Troubleshooting

FileVault's authenticated restart has hardware requirements

Unlike the standard OS X login screen, where background services such as Remote Desktop are running, if you have FileVault enabled, the login window will appear before OS X loads. Therefore, if you have a Mac that is configured with FileVault and you reboot your system when connected via SSH, Screen Sharing, or another remote connectivity service, it will get to the FileVault login window but not allow you to re-establish your remote connection.

To get around this limitation, one option available in OS X is to perform an authenticated restart, which will allow the system to suspend the FileVault … Read more

Undo inadvertent drag-and-drop errors in Finder

As with most graphic operating systems where you have filesystem access, OS X offers the ability via the Finder to organize files. You can create new folders and copy or move files into them using the keyboard, but the primary mode for doing this is to click and drag a selection of files using the mouse.

This approach is intuitive, but does have the potential, especially depending on the mouse input device you are using, to run into a problem or two with inadvertently copying or moving files to the wrong location. For instance, if you are not too familiar … Read more

Two ways to enable the root user in OS X

Besides the user account you use to log into the system, OS X contains a number of other accounts, most of which are hidden, but are used for running specific background tasks and system features. One of these accounts is called the "root" account, which is the main overarching system account that has unrestricted access to all system resources. Most of the system's background tasks are run under the root account, as can be seen if you open the Activity Monitor utility and choose "All Processes" from the View menu.

When a program or process … Read more

Terminal tricks for OS X users

Terminal is a very powerful tool which can be used for anything from development to running scripts, to finely manipulating the OS X configuration and customizing the system for your needs. For anyone familiar with a standard BSD terminal interface, the OS X Terminal will be very familiar; however, there are a number of small tricks available when using Terminal in OS X, which can greatly enhance your uses of the Terminal.

The two more useful tricks are how you can manage file and folder paths in the Terminal. Often you might be at a specific path in the Terminal … Read more

How to tackle defaults not sticking in Mavericks

One of the new features in OS X Mavericks is its preferences-caching routines, which prevent programs from always writing to and reading from preference files stored on disk. This may help prevent preference file corruption and other problems that could arise from relying solely on the files, but also has the drawback of hindering manual preference adjustment on the system.

If you need to change settings manually, you will have to use the "defaults" Terminal command to read in the altered preferences file so it will be cached and used by the program when next launched. However, there … Read more

Useful OS X troubleshooting utilities for the new year

If you regularly use your Mac (or any computer, for that matter), then you will undoubtedly run into a problem or two. For the most part, issues are small configuration hiccups that can be fixed by at the very least restarting affected programs, logging out of your system, or restarting it. However, there are times when a problem may require more attention in order to properly address.

In these cases, the use of various system utilities to monitor your computer's activity can help pinpoint problematic connections, processes, or other aspects of your system that may be contributing to the … Read more

How to save passwords for all Web sites in Safari

With the myriad of online services that require password protection, password management in your Web browser has become a practically essential service. Most browsers, including Apple's Safari browser for OS X, have some form of password management built-in, and when you visit a site that requests authentication, the browser should prompt you to save the entered credentials. However, some Web sites may be specifically built so browsers will not store passwords.

This feature is great for some sites, such as banking and medical sites which contain private and sensitive information; however, there may be others that you use for … Read more

Fix a Mac stuck in Expose view

One of the features in OS X is the Mission Control window management system, which will show you various views of current windows for a single application or all applications. The view for all windows for a single application is called "Expose," and as with other Mission Control features it should smoothly toggle on and off when triggered. However, there may be an odd occurrence or two where this view may get stuck and not shut off.

When this happens, it may appear that no application (including the Finder) will reactivate. While applications like iTunes may continue to … Read more

Fix "no connected camera" error on your Mac

Do you regularly use your Mac's iSight camera for chatting and other purposes, and have you run into a "no connected camera" error in the application you're using? If so, then a few causes and fixes are available that might help you out.

OS X Daily has recently outlined one cause and fix for such problem. When you run a program that uses your Mac's webcam, OS X will launch a background process called VDCAssistant, which manages the connection and control of the camera. While this process should quit when the program stops using the … Read more

Tip: Copy search results directly from Spotlight

The Spotlight in OS X can be useful for finding applications to launch, documents, images, and many other items in your user account that you might wish to access. Pressing Command-Space bar will invoke Spotlight, where a simple search term or two will bring up relevant results, which can then be previewed or opened directly.

In addition to these actions, you can also copy Spotlight's search results simply by dragging items off of the list to a location of your choice. This may be useful in a number of ways:

Duplicate a found item to a desired location in … Read more