to commonly asked questions.


What computer should I buy?

Our old desk top computer is ready to be put to pasture. Do you have a recommendation for a new one we could get? Have been happy with apple products.

In my opinion the newest iMacs are far better than the older ones. The main reason is that Apple has finally moved away from spinning hard drives. All hard drives are now solid state. Which means no moving parts. Which means less hard drive failures.

If you prefer to consider a laptop, you could always add an additional monitor to a laptop and have both a desktop computer experience and the portability of a laptop.

External cam not connecting consistantly

Scotty, about 2/3rds of the time my laptop will not recognize my external camera when I’m zooming or on some similar platform.

Really frustrating and totally unpredictable.

Our best steps to try would be to first, update MacOS to the latest version possible. But that can be a double edge sword. The camera software (driver) may have been written with one version of the OS in mind but a recent update could have broken one aspect of communication. I don’t know what kind of camera you’re using but it may have additional software or firmware provided by the manufacturer that we could update. Or possibly remove and reinstall. You can’t go backwards on firmware but you can with software. (If it’s available). It’s also extremely difficult to go backwards on the version of MacOS you’re running so our best bet is to just update as much as we can and hope any known issues by the camera manufacturer have been addressed in a patch.

So what is your MacOS version?
What type of camera are you using?
What model computer are you using?
Is the camera just using standard USB or another method of connection?

Once I have those answers I can better determine next steps forward.

Why does my computer shutdown?

My computer keeps shutting down randomly. We had previously ruled out software being the issue. What next?


Since it feels like we’ve ruled out software being the cause of the shutdowns, that leaves the other half, which is hardware. The report you sent was only a screenshot of a few lines of the code. The next time it happens, you may be able to save the report then email it to me. It’s also stored in a program called console which is on your computer however, it would be a little complicated to tell you how to get there and share the exact file.

If I did have the report generated by the computer, I may be able to find the cause. Random shut downs due to heat would usually accompany fans running very high and the user would usually recognize that before the shutdown. Shutdowns can also be caused by devices that are plugged into the USB ports. A bad hard drive can (although rare) cause a shutdown. I wonder if you could rule out all devices. Were any plugged in when the shutdown occurred?

Why won't my third monitor work?

I just bought a new MacBook Air. Why won't my third monitor show up?

The new MacBook airs only support one additional monitor.

Only MacBook Pros support multiple external monitors…

My camera isn't working

Scotty, I am having trouble with the auxiliary camera that I had to begin using after the internal camera on laptop broke.

I have had a weekly Teams meeting the past 2 weeks. In each case, I could not get an option for an auxiliary camera. As a result, whenever I went with the camera “on”, it was dark.

Not sure if is Teams or me. Not sure if Zoom would be an issue but I have not had a Zoom call recently.


First thing to check is to try using the camera with other software than Teams. For example, Zoom of course. You can just open zoom and go to settings to test the camera. FaceTime, or even QuickTime will allow you to record using the camera.

If the camera is unavailable in any of the other applications, it’s the either the camera or a setting related to the camera. But if all those other applications find the camera then it’s Teams. Be sure to quit each application before opening the next. Applications don’t like to share hardware when two are open using the same hardware.

If it's teams, check the following…

If you’re on the latest version of the OS Venture, go to settings, select Privacy and Security and make sure that you’ve allowed access within the camera area.

Why won't my keyboard work?

my 4 month new keyboard won’t connect. All of the tech sites give you a way to reconnect it on the computer. But without a keyboard I cannot log in to even do that. Any suggestions? I’ve been trying for a week!

Is this an apple keyboard? If so, all you should have to do is use an iPhone charging cable to physically connect it to your USBC port and the computer will automatically pair with it. Send me a pic of the keyboard and computer and I can advise further.


I was plugging the keyboard into the wall. Not the iMac. And you just pointed out the obvious. And it worked!

Which computer is best?

I dropped it and the keys are somewhat messed up so I think it’s time to get a new one. I like the small size/weight of the one I have but given the issues (mainly w email) is there any particular one (apple) you would recommend? when it comes in I will have you come set it up please:)

Your computer needs are right on the boarder. Normally (80% of the time I would recommend the newer MacBook Airs. They are very good machines. Just put your money into hard drive storage. So for a M2 1TB Air, you’d be at around $1700. For the Pro…14” M2 1TB $2500.

You could make a case for being more on the Pro side of a user considering how you utilize your computers. However, you could totally get away with the Air. The newest model Air is vastly improved over the older design. On the pro side, if you’re old with the 14” then you’d be at the price point I mentioned before however, moving to the larger 16” would put you into the $2700 area.

All in all, I would lean toward the 1TB Air but wouldn’t have a problem with you going to the 14” pro.

If you decide to have me transfer the data, the easiest would be for me to pickup and return it the following day. If you have a backup drive, I wouldn’t need the old computer but if there’s no Time Machine backup drive then I would need both. (Overnight)

Before purchase, just check to make sure your space math adds up. So many people accidentally buy a new drive smaller than the one they had before. 1TB is now sort of the standard for me. Unless you’re using significantly less than 250, I’d rule out a 500 gig drive these days. To find out about your storage, select “about this Mac” under the apple in the top left corner of your screen then choose “more info” then “storage”.

My mac won't respond.

I have a 2020 MacBook Pro. Think I got a lemon. Already rebuilt through Apple Care once.

2 questions 

1. What if anything should I try to get it to restart?

2. If that doesn’t work, will you take a look at it and see what you think?



Not responsive?….Does it chime to power on? Does the caps lock key light up when pressed? Near a spare monitor? Connect to the second monitor to see if there’s a picture. That would generally eliminate if the screen had failed.

Also, hold down the power key several seconds to completely kill power. (You can test when the computer is off by watching the caps lock light)

Hold down command+p+r and start it back up. Continue to hold those three keys down (not the power key) until you hear the computer chime three times. Does it come back to life?

Can my ultra wide Dell monitor look better?

Got my new monitor, a Dell Ultrasharp U3421WE, and I’m thinking I need (or rather want) a 4k monitor. I didn’t think I’d be able to see pixels the way I do on this monitor. It’s particularly noticeable on smaller font, which appears blurry to me, and I work with a lot in Excel. Two questions:
1) Before returning this monitor, is there anything I can adjust to make fonts more crisp? I’m connected via USB-C, at max resolution (3440x1440), and prioritized image quality over data transfers. 
2) What monitor would you recommend to get image/font quality similar to the Surface Pro 8’s screen (2880x1920 and 267 PPI)? I was going to buy a 4k monitor, but noticed that PPIs are much lower than the Surface and wasn’t sure whether this was part of the issue. 


Once again, in terms of specs on Windows machines (surface) my knowledge is extremely limited. That said, I do think you’d be happier returning and swapping for the 9. Anytime you purchase so close to the product cycle end, you tend to always second guess for the next few years. I’d say go ahead and pull that trigger.

In terms of the display: Any curved monitor is always going to be a mixed bag as wide aspect ratio monitors are made to favor real estate over performance. Think of it this way, Most computers, especially portables are looking to minimize heat. The more powerful something is, the hotter it is. So MacBooks, Surfaces, etc… are inherintently slower machines just to keep heat down. Therefore, it is not in their interest to build a slim machine then put a high performance graphics card/chip in that same machine that will push an ultra wide monitor with great performance. In may opinion, I think you’d be happier all around with a more tradional display if you’re going to be using a Surface to push the second monitor. I’m not sure of the 9’s specs so those could have improved on the graphics performance enough to support a curved wide display.

3600x1400 is a pretty non traditional aspect ratio so not all graphics cards are going to do well with that. In terms of recommendations, I really like the LGs of which there are several models. You’d be looking at a 27” or 30+” most likely. That’s going to put you into the 3800x 2100 range which is better than the current Dell display. Example here:

I wouldn’t be looking at 5K or HDR for your needs. Not sure which model LG Jim has but you might, just for the heck of it, take your surface over to his office and plug up his LG display. Check it out.

If you are indeed really digging the Dell monitor however, then you’d most likely be looking at something more powerful than the surface to push it.

One more things. You might also try throwing $15 at a HDMI to USBC cable instead of pushing USBC to USBC if that is what you’re doing. HDMI has nothing to do with data transfer and focuses only on video signal (and audio). That could possibly also be what’s holding you back. By the way, on HDMI to USBC cables, not all are created equally and in my experience, tend to fail more often than any other cable I deal with. Just FYI. So don’t buy the cheapest thing you can find on that cable. Stay ion the $15 range and you should be fine.

LG monitors are my go to.

Which monitor should I buy? I just want a second monitor for my laptop.

I’ve found the LG monitors to be very good. I’ve bought several myself and several clients I work with have as well. A 27” is a pretty standard size these days but resolution is the most important factor. Not all monitors have the same resolution. This means one 27” may give you the ability to display three full webpages across on a higher res monitor where others may only give you 1 1/2 webpages on the lower res monitor.

I do see a lot of older people say “I want the best montior” then buy the highest res available only to set it to a lower res because they can’t see the smaller size that inherently comes with high res monitors. So, here’s good, better, best.

Low res at 1920x1080. Cheap, will get you by. Everything will be large but you won’t really have a lot of space. I’d get this if all you want to do is throw your calendar over to another screen.

High res, I own 3 of these monitors personally. 3800x2100 res. Can easily be your main monitor and you could move your laptop over to the side as the second montior.

Same resolution as the one above but with HDR support. (Meaning it will more acurately represent deep colors in HDR photos, which most people don’t use) Anything above this is basically overkill for your needs.

Monitors go way into the thousands but these are simple and to the point. You don’t need 5K res or HDR capability or built in graphics processing. I’d go with the “better” recommendation.

What cables do I need for my external monitors?

I bought a refurbished 2019-2020 refurbished iMac with i9 processor. I did the migration and that worked with a few hicups, which we can work out on a remote call. My dilemma is fairly simple, but I am losing my confidence. The thunder bolt connections on the new iMac are different from the 2010 model. I need an adapter cable to connect an HMDI fitting and another for a VGA fitting so I can hook up both external screen. PLEASE can you give me a reference as to what I should order from Amazon.

Here are the tech specs on that model year iMac:

So in theory you should be able to connect two external monitors as well as the internal monitor included on board the iMac. (Assuming you’re not trying to push 5K).

That iMac is going to want to drive the external monitors via its “Thunderbolt 3” ports. Also known as USBC...

So for at least one of the external monitors, a simple HDMI to USBC cable should be fine. Here’s one:

The more important question I have is concerning the second external monitor. Does it perhaps Also have HDMI out? If so, I would just use another cable just like above. However, if it only has VGA out, then you’d want to try this adapter:

Problem there is the technology gap between VGA and USBC is so far (like 20 years) that there’s a possibility it might not work well. So running out HDMI would be the better choice if you had it.

Lastly, there’s also an output called DVI. DVI is more modern that VGA and there’s a possibility your monitor has DVI out. So if HDMI isn’t available but you see a DVI output port, you’d want to go with this:

Do I need more RAM?

My question is about memory needs.

I primarily work with Excel (eg, very large financial models and datasets), QuickBooks, Bloomberg, and cloud-based software like Addepar. I typically use these programs all at the same time (occasionally running streaming video as well), and will be doing so on a large, widescreen monitor (to be purchased) with peripheral keyboard and mouse. This being the case, do I need 32GB of memory (versus 8 or 16GB), or does it even matter?

Any other specs I need to be aware of?

Since you are pushing multiple applications at the same time, it’s certainly not a bad idea to purchase additional ram. The large majority of users don’t need more than 16 gigs but you’ve listed several applications that you’ll have open and active at once so I would err on the side of "more is better.” Many computer manufacturers now build their computers to not be able to be upgraded after the initial configuration.

If you want to get really serious about the ram question, you’d want to look into how much ram either of the mentioned applications could actually address. What this means is: just because a computer has 32 gigs of ram doesn’t mean the application can take advantage of it. For example, applications like Photoshop, Davinci Resolve, InDesign, Final Cut Pro will all take advantage of large amounts of ram. But applications like Word, Powerpoint, Excel, don’t typically address that much ram. Nor do they really need to. You could have a 200 page Excel file and it wouldn’t need 1 gig of ram. Excel is just a big calculator that doesn’t really require major horse power as opposed to something like a video editor.

Monitor choice:

Since you are considering using a wider monitor(s) this could be where you need to put a little focus. Your needs will not be graphically intensive. (You’re probably not going to be playing Doom or Halo during your lunch time) which means you won’t need the most powerful graphics card but you don’t want to skimp either. Those wide monitors do need a decent graphics card, especially if you’re running more than one.

Side note, if you are still considering a Mac, the newest M1 and M2 Macs don’t have separate graphics cards. Graphics processing is now done on that same chip. So CPU and GPU are integrated. Just fyi.

Which hard drive to get?

Hi Scotty. I’d like to order a MacBook Pro/M2. From what you’ve seen of my activities, do you think I can save some $’s with 256 GB SSD vice 512GB?

ersonally I would avoid getting a 356 drive. 512 minimum these days in my opinion. I run into too many people who are out of space on 256 even just as minimal users.

Graphics card not switching on Macbook Pro

Why is Photoshop telling me I don't have enough video ram on my 2015 MacBook Pro?

Here’s what I think is going on…

Your computer has 2 graphics cards like all MacBook pros of that era. The reason for two graphics cards was for your computer to be able to save battery life while on the go by using a less powerful one, then when plugged in, your computer could switch to the better one.

In Catalina (your current OS) this setting to enable graphics card switching was found in Energy Saver settings in system preferences. After Catalina…Big Sur and now Monterey, this setting has moved to “Battery”.

I’ve asked the computer to prefer only the more powerful card since you are plugged in most of the time but it’s not making the switch as it should. (usually requires a log out or restart to take effect.)

Therefore when you open Photoshop, it’s telling you “hey, you’re using the lower power graphics card. We want the more powerful one”.

Since this is not happening in Catalina, I suggest when you’re able, update the OS to the latest version of MacOS Monterey and after the update is complete, go into System prefs and then into Battery and uncheck “automatic graphics switching”. Restart and theoretically, the problem should be corrected. More info here:

Set graphics performance on MacBook Pro - Apple Support

Catalina was never great at the auto switching of graphics cards so I have higher hopes that the later OS will resolve this. Let me know if you have any questions.

What kind of memory stick is this?

Do you know what style of card reader I would need to transfer this to my mac. We visited Kenya recently and these are the pictures from our ballon ride. I thought I could transfer them to my mac via a zip drive; but it is not compatible. Hoping you would know what type of reader I need to move the photos.



I’m pretty sure that’s just a USB stick without the outer protection layer. You should be able to put it in any standard USB slot on the back of your iMac or side of your laptop and it should mount.

Removing one of the two routers I'm using

I need to remove my time capsule from my existing network that also has another router behind it.

You should be able to just unplug the time capsule and the ethernet cables it was using and your computer will return to preferring the previous wifi network. If will automatically go back to using the 192.168.x.x wifi network rather than the ethernet 10.0..0.x network that the time capsule was distributing.

Do you replace batteries and screens?

Do you repair/swap out batteries for laptops? Specifically we have a MacBook Air Retina 13 in. 2019 that no longer charges, or i have not figured out how to charge.

Also we are in need of help repairing a iPad Air 4th generation. The screen is shattered. do you have suggestions for who would repair that. UBreak-UFix doesn’t appear to do that model for some reason.

Sorry to say I don’t do hardware repairs any longer. Batteries can often be the first thing to go on a computer as every rechargeable battery in the world has a limited number of times it can be charged and discharged. I place that number at around 450 charge cycles. After a battery has been fully depleted and recharged many times it will eventually hold less and less charge then eventually not be able to charge at all. To find the number of times your battery has cycled, you can go under the Black Apple and select “about this Mac” then under “Overview” select System Report. There’s you’ll see Power in the left column and you’ll be able to find the “cycle count”. It’s just so satisfy one’s curiosity more than anything but an interesting number to know.

Due to where some third party repair services get their replacement parts like batteries and screens, I prefer not to use the small store repair places. I would use the Apple store. While the repairs may be more expensive, you know you are getting good quality parts and an easy warranty to deal with.

Stuck CD in iMac

we have a cd stuck in a home iMac. Is that something you can help with?

Yes, I can remove the CD from the iMac but before you schedule me to do that, have you first tried the simple fix of turning off the computer, then booting it up with the mouse button held down? If could require a wired mouse but worth a try. If the CD player was just confused via software, this may eject it. However if it is actually physically stuck then the next steps are applying a small amount of pressure with a thin piece of plastic like a credit card. This may dislodge the stuck disc. If all else fails then I can disassemble the computer to get it out.

GPU availability during covid

my question is regarding GPUs do you have any connections/knowledge/anything I bought my son one for Christmas and it never came in and we’ve been waiting six months and not sure I’m just trying to use every single resource I have thank

By “GPU” I assume you mean Graphics card for a Windows PC. Since I’m specifically an Apple Consultant I’m afraid I can’t help you there. I do know that since covid, all gpu’s have been massively constrained. Tons of kids were sitting at home and all decided at the same time to increase the power of their computers to play games. That’ very likely why you never received one. Other than that, I’m not really of any help to you.

I don’t recommend buying one via offerup, eBay or craigslist right now because those prices will be massively inflated.

Can I use an old iMac as a display?

I am wondering if I should get an iMacPro Lap Top and use my desk top old iMac SCREEN for a larger screen option. You, Neal and Joe all suggested this to me originally and at first I was against it. Now I am wondering if this whole issue with wrong computer ordered is a sign for me to go this route.

I would only want to get a Mac Lap Top IF AND ONLY IF I can use my big screen on old iMac - Is this possible? Or is my Desktop iMac old one going to die soon and that is not going to be an option for long.
I was trying to figure this out myself and found this article but still not sure of answer.

Can you help me?

Using your iMac as a second display is a massive massive headache. It is a miserable experience and I would rather walk over hot coals than to deal with what it takes to make it work. Here's why:

1. You can only use a very specific year range of the old iMacs. It doesn't work for all iMacs.
2. Apple will eventually stop support for doing this with a future update just because they don't care about this feature.
3. You actually have to have an active user running on the old iMac and logged in so it's not really just a display. It's a user running that you can then basically push your video over to.
4. It doesn't work half the time and the other half of the time it works for about 5 minutes.

Short Answer: Forget about it. You are better off buying a second display and just using that. You can go cheap like around $150 or kick it up a little more to around $300 and get a really nice display.

What monitor should I buy?

i want to purchase a screen to be used with the laptop. In an ideal world, I would purchase it over the weekend and have it ready to go on Monday. That is my goal. However, the Apple website does not compare just screens (only desktop computers.) Do I need to buy an Apple? I want to purchase quality but do not want to be wasteful or overspend.

With all new laptops, the first thing to consider when purchasing a secondary monitor is the connector. New laptops come with USBC which carries data, power, audio, and video. Problem is; not many monitors on the market yet support USBC as a connection method. Most are DVI or more commonly now HDMI. This means that you'll most likely be looking for an HDMI monitor and a HDMI to USBC adapter.

Secondary monitors can come in a huge price range. You are paying for quality, contrast ratio, refresh rate, color accuracy, etc…. But for most general office purposes, a less expensive monitor is totally fine. 21, 24, 27" are all completely acceptable sizes. I'm liking the LG monitors recently.

24" LG monitor: LG 24MP88HV-S 24-Inch IPS Monitor with Infinity Display 2.5mm Bezel: Computers & Accessories

HDMI to USBC adapter: USB C to HDMI Cable for Home Office 6ft, CableCreation USB 3.1 Type C to HDMI 4K Thunderbolt 3 Compatible, Work with MacBook Pro/Air/iPad Pro 2020 2018, Surface Book 2, Dell XPS 15, Galaxy S20/S10: Computers & Accessories

Thunderbolt 3 vs 4

All the USB to USBC adapters I see are for Thunderbolt 3 plugs, will those work on a Thunderbolt 4 plug?

Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 are the same form factor so yes, the 3 connector will work interchangeably with 4. 4 isn’t faster than 3 but instead supports additional features that 3 could not like multiple 4K displays at once.

To make it even more confusing, now there’s USB4 which is the exact same form factor but has power and display limitations.

Ultimately it’s very likely the adapter you are considering will be just fine. They are all the same form factor and will fit within each other. You’d just have to get more specific if you had very specified needs like multiple 4k monitors or pushing 10 watts vs 7.
5 watts. Neither of these things are concerns for most people so you’ll be fine.

MBP running Logic. How much ram?

Getting lots of “Disk full” messages on MacBook and iMac is running slow.  Thinking about replacing both:
Have 500 GB SSD on current MacBook.
Have 1 T HD on current iMac, with only 168 GB available.  Would this make my iMac run slower?
Looking for recommendation on how much SSD to buy for each replacement computer.
Basically my question is should I go with 1 T for MacBook and 2T for iMac (lots of emails stored) or should I spring for more.
Leaning toward the 16” MacBook.
Also, do I need to get 16GB memory or is 8 enough.
Obviously, will need your help after these are ordered.

Forgot to say that I HOPE to run Logic Pro on the MacBook if that makes a difference on how much memory I would need.

Disk full is a dangerous message to see. You always want to address that before you go below 10% capacity of the entire drive. (My number, not Apple's) On the several issue of your iMac, in general having 168 gigs still available is probably not the reason your iMac is running slow. There are usually two potential reasons. Software/Hardware. The most common reason is hardware in my experience. Hardware means hard drive. And Apple did not put good quality hard drives into their 2013-2018 iMacs. I've seen many of those drives fail in recent years.

Replacement drive: Yes, you can put a new SSD in the iMac at a fairly low cost. The problem isn't the cost of the SSD replacement drive
. The problem lies in how Apple manufactured those iMacs. They glued the screens on which means you have to unglue them in order to get into them. Once they started this method, I ended my hard drive replacement service. It just leads to an ugly repair with the display not reattaching to the computer in a reliable way. So I personally don't do the repair anymore.

Replacement computer: I would recommend investing in the storage as opposed to Ram. However, you mentioned you want to use Logic. So Logic will address as much ram as you have so Logic loves lots of ram. But here's the deal…that's only really relevant if you're running lots of tracks. If you're just 1-4 tracks 8 gigs would really be fine. (My current Logic setup is just 8 gigs)
. But if you plan to use Logic extensively then 16 gigs is a great option. It comes down to how much money you have! I think the 1 TB laptop and 2 TB internal on the iMac would be good as long as you are looking at an SSD. Do not buy a fusion drive option. I just can no longer recommend spinning drives of any type. It's 2020.

Loud Fans on Macbook

My laptop is making a loud noise. Think it is the fan. Ugh.

Since laptops only have one moving part which is the fan, you are probably correct. One of two causes. 1: there is a process going crazy causing heat to build up therefore triggering the fan to come on. 2: The fan sensor might be physically broken in which case only apple would do the hardware repair. If you call AppleCare they can send a box, you ship it to them, then they ship it back. One way to eliminate whether the problem is hardware or software is to boot into “safe” mode. Turn the computer on while holding down the shift key. Once the computer boots, use it for a few minutes. If the fan is still going crazy: it’s hardware. If the fan no longer sounds loud, then it’s probably a software issue in which case, I can fix for you via a pickup/dropoff if you’d like.

Where to buy used computers?

Is there a good place to get refurbished MacBooks? I’m realizing my middle son is going to need something more than his awful chrome book for remote learning. He has an old MacBook but it is not working - thought I’d shop for a new one for him.

Apple does sell refurbished stock but the discount is usually not very significant. The benefit of buying from Apple however is that you have the opportunity to purchase AppleCare and it would be covered just as a new computer would. It would come with the first year warranty regardless of refurbished or not (if purchased directly from Apple that is.)

Buying from craigslist or eBay is a good option but there is an art to it. If you’re not used to buying from either of those sites, a computer is not a good first purchase to make considering the intricacies involved with bidding, meeting up, etc.

OfferUp is a source to consider as well and I’ve had several clients find success there.

The main thing to consider when buying a used computer is that sometimes the seller will try to add value by including software that didn’t come with the machine initially. This is illegal and misleading. For instance “comes with Photoshop”. Stay away from those types of advertisements.

Is now a good time to buy a new computer?

Hey Scotty are the new computers out yet if so what do you recommend?

As of 8/14/20 Apple just released a revised version of the 27" iMac so now's a good time to buy an iMac if that's your target. They also just reved the 13" MacBook Pro. We are in a mid product cycle for other laptops. I suggest checking out this site for details on the most recent releases and recommendations on when is a good time to buy. They do a very good, fact based metric based on release cycles as to recommendations.

iMac not seeing internal drive

We’re homeschooling this year so I’m now debating seeing if I can fix our old iMac. It stopped booting up recently and so I was looking to just reinstall macOS. Unfortunately, that isn’t even working at the moment. I’ve included a few screen shots that may give you some insight. Note that only one drive shows up now (it used to show a second one).


Looks like the OS installer is not seeing the drive correctly. Couple of things to try.

Booting the computer in target disk mode and erasing it from another computer.
Boot the computer from a different computer or external drive that has an OS installed then try again to wipe from that drive.
Check the ribbon cable to the internal drive (which requires taking the computer apart). Depends on how brave you are.

The computer's drive may have died (which is extremely common on older 2015 iMacs due to the crappy drives Apple installed in them (and still does if you opt for the cheaper version).

I'm no longer doing hard drive replacements but depending on the year of the iMac, you could probably yourself. If it's the thin iMac, forget it. If it's the thicker iMac, then it's not too hard.

What should I look for in a used laptop?

Hey Scotty, Can you suggest a model and year for a refurbished macbook. Don’t need a lot of bells and whistles. Just basic except to establish a music library.

The processor and storage are what you should look for in purchasing an older computer.

1st. Will it have enough space to store all the data you’d be transferring over from the old computer. For instance, you wouldn’t want to go from a 500 gig drive down to a 250 gig drive. So look for hard drive space.

2nd. The age of the computer can limit things. Stay completely away from any “Coe Duo” processor. These are typically 2013 and earlier machines. They are obsolete at this point. I’d try to find something in the 2015 and above range. That will be an Intel Core i5 or I7. Stay away from i3 processors at this point as well.

Apple will be transitioning away from Intel processors in the next year but for now all Mac still use them so buying an intel Mac is still a safe investment. Also, Apple has a history of cutting off upgradability of older computers in terms of operating systems. For example, the latest OS “Catalina” will not install on a 2013 or earlier machine. I suspect that the next OS “Big Sur” due out in October will have a similar cut off date of around 2015. So with those criteria in mind, hard drive space, 2015 or higher, Core i5 or better, you’re ok.

Lastly, fyi: Apple has canceled the “MacBook” line. They currently sell two models: MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. So any "MacBook" you see would mean it’s around 2 years old or older.

Currently, due to covid, I am working remotely online via zoom and doing pickup/dropoffs for data transfers such as this. I am not entering homes at the moment.

Please let me know any other questions you may have.

keyboard adding random spaces

My laptop has started randomly adding spaces. I went into the settings and turned off key repeat. I also cleaned the keyboard. As you can see, no help. I’m just starting a Masters program and this is not good.

1st question: space bar. First thing to do to work toward a solution is see if a second keyboard does the same thing. If you have a wired keyboard, test it first then let me know how it reacts. You could also pair a bluetooth keyboard and try as well. This will rule out or confirm either software or hardware being the issue.

I plugged in an older keyboard and it seemed to work fine. Of note, I also cleaned my keyboard (without a ton of expertise) and it didn’t correct the issue. What would you suggest?

Well if an external keyboard works fine then that rules out any software issue and places blame pretty confidently on the onboard keyboard having a physical problem. Try some compressed air to hopefully dislodge anything causing the issue physically. There is a setting for sticky keys within the Accessibility controls. Imagine say a person with health concerns that has a hard time controlling their motor skills and hits a key multiple times due to shaking. There is a way for the keyboard to ignore the second entry so you don’t accidentally double stroke on keys. That could be a work around for you as well but ultimately it sounds like it’s probably a hardware issue that Apple would, at worst, have to replace the keyboard. AppleCare would cover that if it’s within it’s 3 year period (given you purchased AppleCare). First year, it’s covered under warranty regardless.

Why are my fans running on my laptop?

Hi Scotty, I don’t remember it happening during our session a couple weeks ago, but I’ve noticed since that when I open my laptop and start using it, a fan-like sound starts. Is this normal for this new model I got? My last MacBook Pro would only start making that noise after hours of use.

You are most likely correct that you are hearing the fan since the fan is the only actual moving part to the computer. No, it's not normal to hear the fan unless the computer is doing something that is causing the processor to work so hard that it is getting hot, therefore causing the fans to kick on to cool the processor down. So here are a few reasons this could be happening:

1. Using a "laptop" on a bed, quilt, soft cloth surface, or even one's "lap" is not a good idea. The computer should sit on a hard surface at all times so that it can transfer heat (through conduction) off of the back. Apple does not even call them "laptops" any more.

