additionally, syncing them with your Gmail account will make sure that they are always available to you. You can view them via the internet in your Gmail account, they will be constantly backed up from your Mac, and easy to export out of Gmail if you need to.


Data transfer from PowerPC to Intel Chip iMac

How To, Intel Macs, PowerMac / Comments Off

I am thinking of getting a new iMac. Can I do the data ‘Mind-meld’ from my aluminum G4 PowerPC to an Intel chip iMac?

- Richard

Yes, you can do a Migration Assistant move from a PowerPC based Mac to an Intel Mac. Just make sure you have, or buy a firewire cable to connect the two Macs. Most times, it will take a Firewire 400 to Firewire 800 adapter cable. The Belkin Firewire Cable is a good one.

- Jacob

2.66GHz MacPro problems

Intel Macs, Mac OS X, Mac Pro, Troubleshooting / 1 Comment

Well, my trusty 2.66GHz MacPro failed two months out of AppleCare warranty. Right before it failed, the screen image developed a very faint herringbone pattern of thin horizontal yellow rectangles which look to be about 1/4″ x 1/16″ rectangles. The computer gets through the chime and through the Apple screen and to the blue screen with mouse pointer in the upper left. The drive is being accessed, but nothing happens on-screen though the cursor does track mouse movements while leaving a fixed mouse pointer at the original position. The yellow pattern is consistent through multiple reboot attempts. I pulled the drive and hooked it up to my Intel Mac mini and it mounts to the desktop and I can see all files in the Finder.

In the past, the video card failed and was replaced under AppleCare. I tried the usual tricks individually with reboot attempts between checks (checked 3v lithium battery, PRAM reset, pulled extra memory, reseated video card, move drive to different bay, disconnected all external devices except keyboard/mouse/DVI. Same result on all counts. Checked for dust build-up on memory and video heatsinks. Not much there. I installed a brand new WD Caviar Black drive and tried to install the OS (Discs supplied with MacPro) on a new drive. It makes it through installation Disc 1 to the RESTART button. When it reboots, I get a grey screen in multiple languages saying to restart. Can’t make it to Disc 2. Tried re-installing with drive in 2nd bay, same thing.

Hardware Details:

  • 2.66GHZ Dual Xeon Macpro 2006-7 unit bought from Power max
  • 4GB memory installed (1GB x 4)
  • Mac OS 10.5.8
  • Monitor: Dell Ultrasharp 24″ using DVI
  • Boot Drive: 7200.10 Seagate 750GB

I apologize for the long e-mail. It is frustrating when stuff breaks right out of the warranty period.
I would appreciate any advice on further diagnostics and options for repair.

The symptoms you’re describing do seem to relate to a video card failure. The Kernel Panic on restart may also point to a video card failing to identify correctly. How long ago was the video card replaced? If it was recent enough, it would be worth checking with the repair center that performed the replacement. In some cases, the repair on the video card, has it’s own warranty, and may qualify you for a replacement. I hope this information has been helpful for you.

Dennis Beaman
PowerMax Support

Lost audio on a G4 PowerBook

G4, Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks, Mac OS X, Troubleshooting / 0 Comments

Our Apple laptop (a Mac OS X, processor 1.67 GHz Power PC G4; memory 1.5 DDR SDRAM) has lost sound and we cannot figure our how to restore it.

Can you help?

With the G4/1.67, there were two different models. One has a standard analog audio port (headphone jack), and one has the Combination Analog/Digital Optical port. It’s possible that the the sensor that detects a headphone connection may be tripped. This would cause the notebook’s speakers to be silent. One way to determine this, is to plug in headphones, and see if you get sound through those. Also, if you go into System Preferences, then to Sound, and check “Output”. It should list which devices are providing sound output. Does it list “Line out/headphones” or internal speakers? Let me know what the results of these are, and we can go to the next step of restoring sound for you.

Dennis Beaman
PowerMax Support

Unable to print in Snow Leopard

Mac OS X, Printing, Snow Leopard / 0 Comments

I reluctantly upgraded from Tiger to Snow Leopard recently and discovered, to my dismay, that my HP 940-C will not print now. I have a Mac Pro which had the original 160 HD with Tiger on it. I installed a 500 GB Western Digital HD drive and cloned the drive as you suggested with Carbon Copy Cloner (thanks by the way!) and installed Snow Leopard on the new drive. After discovering that Snow Leopard didn’t have a fix to make my printer work as it should, I went to system prefs and rebooted from my original drive which has Tiger installed and I was able to print as usual. Is there a fix to make Snow Leopard functional with my older printer? I went to Apple website & downloaded what I thought might be a printer driver solution that still doesn’t work. If there is a simple solution I would appreciate a tech tip.

I checked through Hewlett Packard’s website, and it appears that the driver for that printer has not been updated since march of 2005. Most likely, the correct driver for 10.6 is included in the 10.6 DVD install. I would recommend going to System Preferences, then to Print & Fax, and delete the current printer, and re-add it. When re-adding the printer, check carefully under the driver selection, and see if the 940C driver is listed. if it is, select that driver, or one for “The 940 series”, then perform a test print. If this driver is not listed, it’s possible that it may be on the DVD for Snow Leopard, under “Optional Installs”(does not require reinstallation).

Dennis Beaman
PowerMax Support

Running partitions of Mac OS 9 and X on a G5

Dual Boot, G5, Mac OS 9 / Classic, Mac OS X, Operating Systems, PowerMac / 0 Comments

I have a G5 tower (the silver one) with dual 2 gig core. Can I load and partition OS 9.2.3 & 10.4.0 & 10.5.8? Or just OS 9.2.3 & 10.4.0?

The G5 PowerMac, supports OS X up to 10.5.8, with support for Classic (OS 9 virtualized). Partitioning the drive, most likely will just limit your storage options, as that unit will not boot in OS 9. I hope this information has been useful for you.

Dennis Beaman
PowerMax Support

Back light on G3 PowerBook only stays on after warm-up

Displays, G3, Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks, PowerBooks, Repair, Troubleshooting / 0 Comments

I have an older G3 Mac 13″ laptop that I am having issues with the display. If I open my display up too far the lights will go out on it. I then have to close the laptop, and wait for it to go back to sleep, and then open it very slowly to have the lights come on the display. And even then it does not do it all the time. Now once the lights do come on, the display can not be fully opened for a while (What I like to call a warm up) once it is warmed up I can then open it all the way, Is this a Videocard issue or the Ribbon for the display issue?

The G3 and G4 notebook computers have several cables that pass through the hinge mechanism. Repeated opening and closing of the hinge may have worn one of the cables that passes power through to the backlight of the display. Depending on what model of notebook, the cables may be considered as part of the display unit, and should be replaced.

