to commonly asked questions.

Is the Air ready to replace my MacBook?

Hi Scotty.  You installed a new hard drive for me a few weeks ago.  The machine is running great, except for my inability to get into boot camp.  When I open up in the windows partition, I get a black screen the following error message:

"Invalid system disk
Replace the disk, and then press any key"

I then proceeded to run boot camp assistant as well, but when I do, I get the following error message:

"The disk cannot be partitioned because some files cannot be moved.
Back up the disk and use Disk Utility to format it as a single Mac OS Extended (Journaled) volume.
Restore your information to the disk and try using Boot Camp Assistant again."

I really need to be able to run windows for work.  Do you have any idea how I can restore bootcamp given these error messages?

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.



This is a problem. There could be a fast fix we can try first but we may have to work a bit to get things straightened out. First things to try:

1. Boot from a Leopard or Snow Leopard disk and repair disk from the disk utility on the DVD.

2. Use Onyx to run monthly, weekly, and nightly crontabs.

I would suggest the try repairing from the DVD first. It could be that the data on the disk is spread across the partition in such a way that Boot Camp can’t create a partition safely enough without the risk of loosing data.

There are other things to do but no matter what, be sure you BACK UP YOUR DATA first.

Express not extending the network

Do you happen to know if you can gps a Druid phone?Son cannot find his phone.

Sent from my iPhone


Hard to say.  Different phones have different features.  That would have to be built into the hardware.  Then enabled through software. Here are a few links that may help.

Locate My Droid
Where's My Droid Helps Locate Your Android Phone Near and Far

In most cases you would have to enabled the feature via a software app first.

Sharing a keyboard and mouse between two computers

Hi Scotty,
I agree, and will set up an appointment with you shortly because I also need to install more memory in the computer and would like to do that at the same time. I will order it today and set up a visit when it has been received.
There is another problem that I would like you to look at, namely, the printer, I cannot find it in the operating system according to the instructions, and software such as word and printing from the internet also can not find it, all since the operating system was upgraded.
If you have any questions, please let me know.


Often when moving from 10.5 to 10.6 Snow Leopard, the latter can play havoc on your printer drivers. Many companies found that Apple required that the completely rewrite their print drivers for 10.6. In fact, some printers will refuse to work. It’s probably best if you go ahead and delete the old printer from the system preferences/print and fax pane then download the 10.6 driver software from the manufacturer’s website. Then re add it.

USB device not charging

So if I wanted to get  new computer with lots of ram so I could have the windows on my mac, what laptop would you recommend?
ps my mother-in-law adored meeting you!


So to run Windows on your mac the way you intend to use it you’ll need a piece of software that allows virtualization. There are two popular choices. Parallels and VMware. I prefer VMware. It’s usually around $70. You will also need a new copy of Windows. Windows 7 is the most recent version. I believe that’s around $199. I would suggest you look at the macbook pro line. The have 13”, 15”, and 17”. The most common choice is the 15”.

MacBook Pro - Buy MacBook Pro notebook computers - Apple Store (U.S.)

I would avoid the standard macbook or macbook air for this purpose. The power lies in the macbook pro.

iLife needs Snow Leopard


How's it going?

I have a question for you. I need a new laptop; I will using it primarily for business software needs. Would you suggest the new Macbook Air or the Macbook Pro line?


It really comes down to what you don’t need. If you don’t feel like you need a CD drive, you don’t need a tremendous amount of storage, you don’t need firewire, and massive speed is not an issue the the new air would be great. If you are ready to sort of lose the cables then the air would work. But that’s a tricky place to be. Yes, there’s DVD sharing if you have another mac laying around but your reliance on the cloud becomes about 80%. It’s where we’re all going but Apple may be pushing us a little quickly. For me, it would be a nice machine to hang around with but I need the ports in my field. Knowing your music background I would still say it’s not worth the money when compared to the i5 or i7 chips out there that give you much more power for your dollar. It’s not a choice I can make for you. Personally I’m a 17” macbook pro user and see no other laptop in my future for quite some time. I love the real-estate.

Once you get Office or whatever suite you go with on there then you may be very happy. Let me know what you decide. By the way, if you’re not using Dropbox, you should be. Use this link to create an account and you’ll get 250 megs more space. If you’re going to go to the air you’ll need it.

Canon Scanner using Image Capture


I removed airport express from my network and re-added it.  When I tried to readd and extend existing network, it would not allow me to.  Any reason why?


- I have set airport extreme to create wireless network and to allow this network to be extended

- this is the error I get when I try to select the network I want to extend using the airport express.