2. There could be a process that is stuck running that if we were to just find and kill, it would allow the fans to calm down. To discover open processes that may be eating up large amounts of power, you can open "activity monitor" (located in the utilities folder within Applications or by searching for "activity" using spotlight), sort by CPU, then view the processes that continue to eat up over say 70% percent. While it is normal for certain programs to eat up large percentages of processor power for a short while, it is not normal for those processes to continue for an extremely long time. For instance, with Activity monitor running, if you open Safari, then start watching a YouTube video, you would notice the processor jump but after closing the window or the video is over, you should see the processor lower. It is possible for a process to get hung and continue to run full speed therefore causing the fans to kick on. This is the most common reason why a person hears their fans. In the example below, you'll notice "all processes" across the top. To show all processes you can go under the menu item "view" and select it. Without selecting "all processes" you would only be seeing the processes running associated to your user. We need to see all processes. Also, don't worry about all the things running. It is completely normal to see things you don't know in that list. All we are looking for are big processor items by percentage.

Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 3.57.00 PM

Feel free to take a screenshot and send it to me if you find large processes eating up percentages.

3. Another explanation as to why you're hearing fans could be that there is an actual hardware problem. Hopefully not. In other words, a temperature sensor could be malfunctioning causing the fans to go crazy.

Let me know your thoughts and I'm happy to continue to help any way I can.

How can I tell how much hard drive space I need?

My Mac Book Pro is slowing down and almost full and I think it is time to get a new one. Can you tell me what you recommend for memory as this last one is too low you said and also isn’t it best that I have you do the information transfer for me?

First, we would need to know how much data you have currently and how large the drive is. To find this information, go to “about this Mac” under the black apple in the top left corner of your computer screen. Then click on “storage”. From there you’ll be able to see how big the hard drive is and how much data you have. Once we know that, we can decide on a model that fits your needs. You can take a screenshot of that screen and send it to me if you’d like. It will look like this:

To take a screenshot you can use command+shift+4 then drag around the area you’d like to share. That pic will appear on your desktop then you can drag it into an email.

I spilled water on my computer, what should I do?

Hey there-My daughter knocked her water over and a little got into her work computer-can you help?

If it was just water, it may be able to survive. Turn the laptop over on the edge of a table with the screen hanging off the table and the keyboard facing down. Use a couple small block of some sort to create space between the keyboard and the table. Then aim a fan under the keyboard to move air. Any water that went into the keyboard may run out and/or evaporate over several hours. If it was coffee or cola, forget about it.

Are you doing data transfers during COVID and how big a drive do I need?

Last year when we got this one, you helped take stuff off one and put it on the new one and cleaned up the old one for my son.... can you do that again for the new one we get for my daughter ? Also, I’m not sure how to get it since the Apple store is closed. Do I just order it on line? I’d get exactly what we have now- Mac air but I remember I had to exchange this one initially due to lack of space. So I got 38 ??
Can you please tell me what to order and do you still do the set up like you did last year?


I’d be happy to get the data transferred over for you from the old computer to your new one. When you’re ready, you can schedule a dropoff/pickup on my site using the link below. I am not currently entering homes but I am picking up and dropping off computers while we remain in phase II covid. Other than that, I am working exclusively via online sessions using Zoom. Once I pick the computers up, I’ll probably have some questions regarding passwords, AppleIDs etc so we can discuss over FaceTime or phone call. Then I’ll try to have the computers back to you by the next day. Usually about 24 hours turn around.

Ordering online via is the best option in my opinion. Yes space is defiantly a problem when people buy new machines. They tend to buy a smaller hard drive than they actually need. To find out the size of your current drive and how much data is on it, you can go under the black apple in the top left corner of your screen and choose “About this Mac”. From there, you’ll see “storage”. Select that and it will tell you the actual size of your drive and how much data is currently on it. For example: 1TB drive with 300 gigs used.

After you’ve seen that information, you will want to choose a drive that is at least equal to or greater than the one you have. I’m guessing that you may end up with a 512 gig hard drive but I honestly don’t remember the details of your computer. You are welcome to tell me the size once you find it then I can make a more specific recommendation for you if you’d like.

My iPhone is blinking and my computer won't start.

My iphone 10 started blinking then went black Sunday, ive had no cell phone since. Apple tech attempted to help me and wanted me to update Catalina, well in that process... the desktop Mac crashed and nonlonger works. I spoke with several levels of Apple folks. They suggested it could be spectrum. I had to levels of spectrum techs come out and they say it’s all good.... on their devices. Ours still read downladn100ish and upload 20.
Apple is saying I need to erase and upload from hard drive. But not to do it as long as it’s slow speed and poor service. And I can’t backup phone and reload until that is done.

In the meantime my moms been admitted to hospital and I just moved parents to Charlotte. So I’m needing my phone desperately. As my husband needs his desk top for work, desperately. 
I know originally I was going to conf call you. But since I’ve spent so much time on phone with apple at this point...
What would you recommend would be the fastest remedy.

Btw, when we try to update Mac, it freezes. We power off and on, if goes to login and freezes.  Time after time. 

Sounds like there are different issues going on here. Your phone was having issues and Apple wanted you to restore/update the phone using the computer maybe but in the meantime they discovered that you were behind on your computer operating system. Then in the process of trying to update your computer, its issues have expounded.

Not exactly sure what you’ve discussed with Apple but here’s my guess. Your phone “blinking” is most likely a hardware problem that will not be fixed by updating the phone. If the phone screen is “blinking” then that is most likely a physical issue with the screen. Updating or restoring it would not solve that.

Restoring a phone. (If you did actually want to) There are two ways to restore a phone.
1. Via a computer.
a. In macOS Catalina 10.15 the restore happens in the Finder window.
b. In all operating systems prior to 10.15, the restore happens in iTunes aka: Music.

2. Restoring via a reset from the phone itself.

If the phone was not responsive then it would make sense that Apple would have you try to connect the phone to the computer to try to restore it, thus starting you down the path of updating the computer. I doubt however that would have even solved the issue. I would need more info like does the phone actually turn on? Does the screen respond or even light up at all? That sort of info.

Secondly, the computer issue. I don’t recall what year you may have mentioned your computer was but as we had discussed last week, it was hard to isolate whether your speed issue was the fault of internet or the computer itself. After you mentioned you feel your internet is ok, that puts us in the direction of computer. Hard drives, especially iMac 2015 and earlier hard drives, are simply prone to failure. SATA drives are spinning drives that often give out due to the fact that they never stop spinning. Since it’s a moving part, they are more likely to break over time. Drives often fail when updating an operating system since that is when it’s being asked to do even more than usual. Common characteristics of a failing hard drive are as follow:

computer slow to boot
slow to open folders when looking inside documents folder, applications, music, etc…
spinning wheel and no response to force quit
boots to black screen
boots to icon of folder with an exclamation point

None of those are related to internet. Not being able to actually touch your devices puts my diagnosis at a disadvantage. Sort of like a dr trying to tell a patient what they have from the sound of their voice over the phone. I may be completely wrong.

You may have an automatic backup of your phone in iCloud. Most people have iCloud backup turned on these days.
You may also have a backup drive backing your computer up. Always a good idea to have a external drive that Time Machine (the automatic backup software on your computer) uses to keep your internal hard drive data safe.

I’m sorry I can’t be more specific. I’m really just throwing darts here.

Why won't my Western Digital drive work?

I am having trouble mounting my external drive. It is an older Western Digital My Book, and I am running Catalina on an iMac. I contacted support for Western Digital, after much troubleshooting and downloading updated software, it still did not work. They said I could try to run it on a computer with a lower version (He thought Catalina could be the issue), which I do not have. I really just want to get the photos and videos off of this external drive. Actually, I’m not 100% sure what, if anything, is on it but I need to find out for sure.

This is why I don't like Western Digital drives specifically. Sorry to hear of the issue you're having. The ability to access data on this external drive should be irrelevant to what OS your computer (given that it was formatted for the Mac in the begging) is using. Also, I strongly urge no one use the "WD" software that comes with the drive. It's crap frankly. If you are using the drive as a backup drive, just use time Machine software that comes on every Mac. If you are using it as a media storage drive for pictures or videos for example, then in the future make sure the media drive is being included in the Time Machine backup (which would be running on a separate external drive.

Moving on to the actual question, in my experience with Western Digitals, it's usually the plastic enclosure that dies before the hard drive. So if your main goal is to get the data so you can transfer it to a different drive, it may require opening up the enclosure to get the drive in hopes of circumventing the plastic. If you did actually use the "WD" software (I'm really hoping you didn't) to encrypt your data, then all may be lost. But seeing this is rare among my clients.

So first step: open a program on your Mac called "Disk Utility". Located in the Applications/Utilities folder. (Or search for it with spotlight search-magnifying glass in the top right corner of your screen.). Once disk utility is open, can you see the hard drive (given that it is powered on) on the left column? If so, select it and try to use the mount button within that same window.

Side note: Have you heard any clicking coming from the drive. Like the sound of a very loud pencil tapping on a table? If so, the drive is basically toast and beyond my ability to assist. There are data recovery companies that handle physically broken drives but they are $$$$$.

Next step: I'd be happy to attempt to recover the data if you were not using the WD encryption software and it's not been clicking. Worth a shot. You can just schedule a pickup/dropoff. I would attempt the recovery and have it back to you usually the next day. Or at least be able to pronounce it dead if that were the case as well.

How big a hard drive do I need for my new computer?

What type of work would I need to do to warrant a larger hard drive? I don’t want to over buy, but want to make sure I have adequate storage. We use the Cloud for pictures, I have 13,000 e-mails in my in box 🙀. I use QuickBooks online for my bookkeeping, I use the Microsoft office suite of programs. I may buy Sketchup or something similar for work.... floor plans, 3 d renderings, etc. I don’t have it now, but may in the future.

You’re probably right. You may not need a 1TB drive. I’m just saying that based on my general experience. The most common mistake is that people buy a smaller hard drive than they think they needed. Your choices are 256, 512, or 1TB. You could probably get away with a 512 but I don’t recommend going lower than that. The main way to tell how much space you actually need is to boot your computer, then go to “about this Mac” under the black apple, then select storage. That area will tell you how big your current drive is and how much space you’re using. That’s the real 100% answer to the question.

Pictures is the main thing that may take up space and yes, many people completely trust iCloud to store their pictures. If you do, then you can choose to “optimize” your local storage therefore only keeping full resolution pictures in Apple’s iCloud storage space. I personally prefer to have full res copies locally on at least one computer. But to each their own.

Do I need a new computer?

I have my dads old Apple Laptop (Macbook Pro 17", purchased early 2011, 2.2 Ghz, i7, 8 gig memory... you set it up for him of course! i have updated to El Capitan over the years) but have not used it much. I need to find out if this machine could be used daily or if its totally out of date.
would you be willing to evaluate it, correct and update, and get it ready for me to learn about Apple computers?

That 2011 MacBook Pro 17 is indeed pretty old but it usable within limited expectations. We could get it to 10.13, a couple operating systems later and that would give you a Little more life out of the machine but not a tremendous amount more. Currently, with 10.11, you may have already discovered that certain webpages will not display within that older operating system. The computer will not go to the latest version of the OS 10.15 called “Catalina” but 10.13 will give you a little more life if you’re not ready to make a new purchase just yet.

Trackpad not responding

You have worked on my MacBook Pro before. I’m am touching the finger/ mouse pad and it is not making the arrow move any. Like they are not working together. I keep clicking on the pad and the arrow is just sitting there not responding. 😩
What should I do?


First thing to try is plugging up a wired mouse. Would you happen to have an old USB wired mouse? That would rule out whether it was the trackpad or a larger computer wide problem.

Another thing that would be good to know is, is the keyboard working at all? You can hit command+space at the same time to bring up a search window. If that command doesn’t work, then the issue is most likely not related specifically to the trackpad. The trackpad would only be a symptom.

First thing we want to do is decide, is it a hardware or software problem. Let me know the answer to those two questions first.

Dead drive during migration assistant

Last weekend I tried to use Migration Assistant to transfer files and applications from my old MacBook Pro to my new MacBook Pro.

I tried with this process twice, one getting stuck at 27 minutes (after 8 hours) and another stuck at around 1:37 minutes. I cancelled, did more research online, and tried making my old Mac the target disk and used a thunderbolt cord to connect to my new Mac. That got stuck as well. I cancelled it and thought that my last ditch effort would be to only try to transfer my files, and not my applications, as that apparently could be the problem.

Then, when I tried to reboot my old Mac, it booted to login. Once I logged in, it went to a black screen with a circle with a line going through it. Which is no bueno.

I then booted it in recovery mode. I repaired my hard disk (or so it said) and remounted them (or so it said). I then tried to reboot, but it just brought me back to the same situation.

So, this is my question: can I at least salvage the files on my old computer, moving them to an external disk and then reinstall the OS?

I’m reaching out to you after reading on your website that you are still not doing in-person work because of COVID. Is there any way that you can help me virtually?

I really don’t want to loose my files, but if I must, then so be it. If that’s the case, will reinstalling the OS take care of my old mac’s current issues?

Great troubleshooting steps. So sorry to hear things went south.

1. When you boot the old Mac (that is no longer booting into MacOS) into target disk mode, can you mount the drive and still see your files?
2. Is this a solid state drive on the old computer? That matters for file recovery. Spinning drives: there’s usually a long way around to regain files. Solid state drives: not so much. Once the data is gone, it’s pretty gone.
3. I know migration assistant can be very slow but almost 100% of the time, it you have the massive patience (24 hours in some cases) it usually finishes the job. Can’t tell you how many times I wait it out and it finally comes through. That being said, no damage should have occurred to your old Mac during the transfer process as there is no data being written to the old drive that would cause boot up issues. More likely the case is that the drive may have physically failed during the read process. Dying drives often die when they are under their most stress which include data transfers, OS reinstalls, etc…. Anything where the old drive has to work a tremendous amount. I’m betting that’s what may have happened in this case. If this is true, then it may still be possible to recover the files but it would most likely require removing the drive from the computer, putting it into an enclosure, then manually dragging them. But then, you’d need to be mindful of permissions issues. I can go into more detail on that later if you wish.
4. Reinstalling the OS on the old computer may not help and could actually hurt as I stated in the reasons above: causing stress to a physically dying drive. That said, there are two ways to reinstall the OS, erase and install which would guarantee you lose the files, and clean install which is suppose to only replace the OS and not your personal data.
5. Are you at anytime hearing clicking from the old Mac? A clicking sound means the drive is DOA.
6. How old is the old Mac?

It sounds like you took several of the correct steps in working the issue but my bet is that the old drive died in the process. Happy to assist anyway I can.

Why is my battery dying so quickly?

We’re having charging issues on iPad for school. COuld be charging station (Amazon) or cables (purchased from Verizon)? Do I need to get all Apple cables into a wall outlet?
I’m pretty sure last time you were here you said the charging station is not good, but cant remember. Daughter is doing a lot of work during day for battery drainage, but at night it’s not charging- maybe got to 44% by this AM.
Is there a charging station you recommend?
I did look on your “Answers”!

So two topics of discussion here.

1. Can third party cables be efficient charging cables?
2. Do bad cables effect battery life?

1. YES. Third party cables can be bad for data transfer or charging. The cable could be fine and it could be the fault of the brick their plugged into. Apple has changed the amount of power each device needs to charge adequately many many times. This iPad needs a 12w, that iPads needs 10w, that iPhone needs 15w, etc… Also, Apple includes a proprietary chip in their cables that allows them to charge a licensing fee if third parties want to make cables. It's a money grab on Apple's part. The best way is to always use the cable set that came with your device. Same goes for laptops. Not all chargers are equal.

2. Regardless of how the batter gets charged, once it is charged, it will perform as well as it can. It's performance is not effected by the device that charged it. You can get information on your battery's potential performance under settings in the "Battery Performance" section. No battery lasts forever and that section will reveal how aged the battery has become. Every battery has a limited number of times it can be charged.

To be fair, if you charge your battery with the wrong charger, that could effect the battery in the long term. Charging requires you send and electrical charge through chemicals. Those chemicals retain the charge. Those chemicals are designed to accept electricity at a specific rate so if you use too low or too high a power charger, it could degrade the batteries performance in the long run. But in your case, more likely the case is that the battery is just failing over time.

flip phone for daughter

Scotty, I have a question. Daughter is now on a flip phone Alcatel I will text you pictures Its the only phone I could get from aat
it does have the possibility to attach to the web
yet after working with aat and apple I pray that I have made it so she cannot. Yet at the same time a bit questioning as do everything with her. Best Buy also did not have a FP that did not connect
I think I saw a few that maybe didn't at the high$$$'s
I was hoping we could talk for 5min to see if I need a session or could hopefully go without
SF closed her phone to hide what she had done wrong and when shefigured out a way to resore it she was ont in FS and was bragging that she could have as much ST and AP's she wanted anytime - when I checked FS she showed up as zero! We decided right then that's it time to try and break the dishonest streak with her tech - she could not handle the responsibility and more


Any flip phone will not sync with Apple services. But you are right. It is probably very difficult to find the most remedial phone that does not connect in some way to the internet. However, you might consider a “jitterbug” type phone. Some elderly people prefer very large buttons and the most simple technology possible. The jitterbug is the most simple basic phone made to my knowledge. You can check it out here:

GreatCall GreatCall Flip Prepaid Cell Phone for Seniors Red 4043SJ6RED - Best Buy

GreatCall Jitterbug Easy-to-Use Cell Phone for Seniors, Red - -

These are usually set up as “prepaid” phones meaning you put money on the account as you go. They do work on ATT.

You may find something even more basic at Walmart. Burner phones are basically disposable extremely simple phones that you pay for as you go. They usually have their own phone numbers associated. You would not transfer your ATT phone number to a burner phone as the phone number would expire when the prepaid time has expired and you don’t renew. These phones do not have contracts.

My screen is going black.

My screen is starting up to black. If I sometimes get a picture it then goes black at some point. I made an appointment with you for tomorrow morning.

The issue of your screen going black doesn’t sound like it’s going to be resolved via anything that we could do software wise. This is very likely hardware related. While we could try a few things as precautions I feel strongly that none of those software guesses would resolve the issue.

Ways to troubleshoot:

Connect the computer to a second monitor.

If only the computer monitor goes out but the external monitor stays on and works properly, then software is ruled out. If both monitors go out then it’s most likely the graphics card on the Mac itself.

The next time it goes out, you can also shine a flashlight through the Apple behind the light (if it’s a laptop). If you can still see desktop images then it’s most likely the backlight and therefore also a hardware issue.

We can keep the scheduled appointment but I fear you may only be paying me to tell you the bad news that this would be a repair done by Apple.

In short, most likely either:

Failing backlight
Failing graphics card

Erasing a Mac before sending back to Apple.

I thought I erased everything the other day, went through disc utility and erased, it took quite a long time to finish, thought it seemed OK. But there is still all kinds of data on the computer, pictures, emails, everything. So I tried to erase again. Went to disc utility, clicked on Macintosh HD, but I cannot Erase, the table is not bolded as an option. Just First Aid or Partition. (BTW, this is true in both “Wipe”, the user you had you me create, and under our own log in user id). If I go to “Show all devices” and drill in, I can get APPLE HDD HTbunch of numbers drive and this I CAN erase. But is this what I want to do? Not sure. (BTW, sending it back to Apple for money back.)

Sorry, this seems so easy, wish I didn’t have to bug you. Thanks so much.


If all you're trying to do is just wipe the computer to send it back to Apple then you can take an even easier path by booting into Recover mode and wiping the drive from there. The reason you cannot erase the drive from disk utility in the manner you are attempting in the pics above is because the computer cannot erase the operating system it's currently booted into. It would be sort of like computer suicide. So the work around on that is recovery mode.

Boot the computer holding down command+r and you'll boot into an unfamiliar screen.

From there, choose disk utility but this time you WILL be able to erase the main drive. Once this is done, the computer will not be able to boot into an operating system. That's ok though because Apple would just be wiping it anyway. While it is always a good idea to consider the data on your computer, Apple doesn't care about your data. They will wipe the drive again (and even run zeros and ones over it) before they ever repurpose the machine anyway.

That's the easiest way to do it. If you were going to be donating this computer to someone then we would look at the erase differently. This is the nuclear option and is fine if you're just sending it back to Apple.

I need a second monitor for my laptop.

Since I can’t take my computer to the store for a while I would like to set up a separate monitor that I can use for my laptop. I don’t have a monitor but can purchase one. Is this something you can help me with? If so what is your availability?

Unfortunately, being a non essential business I’m stuck only being able to work remotely at the moment. Hopefully middle May we can all start rolling again but who knows.

As for monitor purchasing, a couple things to consider:

The cheaper the monitor, the more washed out the colors, the less pixels, the more dead pixels, the lower the refresh rate which means the more tired your eyes will feel over a given time.

Dead pixels are present in 100% of all monitors manufactured however more expensive monitors just have less of them. Chances are you’ll never even notice a dead pixel unless you are looking at a solid color screen across the entire display and that color would have to be the exact color that the particular pixel couldn’t display, so seeing them is not common.

If you’re using the monitor as a second monitor over to the side then I usually don’t care so much about quality but if it’s my main monitor then I might put a little more money into it. $150 is a cheap montior. Over $200 starts getting you into a better category. (Of course prices will vary based on sizes)

Last, you’ll need to consider what adapter you’ll need. Depending on the year your Mac was produced, it may require a Thunderbolt (mini display port adapter) to HDMI. It could be USBC to HDMI. It could have just a direct HDMI connector. Either way, there’s a good chance you’ll need to buy a $15 adapter to get your video signal out to the monitor.

do you do hardware repairs? My screen is broken.

I have a MacBook Pro that isn’t working properly. The screen when you flip it up shuts off when it gets past a certain degree. We contacted Apple and they said it’s something with the hardware which I know nothing about. They recommended a certified Apple repair shop in Fort Mill that would need to take the computer for 3-4 days to fix. This is my only company computer that I use every minute so hoping to find a better option if possible.

Sorry to say I don’t do hardware repairs. Yes, the problem you are describing is 100% a hardware issue. There is a cable that goes from the display to the main logic board that, as you open and close the display, the cable flexes and over time can bend so many times it goes bad. Think about it as if you were to bend a paper clip back and forth many many times. The paper clip would break. That ribbon cable is most likely the damaged piece. I wish I could help but I no longer do physical repairs due to the time involved, liability, and cost/profit margin.

I realize how tough it is to be without one’s computer. The good news is that the computer itself is probably fine so in the short term you could just connect it to an external monitor and continue working until time permits for you to be without it for several days. No one will be able to turn that repair around in hours or perhaps even over night. It’s pretty involved.

Which computer should I buy?

Hope you and family doing well. I am looking to replace my 2009 iMac (info below), because it is painfully slow. Want to replace with a new 27 in iMac desktop. There appears to be a variety of options. Would you give me a recommendation? I don’t do anything special, so don’t need all fancy graphics etc. I will need to order online and have delivered. Maybe from costco or best buy.


1. Do you need a iMac Pro or standard iMac?
answer: standard iMac
2. Do you want a 21” or a 27” screen?
answer you will either be going larger or smaller since you currently own a 24” and they don’t make that size currently.
3. Which aspect is most important? Processor, hard drive, RAM?
answer: Apple makes three versions of each iMac. Fast, Faster, Fastest let’s say. I always go with “Fast”. No need to invest in the faster processor. The types of things we common folk do on our computers would not take advantage of the speed increase. That type of computer is more advantageous for video editors, music producers, graphic design, etc…
shorter answer: get the cheaper one.
However, where you should put your money is Hard Drive type. Three types of drives, slow spinning SATA drives, fast Solid State drives, and a combination of the two Apple calls Hybrid. Get a solid state drive. That will increase the price but money well spent in the long run.

Which iMac should I buy?

Our computer room iMac still super slow even after the updates. I think going to buy a new one. Any key features I should be looking for in terms of processor or memory? We are not using for gaming. Mostly just internet excell and pictures. Thanks!

There are usually 3 tiers of iMacs when purchasing. Fast, Faster, Fastest. I don’t look to invest in the speed of the processor. Rather, I put my money toward a better internal storage hard drive. There are three types of hard drives:

1. Old spinning SATA drives. Cheapest, most storage, most unreliable
2. Solid state drives. No moving parts, less space, expensive.
3. Fusion drives. Hybrid mix of spinning and solid state. Usually around 3/4 spinning drive, 1/4 solid state. Middle price, fairly reliable but can still fail.

I see a ton of spinning drives fail as they are the hardest working part of the computer. Constantly moving for years and years, these parts wear out. However, it’s extremely rare to see a solid state hard drive fail. Extremely rare. Therefore I always put my money in the more expensive solid state choice.

AppleCare on a desktop is around $169 and I usually buy that for iMacs. I never increase the RAM anymore and as I stated earlier, the speed of the processor is less important than the type of drive you buy.

Can you fix my spacebar on my laptop?

My daughter popped her space bar off of her MacBook Pro 13-inch, 2018, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports and now we cannot get it back on. And, of course, she has lots of papers due!!

Wanted to see if you have any tricks or if we get computer to you, if that is something you can work on.


Thanks for thinking of me. I’m not doing hardware repairs nowadays. Your best bet is going to be to call AppleCare. They will most likely send you a box, ship it off, repair, then return. Or if she needs to wait, she could use a bluetooth keyboard or USB keyboard with a USB to USBC adapter until she has downtime where she can be without her computer for a while.

Screen went dark all of a sudden.

Scotty, my screen has gone dark on me. I can barely see it. It looks like it is a screen issue. Should I try to get a new one today
At Best Buy?

Of course you check the obvious.  Screen brightness controls across the top of the keyboard.

If you can faintly see the screen but it just looks like the backlight has gone out, then yes, that would be a hardware repair.  If you can barely see enough to get into system preferences, you can also try increasing the screen brightness from within the Display settings.  

If that doesn’t work  you could also try restarting the computer holding down the command+shift+P+R.  That resets the parameter ram.  A long shot but worth a try before you purchase a new machine.  

Oh my! Just arrived home with my new $1000 screen and I tried the keyboard suggestion and it is perfect! Tomorrow, I will be returning it. So happy! Take care,

Great news. Glad it worked.

Why is there a line on my screen?

Do you know how to fix the white line down the side of an iPhone x?

That’s very likely a screen replacement.

Screens work by displaying dots on an x and y axis (sort of like the game Battleship). Each dot has a set of coordinates. When one pixel dies, it’s barely noticeable. You may see a small dot not the same color as the others. But when you see an entire line going across a display, that usually means the whole line is not getting the information and therefore are just showing one color. This is not solvable by software or a simple reset. This is usually a hardware failure.

Which router should I get?

Apple has gotten out of the router business so I can no longer recommend the Airport devices. That has now left an opening for other companies to fill in the void. The two products I have been happy with over the last few years are:

1. Orbi by Netgear
2. Velop by Linksys

Both of those systems do a great job. They can be a little cumbersome to set up but once setup, they work very well and are stable. I’ve set up many of each system and have had very little negative feedback. The only negative thing I would say about both product lines is that they are convoluted. There are too many models from which to choose. If you’re sitting on 2000sq feet however, almost any of the current packages would do just fine. I think the Apple store is selling the Orbi systems but I’m sure they’re available at Best Buy as well as online via Amazon, etc...

What do you think about the new 16" macbook pro?

What do you think about the new 16" macbook pro? Would if be ok if I bought the 2TB version?

MacBook Pro 16” is a very badass machine. I’ve been working with several client’s new 16’s over the last couple months and I’m very happy with it. I was disappointed in the previous 2016-2019 models but the new 16” has restored my faith. It actually reaches higher benchmarks than the latest Mac Pro in certain cases. Just consider that a 2TB drive will kick the price to close to $4000. They also have a 4TB option but you might have to get a 2nd mortgage on your home to pay for a 4TB MacBook Pro 16”.

What are Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro?

What are Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro? Do I need to buy these?

Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro are professional editing tools that composers, musicians, film editors, and other use. They are among the highest level of editing software available but you don’t need either. If you ever wanted to go to a new level in video editing, Davinci Resolve is a free alternative and extremely powerful. Very high learning curve however. As are both Logic and Final Cut. But again, I don’t see you being in either of those markets. When configuring a new machine via Apple’s website, they are just trying to up-sale you on additional attachments before checkout.

What size hard drive should I buy for my very large library?

Following up on our last session regarding pictures and storage if I were to buy a new Apple computer what would you recommend I buy?

I can’t remember the total size of your photos library.  I know you have a very large photo library so having a 2TB internal solid state drive would be ideal.  In your case, I wouldn’t go smaller.  You’d just end up having to go back to the external hard drive method.  Buying a 2TB internal could allow all pictures to internal.  And being on a solid state drive, performance would increase.  
So, iMac 2TB solid State.  Not cheap but worth it in this situation.  

Why did my hard drive die so fast?

Yesterday my computer was fine and now today the hard drive is dead.

Hard drive can die in one second. They are spinning mechanisms that rotate 5400 times per second they’re entire life. When they stop spinning, that’s it. Modern hard drives are called “solid state” or “flash” hard drives. They do not have moving parts. They last much longer in my experience.