I hope this information has been helpful for you.

Dennis Beaman
PowerMax Support

Are the speed benefits of 10.4.11 worth the compatibility issues?

G5, Hardware, Mac OS X, Operating Systems, Software, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

I recently got gifted !! a Dual G5 1.8 with 2G RAM. It has 10.5.8 on it. Geekbench score of high 1400′s to low 1500′s. I installed 10.4.11 on an external firewire drive. 10.4.11 gets scores of around 1687.

One of the obvious pluses to 10.5.8 is Time Machine. But, that will not work for me as I don’t have any discs big enough to back up to. I end up using rsync to backup stuff like Music to one drive, pictures to another, etc…..

So, my question is this. If I wipe the 10.5.8 I will have no means of going back to it. I like 10.4.11 but it is beginning to seem like more and more software will not work with 10.4.11. Example, Evernote!

What do you think? Get the performance boost that 10.4.11 seems to offer on this machine or stick with 10.5.8 that I do not have an install disc for….

What a nice gift! 10.4.11 has been a really good system, but is beginning to lose some support from newer software. 10.5 shouldn’t be much slower, unless there are underlying issues. How much RAM do you have? Do you have one, or two internal drives? What kinds of software do you plan on using with this G5? These are all questions that must be considered when it comes to performance and compatibility.

- Dennis

My Apple Mouse won’t scroll up – only down!

Mice, Troubleshooting / 7 Comments

This is the second apple mouse I have bought for my Mac. The problem with both of them is they will not scroll down, just up using the little scrolling button on top. What gives?

Thanks for any help you might offer. The old one was wireless this newer one is USB – I disconnected it and plugged it back in but nothing helped.

- Nina

This is actually a dirty scroll ball issue. There is not a problem with your computer or the mouse hardware. You just need to clean the dirt out of the scroll sensor. This is so common that Apple made a demo video on how best to clean your mouse.

- Jacob

How does your stolen Mac database work?

Services / 2 Comments

How and where is your stolen Mac database maintained? If my Mac were stolen how would I get my serial number to show up in your stolen Mac database?

- Jay

When you complete the web form on our stolen Mac page we generate a report and the information is then verified and committed to our database.

- Jacob

How do I connect my iPod to my Mac mini?

iPod / iTunes, Mac mini / 0 Comments

I have a 3rd generation 32GB iPod Touch and a Mac Mini G4 1.5 GHz, the last G4 model produced. It’s currently running the latest version of Leopard, and I’ve been using it with a USB hub. I also have a “3rd generation” iPod Touch 8GB, but I am aware that it’s actually got the same hardware as a 2nd gen model.

The 8GB unit works perfectly with my G4 Mini. But iTunes refuses to recognize my 32GB Touch. If I look in System Profiler, it sees that there’s an iPod connected to the USB port, but nothing else happens.

I don’t get any error messages, either.

I tried bypassing the USB hub and connecting the 32GB unit directly to one of the Mini’s two USB ports, but the exact same thing happened. I was able to successfully sync the 32GB model with a Windows machine, so I don’t believe that the iPod is defective.

Is the 32GB unit simply incompatible with the G4 Mini, or do you have any advice for me?

- Aaron

I can only assume that your system has iTunes 9 installed on it and meets the system requirements:

• iTunes 9 or later
• Mac OS X version 10.4.11 or later; Mac OS X version 10.5 or later is required to play an iTunes LP or iTunes Extras
• QuickTime 7.6 or later
• Support for HE-AAC requires QuickTime 7.6.4 and Mac OS X version 10.5 or later
• Safari 4.0.3 or later
• 200MB of available disk space

Perhaps you can find a local Apple reseller, and see if their version of iTunes on a demo Mac will see the iPod. That will tell you that you if it is an iPod or Mac Mini issue. Let me know what you find out.

- Jacob

Can Mac OSX and OS 9 run on the same system?

Laptops & Notebooks, Mac OS 9 / Classic / 1 Comment

I have bought one of the original tangerine 300 Clamshells so that my grandchildren can play some of the old Mac programmes I have such as “Grandma and Me”. However, the laptop has OSX installed and will not accept the programme because I cannot turn it on to Classic mode without installing OS9.

Is it possible to install OS9 alongside the current operating system or would I have to do a clean install and thus lose all the programmes which are already on the Clamshell?

Thank you,

OS 9 can be installed onto the same hard-drive as OS X. OS 9 does not share any files with OS X so there is not an issue with files being over written.

One thing to keep in mind though, after you install OS 9, the computer will start booting up into OS 9. You will need to use the Startup Disk control panel under the Apple menu to switch back to OS X. Depending on the OS version installed, you may need to run software update to get a version of that control panel that will let you boot OS X.

Also, some later grey labeled OS 9 Installers, could install OS 9 Classic through a OS X installer, making it very simple to upgrade.

Hope that helps,

Can a Mac mini server also have a user account?

Mac mini, Server / 0 Comments

Hey Jacob,

What a great service to answer Mac questions, thanks!

I’m the defacto IT guy at our small private school and we’re thinking about getting a Mac mini server with Snow Leopard to act as our new server and also our school secretary’s main computer.

Would it be able to act as both? Would that be wise?

We don’t have a lot of money to work with, so we thought it’d be nice to kill two birds with one stone. Her Mac is 7 years old and our server is really old. Any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



Mac mini serverIt is possible to have a user account on the same Mac mini server system that is acting as a server.

This is not a recommended for heavy used servers or when the user is a novice. If the user decides to turn off the computer for the weekend or change network connections, your server will be offline. However, if you do want to dual purpose the system, just make sure that you create a standard user account and not an Administrator account on that system, this will prevent important settings from being changed.


I’m struggling to transfer files from my old G4 to my new(ish) G5 iMac

G4, G5, iMac, Transfers / 0 Comments


I just got a refurbished iMac G5 from PowerMax which works great. When I tried to transfer files over a firewire connection from my old G4 to my new(ish) G5, however, I got the message that the G4 didn’t have system 10 on it.

I know that’s not true: it has OS 10.5.8 on it, and is set up to start up using that system (so it is not a dual boot problem). It tells me the firewire connection has been made, and I am following the Setup Assistant directions to the letter.

What could be the problem here? Would the fact that the G5 only has 10.4 and the G4 has 10.5.8 be problematic? Or is it something else?


I have a special fondness for the G5 iMac. One thing to check is to see if you have two drives installed in your old G4. It could be that you have a old drive or data drive installed as the Master drive in your G4. If that is the case, you may need to remove the none-booting drive and then try again. 9 times out of 10 that is the problem when you see that error.