Yes, most likely the reason that it’s not allowing you to extend the network is because the radio channel selection is set to manual. The older expresses would not be able to to extend the 5ghz range signal. I would try selecting only the 2.4ghz range. The difference between the two is basically as follows: 5ghz allows for a larger amount of data (larger bandwidth) to pass through the network but with a shorter range. The 2.4ghz allows for a smaller amount of bandwidth with a greater range. Don’t worry though. The 2.4 pipe is still way larger than all Charlotte’s current ISP download speeds. It really only effects data between computers over your local network. Stick with 2.4ghz. Disable 5ghz. (Just a thought) You may also consider setting the channel from manual to automatic. With 2.4 the range is 1 through 11. Your router will jump between the choices depending on traffic in your local area.

For some reason, we can not print to our HP printer.  Let me know your thoughts.

- when I try to open the printer utility, I get the following error.

- when I try to print something, I get the following...looking for printer.

It may be that all the changing to the network have deleted the pathway to the printer. First step in troubleshooting this issue is to delete the printer and re add it. system prefs/print and fax...hit the minus button then plus again. The printer should show on the network. Of course we also need to consider whether the printer is USB directly into one of your airport devices or if it’s wirelessly joined to the network. Either way, it should show as a bonjour printer in the add printer window. If it doesn’t then that tells us it’s fallen off line. If you’ve recently updated to Snow Leopard 10.6 then you’ll need the latest driver. 10.6 handles printers completely different that previous methods.

I know that’s not a lot to go on but it’s hard to troubleshoot networking issues over email. As far as the printer goes, it’s probably something very simple we’re overlooking.

Printer won't print from Windows via bonjour print wizard

Title: How to turn your dual-monitor PC into a dual mac-PC system

scotty, can this be done per our discussion today?


Yes. Synergy will allow you to share your mouse and keyboard between two computers on the same network. I use a tool for mac to mac sharing called teleport and it works wonderfully. You just need to be ready to work with it from time to time as updates that come down the stream will most likely break its functionality.

CCDS is not growing with the times

I have bought a hd radio that needs to be charged with a usb port on the computer...Does the port need to be enabled in order to work? The radio does not seem to be charging.


Some USB ports supply a different rate of power and do a better/worse job than others at charging devices. I would first try plugging the device directly via the computer usb port. Try all of them. If you are using a USB hub then you would need to be sure it’s a powered hub. In other words, one that is plugged in to the wall with an AC adapter.

Replacing an old G5 iMac


Took my Time Capsule to the Apple Store today to swap it out.  I picked up a copy of the new iLife because I liked the new iMovie changes.  However, upon coming home, I realized that I don't have Snow Leopard (we run 10.5.8).  Is it worth upgrading to Snow Leopard now?  Do you have any idea whether we can return an opened iLife to the Apple Store?

Glad to hear that the Time Capsule was under warranty. Like I said, I have a lot of faith in that product along with the extreme and expresses. They rarely go down. Snow Leopard, being only $30, doesn’t really bring much to the table vs. Leopard. It’s not bad or anything. There’s just not much that jumps out at me that says “I must have this!”. It’s more of a precursor to 64 bit OS’s in the future. There are some new printer features that are nice and wireless scanning seems to be much more reliable as well. Expose has a tweak that’s cool but nothing ground breaking. For $30 I guess go ahead although you’ll need plenty of ram. SL requires at least 1 gig just for the OS. Let me know what you think of the new iLife. I’ll post it on my site here. (that is if you haven’t returned it) The Apple Store’s policy is generally no returns on open box software.

MobileMe calendar out of Beta but don't fall for it!

Hi Scotty,

Sorry to bother you but I am trying to find the website (or link) you used when showing me how to scan with my canon printer?  It made scanning effortless and I'm have a brain freeze.

Thanks and sorry to bother you.


No problem. Your mac comes with a piece of software called image capture. It’s a handy program that will work well with most printer/scanners that are directly plugged in over USB. If the printer is wireless connected to the network only then image capture is not so good. In general if you have a canon or an epson, you are best keeping them directly plugged in to a USB port. HP’s do a better job wirelessly. At least in my experience.

You can easily find image capture by using the spotlight toolbar in the top right hand corner of your computer. It’s the magnifying glass icon.

Consider OpenDNS as an alternative to Parental Controls

Printer is not going through form my Dell laptop. I set up the bonjour and it shows up, but when I print, it shows, printing, then print error. Thoughts?

When you added it through bonjour, did it find its own printer or choose a generic one?  Also, be sure you restarted the machine as well.  Windows can be such a pain! If that doesn’t work then try to manually select the print driver in bonjour print wizard. I have also found that sometimes windows is happier with the previous version of the driver. In your case, the 8400 series rather that 8500 series if it’s available. Just a thought. Windows support is a bit outside my jurisdiction.