A spinning hard drive (also called a SATA drive) can die quickly. Some SATA drives die slowly over time and can be more noticeable as performance degrades (the spinning beach ball for example).

Streaming to a Sony tv without airplay?

My impression is that now Apple is offering a streaming service,
comparable to
Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. My Sony “smart tv” will stream all the aforementioned
and much more. From what I’ve been able to understand,
Apple TV can be streamed on Samsung TVs
but for some reason not
Sonys. As there are a couple shows streaming on Apple TV that I’d like to try,
was wondering if it will ever be available to us
Sony owners………

Sounds like what you are referring to is Airplay. It's true that some TVs (LG, Samsung, etc…) support airplay without any additional hardware, it is very common for Sony to go their own way. Airplay is not standard so it's not guaranteed to be available within all tvs yet. Google also currently has their own version of casting video from a mobile device to a tv.

It's extremely doubtful that Sony would ever push an update out that would allow for Airplay support. So the next way to push the AppleTV channel content (or any video from an iOS device for that matter) over to your tv might only be through a video cable. Apple's article on the process can be found here.

Which drives should I buy?

I think i need to replace my two external drives.  Right now I have a 3 Tb drive for all my photos( so my photo library is in there not in my hard drive) and a 4 TB drive for my time/backup 
I think the backup drive is dead ... it is acting really weird.  
Which means I don’t have a recent back up 
I’m thinking I should purchase at least one new external drive before your arrival on Thursday just in case we decide we need to replace the backup drive.   
Do you have a recommendation as to which would be best?   I think I may also want to replace my photo external drive to something faster as well.  Any recommendations?  

I like the Seagate drives. 4 TB means you’d probably want to consider going with a 3.5” drive instead of the smaller portable 2.5” drives although you can get them in that size.

Desktop non-portable: Seagate Expansion Desktop 4TB External Hard Drive HDD – USB 3.0 for PC Laptop (STEB4000100): Computers & Accessories
Smaller form factor: Seagate Portable 5TB External Hard Drive HDD – USB 3.0 for PC Laptop and Mac (STGX5000400): Computers & Accessories

As for speed, solid state drives are always better but way more money. Backup drives can be slow therefore SATA spinning drives are fine. But if you are working off a drive like a photos drive or editing video, then solid state is the way to go.

Drives tend to die in iMacs.

You worked on an iMac of mine many years ago, in my home - do you still do "in home" work?

I have two problem machines:

2013 iMac that is completely dead - started turning on intermittently, then not at all. Power supply?

2017 iMac that is always a little sluggish, and intermittently very sluggish (intermittent spinning beach ball for simple tasks like typing in a Word doc) -  - no malware found, only 50% of hard dive filled, Activity monitor shows minimal CPU usage, I cleaned up desktop. But when I ran a "SMART Utility" hard drive test it registered as "failing" - I have read that this could be the cause? (Everything is backed up to Time Machine and Backblaze)


Yes, I still do in home work.

2013 iMac: Most likely the drive has failed to the point that will will not cooperate with the startup sequence and therefore the machine is cutting off as to not overheat as a safety precaution. It may be possible for us to pull the drive out and harvest the data if it has not yet completely failed. (Audible clicking means no chance). I wouldn't personally put money into repairing a 7 year old iMac.

2017 iMac: Yet again, same reason. You've done some great troubleshooting. When I see "failing" in disk utility, it's time to lose faith in that drive. Backblaze is ok as a secondary source but nothing beats having a dedicated hard drive using time machine. Double check to see that the TM backup is up to date then it's time to get that drive replaced. If you have AppleCare, the Apple store would do it at no cost. I no longer replace drives.

Happy to answer any other questions you may have.

Internet down first steps in troubleshooting

Can you remind me what to do when my internet is out?
Thanks and Merry Christmas!

First thing you always want to try is simply unplugging the main modem/router given to you by your ISP.    In this case it would be the one circled below.  

In most cases that will solve the issue unless there is an actual outage in your area.  In which case, contacting the ISP would give you an idea of how long the internet would be down in your area.  

External drive failing

My external G Drive is failing. Very slow to restore from my old time machine image. Finally restored but took several hours. Should I take this opportunity to replace it?

Considering the price of external drives (2TB for around $60) I would say yes. Go ahead and get a new drive and begin using it as your new time machine drive.

Why is my computer running so slow?

Continuing slowness/non responsiveness. Has gotten progressively worse over last year or so. Feels like hard drive failing.
I’ve done several hours of tech support w Apple over the last year, going to second and third level to no avail. Tried everything in the book
Finally took to genius bar in April. They said it passed all diagnostics and it’s not a hardware issue, so they wiped the drive, reformatted and reinstalled latest os
Was better for a few weeks then began slowing again (spinning beach ball etc)
Took back to Genius Bar last week. They kept it several days, ran tests which all passed. Wiped drive again and reinstalled previous os, high Sierra.
It’s still doing it. Maddening.

Last time you were here (couple years ago?) you speculated it could be one of my external drives causing the issue. I’ve tried unplugging them, using a test user acct off and on but can’t isolate the issue. Sometimes the Mac works fine and the next minute it freezes up.

First, dying hard drives are almost always the cause. I would say 90% of the time, these behaviors are indicators of a dying drive. It sounds like you have done all the right things to try to trouble shoot the issue. Creating a test user allowed you to eliminate any personal software. Good move. Disconnecting external hard drives, good move. Reinstalling the OS, usually a last resort but also a good move. Did you immediately restore the computer using Time Machine back to your old data again or use it as a fresh install of the OS only for a while? Could we attribute any developing slowness to the time machine restore? (if that was done)

Often, a dying drive doesn't do well when reformatting and reinstalling an entire OS so if the internal drive were dying it will often fail completely during a restore.

There are generally three reasons that cause a computer hardware to run slowly. (excluding internet speed, not a part of our discussion)

1. hardware failure
2. software problems
3. the OS/applications are far more advanced than the hardware and the hardware can't keep up with the processor requirements.

My gut guess here is that the reason you're having slowness issues is 1. hardware failure. Specifically the hard drive.

Number three can be eliminated by moving back to High Sierra and sounds like the problem still persisted. Number two can be determined usually by monitoring the information in "Activity Monitor". Sometimes (rarely) certain processes will run out of control therefore taking up 100% or more of the CPU. This can cause the speed issue. One such service known to do this is Photo Analysis; the process where your Photos app scans every pixel of every picture in your library and tags all items in that picture for future searching ability. You have eliminated this being the case by using a test user however and wiping the OS.

With the evidence presented here I would lean strongly toward hard drive failure. Is your computer a thin iMac or about 1" thick on the sides? Also, if you are using a thin iMac, what type of hard drive is installed? SATA drives in the thin iMac series are 2.5" spinning drives and known to fail. They're also not very fast drives. Fusion drives store some info on a flash portion and the rest on the spinning SATA drive. A SSD (solid state) drive is the fastest drive and almost never fail. This is due to the fact that SSD drives have no moving parts.

With all this being said, I may not be able to solve this problem in any other way other than recommending a new computer because it sounds like you've done many of the troubleshooting steps one would try to get to the problem. The only consistent factor left in all the testing is the hard drive. To find out more about the drive, you can go to the Black Apple (top left corner of the screen) and choose "About this Mac".

If you take a screenshot of the overview and storage areas that would help. Also if you could answer any of the questions included above.

30" Cinema Display on a Macbook Pro USB-C

I have tried the Apple mini display port to AVI Adapter and the Apple HDMI to AVI adapter.
Neither of them will give me the max resolution of the 30" Cinema Display. What do you suggest that I use to get the max screen resolution (2560 x 1600)?

After a little more research, connecting that legal 30” display which used DVI to a modern computer using Thunderbolt 3 looks like it may be too long a jump in technology. That’s a shame because the 30” Cinema display was a great screen (although ran very hot and used a lot of energy). I do think it is possible by using an Active dual link DVI adapter in addition to your usb-c to mini display port adapter. I’ve read success stories and failure stories. Here are similar adapters to what you’d be looking for. USB C to Mini DisplayPort Adapter, Allsmartlife USB Type C to Mini DisplayPort/Mini DP Adapter Cable with Aluminium Case Support 4K Resolution for Apple New MacBook, ChromeBook Pixel, Alienware- Grey: Computers & Accessories

Monoprice Mini DisplayPort 1.1 + USB to Dual-Link DVI Adapter -

As they say, you may want to save the receipts. Considering the cost of the 30” display 10 years ago however, it seems reasonable to try to invest a little more money to see if you can get a couple years more out of it.

Disclosure: It is very possible that Apple could send an update out at any time that would accidentally limit the output resolution to that legacy display. This would most likely not be done on purpose but rather: whoever writes the display drivers just might not go back that far when writing support for older displays.

If you were to ask 95% of any Apple Store, considering many of them were probably in pre-K when we were using the 30” cinema display, they’d tell you it’s not possible.


Connecting a 30" apple cinema display to a Macbook Pro

Scotty, I have a question. I am trying to connect my mid 2012 Retina MacBook Pro with Mac OS Mojave to my older 30 Apple Cinema Display (Approx 2010). It has four leads on it and an aluminum surround.
I am unable to display the resolution of the screen (2560x1600).
Is it possible to get this resolution from my MacBook Pro and if so, how can it be done?

The 30" display was capable of supporting that res and was the optimal res. It could be a limit of the adapter you're using. What adapter are you using?

mini display port to DVI
mini display port to VGA
hdmi to DVI or VGA
USB-C to….


You can take a pic of the adapter.

HDs not mounting using external enclosure

Have been trying to read several other hard drives in docking station nothing is showing up on desktop. Have even tried connecting dock to another laptop still nothing. Odd that out of 8 hard drives noting is showing. Is there a place to go on laptop to show that the dock in connected to laptop to make sure it is working?

That is a bit curious that none of your spare HDs are being recognized and that's also a very good troubleshooting step to try a different computer to see if they mount that way as well. I think you mentioned you actually had another external drive enclosure as well so try that next to see if any mount.

One possibility is that all of these were Drobo drives and therefore part of a RAID array. If so, it's likely that just one drive pulled from a RAID would not mount. You can use Disk Utility to see if the drive is at least recognized by the computer even if it doesn't mount.

Screen Shot 2019-06-07 at 4.37.20 PM

It would show over on the left column at least partially.

So things to try:

try a different docking station
try a different computer
try a known good drive to prove the docking station works
check disk utility to see if there is evidence of the drive communicating with the computer.
try restarting the computer with a drive mounted to see if it mounts after restart.

Which webcam do I buy?

I am working off of dual monitors and using my MacBook Air (new edition) as my ‘computer.’ Each monitor is plugged in with HDMI (adapters), I have to be hardwired, so my ethernet is plugged into a USB to Ethernet adapter. I have to use a USB headset, which is plugged into one of the adapters as well. I have to be on Microsoft Teams as well as communicate with clients so I have to have a camera. Neither monitor has a camera, to my knowledge. Right now I have the 2 monitors and my laptop sitting in front so that I can chat through video. Super inconvenient.

Ultimately, I’d like you to come out and professionally set all of this up. I assume I need to buy an external web-cam? I would like your opinion on which camera to purchase. I know that this can be set up simpler, I just don’t know how to do it.

If you are using the MacBook air’s monitor in addition to the two monitors, then you could just use your Macbook’s camera. It may be a little less convenient but would save the cost of purchasing a different cam. If you prefer to use a dedicated external web cam then the Logictechs are great. You don’t need a super high end 4k cam, but having 1080p is nice. Take a look at the Logitech C920 or the C615. Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, Widescreen Video Calling and Recording, 1080p Camera, Desktop or Laptop Webcam: Computers & Accessories

I ended up using a dedicated mic for my online sessions but sounds like you are good there with your headset. The mic on the C920 is fine also so you may end up just using that. Keep in mind you’ll be selecting your audio feed with your meeting software. No big deal, just a matter of choosing between internal mic, headset mic, or logitech mic. I only mention that because it sometimes throws people.

I just spilled water on my laptop, now what?

I just spilled a glass of water on my computer at approx 11 am. In a flash I turned it upside down and powered it down. It has been standing upside down since then in a warm place in the kitchen. How long should I wait before turning it back on?

Oh no! Sounds like you did the exact right thing. Turned it upside down, open, with the display hanging off the edge of the table. I like to prop the computer off the table with some small blocks so that air can circulate under the keyboard. The most important step is to place a fan pointing under the keyboard so that air continues to move. Nothing dries water faster than moving air. (years of working on damp mildewed sailboats has taught me that)

I would then wait at least 48 hours. Then cross your fingers and hope for the best. Liquid damage is a killer but water is not as bad as coke/coffee. If you had said anything other than water I would have said forget it. Let me know how it goes.

USB adapters

What adapters do I need to connect my old display and usb devices to my 2018 MacBook Pro?

USB to USB-C: Syntech USB C to USB Adapter [2-Pack], Thunderbolt 3 to USB 3.0 Adapter Compatible MacBook Pro 2018/2017, MacBook Air 2018, Pixel 3, Dell XPS, and More Type-C Devices: Computers & Accessories
That allows you to use old USB devices with your USB-C only computer. You plug those on the end of a USB cable then into your computer.

minidisplayport to USB-C: USB-C to Mini DisplayPort Adapter, ITD ITANDA 4K Thunderbolt 3 to Mini DP Adapter Cable for Apple New MacBook 2017, ChromeBook Pixel Samsung S8: Electronics

This device allows you to connect your monitor to your new computer (if you’ve not yet gotten a monitor adapter)

Can I move to Mojave?

Can my Mac go to Mojave 10.14?

Apple seems to have cut off all macs prior to 2012. This leaves a 6 year window. This is more narrow than past OS requirements. Here's a list of supported Macs.

Resell your old Mac

Apple has a new recycle/trade-in partner. If you'd like to get money for your old mac, go to

Should I install my own RAM?

We have 2 MacBook’s, one purchased in 12/13 and the other in 8/14. My daughter is in college and uses the one from 8/14. Her Microsoft office has been freezing and running very slow, so she took it into the Genius Bar and they suggested that she upgrade to the most current OS and upgrade her RAM from 4GB to 8GB. She has upgraded her OS, but i am having a hard time determining what kind of RAM to get. Do I go to Crucial to order or somewhere else? What exactly do i need? Should I upgrade to more than 8GB? My understanding is that Apple will not allow their technicians to perform this, but it is fairly simple to do. Can you do it out should I just try? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

More ram is always a good thing. Not sure it will help Office to be honest but it won't hurt. 8 gigs is plenty for those age machines. Just don't have several applications open at once and you're probably fine. In other words: Quit applications when you're not using them. Crucial is good ram and they have a
system scanner you can download that will survey your machine model and point you right to the exact ram you need. There are many youtube tutorials on how to install ram in your model computer. Depending on the exact model, some MacBooks have a tri-screw head instead of the traditional phillips 4. If that's the case with your machine, you can tell by looking at the bottom case under the computer. If so, you would need to buy a small tool kit. Just depends on the model. Crucial may even include the correct screw driver.

Which iMac should I get?

I need a new iMac. Which one should I get?


Your choices are 21 or 27”. I prefer the 27” personally. Plus you can add ram later in life with a 27. With the 21, you can only add ram at time of purchase although most people never add ram to their machines these days. I would recommend the 27” lower speed of the 3 configurations. I think it’s listed at $1799. May be too big for your space. I think you are on a 21” if I’m not mistaken. So really comes down to personal preference. You won’t go wrong either way. Next, you’ll want to consider hard drive type and space. (capacity.) Go to the black apple in the top left corner/about this mac/storage. That will tell your the capacity of your current drive. You’ll want as larger or maybe larger than that. Probably 1Terabyte.

Three types of hard drives:
1. Flash (solid state)
2. spinning (old school mechanical)
3. hybrid (combination of 1 and 2)

Flash is fastest and most expensive. Spinning drives are cheaper, slower, and more prone to failure. Hybrids are obviously a good compromise. They aren’t crazy expensive. You still get capacity and a modest speed advance.

Macbook Air won't turn on

2010-2011 MacBook Air will not turn on. Adapter's green light will not light up when connected. Assume it's a problem with the battery. Looking for insight and a quick fix!

I don't think we will need a session for your issue. Here are two things to try to bring your air back to life.

Hold down command+option+P+R all simultaneously. Continue holding down those buttons until the computer chimes a second and third time. Then release.

Another key combo to try is disconnecting the charger and press the following all at once: command+option+shift+power. That should reset the Computer's ability to distribute power throughout the system. If neither of these things works it could then most likely be a hardware issue.

Which iMac should I buy?

Which iMac should I buy?

The 2 major things to consider with a new mac:

1.  What type of hard drive should I buy?

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 7.00.59 AM

Final thought, I recommend the Fusion choice.

2. How much ram should I put in?

On a 27”, don’t worry about it.  You can always add more later.  On a 21.5”, different story.  Apple’s current iMac design on the 21” does not allow for adding ram later.  On the 27”, there is an access door to add ram later.  The 21 does not have the same door.  This means you have to buy as much ram as you feel you’ll ever need at time of purchase.  

Is it time for a new computer?

I have a iMac that is probably 4-5 years old.  We don’t really use it for much except the internet, photos, etc.  It is very slow.  Have you been successful in speeding them up/ cleaning them out, etc, or is it just time to purchase a new one?  Do i have any other choices?

There are two types of slow; computer-slow and internet-slow.  If the internet is slow in your home that is a different problem.  So let’s assume that’s not what your asking about.  

 The computer slowing can be a sign of one of two things.  Software or hardware.  If it’s hardware, it’s very often the hard drive.  That can be replaced for around $260.  Drives are the main moving part of computers and the cause of most slowness.  Every hard drive will fail over time.  if it’s not the drive, then usually that leaves software.  There are instances where processes can get stuck running full speed in the background and therefore take up cpu time causing the computer to feel very slow.  In that case, that can usually be solved within a few minutes of diagnosis.  

The last thing to consider is the idea that as we update our devices we are asking them to run new operating systems and applications that have been written to run best on the most modern hardware.  So every time we update our phones and computers, we are taking one step closer to a planned obsolescence.  A 4-5 year old computer still has a few years of usefulness left so I would expect this reason to be the case for your speed issues.  

Spilled juice on laptop

My daughter spilled juice on my laptop keyboard and the keyboard had stopped working. The Apple Store guy says that there is a protocol for getting that fixed that is $750. Trying to decide if it's worth it. It's only about 3 years old. MacBook Pro. I do have all of that backed up. What do you think?

Yes. Apple has a repair tier for damage and it's quite expensive. Almost the cost of the computer. At least half anyway. So it just depends on the age of the laptop. Under 3 years old, maybe go ahead with the repair. Anything past that point in age, probably better off purchasing a new computer in my opinion. It's very likely the data is still safe by the way. Most of the time, liquid damage doesn't reach the hard drive. But hopefully, you're backing up.

Do I need a surge protector?

Do I need a surge protector or is the one (see picture above) sufficient?

In my opinion there is no such thing as an effective surge protector. I see computers all the time that are plugged into uninterrupted power supplies or surge protectors and they still get fried when a storm hits. There's also a thing called brown power and Charlotte seems to have seen a lot of it lately. Brown power is when there is an increase or decrease in power coming into your home. That slight flux can also damage your computer or TV. So surge protector simply make us feel better about ourselves but ultimately, if lightning hits, if your computer is plugged into the wall in any way, that lightning will find its way to the device. Only safe thing to do is unplug your computer during storms.

All that being said, any surge protector is fine but if the big one hits, it won't matter.

2.4 ghz mac worth upgrading?

My office iMac from 2007-2.4ghz intel core duo
2gb ram
CMC IT put version 10.11.3 on it, and now is so slow, is unusable. Am getting a new iMac, but is this present model at all worth keeping if more memory added?

In my experience, an extremely sluggish and "unusable" experience on an iMac usually means dead hard drive. 9 out of 10 times its a failed drive. Not an absence of additional ram. That said, considering the age of the machine, it's very close to borderline not really worth the cost of the replacement drive ($260) at this point. The max ram on that model is 4 gigs. That would of course help. is a great place to buy ram. 4 gigs on that older model shouldn't cost much at all.

Do you replace hard drives?

Are you able to replace a hard drive on a Macbook? As well as attempt to recover all info on my current hard drive? I went to the Genius bar earlier today and it was confirmed I need a new hard drive. I'm hoping to get this fixed as soon as possible and I thought I'd reach out to see if you were able to service it or if you had a recommendation of someone else in the Lake Norman area who could. 

I would be happy to replace the drive for you.  Replacement is $260 plus $15 travel outside of I-485.  I attempt to get data off drives at no extra cost. Complete data retrieval I cannot promise however.  Just depends on the state of the drive.  I’m happy to attempt.  If you would like me to replace the drive for you, you can schedule a pickup/dropoff via the front page of my website.

Blue Screen on Mac may mean graphics card

A few years ago you exchanged a hard drive out for me in my iMac.  I am having "blue screen" style issues plus screen anomalies which have made the unit unusable.  
I cannot find a repair signup.  Do you no longer repair?
Thank you for your time,

At this time I only do hard drive replacements on older machines. But the issue you described sounds more like it is related to the graphics card. The graphics card is soldered onto the logic board and is not considered a replaceable part. The entire logic board would need to be replaced and that is an expensive part.

If you are experiencing video issues like flashing screen, artifacts on the screen, blocks, lines, or static, these are all symptoms of a failing graphics card. The apple store would be the place to handle that.

Fan running loud after HD replacement

Hi Scotty,
The fan on our Apple desktop has been running loudly and non-stop when I am using the computer. It stops when the computer is not in use and is “asleep”. This began after you installed the new hard drive. I did not associate the problem with that until I took the computer into the Apple store to have it checked out. They took apart the computer and discovered that the temperature sensor cable is not compatible with the new hard drive. They do not sell one that will wok with the hard drive you installed. Do you have any suggestions on how to fix the problem please?

The temp sensor cable is unnecessary and only works with apple branded drives.  So any third party drive will not have that connector.  Therefore there is a piece of software that I would have installed on your computer call HD fan control.  It should be in your control panel area of system preferences.  It’s possible that a recent update wiped out the serial number.  If that is the case I would be happy to provide the serial number again for you.  Go to system preferences and see if you can find a preference control panel called HD fan control.  Its icon will be a picture of a small fan.  Click on that and find “register”.  That information may be blank.  Then let me know.  Otherwise, I would also be happy to come by to re-register it in person.

New machine or not?

as you know, I still have this mid 2012 15" retina my 751GB SSD is getting full
I am still running Lion 
1. should I have you upgrade this machine to a 1TB HD  $588 plus labor
2. should I just go buy a new machine with the 1TB HD and have a brand new system with Yosemite  ( will run me $2999, my current machine is worth around $1900 on ebay)  so I will be at $1000 difference
3. should I just hang in there and wait for the next new Macbook pro?  I have not heard any news on when the new one will be here

thank you!!

First you’ll want to consider whether you can run any proprietary software on the latest version of the OS as any new computer you purchase will not run Lion. Second, check the product cycle forecast over at They do a pretty good job of laying out when to expect a new device within its product line. Third, you may also want to consider moving some non crucial data over to an external drive. If you really feel you need to carry around 800+ gigs of data then buying a 1 TB drive will only delay the issue. Your better option may be to offsite some data such as music/pictures onto a portable drive (which must also be included in your backup strategy) and continue to live with the drive you have. You invested a lot of money into a 750 SSD. You might want to consider continuing its use to extend the return on that investment. In the end, the choice is yours.

Would computer should my mother in law get?

My mother in law is in the market. What do you reccomend ... Mac air or Mac Pro? What size processor?
Any suggestions would be great. I will probably have her to contact you to help her get all set up.

Well there are many factors that go into that decision.  The price of course but also the size of the hard drive.  Generally the macbook airs have smaller drives, are slower historically, but are lighter. Basically you’re paying for convenience vs. power.  However, the macbook pros are now so much smaller it’s hard to argue against them.  The MacBook Air is a great computer for someone who has another iMac already as their main computer to store pictures, music etc…  But I wouldn’t suggest an Air as your main computer.  As far as the processor speed goes, I would probably suggest the slowest (cheapest) model. Most of us don’t need the speed that a higher processor provides. It just makes us feel better about our purchase. But for email, web, word processing, you’ll never know the difference.

I've run out of space on my hard drive.

The computer i'm using is a fairly old imac and it is nearly out of memory.  I need a way to clean it up.  Much of the space on this mac is photographs.  SUPRISE>>>>>  With this in mind you might think of a way to store the photos elsewhere without our having to give up the ability to manipulate the image before printing

When faced with the issue of running out of space where pictures are the guilty party for taking up the majority of the hard drive, sometimes the best option is to move the iphoto library over to an external drive.  This means you’d be tethered to the external drive and could only open iPhoto when that external drive is connected.  But this allows you to avoid buying a larger internal drive for an aging computer.  This also means that you can take the external media drive with you to your next computer.  

3 beeps equal bad ram.

Hi Scotty – computer will not turn on.  It has a black screen and beeps 3 consecutive times, over and over.
What I've read regarding it, it is the RAM?   Something I can do?


You are correct about the ram.  There are many ways to go about solving the issue and there are a few possibilities.  The most likely culprit is the ram.  (thus the 3 beeps).  At the bottom of the computer there is a panel that you can remove with a phillips screw driver.  This will reveal the two slots where the new ram is installed.  There are two plastic tabs you can pull downward to remove the ram.  Then reseat the ram by pushing it back up.  If one of the chips is bad, you can discover this by leaving only one in and restarting the machine.  However this is where the actual slots themselves must also be considered.  If it's not the ram but instead the actual slots, then the ram may work in one slot but not the other.  This means you must go through a process of elimination until you come up with a reliable combination where you get the 3 beeps error consistently.  

ram chip 1 in slot 1
ram chip 1 in slot 2
ram chip 2 in slot 1
ram chip 2 in slot 2

By methodically going through this process, you can usually identify which is the problem.  I'm guessing since, in your case, you just added ram recently, it's most likely a bad piece of ram.  However, is usually very reliable ram.  But it's not unheard of.  The good news is, once you've determined which piece of ram is the problem, you can leave the other one in and allow the computer to run while you have the bad piece  replaced by  

Now for the bad news.  If the ram beeping error is inconsistent then it will take a very long time to find a reliable combination of what ram in what slot that may actually cause the problem.  Ram is made up of sectors and it's common for bad ram to work normally until the bad sector is eventually needed by a particular piece of software.  In other words, it could take some time.  

iMac needs more ram

We need to upgrade our iMac ram and browser and would like to schedule some time. Should we go with 4 or 6GB and what browser will give us the longest use with most applications out there? Also, should I go ahead and order and install ram or would you prefer to supply from your source?

I prefer to order my ram from It’s very good ram and usually very reliable. You can go to and find the make and model of your iMac by downloading their scanner. It should find what you need automatically. As far as the amount of ram goes, I would suggest purchasing the maximum amount of ram you can afford. It’s better to max out the ram usually rather than slowly step up. That being said, 4 gigs is fine.

As far as “browser” goes. I will assume you are referring to the operating system. The version of the operating system that would work best for you iMac would best be determined by the speed of the processor. If you go to the upper right corner under the black apple in the menu bar, you can choose, “about this mac”. That will tell you the speed of the computer and then give me a better idea of what the age of your computer is.

Husband wants a new laptop

Scotty, my husbands lap top just died and he is about to buy a new one. I wanted to check with you before he bought anything to see what we should buy. He wants a 15 to 17 inch screen. Windows 8 and Microsoft office applications for work. Other than that he uses the internet and very basic. Bill pay and his basketball coaching... Email. Mostly work from home features. I want him to go with an apple product so we can all be in sink. What do you think? Can you help advise us on what to buy?

Sounds like a Windows laptop will be the way to go. If he’s interested in running Windows 8 then he could buy a macbook pro and install vmware fusion or parallels then run Windows 8 in virtualization but that may not be what he’s looking for. He’d have to purchase a copy of windows 8, and the virtualization software to run it in. That’s an approximate additional cost of around $300 on top of the price of the computer itself. So it really just depends how bad he wants to run windows 8. Being an Apple consultant, I do not support anything that happens inside Windows 8 other than getting it set up on the mac itself.

TVs not connecting to the internet

We have not been able to  get our TVs to connect to the internet ever since we messed with the routers. Any suggestions? Thanks.

I can’t recall if your tv’s connect via AppleTV, built in ethernet, or have their own wifi connectivity built in.  If AppleTV or they’re relying on a wifi card built in to the tv, then you should be able to join your wifi network through settings on either the AppleTV or TV settings.  If ethernet, then there’s probably an issue at the router keeping the ethernet going out to your tv’s from sending a signal.  Either way, I’m sure we can solve it.  I just don’t remember your exact setup.  

My new computer doesn't have a CD drive! Help!

How do I get Microsoft office on my new computer? There is no place to insert a disc!