- Jacob

My new hard drive won’t boot in my G4 PowerMac

G4, Hardware, Mac OS X, System Settings / 0 Comments

I have a 1GHZ dual processor and the new HD I purchased from your company will not boot! I removed the jumper and there are no other drives attached. The machine sold to me is a PATA/8MB cash WD WD2500AAJB 250 GB drive.

I unpacked it and hooked it up with the case open but I can not seem to mount the drive. I used a OSX 10:3 system disk and tried to reformat the disk with the system software but I just can not see the icon-it does not mount. I am ready to return the HD for another one if we can not resolve this issue promptly.

Thanks, Gary

If you have a Mirrored Drive Door G4 PowerMac, all drives in the Mac need to be pinned as “Cable Select.” Also, see if the drive can be viewed in the Finder window as it’s possible in OS X to have drives mounted but not visible on your desktop. That setting is adjustable in the Finder preferences.

If you continue to have problems you can certainly contact your sales person for direct customer support.

- Jacob

I can’t get my Mac mini set up correctly …

Displays, Mac mini, Troubleshooting / 0 Comments


I ordered a Mac Mini and am trying to set it up to no avail. I do not have the Apple monitor.

I did go to the Apple store to purchase a VGA adapter. However I get nothing. I made sure it is plugged into the back of the Mini correctly. I am also having a problem getting the disc out. I can feel it spinning but it won’t eject it.

- Dan

Mac miniYou can force the disc out of the drive by holding down the main button of a USB mouse when the Mac mini is starting up. That should force out the disc. Most VGA displays should work on the Mac Mini.

What model display are you using that will not work? It is OK to use a PC display on a Mac, almost all of the modern PC displays will have no problem working with any Mac, even refurbished Mac minis.


My refurbished MacBook Pro battery won’t old a charge.

Batteries, Laptops & Notebooks, MacBook / 0 Comments

I recently replaced my refurbished MacBook Pro battery and the computer shuts down about one minute after unplugging it from the power supply. Pressing the battery check button on back of laptop indicates full charge with all green led lights lit.

Plugging in the power supply and pushing the on button reboots the computer with chime sounding and the web paige I was on reappears and all is good.

What to do?
- Gary

Macbook Pro BatteryIt sounds as if your battery is not working properly. Either is is not truly being charged fully and it is misreporting that info, or it is discharging fully in seconds not hours. Is the battery an Apple branded battery or can you contact the manufacturer to see about getting a replacement unit?

I do not think it is a problem with your refurbished MacBook Pro. I would suspect a error in the battery itself.

Hope this helps

How can I install OS X on a backup drive?

G5, Hard Drive, Operating Systems / 0 Comments

Hello Jacob,

I have a G5 Dual 2.7Ghz PowerPC running 10.4.11, and I have the original OS software discs that came with the tower, 10.4.2 I want to install 10.4.2 on an external drive so that occasionally I can boot up some software that will only run on that older OS.

When I try to do this install, I keep getting into a “do loop” where the install disk wants to restart the computer and then when it does, it says it cannot “install the software on this computer”, I can’t seem to be able to perform this simple install without restarting the computer and then I go around again. Please help Mr. Wizard.


Dual 2.7 G5Are you sure that you have the original install DVDs for your system? Most gray labeled discs are locked to the exact generation computer that they shipped with.

Most Dual 2.7 G5s shipped with 10.4.0 and did not have 10.4.2 DVDs. Those 10.4.2 DVDs were included in the generation after that model. However, if you are sure that they work on your G5, It may just be a problem with the destination drive. If you have a second internal drive you could experiment with, try installing 10.4.2 on that drive.

Then use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone that fresh install onto your external hard drive. Dont forget to format the External Drive as a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) volume with a Apple Partition Map. Those are often the default settings when using Disk Utility to partition a drive.


My little, used PowerBook is maxed out. Or is it?

Laptops & Notebooks, PowerBooks, Upgrades / 0 Comments

I have an old 12 inch 1.33GHz PowerBook with maxed out 1.25GB ram and a 5400rpm 80GB hard drive. I love this thing as it was the first computer I bought and cant fathom selling it (especially since it runs OS 9 baby! BAM!), but it is showing its age.

I’m wondering what I can do to increase it’s power to at least watch YouTube videos or video podcasts without jittery playback. Right now I simply use it for email, project timing and anything non video related (iCal, iTunes, web articles, etc), which it does fine (also a great companion on road trips) but would like to increase it’s usefulness with better video and Flash performance.

Would it be worth it to upgrade the HD to a SSD? Is there a way to upgrade the graphics card? Anything else I might want to try? Any help is greatly appreciated.

- Tyler

Used PowerBookThe only thing left for you to do to that little well-used Mac would be upgrade the hard drive to a faster unit, but even that will not change your Flash video playback performance.

To get a performance upgrade for YouTube, you are going to have to move to an Intel Mac. That does not mean you need to retire your PowerBook, but it is doing all that it can now.

- Jacob

My mac no longer recognizes my camera …

Accessories, Operating Systems, Software / 0 Comments

I have a Mac running 10.5.6 software. It will not recognize my Sony video camera anymore even though I have used it several times before.

It is connected via firewire 800/400 & I have tried all I can think of except a new firewire. I unplugged everything including power and firewire & I also reinstalled the software and still nothing in finder. I have seen people complaining of these issues online and unfortunately I can’t afford Apple support. Any help would be appreciated.

- John

Sad MacHave you tried updating to 10.5.8, just to see if that fixes the issue? Beyond that, you should see if the camera shows up in other applications. For instance, on Apple computers the iChat application lets you use FireWire camcorders as an iSight camera.

Open iChat and see if the Video/Audio tab shows the camera as a functioning source. If it is working in iChat, then the camera is fine and you need to focus on the software you are using to edit it. Are you using iMovie or another program? It could be that any none Apple software did not get updated to work with newer versions of the Mac OS. In that case you may want to update that software or switch to iMovie.

Hope that helps,

iOS 4.0 has rendered my iPhone virtually unusable …

iOS, iPhone, Troubleshooting / 1 Comment

Hello again! Thanks for advice last time – it worked! I’ve downloaded iOS 4.0 onto my phone but now my touch sensitivity has gone down. For instance, I’m tying this message on my iPhone and I’ve had to press several keys multiple times because they went unregistered on the phone. It also freezes up on the unlock screen and won’t let me slide to unlock it.

This has been a problem since the software came out – and while I know it hasn’t been long it’s a nuisance! Should I take it into the “genius” bar or do you know what the problem could be. The screen is clean as well if that has any relation.