Use Font Book to find corrupt fonts

We need a new computer for our home and it has to be a windows machine.
We already have a mac but need an additional computer for the kids for homework and CCDs kids don't like macs because they are not used at the school.

I see.  That's a battle I've been fighting with CCDS for quite some time.  I’m not happy about their stance at all.  I've had several clients who also send their children to school at CCDS run into walls when it comes to home computers.  

I understand your dilemma and see the reasoning for buying a windows machine.  It just frustrates me that they can not send out the message to parents that using a mac is ok and completely compatible.  Office on the Mac works fine with Office on windows.  It's the same company!  And any website they may send you to that is only written for internet explorer is just bad programing on the web designer's side.  As a matter of fact, several private schools in Charlotte have already started adopting more universal answers to Office anyway like Google Docs.  

It all comes down to the CCDS IT department's inability to grow with the times and realize that Windows is loosing market share rapidly and Apple is on a massive surge in the industry.  (shares closed at $315 yesterday).  They are dealing with their students with blinders on and it's very frustrating to me.  

Sorry for the rant.  By the way, the best windows computer is a mac.  Just install windows on it.  

They make me so mad!

Private Browsing will hide your tracks

how are you? hope you're doing well! i have a question for you, mike and i are going to get another computer (you knew we would have to soon). Do you have a recommendation? we will be using it as our main home computer (the G5 will go upstairs w/ the kids). we'll be doing alot of graphic design and photo work, including adding the new 'by design'..? program. any thoughts?


I assume you are looking for another desktop. If that is the case then there are really two chocies I would consider.  The entry level 21" or 27" iMac.  I believe the 21" lists for $1199an d the entry 27" lists for $1699.  

It just comes down to screen space that you want.  I would personally try to get to the 27" if financially possible.  It's a wonderful computer.  You don't need to upgrade anything and the entry model is more than enough for the next several years.  

Airports come in different versions, and that's not all that great

October 14, 2010 Apple updated their mobileme calendar interface at It's been in beta for several months and I have had many complaints regarding bugs throughout. I would suggest leaving it alone for a while. Just because it's out of beta doesn't mean it's stable. Apple's implementation is very confusing. Once you've chosen the new format at in your calendar, your iCal's calendars disappear. Oh Great! Syncing should once again return after an iCal restart as suggested by Apple in an email automatically sent out later but mileage varies. This is because the new syncing system is based on a method called CalDAV and your iCal database has to be rebuilt to reflect the online calendar. If the calendar remain absent then the next step is to go to iCal’s preferences and select to add an account by hitting the “plus” button then enter your mobileme info. Your calendars should return. Overall however, I’d stay away for a while.

If you feel like you just have to see what is so great about the new ical online and you just can’t stand it, you better back up first. You've been warned.

What do the blue dots mean? Quitting applications

So at last I’ve found a great alternative to Snow Leopard’s parental control bug where your child is protected from content on the web including https sites such as, or perhaps their own school’s website. Anything that requires a username and password is blocked by 10.5 and 10.6’s parental controls. So it’s time to start considering using OpenDNS. It seems to do a better job filtering the bad stuff. it also allows your child to email you from the forbidden site and ask permission to have access. It’s about a 7 in difficulty to set up but not too horrible. It involves changing the DNS server from your ISP’s default to OpenDNS. I’ve been testing it for a while and I think it’s ready for prime time.

Dropbox to be installed on PC as well as mac


How can I find what fonts on my system may be corrupt?


You graphics professionals and your fonts! So Apple’s font book is a pretty nice alternative to the over zealous Extensis Fusion Suitcase hog of a program. (not a fan) You can always drag new fonts into font book (or select to add from the menu) and font book will verify whether the font is worthy of being installed. But if you are scared the font will do damage but you’r just not sure which one it is out of the hundreds you have, you can always point font book to a folder and have it scan for bad fonts before they’re installed. Just use the “validate font” function or “validate file” and point font book to the folder full of fonts.

While Font Book is free, the alternative is Font Doctor from extensis but at $60 I think I’d stick with Font Book.

iCal wants to erase more data than expected

I would like to erase my history so others cananot see where I have been


Each browser has their own name for it. In safari it’s called “private browsing”. But you’ll have to enable it every time you want to start a session of surfing. It’s under the word “safari” in the menu bar.

If you’re looking to erase your history. (maybe you forgot to turn on private browsing) you can do so by choosing “clear history” under the “history” drop down in the menu bar.

Google’s browser, Chrome. calls it Incognito and works just as well.

iPhone won't show on new Mac.


Since I sent you this message the airport did correct itself.  It goes in and out.  When I am in the mancave where the airport is, it appears that I do not connect to this airport, but to the one in the upstairs office.  My transmit rate is 26.  Any reason why I do not connect to the airport that is closest to the computer and why the transmit rate is not near 130s?