A couple of ways to go about this.  The official way to do this is to use “disc sharing” from another mac in your home.  Go to the older Mac’s system preferences/sharing/ and turn on DVD and CD sharing.  Insert the Microsoft Office install disc into the older mac.  

Now, on the new mac (with no DVD drive) open a finder window and look for “remote disc” in the left hand column.  Click it and then return to the old computer and select to allow the requesting mac to have access to the drive.  Now the Microsoft Office install disc (currently inserted in the old computer) will show up on your new computer as if it were inside its own DVD drive.  Now install normally.  

The other way to install Microsoft Office is to just wait for me.  

I ran into a few setbacks trying to recover your data.  Your drive kept unmounting during the process.  Not cooperating.  So I’ve had a little talk with it and I’m back on track with the data recovery.  Hopefully good news for you tomorrow.  Sorry for the delay.  

Graphics Card Failing

Hi Scotty

Can you recommend someone who repairs Macbook Pro's?  My wife's computer shows a diamond pattern across the screen and after doing a bunch of research I found someone who figured out how to resolve this but it requires opening the computer and removing a battery to clear the video memory as well a software upgrade.  I am located in Mint Hill so if you can recommend someone reasonably close it would be greatly appreciated.

While I try to avoid hardware repairs on Macs other than hard drives, the issue you describe vs the solution you propose don’t seem to add up.  If the MBP is displaying graphics issues then it’s most likely related to an impending failure of the graphics card.  The graphics card is located on the logic board (soldered)  So it’s not possible to simply change the graphics card.  However, if you’ve done some research and feel you’d like to try a few other things I have a suggestion.  I’m not sure of what “video memory” is referring to but maybe the article you read or person you spoke with is referring to the parameter ram.  To reset the parameter ram, hold down command+option+p+r and allow the computer to restart 3 times (three chimes).  That will clear whatever temporary memory was cached in ram.  

The battery does not have to be removed to deprive the computer of power.  This process is called reseting the SMC.  Depending on your model of mac, this is achieved through a specific order of operations of holding down the power button, a combination of keys at startup, and or unplugging the power adapter from the computer at a specific time during the process.  

Specific directions can be found in this Apple Support article.

All this being said, if those processes don’t solve your video issue, it’s more likely that it is hardware related.  

Possible failed Firmware update

Hi Scotty,

My Mac froze and will not reboot. This is what I have on screen and it’s been like this for 15 minutes.

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 10.38.39 PM

This is never a good thing. Usually that progress bar means that a firmware update was in progress. If the firmware update failed (which is likely) then it’s going to be difficult to recover. Not impossible. My guess is that the hard drive is ok however, the operating system OS X has developed a problem. You could try booting in Safe Mode by restarting the computer (holding down the power button for around 7 seconds then the computer will cut off). Then, while restarting, hold down the shift key. This may give you temporary access to your data. However, if this is indeed a failed firmware update, more drastic steps will need to be taken. I should be able to better assess what has happened in person. Schedule a session the problem persists.

One other note, if this is your white 27” iMac, then you may want to start consider replacing that computer as well. I’m sure you are backing up to an external hard drive with Time Machine. Right?!!! If not, the drive may still be ok and we may be able to recover the data off the drive if there’s no back up. I just don’t want to see you invest too much money in an aging computer. Feel free to email me with any other questions.

Transfering to a new Mac

Scotty, my 5 year old MacBook is acting tired, and I am thinking of getting a new one.  If you remember, I like to run Windows for both Quicken and TurboTax so I have used VMWare.  Also, I prefer Word and Excel over the Apple products.

As I am thinking of buying, how do I sequence what I do.  I assume Apple doesn’t want to do those extras.

So, do I buy the Mac, then download VMWare?  Assume all files can be accessed from the cloud although I would do a complete backup as well.

How much RAM do I need to run both?

Then buy Office for the Mac.

It sounds like you may be headed toward the MacBook Pro. You are correct that Apple doesn’t preinstall any of the third party software you mentioned so the order you laid out is correct. You’ll buy the computer first, then download the latest Version of VMware and Microsoft Office. However, if you currently have those installed on your current mac, you should be able to use Migration assistant to move those applications from the old to the new computer. You may have to reenter the product keys to re-authenticate each. Your old vmware fusion windows file lives in your documents folder and would need to be transferred to the new computer and will include all your windows applications such as quicken, turbo tax, etc....Those shouldn’t have to be reinstalled. Office can be purchased and downloaded for around $160 although Microsoft is moving to a subscription based model of around $10 per month. More info on that can be found at

As far as ram is concerned, the more the better. The default amount that comes with every current Macbook pro is plenty but you can add more at time of purchase as a Built to order model.

Hard drive shipping overseas

My mail won’t go out or come in. What’s going on?  This is new. When I close out of mail and reopen it seems to be on.  
Mail unexpectedly quits quite often as well!
Thank you

photo 1

photo 2


This is a very popular problem and it’s one that can’t really be solved on the consumer’s side. This seems to be a problem with Apple’s own email servers and their failure to handle SSL requests at their end. Apple just published a new article on Feb 7th recommending a new course of action to work around the SSL problem. It can be found here.

It recommends moving to TLS instead of SSL. There are two pieces to consider. Incoming and outgoing server settings. iCloud can be quirky. All email can be actually. The directions in that knowledge base are worth trying.

Even though your case is most likely not caused by a service outage on apple’s part, nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to check
here to see if any of Apple’s services are down.

Another thought is to Set TLS certificate to None. Authentication set to Apple Token.

Do you do hardware repairs?

The purchased music did  not get transferred over.  I'm using an ethernet cable to connect the computers and transfer via home share in the Finder windows like you showed me, I just don't know how to find the purchased music & where to put it on the new one.

Also, is there anything special I need to do to make sure my Shuffle & iPods still be associated with this library.

The easiest way to require your purchased music is to open iTunes, log in using you iTunes account and select “purchased” music from the right side within the iTunes music store. There you’ll find the option to download ALL the purchased music within that specific account that is not currently in your iTunes library. It will take a while to download a large number of songs but the cool thing here is that you’re downloading 256kb versions of your music. It’s possible that the last time you downloaded some of these songs a few years ago, you were downloading 128kb versions so you just upgraded for free!

Remember, when you buy content like movies, tv shows, music and software from iTunes, you’re NOT buying the file. You’re buying permission to download the file as many times as you’d like.

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 3.37.57 AM


Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 3.38.47 AM

As for the second part of your question, after you’ve completely restored all the music, connecting your iPod to the new computer may result in iTunes warning you that the device is currently synced (married) to another iTunes library. No worry really. I suggest just letting iTunes erase the iPod and then it will put the exact same music on the device once again but now it will be associated (married) to the new computer.

Your other option is to move some specific files inside the library folder in order to trick the iPod into thinking it’s the exact same library. But that’s too much hassle.

How do I erase my personal data off the drive before I sell it?

Happy to report that we are now wireless, operating via OSX and the latest iPhone software.

That said, it’s now time for me to update my iCloud information so that my MAC, iPad and iPhone communicate and I cannot remember the steps.  Can you email them to me?
(You recommended that I use the iCloud email over the RR.  I also have a address.  Is that necessary for the cloud?)  
Do the steps include how I forward my RR to my cloud address?  


To ensure you are logged in to iCloud on all devices, on the computer go to system preference and select the “iCloud” preference pane. If you are not logged in already, you’ll be prompted to put in your iCloud user ID and password. After you log in, you can then select which services you’d like to use. i.e.: contacts, calendar, photo stream etc...

To check that you’re logged in to iCloud on your iOS devices, you’ll go to your settings app and scroll down to the iCloud selection. You’ll see your iCloud user ID listed at the top. If you are not logged in, you’ll be prompted to.

I do prefer iCloud or gmail over RR email. RR email is what is called “POP” email. Gmail and iCloud are “IMAP” email accounts. Imap accounts sync whereas POP accounts do not. Some people like to keep their RR email separate as a junk mail. They might use their RR email to fill out forms or surveys online. Other people like to forward their RR email to an imap account therefore turning a POP account into an IMAP account by vertue of it being forwarded to an IMAP account. To do this, go to and log in using your RR email and password. Within settings you’ll see the option to forward. Once there, you can select to forward your RR email to a different email account then you can also choose to have RR discard the email after forwarding. This way, you won’t risk filling up your RR email storage going forward. After this is done, you can delete your RR account from your computer and iOS devices because now your RR email is being forwarded to your other email account.

Do you sell printer ink?

I believe I have a virus on my computer and it has frozen up.

It says that the FBI froze my computer for looking a pornography which is not true. I went to the Internet on my cell phone and it said that this is a scam and do not send these people any money.

They wanted $300.

Google search said do not send these people any money. It said that they put a virus on my computer.

Is there anything you can do to help me?

It is doubtful that anything has been installed on your computer. This is a scam. It is designed to frighten you into thinking you should hand over money. You are wise not to fall for it. If you feel your computer is behaving in a way other than normal then I would be happy to take a look but more than likely this is just a pop up menu or a website making threats. In the older Windows XP world, it was very possible for a person to install a virus accidentally by clicking links, viewing, attachments, visiting websites, but luckily the modern Mac is not as vulnerable.

FW drive won't mount

Scotty, do you sell printer ink?


Fan running mystery

When was the last time I backed up?

To find out the last time you backed up, go to the small clock in the menu bar at the time. It’s the one with an arrow that points counter clockwise. Click on it and the drop down menu will say “last backup” and then the date.

If it says “backup delayed” then something is going on. It could be that it has not completed the most recent backup due to the computer going to sleep or turning off during the process or it could be more serious. If you open a finder window and select the backup drive, you’ll see a backup.backupsdb folder. Open it and you’ll see the name of your mac. Open it and continue to drill down on that folder until you see a (hopefully) long list of folders named by date. Scrolling down to the last one should give you a good indication of your backup history including the most recent one. The larger the drive, the more backups (the the farther back in time it goes.)

Buying an external Enclosure

Not sure why but my computer cannot find my printer.  Could we have done something to cause that the other day?

If you had a wireless printer that was wirelessly connected to your network and we made changes to your network as part of our troubleshooting steps to get the xBox online, then the printer would still be looking for the old network name. This should be an easy fix. On the printer, select the wifi settings an you’ll see “wireless setup wizard” or something very similar. Select that button and your printer will find the new network. Enter the password of the new network and now your printer is on the network.

If the printer still doesn’t print from the computer, go to system preferences and under “printers” delete the printer in the left column by selecting it and hitting the minus button below then hit the plus button and the printer will show up. Select that printer in the list and choose to add.

Do you sell computers?

Hi, Scotty,

I had to delete and re-add my gmail account in

My newer mail is showing up and the counter at the bottom says 21,136 out of 105,616.  Graphs are still moving along.

I clean out my Trash etc. everyday, so all of this must be stored in iCloud or on actual G-mail which I don’t ever go into.  Perhaps I need to delete more directly from the G-mail website?  Not sure.

105,000 is an enormous amount of email but not unheard of. Let it continue to sync. I equate adding a mature email account to a computer to dropping a large stone into a small pond. It takes a while for the rippling waves to come to rest but eventually the pond returns to glass. Your email client and email server are much the same way. It will take a while for them to sync but it will happen eventually. (barring you having any enormous attachments in emails) Large attachments can be a pain to deal with in email.

I suggest whenever dealing with deleting large amounts of email within gmail, go to using chrome to do it. Part of your intentions are lost in translation between and google’s mail servers. They’ve never played perfectly together and must be monitored for good behavior. It’s part of the price we pay for living in two ecosystems. One foot in Google. One foot in Apple. If you were using an Android device, Gmail would behave much better. Just as iCloud behaves better on an iPhone. Try setting up iCloud mail on an Android device. Ugh.

Hard Drive recommendations

Scotty, I’m getting an “out of application memory” message. And my computer is terribly slow.


The speed issue with this iMac seems to being caused by the process “” seen below.

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 4.59.44 PM

This is also why your are getting the “out of memory” error.

You must in to system preferences to the preference panes “Internet Accounts” and remove the accounts. twitter, gmail, Facebook, iCloud, etc.. Everything. Take them all out. You can re-add them later. You may also want to toss your byhost prefs. You will want to sign back in to your twitter and Facebook accounts from that area if you wish to use those services across other areas of your mac. i.e.: the ability to “tweet” a page inside Safari. Otherwise, there’s no reason to add those back.

You can find your computer’s CPU and memory activity by opening Activity Monitor. You then select to view background processes either by CPU or by Memory at the top of the page. As shown below:

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 5.10.37 PM taking almost 100% of your cpu is not something we want to see. You’ll need to find the associated plist file for your internet account pref pane and toss it out. Others might recommend you edit the plist file w/text wrangler or bbedit but I have found it easier just to delete the account, plist files and associated by host prefs. I have no explanation why this would occur. Computers aren’t as perfect as we are so we have to sometimes demonstrate tolerance.

Hope that helps.

possible bad DC in Board

Scotty, I forgot my admin password. How do I change it.


If you’ve forgotten your admin password and you’re the only admin on the computer (which most people reading this are) then in 10.8 and 10.9 you’ll need to boot into recovery mode.

  1. Turn the computer off.
  2. Holding down the option key, turn the computer back on.
  3. You’ll be presented with two icons of hard drives. Using the arrow keys, select the one that says “recovery”.
  4. Next, under utilities in the menu bar choose terminal.
  5. Type resetpassword. (all one word)
  6. You’ll now see a new application, the Password Reset Utility, that allows you to select the user you’d like to change the password for.
  7. Enter the new password (twice) and save those changes.
  8. Shut down the computer.
  9. Holding the option key once again, turn the computer back on and now select Macintosh HD as the startup drive.
  10. Done.

Keep in mind that you’ll be prompted at some point that your keychain needs some attention. My best advice is to select to “make a new keychain” and you’ll need to re-enter several passwords as you use your computer normally. Email, iCloud, etc... Your computer will let you know. See, by changing your admin password, you are no longer allowed to access your passwords stored in the keychain program. This makes perfect sense if you think about it. Otherwise, I could steal your computer, change the admin password in recovery mode, then log back in to you and open keychain to get all your other passwords. So the inconvenience you experience because you forgot your admin password is better than the pain you would feel if someone stole access to your entire digital life.

Here’s a tutorial of the same procedure with pictures.

USB power consumption


The minister we support in another country, has an issue with his laptop. The power receptacle, where you plug the cord into, has been damaged.
How can he go about fixing? Can we order a part, or parts here in the US, for him to do himself? Or is this something that he needs to take to an apple store?
The deal is that apple stores are only in the larger cities.


Sounds like you have the following choices:

A: Have him ship it back to you here in the USA and you take it the local Apple Store or do the repair yourself.
B: If it’s under AppleCare, contact AppleCare and see if they can service the country he is in. They may be willing to ship him a box for him to ship the computer to their closest repair facility.
C: He does the repair himself.

Let’s explore choice C. If there is actual viewable physical damage to the magnetic connector then there’s a good chance he can do the repair rather simply by changing out what’s called the “DC in Board”. Depending on the exact make/model of mac he has, the repair can range from simple to difficult.

Typical DC in Boards
Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 7.44.52 PM922-7368

The DC in board is usually only two screws and attaches directly to the logic board. You can usually find the part for around $60 on eBay then use to find the take apart for the exact model of his macbook.

If there are other symptoms other than physical damage to the part, the repair could be more extensive. Not charging can equate to bad battery, bad logic board, bad DC in board, bad cable, and the list goes on. But if you are saying the magnetic connector is physically damaged then try swapping out the DC in Board. If the unit is under AppleCare however, I encourage you to have Apple do it. However, the physical damage may not be covered. Good luck.

Partitioning your internal drive


Quick question - I have two children that are set up on iTunes on my account and randomly today they started getting included on my text messages. I did upgrade to ios7 yesterday. How do I take their itouches off my text messages?

On the iOS device, in settings look under both "messages" and "facetime".  Sign out of the apple id within each of those areas.  They can then sign in under their own apple id's.  This is not to be mistaken with the iTunes and App Store ID they use to purchase.  Sounds like they are logged in to your apple ID with messages and facetime.  You may also want to check their iCloud account in settings to be sure they are not logged into you there as well.  

buying a refurbished iPad

 I had to buy a new Mac Pro this AM to replace my dead laptop (it died this AM after backing up with Time Capsule--thank God).  Can you send me instructions for partitioning the laptop like we did before ?


Using spotlight, go to disk utility. Once there select the internal drive in the left column. It should be the first one listed. Now to the right, select “Partition”. Next choose “2 partitions” from the drop down menu just below the words “Partition Layout”. Now drag the horizontal bar up or down so it reflects the ratio of size between the two partitions. Lastly, select “apply” in the bottom right corner.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 1.25.08 PM

Once the drive is partitioned, now you will need to install OS X onto it, boot to it then re install Final Cut X. You could try option booting to the recovery drive then selecting the partition to install 10.8 onto. After installing OS X, you can log into the App Store on that partition and redownload Final Cut 10. Lastly, you’ll want to re add the templates you commonly use.

Partitioning an active drive without having to erase it was not always possible so I still cringe every time I partition my internal drive while in use. Technology is amazing.

Mac booting to a gray scren

this is the error message I get when I tried to email a picture from iPhoto. any ideas how to fix this?

Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 5.08.33 PM


While in iPhoto, Go into your preferences and select “Accounts”. Check to see that your email is spelled correctly and while you’re at it, re enter your password in the field provided.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 11.19.11 PM

If that doesn’t take care of things, hit the minus key and just read your email account.

Replacing my current MBP with what?

Hi Scotty
Question.  Why will I have to pay for iCloud when I run out of whatever?  First thought is that it is a scam since they want credit card number.  Can you help please?  


This day has been coming for a while now. Here’s what it all means. If you were a MobileMe subscriber many years ago, when Apple made the transition to iCloud, in an effort to appease people who had paid money, they gave extra iCloud storage space to everyone for a period of time. That time is up. Your iCloud storage space went from around 25 gigs to 5 gigs. If you want to keep your iCloud 25 gigs of storage space then Apple would love for you to pay them $40 per year. In my opinion, there is absolutely no good reason to do this. iCloud holds your contacts, calendars, some documents (if you created them in iWork applications such as Numbers, Keynote or Pages), as well as about the last month of pictures. That is going to continue. For most people, 5 gigs is totally enough to continue to use iCloud syncing services like the ones mentioned above. iCloud does not, and has never been an online storage area for your entire iPhoto library. This is a misconception shared by many of the people I work with.

The iCloud storage space is also used to back up your iOS device (iPad or iPhone) if you so choose but again, there is really no need to back up your device to the cloud. Let’s say you drop your phone in the lake (like I did a couple years ago). What did you just lose in terms of data?

Your contacts and calendars? No. Those will sync via iCloud and live on other computer and at whether you buy more space or not.
Your pictures? No. Your pictures are moving into iPhoto via photo stream if you turned on photo stream. And everyone should turn on photo stream!
Your music? No. No music lives on your iPhone that does live in iTunes are can be downloaded again from the iTunes store.
Your movies and apps? No. We no longer buy files. We buy permission to download those files for the rest of our lives. So if you bought Jaws 3 years ago and had it stored on your phone so you could watch it after going swimming in the lake later that night on the boat during the overnight campout, you can just redownload it again from the iTunes store once you’ve gotten a new device.

The one thing that you WILL lose is the order or arrangement your apps appear on your device. Which apps were on the front page? Which were in a folder? etc…

You will lose home videos you took on your device whether you have iCloud backup turned on or not. Those items do not move to the cloud until you connect to a wifi network. Which brings me to my next point. You can set your device to sync and backup to iTunes over wifi in your home already so the case to pay Apple $40 more just to keep the order of your apps seems pointless to me. I suggest you save your money. Do not pay for more space in iCloud and instead buy something nice for yourself.

Laptop monitor cracked

Hi, I had the app face dialer which I loved & no longer works in os 7, can u research & fins an equivalent to that app & the swype android one


Looks like Face Dialer was last updated almost 2 years ago.  I would guess the developer walked away from the app.  Finding something comparable will be a matter of digging through the app store and trying things out to find one that fits your own needs.

I want to sell my iMac.

Can you have a look at this and let me know if this is advisable. I have been missing some emails recently so thought that this might be a solution.

So this company would most likely be taking over control of your business email account.  They would be moving it from godaddy (who I think you are with now) over to a Microsoft exchange account.  

I'm not sure that will solve the problem but it's possible.  I would be interested to find out what emails you are missing, look at those to find a commonality then solve the problem within your current godaddy environment.  

I use godaddy IMAP based email myself and rarely have a problem.  If emails are not getting to you, here are a few reasons:

1. sender spelled the email incorrectly.
2. godaddy's filtering method was over zealous and moved it into your spam folder
3.  your email program (Apple's mail program) considered it junk and moved it into the junk folder.

Moving to a new email service provider will only solve the problem if number 2 is the cause.  If 2 is the cause then you should still be able to find the spammed email in your spam folder in your godaddy account.  

Why do hard drives die?

HI there! Hope all is well.
I am trying to get all my pics of my main computer and bring them with me on our vacation so I can do projects on my laptop while we are gone. Can we do a screen share session where you can help me download/transfer what I want?

Or..wait a minute...
I think all my pics are on the old orange external hard drive...Can I just bring that??

The file you would need to deal with is called the "iphoto library".  It holds the entire set of pictures within iPhoto and can be found in your pictures folder.  
It's a little involved but...

Drag that to an external drive.  connect the drive to your laptop while you're away.  Hold down the option key when opening iphoto on your laptop and point iphoto to the external iphoto library sitting on the external drive.  Work from that drive then when you return home, move the iphoto library back to the original pictures folder where you got it from and choose to "replace" because the newer version will now need to overwrite the older out of date version.

What should I buy?

Im trying to sell my computer its an i mac n i don't know how much i should sell it for its in great shape i never used it, i don't know much about computers heres the info on it Hardware Overview:
I purchased this in Nov,2012 - I only used it for pictures.
Model Name: iMac
Model Identifier: iMac8,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 2 GB

I suggest checking ebay for comparable models like the one listed here:
iMac 24" A1225 MA878LL A Mid '07 Intel C2D 2 4GHz 3GB 256MB 320GB 45DAYS WARNTY | eBay

Take a few days to monitor sales on several then average the price together.  I suspect it will be around 500-600$ for that model.

Wireless card for Macbook Pro?


I did get a new, black, Apple TV.  The installer went through and used the reset menu, so that all of my personal stuff is off of it.

Does this also get rid of any registration info, or will it still need to have my user ID and password entered?  In other words, will it be like it was when I got it from the store originally, and everything will have to be set from scratch?  

It is an amazing upgrade from the old model.

If you are referring to your original white AppleTV then there are two resets I think. The one you want is the “Factory Restore”. That should remove all personal data and content.

Youtube crashing the computer

Can you advise why I'm having problems receiving files, photos, etc via email?

Perhaps the files you are being sent are larger than the standard file size limit for email which is apprx. 10 megs to be safe. You may have also reached your mailbox storage limit although that is unlikely.  Gmail reserves 7 gigs for your emai.  I'ts doubtful you've surpassed 7 gigs of email storage.

Ram mystery

Whenever my son watches Youtube, after about 5 minutes the screen freezes and turns blue. I've tried disk repair. Happens on both Foxfire and Safari. Any suggestions or do I need to make an appointment at the Apple store for a repair. It's a G5, out of warranty.


Considering the computer’s age, G5’s became obsolete quite some time ago, it’s not really even worth putting much effort into fixing. It will not be able to update to the latest version of flash (which is most likely the problem) due to the fact that the G5 is based on a different type of computer language than the more current intel processors and the latest version of flash will not run on the older machines. One way to eliminate whether it is being caused by flash or possibly the graphics card would be to push the video rendering by other means. Play a quicktime movie, watch a DVD, or use the iTunes visualizer to push the graphics card. If the machine locks up, that’s a big check box next to “graphics card”.

With that in mind, it doesn’t mean the problem is unsolvable. There are a variety of things that could be causing the issue. Bad brewer plugins, hard drive dying, graphics card failing etc… very difficult to say without having the machine in my hands. Keep in mind, this machine has been end of life for quite some time and you’ll start to notice more and more incompatibility issues moving forward even if the youtube (flash) problem is resolved.

Hope this helped.

Will increasing ram make my game faster?

After the iTunes update, now it looks totally different. How can I put it back the way it was?

Yes, Apple updated iTunes to 11 and changed the interface around but many of us like it the way it was. Under the menu bar, select View. Next choose to show status bar and show Sidebar.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 9.17.17 PM

Lastly, select Songs as the view across the top of iTunes.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 9.20.26 PM

Ram not in all the way

How can I hide my “all mail” folder in Gmail so I don’t have to look at it. It’s driving me crazy.

To hide a Gmail folder or label from IMAP access:
  • Click the top right gear in Gmail
  • Select Mail settings from the menu that appears.
  • Go to Labels.
  • Make sure Show in IMAP is not checked for any folder or label you want to hide from email programs and devices connecting to Gmail via IMAP.
    • Hide All Mail, for example, to prevent your program from synchronizing GBs of mail.
      Do keep in mind, though, that moving a message to
      All Mail is a way of archiving when accessing Gmail via IMAP.

credit to Heinz Tschabitscher at

Computer won't boot. Spinng beach ball

I would like to upgrade my ram for this computer because the games that I play don't run nearly as smooth as I would like them to. I know what type of RAM I need and I have found that it is cheapest on I would like to maximize my frames per second in game and I was wondering if I should go with 8GB (Two 4BG slots), 16GB (Two 8GB slots), or 10GB (Keep my current 2GB slot and replace one with an 8GB slot). I'm not too sure how RAM works but all I know is that it is good for computers. I need to know if having 16GB is a waste of money if its not any better than 8GB for what I am using it for. I typically only have 3 programs running at the same time: The game I'm playing (highly graphics intensive), Chrome, and Skype. I just did a complete system restore but that didn't seem to help very much. I know I can't update my graphics card because it is integrated into the motherboard, so if you have any other tips on how to improve my MacBooks gaming that would be great.

A few things to consider, if you are running in 64 bit mode then your computer’s hardware can address more than 2 gigs of ram at a time with any given application. It is possible for your operating system to be running in 64 bit mode but the game/application only running in 32 bit. If this is the case, then having more ram (16 gigs) would not make much sense. More is always better in the long run because the 32 bit game may be updated to run natively in 64 bit.

To see what applications are in 4 bit, open the application then open Activity monitor.

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 7.43.43 PM
The applications not stating “4 bit” are running in 32 bit. This means if your game is not 64 bit then it will not take advantage of the larger amount of ram anyway.

Overall, if you can afford it, buy all the ram you can. Maxing the machine out is better in the long run than buying some now then buying more later. But if you are just replacing one chip, say an 8 gig in one slot then that would also be a very good choice. Hopes, this helps a little.

Can't get passed spinning wheel after update

Hey Scotty,
Could you guide us how to take off " the block". I'm ready to do away with it. We 
aren't able to get into many things we need.


Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 12.45.03 PM

The parental controls are not the problem.  You need to update flash.Adobe Flash Player - Downloads

Bad video on MBP

Hey I forgot to ask you if I can block emails while I am out of town know I am out of the office until Dec.31st??

Depending on the email service, there are different ways to do this. I believe you have a gmail account as your main account so you’ll want to go to and log in to your email account. Next, click the gear in the top right area and choose “settings”.

Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 6.15.48 PM
Now scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see “Vacation Responder”. From there you can select a date range and what you’d like to say in your auto response. Lastly, save changes at the very bottom.

For iCloud email (,, or the procedure is similar. You would log in to and adjust the settings from the web page.

You do not set up auto respond to happen locally on your computer. You use the email’s webmail web page. That way it will work whether your computer is on and running or not. Have a safe trip!

Signs of the dying Hard Drive

Scotty, I hope you're well.  You may remember that you replaced my hard drive earlier this year when it failed.  Since then, it seems that everything runs a good bit slower and I get the spinning beach ball of death quite a bit.  Maybe it's due to Time Machine, as I never used it before I crashed, but I wonder if more RAM is necessary?  I currently have 2 slots x 2GB in each (total of 4GB) with two empty slots.  I mostly use the iMac for my huge iPhoto library, iTunes and editing iMovies.  I even notice the slowness when only Mail and Safari are the only things open.  I would be interested in your thoughts.  

Having 4 gigs of ram should be plenty.  That is most likely not the problem.  Time machine usually does a good job of staying out of the way by only running for a very short period of time each hour throughout the day.  If things are very slow, you may first want to check the activity monitor for possible applications that could be running without your knowledge.  That is assuming the hard drive is healthy.  I would suggest first joining me on my weekly town hall at 7pm on Mondays and I can give you a few other suggestions that we can look at.

Apple Seagate HD recall

Do folders on my desktop slow down my mac?

As long as you have a small number of folders, you should be fine. It’s the desktops that have a massive amount of items on their desktop that things start going very wrong. The number of items inside a folder don’t count. It’s the actual items on the deskop. I suggest keeping it under 20 and you will be just fine.