Thanks for your help in advance!

- Eric

I have experienced slow performance like you described on my wife’s iPhone 3G. I did not have any problems with the 3GS I had been using. Many iPhone 3G users have had problems with the IOS 4.0 update bogging down the phone, and I could imagine that some 3GS iPhones could have similar problems.

From what I have read – and found through testing – you can fix these issues by erasing the iPhone and restoring it to factory defaults. Instead of restoring from your backup, you set it up as a new iPhone. It will take some time to get all the settings back to what you are used to, but in many cases this will fix the problem. If it does not fix your performance, you could format again and then restore from the backup.

I hope this helps, let me know how it works for you.
- Jacob

Can Parallels Desktop run on a G4 Apple laptop?

Parallels, PowerBooks, Software / 1 Comment

I am pretty new to the Mac world. I recently purchased a iMac 21.5 and it runs OS X 10.6.2.

I would like to buy a Mac laptop (and don’t want to spend alot of money) and would use it for web browsing, word processing, and I would like to run Parallels Desktop on it so I can have a Windows XP (now) and Windows Vista (future) virtual.

Are any models of the G4 laptop line viable for how I want to use a laptop?

- Marvin

Parallels DesktopParallels Desktop needs to run on a Intel processor so the G4 laptops (which have PowerPC chips) are not going work for you.

Look at a 13 inch MacBook for a inexpensive Apple laptop that will meet your needs.

Let me know if you have any more questions,

- Jacob

Is $100 a decent price to pay for a MacBook with a broken screen?

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks, MacBook, Repair / 0 Comments

I have the opportunity to buy a 13inch MacBook for $100. It is only a couple of years old but the screen is damaged. You can see only about a 1/4th of what’s on the screen in the upper left corner. A friend’s son had it at school and his friend threw a pop can at him, accidently hitting the monitor.

What would it cost to replace the screen? Would the cost be less if third party parts were used? If it were to be fixed at a reasonable cost, would I be able to sync it up with my G5 desktop?

Would I be able to get a third party power supply?

Thanks for helping me out.
- Dave

White MacBookIt is a good purchase for $100 because you can use it with an external display and keyboard if you do not get the screen fixed. It is like buying a $100 Mac Mini. Repairing the display will be pricy if you work though Apple Service, but if you are good with your hands you can get parts from or use their mail-in repair service.

You can move your data off of your G5, to this MacBook, using Migration Assistant, which is located in modern Mac’s Utilities folder.

There are not any third party MageSafe Power Adapters, you will have to get an Apple branded unit.

Hope this helps,
- Jacob

Can I return an unused MobileMe account?

MoblieMe, Software / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob.

When I bought my iMac (love it!) from PowerMax I also bought MobileMe for $99. It was recommended by my daughter, but she didn’t realize that I don’t use an iPhone or iPod touch. I only do email from my computer.

Is it possible to return it for a refund? I never activated it.


MobileMeI know that AppleCare can be returned to Apple for a prorated price based on the time that has been used. I imagine that Apple may also offer the same return option for unused MobileMe. I have never called in to test this so I can not say for sure. Box copies of MobileMe can be used by anyone and the code inside does not expire so if your daughter wants to use it she can use it to extend her MobileMe account.

I have been using a version of MobileMe since it was first introduced almost a decade ago. It is not a service just for iPhone or iPod users. You can publish your own webpage, post your photos online in one click from your computer, and allow access to your mail/calendars/address book when away from your computer.

Before you decide what to do, consider signing up for the free MobileMe trail and try to use all the services it offers. Then you can make a solid discussion of what you would like to do with the MobileMe you bought.

Hope this helps,

Can a G4 iMac be used wirelessly?

G4, Hardware, iMac, Upgrades, Wireless / 0 Comments

We have a new MacBook Pro set up with a Time Capsule and an 5 year old iMac G4 and are wondering if the G4 will accept an Airport Extreme card or Airport card. We’d like to use the old IMac wirelessly if possible.
Please advise.

Thank you in advance,
- Garth

Yes, the G4 iMacs can take an Airport card. Depending on the generation you can get an 802.11B card or an 802.11B/G card.

• If you have a 700 MHz or 800MHz processor you need a FastMac APP-0968 Wireless AirPort 802.11b Card.

• If you have a 1GHz to 1.25GHz processor you can get an Apple M8881LL/A AirPort Extreme Card.

It will install under the metal plate on the bottom of the iMac and is easy to do, just make sure to attache the built-in antenna cable after you slide it in the slot.

- Jacob

How do you do screenprint on a MacBook?

New To Macs, Operating Systems, Printing / 0 Comments

How do you do screenprint on a MacBook?

- Christine

There are two common ways of capturing your screen. First you can use the keyboard shortcuts bellow

• Shift-Command-3 = Capture the screen to a file
• Shift-Control-Command-3 = Capture the screen to the Clipboard
• Shift-Command-4 = Capture a selection to a file
• Shift-Control-Command-4 = Capture a selection to the Clipboard

Be sure to check out Apple’s full list of Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts.

The other way to capture your screen is with the Grab utility in your Applications/Utilities folder. This application is included with every Mac and it gives you more options when trying to get exactly the screen image you want than you have with the keyboard shortcuts.

Hope that helps,
- Jacob

Does running a second monitor on a 27″ iMac eat CPU cycles?

Displays, iMac / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,

Does running a second monitor on the new 27 inch iMacs eat any CPU cycles or is it all on the graphics card?

- JP

27 inch iMacIt is my understanding that the only appreciable impact of running a second display on a 27″ iMac is with the video cards GPU and VRAM. The VRAM will be split between the internal display and the external display.

The GPU will have to work almost twice as fast to redraw the screen. Your processor will be mostly unaffected except for the added overhead of managing that much more desktop space.

- Jacob

Is it possible to install a 10.4 partition on a G5 iMac running 10.5?

G5, iMac, Mac OS 9 / Classic, Mac OS X, Operating Systems / 0 Comments

I have an iMac G5 running 10.5 and I’m just wondering if I can partition my hard drive and install 10.4 and run OS 9 on the same hard drive for games that requires OS classic 9

The white G5 iMac

You can run the older 10.4 Mac OS on a partition of the drive if that computer originally was capable of running that OS. So if you have version of 10.4 that came with that iMac G5, you can install that on a partition or external hard drive. Then you just need to install Classic OS 9 support and you should be set.

I do this on a few test systems here, and have no problem bouncing from 10.4 to 10.5. Just use the Startup Disk System Preference to change which partition you want the Mac to boot from and restart.

Hope that helps,
- Jacob

My aging G5 needs to be replaced, but should I wait for new Mac Pros?