By the way, now that the airport is not blinking yellow there are not error codes to report.  Eventhough the main airport is showing green it has the following 2 code:  Configuration over WAN and Double NAT.  Not sure if these are causing problems with my mancave airport.  

Let me know your thoughts.



So there are several things in play here. 1st, the 2 error codes have no bearing on this issue. The WAN error means you are allowed to adjust your router’s settings without being plugged in to it the Double NAT error means that two devices (the modem and the router) are trying to hand out IP addresses. This is fine in your case.

Now on to the meat of the issue. One thing that would be interesting to know would be what version of the expresses these are. The 802.11n version (most recent) have a different max transmit rate than the older 802.11g expresses. I prefer, in my own home, to eliminate the older g versions. In other words, updating the routers helps a lot. The N version express also has a better range as well as more bandwidth in your house. This is one explanation as to the different transmit rates seen in the options menu you’re probably observing. This also lends itself to explain the other issue. Your computer may seek out the 802.11n router downstairs above the slower less desirable g version right next to you. There are ways to have the computer forget which device it is connected to. The simplest is to toggle on/off the airport card via the menu bar. But you’ve probably already done that. This doesn’t solve anything, just gives the computer the opportunity to find the strongest signal. By the way, the only way to tell if the express is g or n is to use airport utility. The versions are identical physically.

Another factor to consider is location and physical interference of walls etc... Your computer wants to connect to the most reliable signal and certain construction can cause issues with this. As I recall, your mancave is quite a bit away and upstairs from the main router in the kitchen area. I believe we had an express or two in addition to the main router. There are other considerations if you’d like more details as to what could be going on (WDS setup etc...)

If you would like to reset the computer’s airport memory, there are files we can toss out if you’d like to explore that. Let me know and I’ll guide you through that if necessary.

Setting up a server and HD video

In the dock there are blue dots under some of the icons. Does this mean they are opened? How do I turn them off? I tried to use right click  like on my old computer but this does not seem to work.Thanks


Yes, the blue dots under the icons in the dock mean that the application is still open. There are several ways to quit open applications. If you have right click enabled on your mouse, you can right click on the icon and choose to “quit”. It sounds like right click is not turned on. You can go to your system preferences and choose mouse settings and select “secondary click”. Another way is to simply choose to “quit application” in the menu bar under the name of the application. You’ll find this in the far left top corner of your computer next to the black apple.

Jobs stuck in the printer que

There are no files in the Dropbox except for the one you inserted. Also, there is no Dropbox on my desk top on the PC?
Please advise


If you have not yet done so, you’ll need to install dropbox on your PC. You’ll use the same email and password to install this dropbox. You will not be creating a new account. Once Dropbox is installed on the PC you’ll see a “My dropbox” folder in the my documents area. Now any files (up to 2 gigs) you put in either folder on the mac or the PC will show on the other. It works very well and I highly recommend it. Note: that when you add a computer to a dropbox account, by default, it adds a photos and public folder. You can just delete them as they are only examples.

Anyone new to dropbox can use this link to create a new account and get 250 megs extra.

Adding a printer via Ethernet

When MobileMe request to sync my computers, it will delete approximately 345 calendar events from my computer. How do I avoid this from occurring?


You may first want to back up your calendar in iCal by going under “file” in the menu bar then “export” then select “ical archive”. Now you know you have all the old data in case of a melt down.

Now that you’ve backed up your data, you may want to consider why you are getting this message. If if you feel it is an error then you can overide the command by pushing your known good copy of your calendar on your computer back up to the mobileme server therefore replacing whatever is up there currently. To do this go to system prefs / mobileme / sync. Now select advanced and you’ll be presented with a picture puzzle depicting what direction the data will flow. Now select “reset sync data”. Choose to replace only calendar data up to the server as shown below.

The last thing to consider is that if you have another computer or device that is also syncing via mobileme, you may want to go to that device and have it do the opposite. Replace the data on computer with the cloud’s data. If that device is an ipad or iphone then the procedure is similar but there are several more steps. Just let me know if you need assistance.

Time machine warning....and....moving to a laptop

How do I sync my iPhone with this iMac.  It will not recognize it when I plug it in.

Most likely you may need to update iTunes so be sure you’ve run your updates for the entire computer. (including the operating system updates) Use “software update” under the black apple in the top left hand corner of the screen.

Xmarks is closing down


Do you have any preferred setups for a mac mini server and external raid system?  Do you have any suggestions for a raid storage for HD video.  

While it’s not exactly a RAID, the Drobo is a good way to go and there are many variants to choose from. If you are editing with Final Cut then you may also want to check out Final Cut Server as well. It a high end resourse management system that distributes content across your editing network. It may be overkill for you. Just a few options for you to consider.
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