As a general rule, consider the desktop a temporary work space for items you are currently working on. It is not a permanent storage area. If you aren’t going to be using the file for the next week or so, put it into the documents folder.

What hard drive to buy form my MBP

Earlier this month Apple announced a replacement program for certain iMacs sold between October 2009 and July 20111. I have received an overwhelming amount of email on the issue. Certain Seagate 1 TB drives were deemed defective. You can check your iMac’s qualifications by going here. If it does qualify, be sure you’ve backed up using Time Machine and then set up an appointment at your closest Apple Store. South Park or Northlake.

Only the Apple store can do the repair under its extended warranty program at no charge. I cannot do the repair on Apple’s behalf. If I have done a repair for you in the last 3 years that you feel falls within this replacement program, first check your serial number here to be sure your iMac qualifies then you are encouraged to contact Apple at 1-800-275-2273 for reimbursement of the fee you were charged. Apple may conclude they are responsible for the reimbursement costs of the repair. I can provide you with another copy of the receipt for the previous repair if needed.

While I CAN certainly continue to do these hard drive replacements, my costs are NOT covered by this replacement program. I am aware that some clients prefer that I do the repair at their own cost rather than have Apple do it for free due for reasons of convenience and I will continue to provide that service but I encourage you to consider Apple retail for this service.

Beep Beep Beep!

my buddy told me that the Civilization 5 game is really good.  Im not much of a gamer but that type of game may be fun to check out.  Know anything about it?   

I was reading about it and it seems to work better on more than 4gb of memory, which is what I have?  Is it challenging to add memory to my I MAC?   


Civilization is a turn based stradegy game. Basically, you manage armies and their resources, land, etc… It’s not my type of game. But I’m a little old school when it comes to gaming. I like simulators, slower paced puzzle-based games. Mostly console games with the exception of XPlane for the Mac with is a flight sim. Check out videos of Civilazation gameplay online at youtube to see if you would be into it.

With a game like that, the more memory the better. It’s very easy to add memory to your mac. Go to and look up your model. It’s one screw at the bottom of the computer.

Happy gaming.

LCD dimming accross one area

Hello Scotty!
I hope everything has been going well with you. I'm out in finally out in California! However, I have been having issues with my iPhone update for IOS 6. I tried to update my iPhone, but in doing so all of my data was wiped out, and I do not know how to reconfigure the iPhone and back up all of my data from my computer back to the phone. Does that make any sense? Thank you for your help!

When you connect your iPhone to your computer, (assuming that you had done so before) there’s a very good chance you can restore from backup.

Worst case however, if you can’t find a copy of your data through the above method you can always just read your iCloud account in settings and select to sync contacts, calendars, etc… Choose “merge” when prompted. You can also re-download all your purchased items from the phone by going to the App Store and choosing previous purchases.

Is my mac dying?

My iMac has a lighting issue, darkening, on the left side of the screen (see attached). I rebooted and its still there.  Any idea on what this is or how to fix?  I think this Mac is only over 1 year old...........

Hard to set appt with you if the only advice is to bring it back to Apple , so I thought I would see if this is worthy of an appt.  If so I will schedule one with you. Please advise......



Behind the LCD there are 2 or 3 connectors that supply power to the flattened florescent tubing inside the LCD itself. When one of those connectors comes loose it can cause a portion of the screen to dim. You would notice a dark area consistently across an entire section for left to right or top to bottom depending on the model iMac. It is also possible that there’s nothing wrong with the connector and could actually be the LCD florescent tube has failed. Either way, it WOULD be best to take it back to apple. This would be covered under AppleCare if you have it.

iPad smashed.

Scotty – my children are trying to download certain games from the internet to the iMac.   When they download, and you click on the button, a window pops up that says “cannot play in DOS mode”.  My kids say they know how to change out of DOS mode, but I don’t have any idea what the implications are of doing so.  In general, I find accessing downloaded files cumbersome to open on the Mac (especially if they are zipped)…any suggestions on the right step? 
Also, do you think we should schedule a session to learn how to use iCloud, or is it relatively straightforward?  My wife tried to implement it, but has some new gmail account that wont download, and I don’t know what is going on.

DOS is a computing language primarily associated to Microsoft and Windows. Most likely, if you are seeing any prompt on your mac that states anything to do with DOS you have probably downloaded the wrong game file. There ARE DOS emulators that some people use to play old games but those are generally only used by advanced users.

iCloud has a few features that people won’t generally find on their own like photo stream, document sharing, etc… I would be happy to assist or you are also welcome to join our Town Hall session Mondays at 7pm to try to get a better understanding of what iCloud does. In regard to the gmail account you mentioned, it’s very common to see homes with multiple Apple ID’s. It’s possible that your gmail account was used as an Apple ID but may not be the actual one you want to use with iCloud. We can straighten that out as well.

Hard Drive is full…3 choices

Hi Scotty,

Hope all is well.
As you can see from pics my daughter dropped her iPad 2 and screen is cracked. Apple wants $250 to fix. Can you do it cheaper and is it worth it?


photo 3


I do not do physical repairs on iOS devices. You may want to check out
iPhone Repair – Cell Phone Repair | They are based in Charlotte but I have not worked with them before.

Applications aren't opening after HD replacement

I forgot to add myself as a new user before I restored everything.  Now that I've done that, is there a way to change it or will I lose all the stuff I've restored?  I've restored all my files to the admin user acct apparently.
The only way to do it would be to create that new user and do it again.  You can then delete the other user after you feel you've completed the transfer into the new one.  Then start using Time Machine!  Get away from the umbrella.

Sharing a DVD drive with an Air


I tried typing in my client's skype name and it says I can't call them because I have blocked them.  How do I unblock them?

In Skype, go to preferences under “Skype” in the menu bar. Once there, select Privacy from the tabs across the top. You’ll then see “manage blocked users”. Click that and see if anyone is mistakenly listed. You’ll be able to select the person blocked and unblock them. Then hit “done”.
Screen Shot 2011-12-15 at 3.43.17 PM

Solid State drive in a G4 powerbook?

Why is my airport light blinking?

The most likely reason the airport is blinking could be due to a pending update.  7.5.2 needs to go to 7.6. If this is the case, then you’ll see a button to update to 7.6. Apple decided to cause the light to blink amber for this 7.6 update. Everyone’s airport routers are blinking.  However there could certainly be other reasons.  By opening airport utility and clicking on the status light the device will list the error(s) it's reporting.  Some errors are normal and can be ignored.  For instance, the error for default password for the device is fine.  
Screen Shot 2011-12-14 at 6.27.53 PM

Scotty you are very confusing.

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! my lil man must make a musical instrument that vibrates for a parade on friday.  what can i do that would be cool and creative?
Ok.  Make him a berimbau.  It's a Brazilian instrument like a bow and arrow that has a gourd as a resonating chamber.  Of course you don't need an actual gourd.  Here's what they look like...


So how would you make one?  

Get a branch or stick and some wire.  Bend the stick slightly and tie the wire to both ends basically making a bow and arrow.  Next take a plastic bow and drill or poke two holes in it.  Now run a string through the holes of the bow and around one end of the bow and arrow part.  Tie the sting in a loop shape as to compress the string slightly.  Now hit the string with a small stick. and use a rock to push against the string as you strike. It will change the pitch slightly.  You've got a berimbau.

More pictures: berimbau - Google Search

Homemade Berimbau - YouTube
Berimbau with bamboo - YouTube (more bad ass)
First homemade berimbau - YouTube you get the idea.

Keyboard keys not responding.

Many thanks for your comprehensive response. Apologies but I'm still confused for a basic lingo reason. Don't laugh but I'm not sure which measurement you mean when you recommend "2.2 or higher" to make Lion work well.

I see three measurement numbers with "twos" in my hardware profile-

Model Name: MacBook Pro
  Model Identifier: MacBookPro2,2
  Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
  Processor Speed: 2.33 GHz

Which hardware measurement should I compare with your recommendation? In other words, do I meet or flunk your 2.2 threshold? My guess is that I flunk because you're referring to my Processor Name (Core 2 Duo) rather than my Model Identifier (2.2) or Processor Speed (2.33). Just want to be sure.

It must have been may have been my fault.  When I say 2.2 or higher I am referring to processor speed.  I should have said 2.2ghz or higher although Apple only requires a Core 2 Duo processor regardless of speed of the processor.  Lion supports all Core 2 Duo processors, not to be mistaken with Core Duo processors.  You do not flunk my personal threshold for Lion. I would give the go ahead on that machine.

My router is failing? What other routers are out there besides Apple?

After I upgraded the software on my iphone4, some of the texts I sent are shown in blue and some are still green.  What is that about?

The blue messages mean they’re being delivered via Apple’s new free texting service called iMessage. These count as data only and are not considered text messages with your carrier. Green messages are official text messages delivered by your carrier and fall under your text messaging plan.

Well, how do we covert them all to iMessage type texts?  What determines if they are green texts that cost us money or blue texts that are iMessage and do not cost us more?  Does it have to do with the carrier we use?  Like if I send a text to a person with an ATT iphone, will it always be a charged text(green) and if I sent texts to those with different carriers, are they blue and therefore I do not pay for them?

iMessages can only be sent between Apple devices. Mac to iPhone. Mac to iPad, Mac to iPod Touch, iPhone to iPhone, iPhone to iPad, iPhone to iPod Touch, iPad to iPad, etc… If you are sending a text message to or from a phone without an Apple logo on it, then it’s going to fall under your carrier’s text messaging plan only. You can’t convert one type to another. With that said, nothing in life is free so while you can send an iMessage to another Apple product without counting against your text messaging plan, you are still counting against your data plan, UNLESS you are using wifi and not a cell tower, but even then someone is paying for wireless access. Hope this clears a little of the confusion.

Firmware update failed during install. Big problem

I have two of them. both doing the same thing  I know they are not NEW but i don't like the new one its smaller and i type very fast and make too many mistakes. The space bar sticks and two other keys don't type I can probably take it to the apple store. last time i did they just handed me two keyboards from the secret space behind the door  ;-)  Thanks Scotty i sure enjoy your pages of info

I'm not sure what your question is.  If you are having trouble with your keyboard it may be covered under the computer's original warranty.  The only thing I could tell you would be to check with Apple.  You may also try zapping the parameter ram as one of our users discovered during a town hall session recently who had the same problem.  To do this, hold down the P+R+command+Option keys at start up.  Wait for the chime then continue to hold down the combination of keys.  Let the computer restart with a chime 3 times then let go.  The key functions missing before may return.  Worth a try before a trip to SouthPark.  If the issue is physical then resetting the parameter ram will not help.

I spilled coffee on my mac. Help

Hi Scotty- hope you are well.... I am having same problem as a few months ago....some calendar items are automatically syncing to iphone, others are not....can't figure out why some are/are not.  I have gone in to manually sync and checked mobile me info...all looks fine...any suggestions?

The most likely cause is that you have accidentally created two families of calendars and are adding events to the wrong calendar. The first family of calendars should be under “MobileMe”. These calendars should be syncing however the second family may be called “on my mac”. If you have any of these calendars listed then most likely those are the problem. In 10.6 you should see your calendars on the left hand side of iCal. In 10.7 you need to click the “calendars” button in the top left hand corner of iCal and it will list the calendars as a drop down menu. Subsequently you should check on your iPad or iPhone under calendars in the calendar program to see if there are multiple families of calendars there as well. You may also want to look in the settings apps on your iOS device and go to mail, contacts, and calendars. Scroll all the way to the bottom and check to see what calendar is your default calendar.

If this is true and you’ve accidentally created a “on my mac” calendar (taking for granted that you were using MobileMe) then we’ll need to re-migrate those calendars back to the MobileMe calendar family. Hope this makes a little sense.

Do I need a new mac for Lion?

My time machine is not working and the message I get is that the backup disc is not available.  I am wondering if I need to buy a new airport with 2 TB so that the back up will have somewhere to go???

If your computer can’t find your time machine drive, first make sure it’s plugged in. You may want to unplug then plug in again. If it’s a hard drive and not a time capsule, you should see it appear on your desktop. Go to system preferences and then time machine. Next choose disk. Your drive should show up even if it’s a time capsule drive unless you’re not on the same network as the time capsule but that’s very doubtful considering your home network and the distance to any other network. If you are using a time capsule drive and you are prompted for a password, try “public” if your normal pw doesn’t work. “public” is the default password for reset or factory default time capsules. Just fyi.

If you are using a stand alone drive, another trick you could try would be to open disk utility (search in spotlight for “disk utility”) and your stand alone backup drive should show in the left hand column. Select it then choose “mount” in the top bar to see if you can get the mac to bring it to life.

Or your current drive could just be dead. It happens all the time.

You need to be backing up!!!

What iPhone to buy and iPad 1…will it work with iCloud?

I have not update my Macbook Pro to lion yet I have been reading about some problems with ones that are  over a yr or two old that go to Lion with them freezing up. Is that your experience also?  Should I just wait or go look for a newer Macbook? What is your thinking about Macbook Air?  I do mainly Photo editing. And running Fusion with windows so I can log into my office.  The Macbook I have  is the one you increased the hard disk size for me a yr and a half ago. And added more RAM 3 gigs. I think.
I could not hold off any longer had to get the new I phone even though its only an 4S and not the 5

Every major software upgrade is going to have problems but overall I think Lion is very reliable and can recommend it. You’ll need at least 2 gigs of ram and 4 is a lot better. Whether to wait or buy a new machine depends on a few factors. I’d need to know what the processor speed of your current mac is, how much ram is installed, what size hard drive and is the drive almost full? The answers to these questions would allow me to better recommend what to do because the cost of upgrading ram and hard drive could be less cost effective than purchasing a new computer. I installed a 500 gig drive so you’re probably not close to running out of space, 3 gigs may be the max ram for that computer so that’s fine for Lion. In my opinion the cut off for processor speed on whether to install Lion or not would be around core 2 Duo 2.2 or higher. You can install Lion on 2 ghz Core 2 Duo or higher but my experience has seen Lion run a bit too slow on the baseline requirement 2 ghz processor. I would say 2.2 or higher. Just my opinion.

The Air is a cool machine but not for me. It’s a nice compliment to another computer but I can’t say I could ever see using it as my main machine. Not enough hard drive space and I need ports.

What Mac should I buy?

How do I upgrade?  Can I download an upgrade on-line?  Do I need to purchase it?

You can upgrade to Lion via the App Store in 10.6.  It costs $29.99 If you want to use the new features of iCloud, you’ll have to have Lion.

What ram do I need?

Hi Scotty

Photography question.
A friend of mine is a professional photographer. He has a rather inelegant solution to my photo storage and sharing question. His solution:

3 portable hard drives
Take my 1500 photos off my iMac and put them on all 3

Keep one at work; give wife one (she's always getting on my computer for photos) and use one on my imac.

I guess as long as I have room, I don't need one for my imac.

What do you think?

The real question here is how to sync iPhoto libraries and I’ve tried all the solutions out there claiming to sync iPhoto libraries but I’m not ready to recommend any of them. However, there is new light. The photo stream feature of iCloud allows for instant access to shared pictures across multiple iPhoto libraries and iOS devices. This folder is only temporary however. Regardless, the user still has to do something to keep their libraries synced. You don’t really need an external hard drive for only 1500 photos. Even 15,000 or 150,000 is still not a huge number comparatively to what other heavy iPhoto users have in their libraries.

We’ve talked about photo sharing between libraries in your home and I still think that’s the best and most convienant way to move a small number of photos between computers. Photo sharing is not the best way to move all pictures at once but once both libraries are equal then photo sharing is a good way to keep them up to date.

What 750 gig 2.5" drive do you recommend?

Hi Scotty
Hope you are well.  You helped me a few years ago install Parallels on my mac so that I could run Windows.  All is working fine for the most part (it does not move at lightning speed but I have learned to live with it).  I have learned though that if I want to run Face Time I need to upgrade my operating system to Snow Leopard.  Do you know if this will have any impact on my Windows environment, etc.?  Please let me know when you can.

First, to address the slow speed issue, check to see how much ram you have. If you are running Parallels then you’ll want to increase the amount of ram to the computer’s maximum. Check out to order the most ram you can.

Now, I would need to know a couple of things”

1. how much hard drive space to you have left
2. how much ram does your computer have (or will have)
3. what version of parallels is running

Depending on those factors, I could then safely say yes to moving to Snow Leopard or not. Parallels Desktop for Mac - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia states that even up to Parallels 7, you can run 10.4.11 Tiger and still be able to use Parallels so you should be ok. Looks like most builds of Parallels will run in Snow Leopard.

How much ram can my MBP address?

Hi Scotty,

I just wanted to ask a quick question regarding a message I am getting to download rapport (a theft protection update?).  Do you recommend I do this?  It is free.


No. Stay away from it. Just always use common sense by not clicking on links in emails you were not expecting to get.

Change Graphics card on MBP? no.

Hi Scotty - My nephew has a problem with his computer.  It sends out an e-mail like this almost every day.  He doesn't have anyone who can help him.  Is there something you could do if I schedule you to see him?

Begin forwarded message:

Date: October 10, 2011 2:19:15 PM EDT
Subject: Re: Fwd: I DID IT!!

I was ready to throw in the towel my luck had finally turned around these days im making my way to the top this could be your big break (link removed)
see you


It sounds like he needs to change his password to that hotmail account asap.  Then stop using hotmail.  Email services to avoid are Yahoo, AOL, HotMail, Road Runner, BellSouth.  Use gmail.  I've never heard of any of my client's gmail passwords being compromised but I hear it all the time with the above mentioned addresses.  

His password was most likely a word or combination of words that could be found in the dictionary.  And a spammer was able to throw the dictionary at his login until he hit the correct word or combination of words.  He then sold that access to an advertising company and they are using his account to send out ads for crappy stuff posing as the email account holder.  Happens all the time.  Change the password to something not found in the dictionary.
Hi Scotty - I think we got the answer now.  I found two other issues that were similar in the "virus" section.  He's going to change his password.  If that doesn't work, he'll remove our addresses as well.

Here's another question for you.  Will the bots program keep our addresses and sell them or use them even without having our nephew's address as the host?  Will we need to change our address...I don't really want to do that unless it's necessary.


Yes, once a spammer has those email addresses they will continue to use them. This will have nothing to do with your account from that point so even if you change your email address, you’re not helping anything. The damage is already done. The “bots” and spammers would no longer need your nephew’s email address as a host. All you can do is change the password and let people know you’re not stranded in Russia asking for a few dollars to get a bus ticket back to England.

Can a 1998 iMac run Office?

Marcia was on safari last night and somehow this and another warning (I’ll send in a minute) appeared on her screen. I couldn’t get out of Safari-eventually turned the computer off. It seems to be working.
Do I need virus software to clean up?
Screen Shot 2011-09-20 at 6.57.39 AM

No you don’t need virus protection. That popup was a scam. It would have been fine to force quit safari by choosing “force quit” from the menu bar. It’s designed to affect windows machines. Never click on a message such as this and leave the website you were on that may have brought the message to you immediately.

Drive not mounting for time machine use

I need help obtaining Internet access through the virtual program.

The virtual machine shouldn't have an issue sharing the internet connection.  Just check your network settings in the vmware program itself to be sure you are sharing via bridged using autodetect as seen below.  

Screen Shot 2011-09-26 at 4.44.20 PM

How is Uverse?

looking to install itunes on new computer. have 2 external drives with about 122000 songs, 87000 dups. probably downloaded a couple old drives 2x, have new 1.5 terra to use for itunes. about how much to do that project thanks

That is an increbibly large music library.  There is a way to do it but it will take a very long time.  I suggest you look at either  Doug's Apps for iTunes Dupin - iTunes Duplicates Manager - v2.3.3 or  Rinse: How To Remove iTunes Duplicates - Delete Duplicates In iTunes.

There are several de-duplicating pieces of software but with that large a library it will take a long time to run.  Like a couple days.  I would not take on that project myself but I think you will have success with either of the above mentioned software.  

Do you repair iPod touches?

I am seriously thinking about purchasing an old i-mac computer that has graphics software on it. The apple store thinks it may have a classic 8 or 9 operating system. Would you happen to know what operating system it could be and if microsoft office can be loaded onto it?

It all depends on exactly what model iMac you are thinking of purchasing. Assuming it is the very first iMac (the Bondi Blue) that computer shipped with OS 8 and supported all the way up to Panther 10.3.9. Therefore if you were really had your heart set on working on one of the first iMacs, yes you could put Microsoft Office on it. Up to Office 2004 I believe. If you want more info on every mac every made check out
MacTracker. Good Luck!

Old Mac, new drive

Hi Scotty,

Do you repair ipod Touches by any chance?  My son dropped his fourth generation Touch and the screen broke.  I was curious if you do that kind of work.  Please let me know.

No, I’m sorry. I don’t repair physically damaged iPod touches or iPhones.

How much ram for the old macbook pro?


Quick question.

My internet has been super slow. Type in address, it sticks for a long while, and then opens extremely slowly. I had Ivan our IT partner test my speed, and it checks out perfect for both T1 (1.5) and DSL (5.4). I remember you had checked it previously and thought it slow. Ivan thinks that since the lines are checking out, it might be my computer and how it is receiving. All I know is that it is dramatically slower than ever before.

Any thoughts on what might be causing this from a Mac perspective?

I seem to remember your wireless access point was a linksys router sitting on the floor behind the front desks in the main office area.  If you are connecting wirelessly it could have more to do with the router than the mac.  I've often found that the problem is not with the mac itself.  However you may want to compare speeds by using a different browser.  Chrome over Safari to see if you notice a difference.  Was the test machine wireless or wired?  That would make a big difference.  I would suggest in the long run you replace that linksys router eventually.  (I'm not a fan of Linksys/Cisco routers).  Just an opinion.  

Another sure fire way to narrow down the problem is to connect your mac directly to an ethernet port on a wall nearby to find if the problem continues to exist when wired in.

I’m definitely wired in directly. I’ll try Chrome. If it is the Mac, what can I do?
In that case, the next step if you don’t have another mac to test with would be to test with your own mac but from a different user. You log out of your user, log in to another user and test internet speed there. That would tell us a great deal.


Do you think we should upgrade all computers to Lion?

Difficult to say.  Whether I would suggest someone go to Lion has more to do with the age of their computer, hard drive space available and amount of ram they have.  Lion needs at least 2 gigs minimum.  More if you can install it.

Lion system requirements can be found here: Apple - OS X Lion - Technical specifications

Ram won't come out of the iMac


The conference call webcasts at do not work on a mac. Please help.

continued from town hall:

Ok, figured it out.  The windows media player plug in is written in 32 bit.  Your operating system is native 64 bit.  Here's the work around.  Use firefox and when you go to view the meeting/webcast, you'll be prompted to restart Firefox in 32 bit mode in order for the windows media plug in to work.  I was able to hear the conference call after doing that.  There are other ways to force the other browsers into 32 bit mode but at this point I would just download firefox and use that browser only for the conference call tasks.  

Marware iPhone and iPad cases


any ideas for this...? I just got home after being away for 5 days, during which time I did not use my email account (a "me" account) from my imac -- I did, however, continue to use this same email account on my iphone and use it now from my macpro to email you.

When i went to my imac today, that email account is entirely absent from the mail program on my imac. I open email from the imac and all files are empty; i cannot send an email either. very strange.

I would love your hunch is that something simple is going on, maybe something turned off accidentally? the internet is definitely up and running fine on the imac.

The first thing I would check is in mail’s preferences. Under the accounts tab, check the advanced pane to see if the account has been disabled. Be sure the account has the “enable this account” box checked. See below:
Screen Shot 2011-08-16 at 9.03.47 PM
If it is checked then you may just want to delete the account by selecting it then hitting the minus button in the bottom left hand area then re add it again. MobileMe accounts are IMAP so you shouldn’t loose anything. It should just all come right back again.

you are was disabled. all good now. Thanks much.

When is a good time to buy?

You had said at some point I'd need an additional secondary hard drive. If you think the one is enough, I'll hold off. If I were going to get another, I'd definitely get another LaCie. I'd planned on having another to add to my present set-up, rather than replace my current LaCie.

Having two drives (one outside your home) is a great way to keep your data safe.  It's a little bit of a hassle to trade them out from time to time but if you have the same manufacturer for both drives then it's less bothersome if the power cables can stay and only the drive moves.  I still don't like the cloud backup plans like carbonite and mozey just yet.  I'm not ready to recommend them until some things change around them.  

Is the air up to par for Virtualization and large iPhoto libraries?

Hey Scotty,

As I think I mentioned, we just bought another piece of Mac hardware in the form of a macbook air.  I was dismayed to learn it doesn't come with word processing or excel software standard however.  Do you recommend just downloading a copy online or is there a cheaper way to get them?  Iworks is $80 for one copy, and I think we actually use Word more so we'd probably rather have that for now....advice?  Thanks!

You may want to take another look at Pages (available in the Mac App Store) for $20. You can transfer Office from one computer to another if you have installed it on another computer in the past. The home edition allows 3 installs. If it’s the 2004 version however, it will not run on new macs. 2008 and later should be fine. You don’t have to pay $80 for iWork anymore. It’s available separately as I stated, in the Mac App Store.

If your heart is set on Office, and you don’t have the original disc, then you can download it from Microsoft for around $160.

ATT Uverse

I know, from some of your comments, that there is often a cycle to Apple's actions.  If I decide to purchase a laptop, should I do it now or is a new cycle imminent and waiting would be best.

There’s a great buyer’s guide at macrumors that simply tracks how often products are updated and recommends buying or not buying based on where they are in the product cycle. check it out at: Mac Buyer's Guide: Know When to Buy Your Mac, iPod or iPhone

Should I buy a used computer?

Hate to bug ya but up at our place in mountains and trying to use an airport express as a range extender but keep getting orange flashing there an easy way to use that as a range extender..thx!!!

First I assume you have an airport extreme or other express in the home already. Now you’ll need to go to airport utility and choose to allow that network to be extended.
Screen Shot 2011-08-11 at 8.10.27 PM
Next be sure your express is set to extend the network as seen below. Not creating a network as above.
Screen Shot 2011-08-11 at 8.11.44 PM

What external drive to you recommend?

Can I transfer my own data from my older macbook to my new macbook pro?

Yes but you’d need a firewire 400 to 800 cable to transfer data during the initial setup. Otherwise you can do it using the migration assistant with an ethernet cable later.

iMac possibly overheating.

I need to reset my password on my Air and I don’t have another computer or the DVDs. How can I do it?

10.5 and 10.6

  1. Power on or restart your Mac.
  2. At power on, hold down Command+S on your keyboard to enter single-user mode.
  3. This step is optional, but it’s a good idea because it checks the consistency of the hard disk before moving on. At the prompt, type fsck -fy and press Enter/Return. Wait for the checks to complete before going to the next step.
  4. Type mount -uw / and press Enter.
  5. Type launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ and press Enter.
  6. Type ls /Users and press Enter. This lists all of the usernames on the computer – helpful if you don’t know or remember what these are.
  7. Type dscl . -passwd /Users/username password and replace “username” with one of the users displayed in the previous step. Replace “password” with a new password of your choice. Press Enter.
  8. Type reboot and press Enter.
  9. Thanks to for the tip.

MBP power on issue

Hey Scotty,

Can you recommend a GOOD terabyte external USB drive?

My personal favorite drives are the
LaCie Quadras. They are a little pricy. So for that reason, the best way to go to save a little money and still have a good drive is to look at the Seagate GoFlex. Good USB drives for less money. Stay far away from the Western Digital MyBook drives. I hate them. High failure rate.

The death of the DVD/CD

My gmail does not recognize my password. I reset it and now I cannot get to the correct page. I think the problem would be solved if I could get the icon in the dock to use the new password. Can you help

If you’ve changed your gmail password then you’ll need to change it in your mail program as well. With mail open go to “preferences” under the word Mail in the menu bar. Now select the gmail account to the left and you’ll see the password for incoming server there. Change it then select outgoing server and “edit”.
Screen Shot 2011-07-21 at 10.04.47 PM
After selecting the outgoing server and chosing “edit” select advanced under the tab listed below and change the outgoing password as well. That should do it.
Screen Shot 2011-07-21 at 10.10.25 PM

CPU load too high

Hi Scotty,   Not sure if you remember but last time I had you come out because my photos on iphoto had disappeared.  It was something easy like a new iphoto library was created and the real one was hidden but I cant for the life of me figure it out how to see if that is the problem and switch it back.  Can you refresh my memory?