G5, Hardware, Mac Pro / 0 Comments

My aging Mac G5 Dual 2.7 Ghz can no longer use the latest Mac OS, and I am a heavy Photoshop user, who cannot even update to the newest Elements, without an Intel processor.

Should I get one of the (also aging) Mac Pro’s, or wait until a new Mac Pro is released by Apple?

Any idea when that might be? It has been significantly over a year now since that model was updated.

- Phil

Mac ProMac Pros are due for an update but Apple has been slowing down Mac development on the Pro side. We will often get indications of a future update via long delivery times or short supply in the channel. We have not see any of those signs of change with the Mac Pro. If you need a Mac Pro in the next 60 days, I would get the one you want now but that is just a educated guess.

Hope that helps
- Jacob

Can you dual boot Win 98 and a Mac OS?

Applications, Dual Boot, Operating Systems / 0 Comments

I have an Athlon XP1700+ based PC, Elite ECS K7S5A PRO motherboard, currently running Win98SE. I now find our niece is getting a MacBook through her high school, and since I am about the only relative she has that is somewhat computer fluent, I would like to find a way to, say, dual-boot between 98 and some version of MacOS that will run on the same machine…any ideas? I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer anywhere…

New hardware is just too expensive…

- Jim

Getting a Dual boot system out of that hardware will not be possible. The Mac OS needs to run on Apple hardware or the brave can attempt to build a “Hackintosh” but you need to have a system with a compatible Intel based processor.

Even If you were to buy a Mac to run the Mac OS and Windows on the same system, you would have to run Windows XP SP2 or higher alongside the Mac OS. Hope that helps answer your question, new hardware and Windows software is the only way to dual boot.

- Jacob

My Home folder icon is missing from my Dock.

Dock, System Settings / 0 Comments

Somehow I managed to remove (delete?) my Home folder (icon) from the Dock. The Home Icon still appears in my various windows and sidebars. Tried dragging the icon from several places to the Dock, but could not get it to reappear in the Dock. Selected the Home icon and went to the pull down menu under File and clicked on Get Info. From that window dragged the image of the Home icon to the Dock. That was successful, except that the icon appearing in the Dock is a FOLDER, not the House icon. Clicking on the folder does give me all the contents of the Home folder,

How can I get the House icon back?

I am the administrator. This problem is on an iMac running OSX 10.6.3.

Thank you for any help/suggestions,


I just tried this now, but I will be honest I never knew the icon for the home folder would appear as the house icon if you had it in the dock. I have never placed the home folder there but it works for me. I opened up my hard drive in the finder and went to the Users folder. Then I dragged the Home folder icon to the Dock. After it is on the Dock, you right click on it, or [control] click on it, and select the Folder option under the “Display As” section. It then will display the House icon

Hope that works for you and I think I may keep it on my Dock too.

Which replacement Superdrive would you recommend for my MacBook?

Hard Drive, Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks, MacBook, Repair / 0 Comments

Hello Jacob,
The Superdrive on my first gen MacBook died and I am looking to replace it. Unfortunately I’m having trouble finding the exact model number I will need. Can you help?

- Kati

MCE DriveI often recommend the MCE replacement drives, like this MCE Internal 8x SuperDrive Upgrade for MacBook and MacBook Pro 15-inch.

Hope this helps
- Jacob

Quicksilver G4 hard drives – how big can these get?

G4, Hard Drive, PowerMac, Storage / 1 Comment

How big a hard drive will work with my PowerMac G4 Quicksilver?

My dad had a hard drive over 100 GB that did not work in his PC a few years ago, so I know that just because a hard drive fits does not mean it is compatible. I currently have an 80 GB drive.

- Stephen

Quicksilver G4 MacThe original Quicksilver G4 PowerMac towers could only use hard drives that were 128GB or less in size. The 2002 Quicksilver G4 PowerMac tower could take any size ATA hard drive.

If you have a 733, 867 or Dual 800 MHz processor than you have the original Quicksilver. If you have a 800, 933 MHz, or Dual 1GHz processor you have the 2002 Quicksilver and can use larger hard drives.

Hope this helps.
- Jacob

How do I back up iWork, iLife and Microsoft Office?

Applications, Backups, iLife, Microsoft Office / 0 Comments

How do I back up iWork, iLife and Microsoft Office?

I have a computer with iWork, iLife, and Office 2004 (all old versions on Tiger). I will soon either reformat my hard drive or get a new one. How do I make sure that I have all the license files, since it’s been a while and I don’t have license keys any more.


- Stephen

iLife 2009The iLife applications do not have a registration or activation key. Microsoft Office applications store a copy of the activation key in the supporting files so you can get both of those file groups by copying the Office folder and the iLife applications from the Applications Folder. You will also need to Copy iWork applications but you need one aditional file for that to work. Copy this file to your backup media (Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/ ) and then move it back to your drive after the reinstall.

The best way to get this done would be to buy a new hard drive and then use Apple’s Migration Assistant to grab all you applications and files from the old hard drive. Migration Assistant is part of OS X 10.4 or higher.

Hope this helps
- Jacob

Will a G5′s USB card work with a new(ish) Mac Pro?

G5, Hardware / 0 Comments

Jacob I have an old G5 with dead processors and which is basically just a parts machine. Will the USB card (5 plugs) from this old G5 fit and work in the Mac Pro I recently bought from you guys?

- Gary

Most likely it will not fit. Many of the G5 PowerMac systems had PCI or PCI-X slots and your Mac Pro will have PCI Express slots. Some of the very last generation of G5 used PCI Express, so if you had that model it may work. The PCI expansion cards are keyed so they will only fit in compatible slots, so you can check to see if it fits. Just be carful to not force the card in if it does not fit exactly.

Hope that helps

MacBook Air Screen Problems

Displays, MacBook Air / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,

I’m using a 1st Gen Macbook Air and I cracked it’s left hinge the other day, although everything has been running fine.

Today, however, a red glare sort of thing, maybe a hue (I’m not good with the lingo) has appeared on my display and when I move my screen up or down, it goes away momentarily, but if I take my hand away, it goes back to the red tint. I was wondering if you think that the Macbook Air is just completely cooked (I’ve owned it for 2 years), OR, if I take it into the Apple Store (not sure about my warranty), will they be able to do something about it?

Thanks, Ethan

MacBook Air ScreenApple laptops run display cabling through the hinges so hinge damage will quickly start to affect the display cables.

There is probably a short in the display cable from its contact with the sharp edges on the crack. You should take it into the Apple or Mac Store for support and to get a repair quote. It will likely require a new display housing with the display, it will not be cheap if it is not covered by AppleCare.