Should be an easy fix. Holding down the option key open iPhoto. You’ll be prompted with this screen.
Screen shot 2011-06-30 at 12.54.32 AM
iPhoto should scan your hard drive(s) and list available iPhoto libraries to use. Select the appropriate one and you are on your way back. It will remember this setting the next time you open iPhoto. That’s it. (hopefully)

Computer should be on to charge iOS devices


I hope you are well, should I be concerned about this load on my CPU?  It says the dock is using 99%??  i would be glad to make an appointment for you to come look at it if you think I should

Screen shot 2011-06-29 at 11.59.23 AM

This is definately a problem. What version of the OS are you on? I wonder if you updated to 10.6.8 which others are reporting causes random cpu cycles. There are several ways to attack the issue. First you’ll want to go to activity monitor and select “all processses”. Then sort by cpu load. This could lead to possible causes.
Screen shot 2011-06-29 at 10.53.59 PM
Do that and report back. There may be a few simple fixes we can try by reseting some preference lists. I need to see what’s running first. Take a screen shot of it and send it over. It may be fastest if either you schedule me or take it by the apple store as well. Does it continue this pattern after a restart?

Have to buy a netbook. NNNNOOOOOOO!

Scott, my contacts on iPhone should auto update when I enter on my new macpro, correct? Entered some 2 hrs ago and not synced yet... Step I need to take?

If you are a mobileme subscriber and have a or email address then you can use that service to sync contacts and calendars wirelessly over the internet as long as both the iphone and computer are set up to sync. If you do not have this service then you can still use google to sync your contacts if you have a gmail account although there are a few more steps involved. Otherwise, you’ll need to connect your iphone to itunes via a cable and sync that way.

In iTunes, connect your iphone then go to the “info” window and select the appropriate settings.Screen shot 2011-06-05 at 7.13.57 PM

USB or not USB?...thunderbolt!

I was going to give my mother an iPad 2. Does she need a home computer or can the iPad function independantly?

You’ll need a computer to initialize the iPad first but after that it doesn’t need a computer to function. However, you may want to consider occasionally connecting to some computer so that it can backup itself as well as transfer purchases made via the iTunes store. But I’d say getting the iPad for the mom is a great way to go.

Buying an LCD projector

Dear Scotty,
    Will you please help me with this problem that happens on the playroom computer and my brothers laptop, but not my mom’s computer: When I am on safari and I go to a website (such as Google) it works fine, but when I try to click on a hyperlink that leads me to another part of the website (like clicking on the Google Docs link) I get a message that says: Safari can’t oen the page https://etc.... can’t establish a secure connection to the server.

My first guess would be that you may be using a computer that has parental controls on it and thus cannot connect to any website that is using https.  In other words, if you cannot log in to an account on the web that that is most likely the problem.  This is a google docs link which requires https.  Can you log into to get your mail?  If you can then the parental controls are not the problem.  It would be something else.  

Do you repair Windows computers? No.

If I buy a new external HD (I'm looking at the LaCie 1TB all-terrain) should I get the USB3 or USB2? Would the USB3 be compatible with my laptop since it's a couple of years old?

The Lacies are good drives. Although as you’ve heard me say...every drive dies. So backup the backup. There’s almost a zero percent chance that Apple will ever support USB 3. They now have Thunderbolt which doubles that speed. The problem is that no devices really exist yet to use it. I would say go ahead and get either USB 2 or 3. The 3 model will come with a standard USB 2 cable as well as the newer 3 form factor. If you can save a little money by just getting a 2 then do that. With all that said, if you can afford the Firewire 800 model that’s the best choice.

User's internet speed is slow.

I have put together a slideshow on iMovie with scanned photos.  You helped me do this a few years ago and I was able to burn a CD of it to pass along to my son's team.  I have all my pictures together and in order set to music in iMovie, but I can't seem to find how to attach the song to the slideshow, nor how to burn it to a CD like I did last time.  The tutorials are all for the new iLife version which I do not have --mine is a 2007.

Could you direct me to the right button or tutorial?

Under the share menu in iMovie, choose to "send to iDVD".  Apple will be at the front of the pack in leading the charge to remove CD drives from computers in the very near future and as a precursor to this action, they've hidden the ability to burn discs further away from users.  They prefer you share video over the internet.  But for now, iDVD is still alive and kicking.  It has just not undergone any major updates in several years.  

Screen shot 2011-03-21 at 1.12.55 PM

Every Hard Drive Dies.

When I touch applications on iphone and request update , it is giving me son’s apple ID. How do I change this to my own itunes account?
Many thanks again for coming out tonight and helping me find my contacts! YOur awesome!

Since these certain apps were purchased under the son’s Apple ID they are forever associated to his account. Honestly, if these are free apps, then you are better off deleting them then re-adding them under your own ID. If these are paid apps that you would like to update, then you’ll need to provide his account password to update them then log back in on your phone to your own ID.

Panasonic HDC-TM700 with iMovie?

I am having two different issues. One how do I get the snow leo. mac osx 10.6. Then I am having the same problem with Imail nothing to do with addresses, things just will not go out. So I am using all the other email s.  anything you can suggest. Also the I pad is doing funny things. The typing is out of sync and also it will just in mid sentence drop down into another line.

First issue: To acquire Snow Leopard, the easiest thing to do is to purchase it for $29 at the Apple Store, Best Buy or on It is not available as a download. It must be purchased on a DVD.

With the mail not sending, it sounds like there may be a problem with your outgoing mail server settings. Since you have many email addresses it is a problem more easily handled in person.

Last issue: One possibility could be that your hand is physically making contact with the iPad screen therefore causing the cursor placement to jump to a different area. If you feel this is not the case, then you may want to restart your iPad by holding both the home button and the sleep button up top until you see the red slider. Slide it then after the iPad goes off you can hold the sleep button up top to start it back up again.

What hard drive do you recommend?


ML got the following message in a pop up window when her computer turned on (after sleeping).  Is this a real message? If so, what do we need to do?


ATTENTION ! Security Center has detected
malware on your computer !

Affected Software:

Apple Macintosh 10.6 Snow Leopard
Apple Macintosh 10.5 Leopard
Apple Macintosh 10.4 Tiger
Microsoft Windows 7
Microsoft Windows Vista
Microsoft Windows XP

Impact of Vulnerability: Remote Code Execution / Virus Infection /
Unexpected shutdowns

Recommendation: Users running vulnerable version should install a repair utility immediately

Your system IS affected, download the patch from the address below !
Failure to do so may result in severe computer malfunction.

Ignore it. It’s a scam. You would not want to click on that link. Most likely a pop up from a website you visited. Nothing to worry about.

Buying new batteries for old computers

Can you recommend a good hard drive for me to purchase?

First, you have to have the mindset that every hard drive dies. That’s why backup is so important. I see a lot of drives die every week. It does not matter how old or young they are. They all die. If you believe this then you’ll never lose your data.
You can buy an external drive at any Best Buy for around $100.  Here are a few I recommend:
small (more expensive as you are paying for convenience)
Portable hard drive | USB hard Drive | FreeAgent | GoFlex Ultra Portable Drive | Seagate

larger and more space but not portableDesktop hard drive | External Desktop hard drives | FreeAgent | GoFlex Desk | Seagate

These are both available at Best Buy.

Avoid the Western Digital drives. They usually come preloaded with a separate CD image that is a pain to take off. Their plastic enclosures have a higher failure rate in my opinion.

Formatting a disk for both Windows and a Mac.

Hey Scotty,

My daughter got a bizarre email on g.mail.  Do you know how/can you determine who sent it?  I do know it is someone at her school and this is not the first time.  

It also involves several others who were contacted by this same bogus address-


The best you can do is check the header information. In Apple’s mail program (hopefully she’s using that) go to View in the menu bar and select either long headers or Raw info. Within the contents that it displays, there’s a good chance the sender’s email or at least some information about them would be listed.
Screen shot 2011-02-02 at 6.07.39 PM
If the send sent the email from a public computer it would be harder to track.

Don't use a glue gun to fix your computer.

Hope all is good with you and your family!  I have tried to alt command esc but won't help. What can I do?

If command+option+esc doesn’t bring up the force quit dialogue box then you’re only option is to hold the power button down to force power off the machine. You’ll lose unsaved documents but hopefully you’ll be back up with no problem.

Not to worry too much...that can also be a sign of a dying hard drive. Ugh.

What's the difference between iMac processors?

Scotty - I am building a new database for a new business.  Have about 300-400 names I want in my address book, so will hire a student to do this for me.  My question: can this be done remotely by someone with a Mac, then emailed to me so I can just add the entries to my address book in one move?  Please advise - thanks.

Yes. This can be done no problem. Your assistant would first do the data entry in their own address book or in a completely different user on their computer (as to not get their contacts mixed up). The first thing they would do is add a new group to the address book. Next add all the new contacts into that group. Then “select all” contacts in that group and choose “export group vcard” under the File menu. Then they’ll email you that group vcard and you drag it onto your own address book.

Screen shot 2011-01-15 at 11.54.14 AM

DVD Region Code resets only 5 times.

Hi Scotty,
FYI, the HP Photosmart C7180 printer was not seen during installation of the latest print driver printer when connected to Airport Extreme through USB so I installed the printer on the Mac Pro (OS Snow Leopard 10.6x) directly through a USB port and it works when connected this way.  However, when the printer is connected to Airport Extreme through the Airport USB port it cannot be accessed. The printer shows that it is “offline” How do I access the printer through AE.?

The first thing we’ll want to check is to see if the Airport Extreme is recognizing that the printer is connected. Go to airport utility and double click on the icon on the left representing the airport extreme. Next, select “printers”

Screen shot 2011-01-14 at 10.24.41 PM

If the printer does not show, unplug and replug it. You may want to restart the base station as well although that’s usually not nesassary. If the printer is showing then we’d next want to be sure that the 10.6 driver is installed. I know you said the latest driver was installed but HP completely rewrote their printer drivers for 10.6 snow leopard.

Thanks for the response, what is the version of the latest print driver for the HP so I can check it…printer shows “off line” even after disconnecting and reconnecting to the USB hub which is connected to Airport Extreme. FYI printer operates from a Windows laptop connected through my network.

It depends on what operating system you’re in. You stated you are in 10.6 so the driver you’d need should be this one:
HP Photosmart Full Feature Software and Drivers - Mac OS X v10.6 HP Photosmart C7180 All-in-One Printer - HP Customer Care (United States - English)
Although it shouldn’t matter, you might try connecting it directly to the airport extreme. Also be sure to delete the old printer in system prefs before doing anything.

AppleTV making weird noises with HDMI Switch

what is the difference between the i3, i5, and i7?

Speed.  How many sets of instructions can be executed at one time. Number of cores (orbrains) per chip.  Overall though the difference is on such a small scale considering your needs, I think you'll be happy with either of them.  Maybe aim for the Core i5.   I know you work in iPhoto quite a bit. If you were a heavy photoshop user or final cut user then you may be a little more in the market for the i7 but overall I think the middle line would be a great choice. Here’s a great article comparing each.Core i3 vs i5 vs i7: Intel's Processors Explained If you want to get crazy detailed you can check out the Wikipedia page dedicated to the subject here: Intel Core - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Screen Replacement on Apple Devices

My screen's color is all out of whack.  My email is black and pictures look like a negative image from old film strips.  What is going on?

Sounds like someone accidentally enabled the Color inversion feature in Universal Access. That feature is designed to assist people with sight impairments. It’s an easy fix.

Go to system preferences then select universal access. You’ll see the option to choose black on white or white on black under the Display listing.
Screen shot 2011-01-07 at 10.47.54 AM
That should take care of it.

Disabling the buttons on a Cinema Display


Tell me one more time how to bring several pictures up. What I mean is how do you move 10 pictures at a time. I have held down the command button and highlighter the ones I want to move , and then move one which has a number on it saying 10 but only one moves.


That's right.  It looks like only one moves but the number 10 actually means that they are all moving at the same time.  Then when you let go of the icon over a folder, they will all appear there.  

You are correct to hold down the command key to select multiple pictures.

then way are they still in the spot they were moved from


They are not moved, only copied to another folder.  If you would like to get rid of them, then you would hit command+delete after selecting multiples.  

Two drives not showing on the Mac


We are experiencing on line unauthorized technology charges on our bank account.  Any advice?


If you feel your card or account is being charged by someone that you've not authorized, you should contact the bank asap to have the card canceled or at least investigate the charges to see what is doing it.  Charges often provide 1-800 numbers you can call to find out what it is that's doing it.  

Airport Extreme dead?

The buttons on the side of my cinema display have stopped working. It’s connected to my MacBook Pro. How can I reactivate them?


I think I may have found your answer.  I don't have a cinema display so I can't test it but if this works, it is ridiculous that they would implement this feature this way.

LCD Displays: How to Disable Touch Switch

10.5 needed on an older iMac

Meanwhile, we have thought about putting a timer on our modem to prevent the boys from staying up all night playing games.  Obviously we don't want to do that right now given our recent problems.  I'm just wondering if you've heard of people doing this before and if it causes problems with the modem or wifi.  


There are several ways to limit your child’s access to t.v. or video games. A battle I’ve personally been fighting in my own home for some time. Kids are very resourceful however and it’s very hard to stay ahead of them. Ultimately I’ve found that it’s a good idea to use several approaches and continue to check behind yourself. Kids can often circumvent your plans then reset things so you don’t know they’ve done it.

First you have to admit that they are smarter than you. Once you’ve realized that, then you can move forward. Depending on the game system, some have better parental controls than others. XBox has decent parental controls but remember that your children are experts at this device. So you better have your act together if you’re going to put time limits on the XBox. The Wii has very weak parental controls and I don’t have any experience on the Playstation world so I can’t say anything about that.

You may also consider checking your TV’s actual parental controls. Some TV’s have time limit settings. Some routers has the ability to block access to certain devices at certain times. This blocks access to online gaming but not other gaming. There’s also physical lock boxes like power cop. These have timers built in to them that you would plug the tv into. They come with keys that you use to unlock the power cords plugged in. A very good solution.

Ultimately you want to use a combination of these with the expectation that you will constantly check to see if your child has found a work around. Your child is much more resourceful and persistent than you are!

Cameras that work with iMovie


   I have 2 different WD Passport external hard drives that I cannot get my computers (desktop and laptop) to recognize.  I have used these external hard drives for a while in the past to store files; except now all of a sudden they are not picked up by my computers.
Any solutions?



As I always say...every hard drive dies. But not two at the same time. There must be another explanation. I would suggest fist try connecting them to other Macs to see if that may work. If they don’t then the drives are the problem. If they do connect then we go back to the other computer. Once you connect them to the other computer, open a program called “disk utility” in the utilities folder inside the applications folder. You can also spotlight search for it. Disk Utility should give you the option to manually mount the drives if they are anywhere close to available. Give that a try.

MBP not powering on My laptop was running when I left for lunch, and now it is off and I cannot re boot it. Any suggestions? Please help,

What was the name of that menu tool that runs on top of the screen and lets you know how your mac is running?


iStat Menu.
It extracts info from Activity Monitor. A very great program. Used to be free but is worth the money if you’re into the geeky side of computers.

Do you repair damaged iPods and iPhones?

I just got a new ipod touch and im trying to sync
it.It needs the new version of itunes to work and the new itunes needs mac os x 10.5 or higher to run but i cant get the mac update to download. My computer is an older mac, so could that be the problem?


It depends on what mac it is. If it’s a PowerPC iMac instead of a more modern intel based iMac then there could be an issue although even the PPC iMacs should run 10.5. However 10.5 needs at least 512 megs of ram so you may below the requirements there. Another possibility could be that you may be out of space on your hard drive. But it sounds most likely like you need to get 10.5 on your machine in order to get the most recent version of iTunes.

Finding ram for G5 tower

  My laptop was running when I left for lunch, and now it is off and I cannot re boot it.  Any suggestions?
Please help,


Did you try holding down the power button for several seconds? Pull the battery and try once more.  Be sure to hold it down for several seconds with the battery out.   Then try to power it on plugged up.  If it still does not boot, replace the battery and try with the battery installed.  

Thanks,  we got it back on.  I will do some tasks to see if it is ok.

Macbook Air for a Child? ummmmm...

iPod screen is damaged. Do you do ipod repairs or know someone who does?


While I do not do repairs on iphones or ipods generally, there are a few online companies that usually do a good job.

iPod Screen Repair | iPod LCD Screen Replacement


Repair Service for Apple's iPod and iPhone | milliamp™

Adding ram and increasing Hard Drive space for Christmas

What's up man? I was wondering if you knew of a good place, either online or around, that I can find reasonably priced Memory for my G5? My machine seems to be running slower than it was before I started having issues. It takes the DDR SDRAM memory. Also, it may just be mental, but I've seemed to get better results from apple ram as opposed to generic brands in the past. Is it mental or does their ram tend to work better with their machines?


Apple actually just buys their ram from other manufacturers so there’s no truth to thinking that Apple Ram runs better. However, when a manufacturer makes a batch of ram, it goes through the chips and determines each chip’s quality then separates them into different levels of quality. They then sell those at different price points to different resellers. Apple buys from the top bucket as does Crucial. When you see ram at extremely discounted prices then very likely it’s crappy ram.

Now, the issue that you are dealing with is that the age of the machine means that ram is harder to find. Ram prices actually tend to go up as it gets older after a time. I would check eBay first. Used ram is fine. I recommend but that can sometimes be pricy.

Right click on Magic Mouse

Good morning,
We have some Mac questions and are glad to pay for your advice and/or schedule a "house call" if needed.
1.  UNC Charlotte  is now using Trend Micro and suggesting that faculty also use it at home - even for Macs.  Should we download it?

Trend Micro is an antivirus and to my knowledge, doesn’t make a version for the Mac. However, currently Antivirus software is unnecessary on the Mac.  I do not recommend installing it.  There are companies that make this type of product for the mac but it not needed at this time. You’ll be wasting your money.

2.  The CNN site says it appears we are from outside of the US and would we like to make the "international" version our default.  Any ideas as to why they think that?  Also our bank's site says we are signing in from "a different computer" about once a month and we only use our home computer?
You can change your CNN preferences directly on their site in the top lefthand corner.  Shown below:
Screen shot 2010-12-06 at 11.08.57 PM
To answer the bank question, I would need more information.  I would need to actually see the statement.  

3.  Our printer isn't printing most of many pages and it has paper and ink and I can't figure what is "bothering" it - any suggestions?
That would need to be solved on location.

4.  We are going to buy a new lap top and have been looking at Macbook.  UNCC's Apple store has 3 in the 13 in. size.  partner needs it to use excel and word and would like to "play" with some of our pictures.  Option 1 has 2 GB memory and 250 GB hard drive; option 2 costs $150 more with 4 GB memory and 250 GB hard drive and SD card slot; option 3 has 4 GB memory, 320 GB hard drive and the SD card slot and costs $300 more than option 2.  Any advice/considerations we should think about before deciding?
Since you're not really a "power user" the baseline model would be just fine.  You can always add more memory later or increase the hard drive space later as well.  I would suggest going with the least expensive model considering your needs.
5, The UNC Charlotte Apple store currently is offering either free or greatly discounted printer with purchase of a laptop. Any advice on Epson versus HP?
HP printers are by far the most popular.  I've used every printer out there and I think I would have to say for ease of use, the HP wins.   No printer currently blows me away but if I had to choose, the HP would be the way to go for best all around printing.  Getting one with a color display is preferable.  The HP Premium is ok.

6.  We assume we need a router to do what we want- Gary wants a way to use both a Mac and a non-Mac laptop at same time in several areas of the house.  Is that possible and again, what should we be thinking about that we don't know to ask?
I recommend the Apple Airport Extreme router.  It's a more expensive than most other routers but is very strong and reliable.  If you are looking to keep costs down however, most routers are fine.  Stay away from "Linksys" routers.  Nothing but headaches.  

One thing you need to consider is your backup method.  You need a hard drive to back up both computers.  The Seagate FreeAgent Go Flex is fine and available at Best Buy.  

What is the Smartware doing on my computer?

I have a problem with my email. I cannot get the messages to display.
Can you help?


Yes, I can assist.  Are you having to doubleclick to see the email?  There ARE a few ways to accidentally hide email in Apple's mail application. Look for the small “handle bar” in the mail application. If you double click on it, it will hide or show the current email you’ve selected. See below:

Screen shot 2010-12-06 at 10.44.34 PM

Another button to watch out for is the small “pill” shaped button in the top right hand corner. It will hide and show your buttons. It can be a pain if you are not aware of what it does. Not sure if that is what you’re experiencing but just thought I’d mention it.

Screen shot 2010-12-06 at 10.47.13 PM

Danger Danger! Your hard drive is getting too full.

I used to have an option of dictionary (spellcheck) if I right clicked.  Did I lose that with this new mouse?


When we added the new magic mouse and enabled right click that should act exactly the way your old right click worked including having access to dictionary features when applicable.

MyBook hard drive dies again

He Scotty,
Hope you are doing well.  I wanted to check with you and get your opinion on Quicken for mac.  I am running 2007 and know that it is time to upgrade; but I not sure which version to go with.  I have tried to read reviews - but they are not much help - too confusing!  If we need to set up an appointment to do this - I will be glad to do that.  Please let me know.


I’ll tell you that most of my clients have abandoned Quicken along with myself. They just took too long to get it right. The last version was in 07 like you said but they drug their feet trying to get a new version out that would take advantage of all the features the operating system had to offer. So they fell way behind. Meanwhile, companies like iBank and Moneywell came on strong and gained a good bit of ground. But it’s all pointless because they’ll all been destroyed by Mint is now my favorite way to keep up with my money. It auto categorizes my transactions which is wonderful. It will text me if I spend too much. It has limits you can set on certain categories and notifies you if you go over. Mint is so good, that Intuit (the company that produces Quicken and Quickbooks) just bought them. So expect to see some sort of merged software in the future. In the meantime, try out Mint. It’s free so you can use it along with anything else you want and it won’t effect anything.

Where to find an external CD/DVD burner

My hard drive is not showing up on my desk top.  I turned my computer off, disconnected the hard drive, reconnected it and turned the computer back on and the hard drive still is not on my desktop.  This was my usual solution.  What do you suggest?



The hard drive you have is the MyBook by Western Digital. I don’t hold that drive in high regard. As a matter of fact, it’s number 2 on my list of worst products. I would suggest unplugging and plugging back in. Both power and cable connecting to the computer. There is a power button on the back. Be sure that you’ve tried that. Otherwise, it may have died in the move. Every hard drive dies as I always say but that MyBook drive is horrible and I hate it with a passion!

Buying Refurbished from Apple

We'd like for our son, to get basic training on how to use XCode to develop an app for an iPhone or an iPad.  He is interested in learning to write game software!

I don't know if you would be available for that (I really hope so!) or if not, would you know someone?


Wonderful that your son is developing an interest in coding. If he has not yet found Xcode, he can first do so by using the install disc that came with the computer to install the additional developers software. iOS development is not something I am comfortable in. I am in the process of learning myself so I don’t think I would be of great assistance. But depending on how old he is I would suggest first enrolling in the Developers program with Apple. It’s $100 annually but gives you access to the Xcode devs forums and all the files essential to get started. I would suggest he first start as simple as possible by reverse engineering sample code others have put out on the net. Such as building apps around RSS feeds.

Here’s a great place to start. If he can make it through this then he’s serious. iPhone SDK Tutorial: Build a Simple RSS reader for the iPhone: Apple «

More on beginning in Xcode: RSS Reader (Part 2): Creating a new iPhone Xcode project and setting up your environment |

Lastly: RSS Reader (Part 1): Getting started with iPhone Development |

Ejecting drives properly


Do you convert tapes to dvd's?  i have about 30 tapes in length from 60mins to 120mins.  would like to have them converted to dvd's that i can watch as well as raw data that i can put on the computer to make my own movies.  

Thanks much,


Unfortunately, that's not a project that I would have the time to undertake.  30 tapes would take quite a while as they must be imported in real time.  There are companies out there that will do this for you but it will cost.  So I would shop around.  

Drobo drive gone bad

hey scotty,
we are thinking about getting an ipod for child (even though neither of us owns one) for xmas. can't afford a brand new one. how reliable are the refurbished ones from mac?


Refurbished products from Apple come with the full warranty of a new one. So they are a safe bet. Refurbished means that someone bought the product but for some reason it was returned, either due to their personal reasons for exchange or because the product was faulty. Apple then resolves the issue but can not sell it as “new” by law. Generally it’s totally fine. And if there was an additional problem, then you could always take it over to the Apple store and they would resolve it there as well.

iMac running hot

I'm having some problems with my computer. There are some pictures on iphoto that I'm not able to share because I don't have "permission" because it is "locked" and I have no idea why. Also, on Vectorworks a lot of the files say they are "Read-Only" and I'm experiencing a lot of corrupted files too. So I don't know if there is some kind of permission issue but it's really frustrating.


The first thing you will want to do is “repair permissions”. You will use a program already on your computer called Disk Utility. You can use spotlight to find it. (the magnifying glass in the top right hand corner) Next, if you still have files whose permissions are set wrong, you can manually reset them. Use command+i to get info on the particular file you are looking to alter. In the bottom of the panel, you will see a Sharing and permsissions tab.

Click the triangle to toggle it then select the plus sign. You will now be able to add your user as the owner then change the permissions to Read and Write to that file. In the case of vectorworks, it may simply be that the permissions of the file are different because you are in a different user. However, it could also be Vectorworks itself has a permissions issue. You may also want to get info on the files in question as well to check that “locked” is unchecked in the info window. It’s in the General tab above Sharing and permissions.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Transfering the flag!

Something doesn’t seem to right if the Time Capsule is full.
Also, I’m having trouble getting on the computer (Marcia is a heavier user than I anticipated). I am really interested in expanding my photographic editing skills. I had always presumed I would get another iMac but am wondering whether it is possible to commit to a good laptop. Ie, do I really need the bigger screen to be proficient. There is something appealing to having all the pictures I might want to work on with me when I travel.
Your thoughts?


First, Time Machine’s job is to fill the drive with historical data so everything is normal here. I would suggest checking the box for “do now show this warning again” and move on. It’s perfectly fine.

Next, considering a laptop as your flagship computer is extremely common now. You may consider moving to a macbook pro and also purchasing (or getting your hands on) a second montior. That way, when you get home you can plug up your laptop and gain a second display. The macbook pro is plenty powerful enough to push both screens. This is exactly what I do and it works wonderfully. Just remember that you need to continue to backup. Especially with a laptop that is more easily damaged than an iMac.

Hard Disk is getting better do something very soon.

So YOUR email address has shown up in another contact’s info....

To edit contact information in Address Book, use the “edit” key then delete the info in the first contact. Now re-click the “edit” button to close the card. Now go to your own card and add the email in just as you did on the other card by using the edit key. If you have not assigned your card to be you, you can do so while you have it selected by going under “card” in the menu bar then select “make this my card”. This will tell the computer you’ve selected that card to be yours.

Trouble booting from external drive old email address from your address book/computer PERMANENTLY? I have a contact that divorced, therefore has new contact info, but everytime I pull her up, the old email still comes up - EVEN THOUGH I DELETED IT 100 TIMES.  So her x husband is getting our email traffic - not good.
Any suggestions?


So besides making sure an email address is out of the address book. (do a search in address book under a couple of different queries to be totally sure, like searching by last name, first name, etc... there is one more place that the old email address will hide. In mail, go under “Window” in the menu bar and select “previous recipients”. Now search in that window and you should find the person’s old email. Now remove them by selecting “remove from list”. That should do it. Their history is gone.

Connecting a Mac Mini to an old monitor


Long time no talk - I hope you're doing well!

Mary Ruth has a Blackberry 8330 smartphone (v4.3.0.127), and she has been unable to sync her calendar and contacts with her Imac (Ical and Apple address book).  Her Imac is on release 10.4.11.

There is an application called Missing Sync (made by a company Mark Space) that appears to be a match for what she is trying to accomplish.  I am investigating this alternative, and I'm wondering if you have any experience or knowledge regarding this application.  Any other suggestions are also welcome.



The program you want to check out is Blackberry Desktop Manager. It’s free and I’ve found more success with it than the alternatives. However, I’m not sure if it supports 10.4.11.

Camera monitoring software for the mac

Thanks for continuing to send me your news letter.
I have a problem that occurred when I upgraded my MAC to Snow Leopard. The hard drive that was attached to my network via a USB hub, disappeared from my desktop and is now not able to accept tunes purchased from the i-store on to my i-phone.
The hard drive is visible from finder and the i-tunes work when played from the MAC. They are also not visible to my HP windows computer on the network, whereas before the upgrade they were accessible and could be played on the HP computer.
Please could you give me some suggestions as to what to look for to bring everything back to where it was before the upgrade.


I may need a little more information. I’m not really clear on the situation. It sounds like you keep your iTunes library on an external drive. And that you had that drive shared on your network where your windows machines could see it. However, I’m unclear on how the hard drive accepts itunes purchases.

This may need to be something I solve in person due to the data I don’t have. However, one thing you could check would be to check the path in the itunes preferences under Advanced. iTunes may be looking for your library in a different file path.

Select to change the path then point it to the network drive if that is where your iTunes library is.

Buying a used mac

I was told by the employees at apple that I could use my HP monitor with the mac mini. I just looked at it and I don’t see how it will fit.


The monitor will work but it is very possible you will need an adapter.  The monitor is most likely either VGA or DVI.  The new mac mini's specs are below:

You can either use the HDMI to DVI adapter if your monitor is DVI or you'll need the Mini DisplayPort to VGA.

Below is a picture of both types of common video connectors.  VGA is on top.  DVI is on bottom.


Replacement battery for older Macbook pro

I'm switching from Windows to MAC and will pay someone to assist in setting up Eclipse, Apache, and MySQL on my MAcBook PRO

It's a bit of a process and takes quite a bit of attention to detail but can be done if you are good at following instructions.  

Here are a couple of great walk throughs on the process.  I would suggest reading through each carefully first to compare methods.  One involves using Xcode whereas the other does not.  You'll need a text editor that can create php files as well like bbedit or text wrangler.  

Setting up PHP, MySQL, and Apache in Mac OSX Leopard · superfancy
How to set up Apache, PHP, & MySQL on Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) | Tangential Musings

Each of the above examples are based on Leopard but should be fine with Snow Leopard as Apple hasn't changed server architecture very much from 10.5 to 10.6.  Hope that helps.

Installing ram in an iMac

I hope you are well.  You installed Windows on my mac for me about 2-3 years ago.  I am having some what I would call performance issues with QB and windows.  I was wondering if you could help me address them or if you are not able to is there someone you can direct me to?

If the problem is exclusive to Windows and Quickbooks, I may not be able to assist.  If the problem is however, related to the Mac, then I should be able to help solve what's going on.  Could you be a little more specific?

I think it may have something to do with Parallels but I am not sure.  It just seems like it takes a very long time for Windows and QB to open-alot longer than on a regular IBM pc.  I seem to recall that the mac was supposed to run Windows better and faster than the IBM could.  Any thoughts?


Parallels does give you the ability to allocate more ram to the virtual machine. When using Parallels or VMware you need a lot of ram. Then dedicate as much as you can spare to the second operating system. If on Snow Leopard 10.6, keep in mind that operating system requires 1 gig of ram by itself. So I suggest powering off Windows (not suspending) then give more ram to it inside Parallels settings windows. Also, don’t have any unnecessary programs running in either operating system while running Quick Books. The more free ram the better.

If the problem didn’t used to be there but has developed within Windows then that’s a different story. That would point more to problems within Windows. It’s not a bad idea to have a backup virtual machine (install of Windows) and a backup of your QB data just to be safe in case you get into a pinch.

Long FireWire Cables

  How are you?  Well I hope. I have a couple of questions is you can help me.

1)   I have bought the large external hard drives to back up my desktop computer.  How do I do it?   I forgot all those instructions you gave me...sorry.

2)   How do I hook up and transfer info from my apple laptop to the apple desktop?  I bought a firewire cord the salesman recommended; however, when I hook it up between the 2 computers, neither the laptop or the desktop recognize the other and thus I do not know how to transfer, for example, a large video file movie I made on the laptop to the desktop so I can edit it.

Please help,


1. You can use Time Machine (built in to your mac’s system preferences) to back up your data. Go to system preferences, select “time machine” and then turn on the feature. Next, select the disk that is already connected to your computer via whatever cable came with the drive. USB or firewire. It won’t matter. If the drive was originally formatted for windows then Time Machine will ask permission to erase the drive. If you have just bought the drive then there should be nothing on it you care about losing so go ahead and say ok. That’s all you should have to do. Time Machine is a wonderful feature of the operating system. But it’s only available on 10.5 Leopard and higher.

2. The salesman who recommended you buy the firewire cable was probably pushing you toward putting one of your drives into target disk mode. While it’s very easy to network macs in your home, sometimes you have a really big file like a video that you’d like to move from one computer to the other as fast as possible. Wireless is ok but too slow for large files. So here’s what you’ll do:

Turn off one of the computers and restart the computer holding down the T key. You’ll see a weird symbol floating around on the computer screen now. Next, connect both computers with the firewire cable. Hopefully both computers have firewire. Older macbooks do not have Firewire. That feature was exclusive to macbook pros. Now you’ll see on the computer that is powered on normally, a hard drive icon on your desktop representing the computer in target disk mode. Now just navigate to the file from that drive and drag and drop the file to your booted mac and you’re done. Turn off the target disk computer using the power button, disconnect the FW cable and turn it back on normally. Finished.

FW is fast enough that it makes the extra steps worth it.

New Macbook or keep using old computer?

if I have this list of people on Iweb and they will not go through how can I move the entire thing into another email that can be sent out


Most likely one of the email addresses is incorrect so often the entire list won't go out.  So it wouldn't help to pull the list over to another email.  Recheck your email addresses in the list.  You may find that one of them has a comma or no @ sign or ".cam" instead of "com".  etc...

Companies that recover damaged drives

I need a quick reminder as to how to get to the page to archive the contents of time capsule to my external hard drive.
Thank you.


To get to the archive utility in your Time Capsule, you’ll first launch airport utility (do a spotlight search with the magnifying glass in the top right corner of your screen for airport) Next double click the picture of the aiport time capsule in the list of devices on the left. (Should have a green light next to it) Next select “disk” from the top of the window. From there you should see the “archive” button. However, you’ll have to first have a drive connected via USB for the archive feature to be active.

Sorry I don’t have a screen shot for you. I don’t have a time capsule.

Tax Free weekend iMac purchase

Any other thoughts on the iPhone email not sending because it won't relay issue?  I made all the fixes you recommended on the mail servers and still have the same problem.   Do you think if we stopped the forwarding the the RR email to and just let me received those normally, that might solve the issue from the phone? (if so, please tell me how).   My phone now won't let me send from either mac. com or account (I was able to on the old phone) and all this will make it harder for me to get off of the RR address if all my emails from my phone are still sent from that address.   Not an immediate urgent issue as I still can function on the phone, but as my "business" side (aka volunteer life) kicks back off when school does I would appreciate the efficiency of using my phone with out always having to change the sender address.  If I need to schedule another appt with you, I am happy to do that too.

Thanks for helping me with this.


To stop Road Runner from forwarding your email to another account you’ll need to go to and login. Next go to Settings then select “Forward options”

You may then want to delete your mobileme account from your phone and re add it to see if that will solve the incoming/outgoing issue with your email.

Buying an extra adapter

Have a message that say I am away where to go to delete 


You are using MobileMe so you’ll need to log in to MobileMe at then go to your mail settings.

Now select vacation and be sure to uncheck the auto-response box.


Mouse not working on laptop

Do you still make house calls?


I absolutely still do house calls.  That's the main part of my business.  If you need any assistance you can schedule a session online at  If you have any problems with the site just email again and we can schedule manually.

Windows can't read mac formatted drives

Hi Scotty,
I have been meaning to email you this follow-up question/problem....

You may recall we set up an Alias within MobileMe so that I could have my own personal account.   We have kept the account and the account working but I believe you set it up to have RR forward those emails to the account (can't remember how that was done ???).   The issue is with my iPhone.   I am getting all the messages to my phone for ALL email accounts, however, I cannot reply to them or initiate an email using my or the other account to send any from my phone.   The message I get states:  " Cannot Send Mail.  A copy has been placed in your Outbox.  The recipient “xxx” was rejected by the server because it does not allow relaying."   I have made sure the server on the phone is Mac.  I cannot determine how to solve the problem.  I eventually would like to be rid of my personal RR email address, but since I cannot even see the alias as an account on the MobileMe site, I am not sure it can yet be my sole email address.   I AM ABLE  to send mail by phone if I just change the From on the message to one of my RR accounts, but I need to do that for every message.   Thoughts?


Ok, if your phone is having a hard time sending out mail that means there’s an issue with the outgoing mail server. Good news for iPhone 4 and iOS 4 users. Apple has made it easy to turn on multiple outgoing servers on the phone so that if one server fails there are others to continue the task. Now, ATT has it’s own server. ( This server allows RR email to go out over ATT 3G network. Unfortunately ATT denies RR’s outgoing server to move mail when your phone is connected to the #G or Edge network. works perfectly fine on a wireless network but not on your cell network. Most likely what is happening is that your forwarded mail is coming in as from an RR address so when you respond it expects to travel on the rail. Therefore your email is being denied. I would turn on the outgoing server in your advanced outgoing server settings list.

That may help the situation.

It is also possible that RR’s forwarding has added an additional recipient which is basically a garbage email identity and that may be causing the issue as well. To answer your other question, we set up RR to forward all your RR POP email directly from’s settings under forwarding.
more info here:iPhone: What to do if you can't send or receive Mail

Good USB hub...

What was the site you showed me. Something like "". It was a cloud version of several Microsoft products.


Yes, it was But you’ll need a facebook account to log in and use it. It’s microsoft’s first effort to move to cloud based word processing services. Google has been leading the way with google docs and Apple has played in the area but not seriously with

My kid is going to college. What computer to buy?

Also, this portable hard drive shows "video 09" on the screen. Is that supposed to mean something. Also, when I bring the HD to work for safekeeping, is there any way to view the contents, I was unable to last time (though I was able to ascertain that a lot was stored).
Thank you.


video 09 would be personal information.  Most likely that was drug over manually.  The computer did not put that there automatically.  You should be able to see the files within the TM backup.  You'll look inside a folder on the hard drive called backups.backupdb  You may first have to expand the image file.  Mac often compressed or packages large images.  Simply double click on the sparse image bundle and you should be able to see the data you're looking for.  It would most likely be in a series of folders related to days of the year as Time Machine backed up.  

Cracked screen on laptop

I want to delete a user on my machine but leave the apps. How do I do this?


To delete one user you’ll need another administrator user on the machine so first go to system prefs and to Accounts. Now create a “test” user or generic user and be sure to give it admin privileges by checking “allow user to administer computer”. Now log in as the new user and click once on the user to be deleted. Now select the minus button in the bottom left hand corner of that window. You’ll be prompted with three choices: to save the info in a disk image, leave the home folder in tact but remove the contents or to delete the user entirely. Select the 3rd option. Delete the user immediately. You won’t get this data back so proceed only if you are sure you want to get rid of that user.

By the way, I would suggest having a time machine backup of this data just in case you change your mind in one month.

Why is my computer hot?

Hi Scotty,

My daughter is heading out this fall to college. Her school supports PC's and MAC's. SO she wants to stick with a MAC. I have a Macbook Pro and she currently uses a IMac desktop. What laptop do you recommend for her? If you think it is adequate, I would rather go with the cheaper MacBook. However do you think the i5 technology is far superior to the 2 Duo? Nice but not necessary? Or foolish not to take advantage because the other will be obsolete before we know it?  

Also for back up for her at college, assuming she does not want to mess with time capsule etc... would a mobile me account provide that back up she will need? (Sorry I am still a verizon customer and am not really familiar with the mobile me accounts etc. since I do not have a iphone

Hope the full time gig is going well.


Congrats on sending the child to college! A day for which I dream. I standard macbook will be plenty. The more powerful Macbook Pro line has more ports and a faster graphics card, faster processor...but for general college work the entry macbook will be very good. She doesn’t need all the other stuff at this point in her computer life yet. The i5 vs. Core 2 Duo is also not a deal breaker either. You must keep in mind that kids in college often leave with a beautiful computer and come back with a destroyed one. So I would think twice before you invest even more money into a nicer computer. Dorm rooms are not nice to computers.

Backup is absolutely essential. While she doesn’t need a dedicated wireless router with a backup drive (Time Capsule) she does need a backup strategy. I recommend she get a seperate hard drive and connect it every day or so. All macs have a program called Time Machine that will do a great job of saving her data in case of an emergency. You could also consider a cloud based service like Mozey or Carbonite but generally I’d rather have it in my hands. There are also limitations to those services. I prefer a good old fashioned external drive. Now the drawback to this is that if there was a theft in the dorm room, then she could lose both the computer and the back up. So in a perfect world you’d want 2 drives. One that lives in the room and another that only comes in to the room every couple of months or so. MobileMe is not the solution for online backup. So I can’t really recommend that service for that need. It’s really more for syncing contacts, calendars, creating web pages, etc... Not for storing large amounts of data.

It does come with 20 gigs of offsite storage although data would have to be manually added to the mobileme cloud storage called “iDisk”. Overall, however, it’s very slow. So I really prefer a local good old fashioned hard drive. (or two)

User wants to upgrade his Macbook Pro

My dropbox has not updated since June 11th.  Does that make sense?  Isn't that the back-up for the files I have on it?


I think you may be confusing time machine with dropbox. Both have icons in the menu bar.

Dropbox is the blue box with a checkbox on it. If the check is green then all is ok with dropbox’s syncing to the cloud. Time machine is the clock with the counterclockwise arrow. That is what I’m guessing is the issue. If this is the case then you will want to check your backup drive. (a hard drive connected to your computer). It may be powered off or may have failed. If you feel sure that drop box is what is the matter then we can take steps to remedy that. Just want to check time machine before we go down that road.

Internal Bluetooth module on Mac Pro?

Essentially cannot get on net to open a site or even send an email from playroom or kitchen from  iPhone or iPad at same time. Get messages like "server cannot be found or stopped responding"


We can try setting each device to the same specific radio channel instead of "automatic mode".  Automatic mode means that if the device encounters interference in one part of the 2.4ghz spectrum it will adjust up or down within the 2.4 range allowed by the FCC.  Currently there are 11 different frequencies allowed in the US.  If we choose one specifically, that may help to maintain the signal.

It's also possible that one of your expresses is faulty.  (unlikely but possible).  I suspect the one currently in the Den location.  I'll have an extra one with me tomorrow to prove/disprove that theory.  

Another thought may be to choose to go all N instead of continuing to support b/g networking.  iPads, iPhone 4's, and all other modern Macs within the last 2 years support N.  The iPhone 3GS does not so that would knock off any 3GS's of the home network but I don't think you're using one of those.  By dismissing the b and g range, that will allow N to function more efficiently.  

We may also want to initialize interference robustness.  This feature (found on the extreme base stations) allows for the signal to be more focused than spread out.  Much like selecting a specific frequency of the 2.4 range.  

I've already enabled the 5ghz range but I don't believe expresses support 5ghz currently so that signal is only being emitted from the dual band router in the far room.  

So there are several things to consider as I go forward on trying to bring the stability of your network up to your expectations.  

Time Machine failed backup ...MyBook sucks. Time Machine could not complete the backup. FIles cannot be copied onto the backup disk because it appears to be Read Only. You may need to repair or reformat the disk using Disk Utility. If the disk can't be repaired, you must use a different dicks for backups.

Do you use Google Chrome at all or just stick with Safari 5?


While Safari 5 supports plugins (all-be-it, very scrutinized by apple as to what these plugins will do I’m sure) it does seem very fast and stable. But I have to say that Chrome has come on very strong lately. I find myself using both. With xmarks, I can sync bookmarks between the two in the background. So I don’t think anyone should be a one browser user. That being said, my current browser usage is probably along the lines of 85% Safari and 15% Chrome. Firefox is out of the race right now.

Do I ever sell old macs?

Hey - what application is best to use to open this .kmz file? I don't even know what kind of file that is.


Google Earth will do the trick.  I you are not using Google Earth, you should be.  That kmz file is a standard file that contains a set of locations that will show in Google Earth.

This should give you an idea.  
Google Earth kmz links/files


So, do you have Google Earth installed on your MAC? I guess I need to just download it. I thought I had used it in the past...

Yes.  Google Earth is the greatest.  You should definitely have it as a tool as a realtor.  You could get an iPad with 3G and pull up what a lot looks like right while standing on it.  It's very very good.  

Bluetooth module not showing on a G5 tower.

Actually, my Ipad kicked on great once I got home with a proper wi-fi signal! These DON'T work without one??? That's my big question...


Yes,  If you want internet outside of a wi-fi area, you'd need the 3G version of the iPad and a data subscription with ATT.  Data plans vary depending on how much you feel you'd use it.  

Free Agent by Seagate is a go.

Bluetooth problem- despite resets with Apple, appears BT shot in main G5- I have other MACs to pirate BT & bought a Belken outboard but it can't discover mouse- might be a quick walk thru on phone to move over a BT... wireless OK, all else well, hope with you, too- cheers,


Sorry for the long delay in getting back to you.  In case you've not read on my site, I'm going to be leaving teaching and going in to consulting with Apple full time.  However, the last 2 weeks have been very busy as I transition away from education. 

It's possible that the bluetooth antenna has come loose.  On a power mac G5 the antenna is very very small and a little difficult to see to reconnect.  However, another telling piece of information would be for me to know if the module actually shows up in the system profiler.  

Spotlight search for "system profiler".  Then select bluetooth from the side menu.  Is the module detected?  If it is showing up then there's a chance it's the antenna.  If it's not showing, then it may be more likely that the module has expired.  

If you've moved on already and are ready to set up the Belkin bluetooth module, then there's most likely software provided with the USB module that controls the USB chip.  It will most likely load a system preference pane that you can adjust in system preferences.  
Hope this helps.

Audio Noise on iMac

Hi Scotty
Thank you for your response re: Mobile Me. After further reflection, I decided MM is much easier since I actively use the calendars and contacts on both iphone and ipad  I've been happy with the service until all if a sudden MM is duplicating my appts many times, erasing info, and moving my contacts. I went into the Apple store and they said  I need to bring in my PC. I told them I had worked with you and they said- "even better!". Do you think you can help me sort this out? Btw, I am loving the Ipad. When PC dies, getting a Mac.
Thank you again!


Dealing with duplicates within mobileme can a full time job. I’ve seen mobileme do some very funky things in the last couple of years and random duplicates is very common. The good news is yes, it is usually solvable. There are several things we can try to resolve the issue. Interestingly, this usually has nothing to do with Windows being in the loop as much as I’d like to blame it. If you would like me to assist, you can schedule a session online for net week.

Be sure you’ve run updates on all devices, itunes, and operating system before we get together.

MicroReplay for accidental damage on laptops


Backup taking a very very long time on first backup. Laptop wireless to time capsule on an extended network via airport express:


yes.  I'm glad.  Most likely the distance from the time capsule and going through the other airport express caused the slowness of data movement.  Once the initial backup was made it should be normal now

Rice saved the wet laptop...but the LCD was not so lucky.


I deleted mobile me account from my iPhone, but when I recreated the account I receive this error message:  "Cannot Connect Using SSL.  Do you want to try setting up the account without the SSL?"

I am also having the same issues that you fixed on my laptop come back .... slow internet access, losing the connection and not finding the server.  It's as though it has reverted back to the way it was before you came out here to fix this!

What do I do?


MobileMe can use SSL to configure on the iPhone. I might suggest deleting and re-adding the account first. If you accept the error then you may experience no problems on the iPhone anyway. Of course you can also check to be sure there is no where in the advanced settings that SSL is checked.

As far as the slow internet access, there are several things to consider:

Are you connected to your own wireless router and not accidentally joined to another wireless network in your own home?
Have you restarted your modem and router?
Have you restarted your computer?
Have you cleaned the cache from your browser?

There are, of course, several more geeky things to try but let’s look at these options first.

i5 vs. i7 chips

Hi Scottie,  not sure if you got my message last week but after you left Sara Wilder went to hook up her phone and there was no music in her itunes library.  I dont understand why because I thought we were seeing it there before you left.  Anyway, not sure if it was something you could talk me through on the phone or if I need to schedule you to come back out again.  She is about to have a nervous breakdown to get to her music!  Thanks,


I’m sure there’s a very simple solution to this. I’m also very confident that her music has not disappeared. We should be able to resolve the issue. I might suggest you join me on Sunday night at 8pm online at my weekly townhall and we may be able to handle it through the web conference.

Hope to see you then.

What hard drive do you recommend?

As mentioned, I am going to get wife a laptop for Mother's Day (what she wants).  I am leaning toward the 15" Mac Book Pro.  Would you recommend the Intel core i5 or i7 chip?  Is there a reason to have that given our standard uses?  Although I would like to plan for a machine I could keep functional for several years, not sure the difference between those chips will matter even in 12 mos.
Also, is there any additional (non-standard) software that you think I should add that you find particularly useful or that you think wife would enjoy?
Thanks and see you next week.


If you want to save some money I would just go with the i5 chip. Those things are way more than enough power for your general use. The i7 is really only going to be attractive to video/graphics guys and people who just have to brag about having the absolute best even though most of them don’t need it. It’s plenty of power and the i5 chip, being so new, has plenty of shelf life ahead of it. You’ve definitely gotten your money’s worth out of that PowerBook G4 you’re replacing!

As far as software goes that she may enjoy, the
iWork suite is really nice. It’s Apple’s version of Microsoft Office. Easy to use and could be a nice lead in to your kids as they begin to start creating on the computer.

I shattered my iPhone. Now what?


Leaving for St. Lucia on Sat.  AT&T want to charge me 1.99/ min for calling.  Any ideas for an alternative with iPhone?  Im checking into vonage now but dont know details.  Skype maybe but not sure.

I think Skype would definitely be the way to go. You may want to get a a little skype credit so you can make outgoing calls. Skype to Skype is free but outgoing to actual phones is a fee. But since it’s over the internet then it’s very little cost. (VOIP) You’ll just need to be on a wireless network when making calls.

Folder dissapearing

hi Scotty

Can dropbox work between three users, two on a mac and one on a PC?
If the one on the PC makes changes to a document will it mess up the mac users?



Yes Dropbox will work between mac and pc.  You will want to consider what application is being used.  For just regular documents this should be no problem.  However, if you are using dropbox to work on files pertaining to an application then there is a chance the file formats would vary and not work.  It's more of a case by case basis.  

Where'd my drive space go to?


Our Mobile Me account has expired and we can not renew b/c the user name and password is not valid?

Can you help?


Apple provides 24/7 chat support to resolve all mobileme issues.  They should be able to assist you with reinstating your mobileme account.  

You'll find the chat support here:
Apple - Support - MobileMe

How do I renew my MobileMe subscription?

Permissions wrong on external drive

How can I switch between the Mac and Windows within Boot Camp?


In order to get to the mac practice software on the Mac side of the Macs in the office it's pretty simple really.  I've discussed this with Dr. xxxxxxx and he is familiar how to do this as well.

With the machine completely off, turn the machine on with the option button held down.  You will see grey screen showing you two hard drive icons.  One representing Windows and one representing the  Mac.  Next select which operating system you want to boot into.  You can use the mouse to double click on the desired hard drive.  The computer will now boot into the chosen operating system.  You should now be able to get to all the data within Mac Practice on the Mac just as you did before.  When you are ready to go back into Windows, simply follow the same directions once again.  Shut down the machine and reboot holding down the option button.  Then select the Windows hard drive icon and you are back to Windows.  

Windows wireless woes....again

How do I add a brand new address to the address book?
I am not talking about an address I copy from an incoming email, rather one I have to type in.


To add a new address into your address book from scratch, go to address book and find the plus sign in the lower area of the window. Click that button and you’ll be presented with an area where you can manually enter contact information.

Reseting permissions on External Time Capsule drive

Hi Scotty,

Hope you are well and warm today. I broke my phone and got a new phone with husband’s upgrade. I have been trying to download some apps I had on my old phone like the weather channel. It says my password and id # are incorrect. I looked through the info on the internet and nothing helped me. When I try to create a new account for my phone it says the email address is already in use DUH!! My computer app still work


The first thing to verify is to check what itunes account you’ve been using to log in and sync your phone. Here’s how to do that.

Go to iTunes and select “itunes store” in the left hand column.
Next view what email address it states in the top right hand corner of the window as shown here:

Now select that address to login to be sure you know the correct password. Now that you’re on the same page with iTunes go to your phone and select settings, general, store. Be sure that you are signed in as the same account as shown in itunes. That should do it. If not, try logging out on both devices then logging back in again.

If there’s a certain app that will not load (or song) then you can right click on the app or song to show more info and that information window will tell you what account it was purchased under as well. as seen below:

No Audio and iPhone error on sync

Since you know the layout of my house, and the equipment that I currently have, I need your help on getting an adequate signal for my home wireless network.  The way it is currently set up, I think my wireless network is not strong enough through the house.  The only places that I have an adequate signal for iTouches to work is my office and the upstairs playroom.

My goal is to have a wireless network strong enough throughout the house so that I can use the iTouches anywhere, and be able to have my Wii and xBox hard wired to the network.

It may require moving the router, not sure.  But I would appreciate it, if you could recommend the appropriate equipment to buy, that way I will have it so that when you come to my house we can get it set up, to save you two trips to the house.  If it takes two trips, that is fine, just let me know.  Sorry for the long email, but just wanted to explain what I want, & what I think is going on.

I've found the best way to get the internet  moving through the house is to use the Airport extreme router in combination with 1 or more airport expresses.  The expresses will serve to push the signal strength further through the home.  I can't recall whether you have an airport extreme but if you do, then you can just pickup a couple of expresses and that may do the trick.  If your home is wired for ethernet throughout the house then we could use that wired network to more effectively strengthen signal strength to.  But that would still require the airport expresses to use as nodes.  

The xbox has no built in wireless but does have ethernet.  (there is a wireless adapter available but I prefer to just use an express)
The Will does not have an ethernet port but does have wireless built in.  (there is a ethernet to usb adapter but I would suggest just going wireless.)

Let me know if you have any questions.  

Computer in the shop...hard drive alternatives

THE password we agreed on yesterday and you registered does not work when a sign drops
down asking for a "keychain password".


Keychain access password issues often arrise when a user changes the password of their computer but does not unlock the login keychain within keychain access. It's more of Apple's fault for a poor warning system. What we are left with is a constant reminder that the old password is still required.

I would suggest deleting the login keychain (seeing how your computer is so new) and restarting. You can do this by going into Users/yourusername/Library/Keycahins/...then deleting the loginkeychain file then restarting.

Considering the level of newness that your at, you may have trouble following the directions. It's not hurting anything to leave it the way it is until we meet again after your trip. Just an annoyance.

The AppleCare phone support line can also help you with the issue over the phone as well. 1-800-MY-APPLE.

Computer falls off wireless network in the kitchen

Thanks again for helping me clean up my Macbook Pro. It has been running much better!

My question is...

I have to send my computer to Apple to replace my screen because it has some crazy line it it, and I can borrow my girlfriends macbook for the seven to ten day period my computer will be gone. What I was wondering is, since I am backed up on my time capsule, is it possible to back her macbook up on my time capsule as well, and load all the files from my computer on to hers so that it operates just like mine does now, and then when I am done with hers and have my computer back, I can then take her files off the time capsule and put her computer back to the way it was before I put all my stuff on it.

Does that make sense? Thoughts? Is it possible?

let me know! Thanks!


Wow. Yes it's possible but it makes me a little nervous. I think I would invest in another hard drive to make sure all the data is in at least two places with all this moving around. It makes sense what you're proposing but it does have risks. If the time capsule drive dies then you've lost one of your sets of data.

I would consider buyig another external firewire drive, cloning that drive (not using time machine) via something like superduper or carbon copy cloner then booting from that drive via firewire. You'd be teathered to that hard drive which would essentially render the laptop a desktop but it would get you through this and you'd end up with another drive. And you can't have too many of those.

Just remember, if your data is not on at least two hard drives all the time, consider it gone. So if you clone that drive to a new drive then only have that one drive with your data you could also risk losing it unless you also have your data backed up via time machine. And you probably do come to think of it.

LCD screen cracked

Interesting thing about he printer. It wouldn't work again from the kitchen when you left. However, when I took the computer upstairs by the printer, it printed. Is it possibly a network thing?


Interesting.  I would check to see which airport wireless device you are connected to when trying to print from both places.  The way to do this is to hold down option and select the airport radar icon in the menu bar.  This will show you the airport ID and you can note the last two digits.  

Now you can compare those 2 digits to what you see in the airport utility.

This will at lease determine if the issue is related to which node you are connected to within your network. Now how to solve it is another issue. But I'd really like to know if you can consistantly print on one node but not the other. To prove this, you'll need to move to different areas of the house and try to print. Be sure you delete the print job if it doesn't print, otherwise it will just print when you join the right node. Also, to make sure you are jumping from node to node, you can turn off airport from the menu bar then move to a different part of the house and turn it back on again. Sometimes the computer doesn't jump from one to the other as fast as we'd like.

External HD for mac mini?

Scotty, Please tell me exactly what I need to do to copy her hard drive and set up her email (past emails, itunes, etc) and then get them active on her new computer. Thank you,

At startup on the new computer,you'll be prompted to transfer the data from another computer.  Choose to transfer data from another mac.  Next you'll be asked to put the other mac into target disk mode by holding down the T key while starting the older computer up.  After the new mac detects the older computer connected via a firewire cable, it will proceed to the next step.  In your case, you may need a firewire 400 to 800 cable unless the new laptop doesn't have firewire.  In that case you'll need to boot the older computer as usual then network the two computers via an ethernet cable.  This option is  selectable in the setup procedure on the new mac as "other computer over a network" or something close to that.  

You can always just set the computer up initially with a new user called "temporary" or something like that then use the migration assistant to move the data from one computer to the next by using an ethernet cable between the two.  Then delete the "temporary" user later.  

Helpful links:

Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6: How to use Migration Assistant to transfer files from another Mac

Mac OS X 10.3, 10.4: Transferring data with Setup Assistant / Migration Assistant FAQ

Mini Disc stuck in drive

Scotty my imac is not syncing with my iphone. what should I check?