Hope this helps sorry tot hear about the problems.
- Jacob

How do you connect a Mac to a TV?

How To, Media Center, Networking, PowerBooks, Troubleshooting / 1 Comment

I have a Powerbook G4 I am trying to connect to the TV so that I can view and hear any laptop content on the screen. In case you need to know this, the TV is an older CRT TV, Toshiba model CZ36V61.

I did what the tech support person at Apple said. I got a DVI to Video adapter, then connected the yellow RCA cable from the video adapter to the TV yellow RCA port. I then used a Belkin Y adapter, with one end in the headphone jack of my laptop and the two red and white audio RCA cables into the red and white RCA ports on the TV. No picture, no sound. I tried changing through the various TV inputs.

I searched online and found many suggestions to go the the Displays part of System Preferences, and click “Detect Displays,” but when I did this, nothing happened. Apparently the Powerbook is not detecting the TV at all. I also found suggestions to lower the monitor’s resolution, to allow it to show on the older CRT TV. This also did not work.

Any thoughts? I appreciate any input you have. Thanks.

- Ani

Apple’s advice is correct, you should have an equipment list which includes a DVI to Video Adapter , 6ft Audio Cable Mini Phone 3.5mm Male/ 2x Rca Male , and a Tripp Lite Composite Video Gold Cable.

Have you tried playing music from your laptop and then switching input sources on the TV? When you hear the music, you should then be at the proper input source on the TV. After you have the TV on the proper source, try detecting displays again. That should work, if it does not you may want to take the computer an cables over to a friends house and test on their TV to see if the issue is the TV or cable.

Hope that helps,
- Jacob

I need a new Mac that can run GarageBand well. What do you recommend?

MacBook / 0 Comments

I am looking to purchase a new computer and I have been interested in the apple products. I have been a PC user forever but I’ve been told I need to check out thr mac world. My first concern is

1. I use my computer to multitask- with the web, my music, programs, typing papers etc my poor PC is trying its best to keep up. As a teacher now I had been told that Mac excels in this department with GarageBand and other music programs to record and write so I would want that.

My second concern is:

2. Desktop vs laptop- I have been looking at the Mac mini, the MacBook, the MacBook Pro and the iMac but I’m not sure what would be the best buy for me along with what I need it to do. What would you suggest?


New MacBookFor a first time Mac buyer, I would recommend a new MacBook. It will come with all the iLife applications, one of which is GarageBand, and it will have a nationwide warranty. A portable Mac will let you take your computer with you where you need it. This is especially helpful if you need to have someone show you how to do something. When you need help it is easier to go to the person for help opposed to trying to lure them to your home.

Also consider adding AppleCare for your MacBook for the three years of phone support as well as extras hardware support.

Hope this helps and welcome to the Mac world,
- Jacob

How can I use an Apple Cinema Display with a new Mac mini?

Accessories, Displays, Mac mini / 0 Comments

Hello Jacob,
I was looking the other day at the latest Mac mini on your site and have some questions. I am retiring a mirror door G4 soon and think the mini 239LL might tide me over for a while.

Can I use my existing Apple Cinema Display 20″ 1680×1050?

I have written 3 books using Adobe CS2. Will I have to upgrade the software to use on the Intel chip set? Other known software issues?

Are there any other surprises?

- Bill

mac miniThe DVI Apple Displays work nicely with the Mac Minis. If you have a Clear plastic ADC display you will need a DVI To ADC Display Adapter.

I think other than that you should be set to make the switch and use the new Adobe CS Software but you should check the graphics card requirements for the applications you are planing on using. Some features may not work perfectly on the Integrated Graphics cards used in the Mac Mini.


My Mac Pro will not power on …

Mac Pro, Power Supply, Troubleshooting / 0 Comments


My brand new Nehalem, which has been running fine since I got it, will not power on – no response to the power button. I tried the SMC reset twice but no luck … Is there anything else I can do?

- Sean

Mac ProWith the unit off, try holding in the power button for a long time until you hear Tone from the speakers. Release the power button and after a short time it should chime and boot. If that fails, than your Mac Pro could have a power problem. For diagnostic sake move it to a new outlet and directly connect the computer to the wall, bypassing any power strips. If it still will not work, then it will need to be looked at by an Apple Authorized service center.

Hope this helps, let me know,

- Jacob

Do Macbook Pros keyboards have issues with the Option key?

Hardware, Intel Macs, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,
I have a 2006-era MacBook Pro, on which many of the keys on the built-in keyboard have never worked, such as volume, mute, etc. all of a sudden, my option key no longer works to toggle thru startup disks…any solutions? I had the keyboard replaced along with the logic board at its one year birthday, but the keys continued to not function properly…no pun intended!

- Sue

MacBook ProI would assume it is not a hardware issue because of the replacement of the keyboard and most times all buttons stop working with hardware failure. It could be a settings issue that is set to ignore special function values by default. In the Macbook Pro System Preferences, Select the “Keyboard” option. Under the Keyboard Tab look to see if there is a checkmark in the checkbox for “Use all F1, F2 etc. keys as standard function keys.” Remove the Checkmark if it is in that checkbox.

In that same Preference window is a [Modifier Keys..] button, click on that button. Then check to make sure that your [Option] key was not remapped to another function.

Hope this helps,
- Jacob

Is a 2006 Mac Pro limited to 500GB storage per drive bay?

Hard Drive, Mac Pro, Storage / 0 Comments


Looking to add more hard drive capacity to my 2006 Mac Pro. I’ve heard I might be limited to 500GB in each bay for a total of 2 TBs. Is that true or is more possible? Also, any brand recommendations would be appreciated. Currently it runs off the base 250GB SATA.

- Nancy

Hi Nancy,

There is no drive size limit for SATA based Macs, like yours. You should be fine going up to 2TB in each drive bay. Take a look at our internal hard drives, as we carry both Western Digital & MCE. These brands will certainly fit the bill for your storage needs.

- Jacob

Streaming music from an Airport Express to my receiver.

iPod / iTunes, Networking, Wireless / 0 Comments

Will your Monster 6ft Cable – Mini to Optical Toslink for Airport Express/G5 iMac will work for my installation? I want to purchase a new Airport Express base station to stream music from iTunes to my stereo receiver. I have an optical input on the back of my receiver, and just want to make sure this is the correct cable. I plan on purchasing both from you.

- Dave

Yes. If you want to connect iTunes to your stereo receiver the Mini to Optical Toslink cable will connect an Airport Express or Intel Mac laptop to a Toslink port on a stereo system so you can stream music wirelessly.

Have fun with it!
- Jacob

Which backup drive would you recommend?