Perhaps the easiest thing to do is first delete the mobileme account on your iphone and re-add it. You could also just toggle off the syncing features then back on again on the iphone. You will also want to check your mobileme system preference pane to be sure that under the "sync" tab, they are checked.

My drive is full. Now what?

I have two older versions of the ipod that need fixing.  I have the first ipod that came out that doesn't work and I have the 2nd version of the ipod and it doesn't work.  Was wondering if we can get them fixed and how much it might cost?? 



I don't currently repair iPods but there are companies online that offer that service. Here are a few:

Mac Service - Apple Mac Repair and Upgrades for your Mac, iPod, or iPhone
 iPod Repair | Affordable iPod Parts & Broken iPod Help

CD makes grinding noise.

Why would over 900 duplicate emails for different email messages dating back approximately 1 month just insert themselves into my inbox all of a sudden?  Any ideas?


I suppose it is possible to create the same account in more than once. In other words, if you've added your .mac account into mail a second time then mail might display duplicates. Check in your account settings to see if you can see the same email listed on the left hand column under "accounts".

Booting from and SSD card

Do you work on computers other than Mac?  George has some computer issues at work.


No. I try to avoid Windows as much as possible. I'm not nearly smart enough to operate one of those.

laptop drives vs. desktop drives

How do I delete email addresses from my address book?


To delete an entire address from your address book you can simply click on the contact inside address book and hit the delete button however, if you are trying to alter the contact's information such as only deleting or changing the email address, you must first select the contact then hit the edit button on the bottom of the window. This will now change the contact fields to an editable state. From there you can select each piece of information and edit away.

What's your favorite brand drive?

Two questions:
1) One of the children's I-Macs will not boot up.  It just continues to show the dial spinning. On occasion it will say either turn off the machine or push the restart button.  Can you tell me what to do?

2)  I can not get my computer in my office to attach to time machine.  it say disk full but there is no way that it is?  What can I do?

Can you handle this over the email or do we need to have you come to the house?


Response 1: Most commonly this sounds like the drive has died. I might first suggest booting from the install DVD that came with your computer or any purchased copy of OS X later than your computer purchase. There is an application called Disk Utilities in the menu when booted from the CD that can help determine if your disk is bad or if it's just a software problem. There are many things it could be. I wouldn't really know unless I was in front of the machine to run multiple tests to determine what is actually going on.

Response 2: I'm assuming you are getting a dialog box that says that the external drive is full and therefore Time Machine doesn't feel like it has enough free space on the external drive in order to save all the data from the internal. If you are using this external as a TM backup drive then I would suggest erasing the drive completely anyway and dedicate the entire drive to TM. That's sort of like killing an ant with a bat but it should work. I prefer not to share my TM backup drive with any other data. In today's computer world, we need several hard drives in your lives.

iBook needs new hard drive

I finally purchased two external drives at Best Buy from a guy with a Mac certified badge... he told me the compact My Passports by Western Digital were just as good as the larger ones.  The one we have processing now is the 'My Passport for Mac' 500 gb.  Its overkill for our 160 gb hd on our power pc, but was the smallest they had in stock.  Anyway, you know we have Leopard, we unhooked our Lacie and started this backup of the whole drive yesterday late afternoon and it is still going..... Is it the HD or our computer? Thought it was strange there is no external ac outlet for the passport like there was for the lacie and wonder if that slows it down any...
Thanks for any help.


The Mypassport drive is a 2.5" hard drive as opposed to the 3.5" desktop type of drive inside a Lacie "upright" external hard drive. Comparing the two types of drives, 2.5" vs. 3.5" I would say the 3.5" out performs the smaller drive in every way. The smaller drive (passport for example) relies on the USB bus for power as well as throughput. Usually you're going to get firewire 800 on an external vs. 480 on the USB port. And that's not 480 megabits throughput consistant as it is with firewire. Next thing to consider, the fragile nature of smaller 2.5 drives. These things die way more often that 3.5's due purely to the fact that they are moved around much more often. I don't trust my data on any 2.5" drive. But then again, I don't trust any hard drive. When you're data is in at least 2 places then you're better off. 3 places is even better. Lastly, the price comparision between the two types of drives leans you toward the 3.5". You almost always get more space for less money with the 3.5's.

As far as time machine taking that long to back up, several hours is normal but over night and still going on less than 160 gigs of data. That doesn't seem correct.

Adding a larger drive to a laptop

when I went to charge the computer it would not charge. The orange light came on . I then unplugged it and moved to the new apple set up. still the same. What do I do. Sorry to have so many questions after you left.


Not sure what you mean by not charging. I really think your laptop is fine and the orange light means it is in the process of charging. It will not go green until the battery has been fully charged. There are rare cases where new batteries fail but I do not think this is one of them. I would suggest allowing it to stay plugged in for about an hour. Be sure it's firmly plugged into the wall as well. You can also see the status of your battery's charge in the menu bar at the top of the computer by clicking on the battery icon shown below:

My mac has a fever!

Hope all is well. Have a question-my daughter's iphone got wet and speaker does not work- we cannot hear her. Anything she can do before she takes it into apple in Boston?


Apple has placed several moisture sensors inside the iphone so if the phone got wet and they spot the moisture sensors have been triggered you may be out of luck other than buying a new phone or paying the repair/replacement cost of the phone. UGH!!!!

AutoCad on a Macbook pro?

Hi, i have a request for info. I do a lot of traveling at times. In
other states and also countries. I have a cell phone, internet phone,
I-touch to keep my contacts information and other info and have a gps.
The question; is there a way to have stuff to carry around outside of
going to I-phone and pay 30.- dollars a month. Is there anything on
the horizon that would be worth to wait for. Thanks


You are correct in your understanding that the iPhone would replace the GPS, iPod, cell phone and internet phone (via skype).  I do not know of anything currently that can compete with the iPhone.  It's by far the superior smart phone on the market at the moment.  

Mini Display to S video...Does it exist? Not yet.

Dear Scotty,

I need to finally get a new printer/copier.  I also need a fax.  I will print all my photos at walgreens because it's cheaper than refilling the ink at home.  I just need a printer that will work reliably with my Mac via airport waves.  I need a copier.   I also need a fax that remains off until i turn it on.  I am old fashioned and need  a hard copy instruction manual for all functions. The CD ROM guide does me no good.  Mom has HP 7310 and likes it.  I'd prefer jut to have one machine like her and maybe even the same one, but i have hated my HP1610 and another one in the past for anything other than printing.  What printer/ combo would you recommend and where should I get it?  The HP set up assistant is more annoyance than help.


Good to hear from you.  I haven't worked with your mom in a while so I hope she is well.  

Now, I agree that the HP set up assistant can infest a mac.  It often gets in the way more than actually help do anything.  I would suggest checking Best Buy and Office Depot but as far as printers/all in ones go, in my opinion, it comes down to two brands.  HP and Canon.  Canon has very good print quality but their user interface is not so great.  HP has decent multi-function capability however, like you said, the setup assistant can infest itself if you don't know how to kill it.  (I do)  HP's wireless printers in the higher series are very good and easy to set up on any wireless network.  The wireless network setup wizard onboard the printer is very easy to use.  But you can always just plug it up to an airport base station or express as well.  

Now as far as faxing goes, there are settings to handle different numbers of rings before it picks up to the fax line, but I believe overall, you'll have to change that manually if you'd like different behavior.  

One last thing.  I've come to the conclusion that even though HP and other print manufacturers claim it to be so, as of 2009 there is NO such thing as wireless scanning.  I've seen it work very inconsistently so the best bet for scanning is to directly plug in.  Hopefully the technology in this area will grow in the coming months but I'm not holding my breath.  HP has had the most success at making this work but it usually only lasts a day or so then something goes wrong.  

Here are a few to consider:

Officejet series with faxing...

Photosmart series  (I've set a couple of the "Premium" up and I've had mixed results.  Both times the printing has been slow)  Just thought I would throw it in.

I can't guarantee that HP would include any hard printed manuals at this point as the trend is now moving to paperless.  (ironic for a printer)

Can a G5 become an intel machine?

So I’ve installed Snow Leopard on five machines now three different ways.

1. Clean install
2. Upgrade on top of Leopard
3. Clean install with recovery of data via time machine.

And so far each of these have been filled with issues. High speed running fans, wide spread incompatibility of 3rd party add ons, slowness, lots of spinning beach balls, and the list goes on.

I have to say that so far, I’ve been very disappointed in my $30 investment. There are very little noticeable differences. And you have to really search to find them. I’ve had password issues on two different machines after install. The good news is that I’ve seen many of my favorite apps rush updates out to fix what Snow Leopard broke. VMware fusion, iStat menus, path finder, etc... Now all of these were to be expected and I’m not unhappy about the 3rd party stuff. That’s not the issue. Those issues are to be expected. The issue is that Apple is charging us $30 for things that seem could have been covered within updates. Maybe it’s the move to 64 bit processing that is what is at the heart of this. But it’s not on by default. You have to hold down 6 and 4 at startup to enter 64 bit mode.

I have to say that I’m in disagreement with the majority of people who’ve sung Snow Leopard’s praises. Just as I’m typing this, I’ve received notification that Snow Leopard would like to delete 62 (update 360 more) entries of my keychain via mobileme sync. What? Huh? No. Please do not delete all my keychain entries.

I’ve lost 3 gigs of space on the install and that’s after choosing not to install additional languages and fonts. Apple has promised a smaller OS. What? Then there’s the appearance of all the hidden files in the finder now. Good gracious. Where did these come from?



Of all the positive things Apple has going for it right now, the Snow Leopard release first impression leaves me with more a feeling that they felt they had to put out a “we updated our OS too” release before Windows 7 starts getting all the press next month. I’ve not seen the speed increases other have claimed as well. I’m testing and pushing Snow Leopard on three machines currently and so far the results are very similar across each of them. Underwelming.

To be fair, here are a few people who would disagree. They’re smarter than I am and they have a few valid points. You can judge for yourself.

Andy Inhatko’s review (Chicago Sun Times)
his holiness...Walt Mossberg (Wall Street Journal)

My recommendation for now is:

Wait a few weeks before getting involved with Snow Leopard. I wish I had.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to install developers tools so I can go in to terminal to re-hide all those files.

(update) Running 64 bit
Just had Hulu freeze in Snow Leopard.
The latest version of VMware has also frozen.
Safari has crashed.
iMac refuses to restart on its own
Faster User switching name has disappeared

Sound going out on laptop

Can I wirelessly scan from my older HP printer?

 If you're connnecting to your scanner wirelessly then wireless scanning is mostly impossible.  HP does have the ability to scan wirelessly on some models but even on the models supported, it usually doesn't work.  It's still best to plug up directly via usb if you want to scan from your printer.  I've not come across any other printer manufacturer that can scan wirelessly yet other than HP.  But hopefully the technology will grow in the near future.

buy new or fix what I've got?


WHAT TO DO??????


This can be a common error. I don’t think it has anything to do with the strength of your network this time. There are several known causes to this issue. Try the following.

1. power off both the airport time capsule router and and computer then back on again.
2. run all your updates on the computer reporting the error by going to “software update” under the black apple in the top left hand corner of your screen.
3. This can be caused by being logged into a user other than the admin. So restart the machine and log in to your parent admin and see if it completes.
4. If none of those resolve the issue then you can also do a repair permissions on your computer to help it run more healthy. Directions on how to do that can be found here:

About Disk Utility's Repair Disk Permissions feature

Hard Drive data recovery for $100? -be careful

The lap top downstairs can no longer access the wireless printer in my office.  Please advise on the fix.

If the laptop downstairs was getting to the printer by the mac pro having shared the printer over to it, then it would best to have the laptop establish it's own wireless connection to the printer.  

G drive is gone again (my backup).. the pc is showing it as a Z drive.  I know you fixed this once.. so tell me how to do it, if you think I am capable.

You should be able to toggle the use of all USB devices by using the toggle switch in the bottom right hand corner of the parallels window.  If you don't see it there, try plugging it in once Windows is booted and you should be prompted to choose which operating system is to assume control.  Remember that once you quit windows, the devices that were being controlled by parallels (Windows) will fall back to the Mac.  ie:  CD's, flash drives, external HD's.  

I am about to install the software to put the new printer on the MAC  side.  I assume this is just the normal process.

Yes.  You can go download the latest drivers from the web site or use the install disc that came with the printer.  

Child going to college. What computer to get?

Hi.  I was given your card at the Apple store when they were unable to hook up my email to go to my iphone.
My husband and I both have Iphones.


I would be happy to assist you however, the guys/gals at the genius bar are very bright so it may be more of an issue that we're missing information.  
There are several questions we have to know the answers to when setting up email.

Do you know your incoming and outgoing settings?
Is your email account IMAP, POP, or Exchange?
Does your connection require SSL?  
Is authentication required?  If so, does the username require the "" tag as well as the username?

All these questions can come into play and if one is unknown email can fail to work.  

Mac Mini hard drive replacement gone wrong

Can i share my daughters pc screen?  How do i set it up?  Can we link her pc so her itunes contacts etc update on the mac?  do we have to subscribe to mobile me?  and if yes can you subscribe as a family?


Yes, you can share your daughters screen within your home network. All you need to do is enable screen sharing in the “sharing” preference pane inside system preference. MobileMe is not required for that however, MobileMe does many things like sync contacts and calendars between two computers logged in under the same account. MobileMe does not sync iTunes libraries across multiple computers.

There is a family pack membership available from Apple for up to 5 users I believe. For more info on mobileme, go to:

Apple - MobileMe - Your iPhone, Mac, and PC. In perfect sync.

Mac OS X 10.5 Help: Sharing the screen of another computer

Mac OS X 10.5 Help: About screen sharing

Looking for a cheap mac for kids


Question about the Time Capsule:  We have 2 laptops, another pc, and my iMac.  The iMac is version 10.5.7.  Would it be possible to back up my Mac using the Time Capsule and then have a dedicated hard drive for the other devices?


 Currently our modem/router sits upstairs and my Mac is downstairs.
totally fine.

Also, I didn’t do a very good job explaining to my husband why we will still need a modem from Time Warner.  Would you explain that once more?
TW is "renting" the router functionality to you since you don't have your own router.  But the actual modem is part of your basic internet service.  Right now you have a router modem combination device.  You may want to think about trading in the router/modem for just a modem.  Then you'd purchase your own wireless router that will work alongside the modem.  this would reduce that extra monthy charge from TW just to rent their router.  You can purchase your own router such as a D-Link, Netgear, or Airport (or Time Capsule with hard drive)  It would be more money up front but you'd save in the long run.

 I wonder if they’d let us pick up a modem before turning in the modem/router so that we wouldn’t lose connectivity during the day.
They would only trade.  Not allow you to hold on to 2 at the same time.  Very doubtful anyway.  

What mouse can you recommend?


1- I took your advice and replaced the hard drive on the MAC Mini (watched some u-tube).  I can't get it to recognize the video, how do I install the OS?  I think that I am in over my head.  Suggestions . . .

2- I have a 2.5" 40gb hard drive from at PC at work (it crashed - NO backup); do you have suggestions on reputable places to send it off for data recovery?


1. If you replaced the drive correctly and remembered to connect the cables correctly, then you should be able to boot from a Leopard startup disc by holding down the C key. This will boot to the disc and allow you to reformat the new drive under Utilities in the menu and selecting disk utility.

2. Drive Savers is very popular although they are also quite expensive. Charlotte has a company called Data Recovery Group. Maybe a bit more reasonable.

Accidental Damage to a Macbook LCD

Hi Scotty - quick question - I am thinking about putting a mac in my middle daughter's room (almost 6).  Big sister seems to have thrived since she got hers at about same age.  Any thoughts on a modest (read cheap) way to get a used mac.  I suspect the computer will take a beating and will only be used for surfing a few kid's websites.  Of course - this may cause me to get a new machine and hand down old macbook.


As far as a kid friendly, low cost, mac...I'd check eBay for an early intel like an intel core duo (not core 2 duo).  These will be much lower cost and still be fine for simple kid use.  Don't get a G5 powerPC based machine.  There's no future with PPC.  Also, avoid sellers on eBay who want to raise the cost by including additional software.  

mac mini hd crash

My wife has an iPhone whose display quit working. Sunday I tried backing up
and restoring using iTunes but that didn't help. Today the Apple store
replaced it with a new one and told me to go home and download everything
that had been on her old phone that was backed up in iTunes. Somehow I
screwed that up and I think deleted everything that was backed up; the new
phone has her old apps and some music but no contacts, speed dial settings,
emails etc.
Fortunately I have Time Machine but I am very unsure as to how to find and
restore the lost data from her old phone. Can you help? This is urgent as
she desperately needs this stuff for her work at the Museum.
Many thanks,

Ok, this may be a long shot but here goes...

First go into time machine and find the older files in the following location:


Now restore that folder from the previous date.
Next, connect your iphone and choose to restore your phone. After the restore you should have the choice to restore a backup. Hopefully (big hopefully) itunes will detect the older backup folder and only think it’s the current one. You could also just right click on the iphone icon in itunes to restore from backup as well instead of restoring first.

To restore apps that may have been lost, you can use time machine to recover lost apps from the following folder:

Good luck

more info here:
iPhone and iPod touch: About backups

Update caused the display to go crazy

Hi Scotty,

I was getting a recipe off the internet and a screen came up and same my computer is under attack and I have all kinds of viruses on my computer.  I can't tell if this is a real problem or not.  

The web site's address begins with   Another screen has popped up that says "Windows Security Alert" but my computer is a mac.

I  left everything up on the screen so that I can show you what it says.  Please let me know what you would recommend!


What you’ve encountered is absolutely nothing to worry about. It’s a scare tactic meant to scare windows users into clicking on links that will either advertise for them to sell something or actually cause harm to your windows machine. Either way, you are on a mac and the virus warning you saw was nothing. Only an advertisement. There are no viruses for the mac as of June 23, 2009.

Mysterious Blue Screen

How do I change the password on my computer?


If you know your password and just want to change it, you can go through the system preferences and go to the Accounts pane. There you’ll find the change password preference. However, if you do not remember your password and need to reset it, then you’ll have to boot from an install DVD of Leopard and choose the password reset utility from the DVD.

More here:
Mac OS X: Changing or resetting an account password

Letting go of the past

I cannot remember where I go to watch what screen my son is on. I have the log under parental controls but cannot find the screen option.
Thank you.


Here’s how. go to the finder and select your son’s computer in the “shared” field on the right hand side. Choose share screen and put in the password and username of his computer.

Every hard drive dies

Scotty, do you know who or what this is?  ddw7jmb???????  Is someone on my laptop computer????


Most likely this is a shared volume from one of your virtual windows environments. (Parallels or VMware) It is not a rogue computer on your network because they would first need access to your wireless network to show up like that they’d have to be in close proximity to your wireless network. The most likely answer is that it is one of your other computer’s windows shared folders. It’s nothing to worry about. Even after you’ve closed the Windows virtual machine you can sometimes still see the ghost shared image in the finder.

Hard Drive making crazy bad sounds

HI Scotty,
I bought the La Cie Rugged Hard disk 800 firewire, 500 whatevers....

I've plugged it in, its on my desk top... Is that it?  Am I good?


it's pretty easy.  Here's directions:

Mac OS X 10.5 Help: Setting up and adjusting Time Machine

Optical drive on Macbook pro is failing

Hey Scotty
Im getting a message
The application LOGINserver quit unexpectantly
What is this


This error is related you your Brother printer. You may need to update your printer drivers. See links:

Brother: FAQs & Troubleshooting: [faq002494_000] I’m using Mac OS® X 10.5. When I install the drivers from the CD-ROM supplied with the machine, the message “The application LOGINserver quit unexpectedly” appears. What should I do?: Others

If you experience further trouble check out this thread:

Apple - Support - Discussions - The application LOGINserver quit ...

CD will not eject on an iMac

i had to get a new b-berry. do i need to install something on the b-berry to get it to sync?


Yes, if you are using the missing sync. There’s an app you download directly from the blackberry that works in conjunction with Missing Sync.
If you are using pocketmac (which I don’t think you are) then there is no additional app to purchase.

For more info on the blackberry syncing app from markspace go to the following address on your blackberry browser:

more info here:

12" powerbook airport card not recognized

Scotty  I hope you are doing well. We are READY for summer .  I have on my email page rss is that what you are talking about? I have a question, on my email page some of my account names are missing,  they all show up under inbox, but not as separate accounts. How can we find them?


Yes, the RSS feed can be found in your email program. But you’ll need to subscribe from my webpage on the Answers section. If you have mulitple email accounts but can only see one inbox then you probably need to collapse the window by clicking on the small triangle shown here:

Upgrading a Power PC iMac

Hi Scotty,
I can't believe that I need you already again. I am experiencing a problem that I see was already asked on your website. I tried to get online Saturday however the computer is saying that I have no airport card installed. I noticed that your advice to the other person that experienced this was to take it in to the Apple store to see if it was hardware. I did the same and they called me to say that they would have to send it to the Apple depot and it would be 5-10 days before I get it back and it would run me about $310.00 for them to replace something. Is this something you can do or is that my only choice?  Please advise.

Thank you,


Knowing you have that 12” powerbook, here’s what I would try first. Those 12 inches have been known to have their airport cards disconnect from their slots. Especially if it is dropped or hit.

Try reseating the airport card
Turn the computer off
take off the battery in the back
you’ll see a small door that flips down on the side, flip it down and you’ll see the aiport card that slides in and out. It has an antenna cable attached. Just pull it out by the clear plastic pull tab then push it firmly back in.
Restart the computer

This may work. Let me know.

CD stuck in macbook

Hi Scotty.  Hope all is well with you!

Quick question...  Is there a way to alphabetize your "favorites" list on
your iphone?  Mine appear in the order that I placed them in favorites, but
now I have quite a few and it would be helpful if they could be ranked in
alphabetical order.

Let me know if this can be done!  Thanks so much -


I don’t think there’s a way to alphabetize favorites on the phone. However, you probably know you can re-oder them by selecting edit then dragging the right hand side up or down.

My screen is too dark

Several clients have reported Gmail problems over the weekend of May 8-10th 2009.

More water damge to macbook

Hi Scotty - I hope that you are well.  My father in law is coming to stay with us and he needs/wants to use his computer and needs access to our wireless internet.  What do I need to provide him?  I'm guessing that you are going to tell me "the password" at which point I'll have to say, "I've got no idea what it is."  Am I correct?  If so, yes, I'm a moron!!!  Would you be able to guide me there??

On the same note, I continue to have the same problem with the boys computer in that I've got the user name and/or password wrong on it.  I know that the last time you were here, we changed it b/c of the same thing.  I swear I don't know what I'm doing wrong!!  Can you help me here too?



What's the name of your network.  Click on the airport radar in the menu bar and you may see the name of the network.

If you can tell me the name, I can look it up in my own keychain on my computer and send you the password. I usually set my computer to remember all clients wireless passwords for exactly this reason. If you have problems then I can direct you how to find it in your own keychain as well. Just a few more steps. ughhh.


To change the password to your kids iMac, one way to do it is to use the start up disk or Leopard install disk. Boot from it (holding down C) then choose the password reset utility in the menu items. Another way is to obviously know the previous password of the admin then reset it in your system preferences. Sorry I can’t be more specific. Each user password is not stored in the keychain so that application will not help.

Let me know if you need additional help.

My hard drive has died

Hi Scotty,

I hope you are doing well. I have heard that Apple is going to release a new iphone for around $99 in a few months. Is this true? Or is this the new version we discussed that they may or may not be ready for. I doubt that one will be $99. If you had to replace your phone...what would you do?



Apple never announces pre release products so any rumors of cheaper phones are mere speculation.  However, looking at the data, you could assume that Apple may be releasing a new phone since the original phone is now 2 years old and ATT contracts are due to expire.  The new software 3.0 will run on all existing phones but with limited features on at least the first generation.  

So, here's what I would do...if I had the original iPhone I would way and see what happens in late June.  Then be prepared to purchase a new iPhone.  If I had the second gen iPhone then I would just be happy with what I have.

Hope that helps.  

G5 not starting up

We came home from a softball game and went to get on the laptop and it says there is no airport card.  How can this happen while we were away for 2 hours?!

Any suggestions?  Apple support says to reinstall it, but I don't know how to do that.

No sure what model laptop you have.  Macbook?  iBook?  Powerbook?


Ok.  You did you do a restart?  


Try going to system preferences and selecting network, then toggle turn airport on/off.  You could also use the plus sign to re-add airport wireless.  It could be a hardware problem however.  

If it is hardware, then you may want to take it by the apple store first to have them check it out.  They can do this by booting from an external drive and verifying the airport card's connectivity.  

Keyboard freezes intermitently

Scotty - Thanks so much...everything appears to be working great.  Really appreciate all the help, and the quick turnaround.  Huge help.

Did have just one question.  Plugged in our external hard drive to run time machine and it appears to be doing the full back-up again (all 100gb+, so several hours).  I had thought after I did the initial backup last week which took about 5 hours that each subsequent time I plugged it in it would be much faster.  Also it appears to be taking up another 100gb+ of space on the external hard drive.  Am I doing something wrong?  

I wouldn’t worry about it. Time Machine most likely saw differentiations in the old drive to the new drive and created a new sparse bundle on the TM disk. You can go into the Time Machine external hard drive in about a week or so and delete the older (smaller) sparse disk bundle. It will be in a folder called Backups.bacukupdb then you’ll see two images most likely. If you only see one then don’t do anything. You actually still really don’t need to do anything anyway. This is only if you want to free up space on the external drive.

time to upgrade?

I was looking to see if I can download a movie for my kids to watch on the plane.  Below is the message from Blockbuster.  Does this mean I can't do it on a mac?  Any suggestions?

Warning: our system does not currently support downloads for your browser/operating system.
Downloading and playing movies requires Internet Explorer 5.0 (or newer) and a PC running Windows XP or Windows Vista. Please load this page in Internet Explorer or
install the IE Tab Extension in Firefox (IE installation required). Thanks for downloading from!
Click here to install the latest version of Internet Explorer.
Click here to install the Mozilla/Firefox IE Tab Extension. Installation help


I'm saddened every time I see this sort of thing.  This means one thing.  The web designers are lazy.  They would rather make their site work with the worst browser out there than take the time to be sure that their service complies with the ACTUAL standards of the internet like Safari and Firefox do.  

Try using Firefox.  If that doesn't work, email them a nasty letter telling them to fire they web IT guys so they aren't shutting out about 17% of their customers.

hard drive recommendations

Dear Scotty,
Adobe won’t install. Do I buy new or upgrade what I have?
My Mac is white and square. OSX 10.3.9
Processor 1.25GHz Power PC G4
Memory 256 MB
Thanks for your help.

Being a 1.25ghz you could put leopard 10.5 onto it but it's not going to run very well.  However, to do so, you'd need to add more ram to it.  Leopard requires at least 512 and you only have 265.  That would probably hold about 1 gig maximum of ram which would cost around $50.  I'm guessing you have an eMac.

The best solution would be to aquire a copy of Tiger 10.4 and install that along with more ram.  That could hold you for another year or so.  But it will be time very soon to consider moving up to a newer machine.

What causes a kernel panic?


I have set up a new group of people in the address book called MS Baseball.  Some of the contacts have multiple email addresses (e.g. a work email and a home email address).  How do you send an email to all email addresses for the contacts in MS Baseball?  When I sent the group email only 1 email address was chosen for each person, I need both addresses to get the email.

First, check to see if there are multiple cards for each contact. You can merge the contact easily within address book. That doesn’t answer your question but it verifies that you’re dealing with one card and not many.

One way to solve this would be to create a contact for each email. Silly solution but it would work.

After some research, I don’t believe that Apple Mail/Address Book can do this. I’ve not found an answer yet.

ATT Uverse...what do you think?

I thought this sounded like a good deal when the guys came to our door, but now am getting cold feet.  Only wanted to do it to save money but it won't be much.. have you heard anything?  We'd be doing the Elite which he said is equivalent to Road Runner.... Also, will it mess up our airport wireless network since it has one "built in" as they say??
Please let me know your thoughts...

I would say at the moment to not get involved yet personally. I do have a few clients who have adopted the new ATT service. And I’ve heard that after the initial hard times of setup, the service has been good for them. The router is huge. Almost the size of an xBox. Each TV has a box as well.

I would not use their router at all. Especially since you have an extreme. I am not sure if the ATT network has 802.11n but either way, it’s a very new service and I’m sure there are things that need to be improved. If you’d like to be in early then go ahead but I might say wait for a while.

It may be a good package eventually however it may be too early to invest.

Lacie portable drive?

Doing a little research on LaCie.
What do you think of the LaCie Little boy portable backup?

Lacie drives are great.  My personal favorites.  If you don't really need the convenience of portability, you'll save a lot of money by getting an external but overall the lacies are highly recommended.  Just delete all the software off of it and let time machine handle the rest if backup is your primary goal.
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