Backups, Storage / 1 Comment

I’m shopping for a back-up device for my iMac Core Duo. I understand the faster transfer speeds of firewire and would prefer this type.

The size of my backup is really small; Sibelius music notation files and corresponding PDF files for the instruments. In the last 9 months, I’ve only generated 3.74 GB of material, so a smaller (250GB or even 500GB) is perfect. I don’t want to pay too much for this and have been checking various drives on Amazon, etc.

They all seem to have their pros and cons; LaCie, Western Digital, Seagate, Vebatim, etc. Do you have one you’d recommend?

You’ve helped me in the past, and I hope you can do it again. Thanks in advance…
- Bo

LaCie 1TB Hard Drive

LaCie 1TB Hard Drive

In general I will just end up getting a basic 1TB Lacie drive for my backup drives. I have one of these set as a TimeMachine Backup drive and another for making whole system clones of my computer that I keep off site.

But if you just want to backup small Data files that will total under 8GB per year, look at a LaCie USB itsakey drive.

This will store a years worth of your data and you can easily take it with you.

- Jacob

Would a Mac mini be a decent replacement for a G4?

G4, Mac mini / 0 Comments

Hello Jacob,
I am currently using a beefed up G4 at home and at work. When I got it it was the previous years top of the line. I’ve since upgraded the processor and added RAM, new HD’s and Optical drives on both my home machine and work. I use Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash for work, I use Bryce, Lightwave, Garageband and all of the work applications at home.

Would a Mac mini be enough muscle to replace the G4? Also could I run the Star Trek online game in boot camp or one of the other emulators?

- Chris

New or refurbished, everyone loves a Mac miniIn general a new Intel Mac mini or refurbished Mac mini is a great replacement for most PowerPC systems. I use one as my primary home computer and can say that I have yet to find its limit.

The only drawback for you will be working with software that was designed to run on a PowerPC processor, it will have to be run in a special environment on your computer called Rossetta. Everything should work, but just may not be running at its full potential speed.

- Jacob

Is a Powerbook G3 usable for email and web browsing?

G3, PowerBooks / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,
I have a Powerbook G3 that still works – I presume. I have since had a Powerbook G4 and am now on a Macbook pro.

Is a non-Intel machine still useable for email, browsing and simple writing? Other than slow Ethernet, what issues might come up for using a machine like this?


For the task of writing, email or documents, the older Macs are still a decent choice. It does not take increasing processor power to record key strokes as text.

The Web browsing aspect though is a different matter. Older computer hardware just is not capable of running modern web browsers and Internet development is now back in hyperdrive, pushing the limits of what you can do on the web. Websites that worked on your browser yesterday may be rewritten for modern browsers tomorrow and older computers will be left out.

If the exciting new parts of the internet are were you want to go, than older computers are going to have a hard time. FaceBook, Youtube, and the like, will want a better computer to display their content. For that you need some processing power, like you have with your Macbook Pro.

Those G3 PowerBooks are old enough now that out Mac trade in program has stopped accepting them as well, so even overclocked a G3′s use beyond a word processor is pretty limited.

- Jacob

Is Mac OSX 10.5 Leopard still available?

G5, Mac OS X, PowerMac, Software Update / 0 Comments

I have a Power Mac PC G5 but 10.3.9 and I need an upgrade to 10.5.

It would be nice to find a copy of Leopard but no one has them or it costs an arm and a leg. I love my Mac and just want to upgrade but others have told me to just buy a Mac Mini and have everything I need without purchasing the upgraded software for my machine. What say ye Jacob? What is a person to do?

- Terri

When 10.6 was released without Power PC Mac support I was recommending that everyone grab 10.5 before it was gone for good. At this point your observation about 10.5 Leopard is correct and the advice to get a Mac Mini is probably good advice.

I have to say that I love may Mac Mini and think it is a good choice for most users looking for a desktop system. We regularly have used Intel Mac minis in stock is you’re interested in keeping costs down.

- Jacob

Is there a way to skip an erroneous driver software update?

Hardware, iMac, Software Update / 0 Comments

The software update runs each day on my iMac 3.06GHz, 21.5in computer. The problem is that everyday it shows the following update available:

HP Printer Drivers Update 2.3 4.8 MB.

I have obviously updated these drivers, but still continue to get the notification. Why is this happening and what can be done to stop the unnecessary repeat notifications?

- Lon

The simple solution is to select the update listed and choose ignore update from the “Update” menu. Assuming your drivers are updated and working for you then it should not cause any problems to skip the update. This sometimes can happen when you download drivers from the manufactures site (in this case HP) and Apple tries to overwrite them with different versions that are not newer or older, just different software builds. This deference prevents the update from fully installing and does not record the newer version in Software Updates records.

I hope skipping it works for you.

- Jacob

If all I really do is email which Apple notebook will do?

Laptops & Notebooks, MacBook / 0 Comments

I’m planning on purchasing a new computer to replace my 13 year old G4. I primarily use this G4 for sending lots of emails, sometimes with pix attached.

Is there an Apple notebook I should consider? or do I need the full size MacBook Pro? Any help you can offer would be appreciated. I run a small business and my business is all conducted by email.

- Doug

I would have to say that the best value Mac laptop is the white polycarbonate MacBook. It is a great system, and the latest version now has a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. For a little more you get a Aluminum finish and more RAM in the 13″ MacBook Pro.

These machines are fairly similar and should serve you well for another ten years. Hope this helps.

- Jacob

Does my MacBook Pro need a fan to boot properly?

Laptops & Notebooks, Repair / 0 Comments

Dear Jacob,

My Macbook Pro’s (15″ inch; 2.4ghz, 2008) left fan was making a lot of noise. I am out of warranty, so I opened the laptop to see what was wrong. The fan died and has lost all the blades (computer is still taken apart right now).

Until I buy a new fan, can I disconnect the cable that powers the fan and run my computer without it – does my MacBook Pro need a fan or will that prevent the Macbook Pro from powering on or prevent anything else in the computer from running correctly? I understand it will heat up on that side, but I wouldn’t mind that if it were the only thing that would happen since it doesn’t have the blades anyways, and its only making noise right now.

Thank you for your help.


Does my MacBook need a fan?The MacBook Pro will boot up without the fan connected. The temperature sensors on your system will keep an eye on the temp and shut you down if it gets dangerous for the components. Just save often and keep an eye on the heat. If you let the heat rise to much it may shorten the life of your MacBook Pro Battery and hard drive, not to mention the remaining fan will spin full speed to compensate.

Good luck

Can my Mac cube support a 23 inch Cinema display?

Cube, Displays, G4 / 0 Comments


I am trying to connect a 23-inch Apple Clear Acrylic Cinema HD Display to my G4 Cube. I suspect that I need to upgrade the graphics card. The Display’s power light illuminates, but the Display fails to illuminate at all. Since the G4 Cube has worked fine with my 17-inch Clear Acrylic Studio Display, I believe the graphics card is working, but incapable of supporting the 23-inch HD Display. Please advise what options PowerMax has available to resolve this issue, if it can be resolved.

Please be advised that both my 17-inch Studio Display and 23-inch Cinema HD Display both utilize the hard-wired Apple Display Connector (ADC) and the sole cable and connector for video and other services.



Apple 23" ADC Display Yes you are correct that the Apple Cinema HD Display 23″ will require a better video card than what your Cube has.

That display needs an ADC connection from a card with 32MB of Video RAM. It is likely that your video card is underpowered for that display. Replacement parts are hard to find, we do not have any, but you may be able to find a card from a high end Cube for sale online.

Hope that helps

Is there a way to fix a MacBook Pro power supply?

Laptops & Notebooks, Power Supply / 0 Comments

Hey Jacob,

Is there any way of fixing an original apple power supply?

Yesterday my 17″ MBP crashed out of the blue. I have to add, a few days before the battery went dead. Perfect timing! To be sure it wasn’t a internal hardware issue I used the power supply of a 15″ MacBook Pro and everything was fine. So instead of buying a new battery and a power supply maybe I can save some money by DIY.

Do you have any advise for me?

All the best,


MacBook Pro Power SupplyI am sure that there is a way to fix an MacBook Pro power supply but I would not advise it.

I am the same type of person you seem to be. I will bust out a soldering iron instead of my wallet most times. Occasionally though, I just do not want to risk potential damage from a DIY project. For example when maintaining my car, I will not work on my own tires or breaks. This is because I value professional and inspected work when it comes to keeping me on the road, and stopping when I need to.

Just like tires, the computer’s Power Supply is where the “Rubber Meets the Road.” It is where the outside world connects to your computer and, just like a bad break job, errors in the repair can be costly. In general you will probably be able to make the repair and get a working power supply, but it is possible that a safety device will not get fixed and a power spike could damage your equipment.

In this case I would encourage you to buy a suitable replacement. To be honest I would not know how to advice you, as I have never attempted that repair before.

Hope this helps.
- Jacob

I’m having trouble adding music to my iPod. All I get is “unknown error 69.”

iPod / iTunes / 0 Comments

I am having problem putting music on my iPod. it keeps saying that here is an unknowen error -69 any chance you could tell me what to do ??


Unknown Error 69 happends on the iPodIn general the first step in troubleshooting an iPod problem is to reformat the iPod and take it back to the original factory config. Make sure you have backed up your settings in iTunes first and that you still have all the songs and applications in your iTunes library.

To format your iPod, connect it to your computer and select it in the iTunes Device list. Then under the Summary tab select the Restore button and confirm that you are going to delete all data on the iPod. It will download the latest software for your iPod and then install it, it may take some time. When it is done, you can try restoring your setup from the last backup you made.

However before you go to this extreme, you may just have some file problem crashing the transfer process. If the problem is just seen during the iPod sync process you will need to remove the problem file from your iTunes library. This problem can be caused by a corrupt MP3 file or some other issue with the song files. Here is an Apple article on how to locate the offending iPod files and remove them.

Hope this helps,
- Jacob

Wireless for Mac G5 – can I do this?

G5, How To, Networking, Wireless / 1 Comment


I have a G5 Power Mac 2.7 system in the basement. Sometimes it sees my Airport express from upstairs … sometimes doesn’t. Can I make my G5 tower wireless?

- Mike

G5 wireless antennaAll, but the last model, need a Power Mac G5 wireless antenna connected to the back of the case.

You need to make sure that G5 antenna is connected to the Airport port on the back of the unit. It can be put into the Bluetooth port by accident, or it sometimes is missing altogether. Both problems will cause poor wireless performance. If you plan on making the G5 wireless – and have the “T” antenna installed correctly – you can try to adjust the angle of the “T” so that it get the best signal quality. Try using the Kismac OS X wireless tool to get a more detailed view of your wireless signal strength.

Hope this helps – good luck making the G5 wireless!

Backups, Networking, Storage, Time Capsule, Wireless / 0 Comments

Dear Jacob,
I’ve seen much on the web that complains about setting up an Apple Time Capsule. What is your opinion? Does it deliver? Is it a good option for getting my wife (who deals with plenty of large image files) backed up and connected to extra disc space?

Is setting up an Apple Time Capsule for large file storage a good idea?I think the Apple Time Capsule is a good solution for people who are using laptops and stay wireless 80% of the time.

The largest issue with backing up is remembering to do so. Time Machine makes backup easy and automatic. However, a small subset of people who never leave a computer at the desk long enough to backup to a USB drive were not being protected by Time Machine. Those people need the Time Capsule so that they too can take advantage of Time Machine’s automatic backup.

If you have a desktop, or leave your laptop connected to external devices on a desk for a few hours a day, you would be best served by using a directly connected external USB hard drive for your backups. The Airport Extreme base station will allow you to connect an external USB drive for network file storage. That drive will be accessible from the network or you can always connect it directly to a Mac and retrieve the data if one day your Airport fails. If the drive in your Apple Time Capsule fails it’s harder to get access to.

Hope that helps you make a decision,
- Jacob

My 27 inch iMac fell and the case is bent. Can the glass be replaced?

Displays, iMac, Repair / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,

My girlfriend and I awoke in the night to the sound of the table with my new iMac 27 inch on collapsing, the Mac landed face-down on the floor.

The glass screen has shattered and the metal casing has warped in a couple of places. Somehow it took the wireless keyboard with it, which is now bent in the middle.

After about an hour of panicking I thought, hmm, I wonder if it still works, so plugged it back in and it sprang to life. The display is perfect, I can access all my files, airport, speakers, cd drive…all good. The keyboard has bitten the dust though, so I’m using my old PC one.

Basically what I want to know is, can the glass be replaced? Would I be without it for a long time, and the big question, is it going to cost a lot to fix?

Thanks very much for your help,

- Oliver

27 inch iMacsThe glass can be replaced easily, it is held on with magnets. However, there could be a problem if the bend in the case prevents the replacement of the glass. If the glass can not lay flat on the case, it may cause it to crack or let dust in. The glass for a 27 inch iMac should be $120-200 to replace but again the bent case is the X factor.

Bring it into a service shop for a better estimate of the work needed to get the glass replaced.

Hope this helps
- Jacob


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