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Assorted Mac Maintenance Tips. Vol 1 (Thanks to Frank Eleveld... )
      #329214 - 24/07/06 11:28 PM
My Thanks to Frank Eleveld for starting this task.... and motivating me to get the thing up and running... Several members probably deserve credit for instigating this... it's been asked for since about day one of V3... hey, look, it took less than 2 years....

This thread will be a locked reference thread, if you wish to submit material for inclusion, please contact one of the Mac forum moderators (Currently myself and James Lehmann) who'll then tack it on to the end...

Mac Maintenance Tips and Tricks.


Verifying and repairing Permissions
Mac OS X applications store data about what users have which rights in files, which may become corrupt over time and use. Corrupt preference files can cause system instability, cause software to operate incorrectly due to altered (incorrect) access rights permissions, as well as cause random strange behaviour. Frequently checking preferences is highly recommended to keep your system running smoothly.

Preferences are repaired using Disk Utility; navigate to 'Applications', 'Utilities', 'Disk Utility', and choose the first tab 'First Aid'. Select the drive (not the volume name) and choose 'Repair permissions' to proceed. Repairing permissions is a fully automatic process and it doesn't require user intervention.
Note that what can and cannot be done this way has changed with successive versions of OSX. OSX.1 could not repair the start up drive without starting from the original installation disk... OS10.4 apparently can... BUT it's still recommended that you try this when problem permissions are persistently refusing to be fixed

Delete cache files
Removing cache files once or twice a month should help keeping OS X operating fast. Large and/or corrupt cache files will make the system unresponsive and cause anomalies.

Delete old log files
These simply clutter hard disk space - removing old logs will help keeping your data up to date and manageable, although it's worth keeping some crash logs if you're having regular trouble with your system...

Checking hard drive condition
Launch Disk Utility (Applications, Utilities, Disk Utility), and click on the drive label (not the volume name). In the lower part of the windows, you'll see the disk description, the connection buss, the connection ID, and to the right of this, 'S.M.A.R.T. Status'. If this reads 'Verified', then everything is in order. If there's no 'S.M.A.R.T. Status' listed, your Mac doesn't have S.M.A.R.T. enabled drives. If you see 'S.M.A.R.T. Status', but without the phrase 'Verified', back up your data immediately as it's possible that the drive is likely to fail soon.

Defragmenting data
If you've enabled 'Disk Journalling', OS X will perform disk defragmentation to some degree. If you're working with large files, you may find the amount of defragmentation unsufficient, in which case you can use utilities like TechTool Pro.

Software
There are various tools for performing system maintenance. One of my personal favourites is YASU, an accronym of Yet Another System Utility. It's freeware and it consists of nothing more than a number of Unix scripts, performing essential maintenance. It's quite compact in size - in fact, it's as small as maintenance utilities get.

Links
http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html

http://www.applelinks.com/index.php/more/built_in_os_x_disk_file_system_ma intenance_and_repair_os_x_odyssey_819/

http://www.westwind.com/reference/OS-X/background-processes.html

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106214

Some or all or none of the above may have been sourced from the following resource. : Mac World; 24 January 2005 - prevent Mac disasters



Max's additional notes.....



Additional Drive Recovery Tools

Once in a while you may find that a drive decides not to play nicely with the rest of the system, maybe it's on it's way out, maybe it's been accidentally corrupted, maybe it just don;t like Mondays... the following is a short list of Disk recovery tools that have been found useful....

Disk Warrior.
Good for rebuilding corrupted Volumes , where it's damage to the volume header or structure that's at fault...

Drive Genius.
Slightly more robust , but less user friendly... Disk/Volume recovery tool....

Carbon Copy Cloner,
more useful than most people realise.....

Data Rescue.
In a worst case scenario, this is useful only if you can identify large files , it , in common with several others of it's type, tends to retrieve lost data simply as 001.aif , 002.aif, - 4589.aif etc etc
which if you just lost several terabytes of sample library,. is bugger all use... but on the other hand, if you just lost the printed mix of a 2 hour movie, it's reasonably handy ....

Vanishing Data.
IF you do have a corrupted volume or Data loss issue, then most critically of all NEVER EVER try to recover on to the same drive, or indeed save or write or initialise anything on or with that drive... Writing ANY new data to the drive, even just a new Volume label, runs the risk of overwriting the pre-existing data you want to retrieve...
The upshot of this is that effectively, if you have such a problem, either you need another drive of the same size or larger to hand, or you'll need to buy one....


Resetting NV-RAM
Remember back in "The good old days" of OS9??

Restting P-Ram (Physical Ram) was a staple diet tool for getting recalcitrant machines to play nice... well, sadly it's still the case... although much less often...
if you have a mac falling over regualrly, even when not in use... it's possible some Sysytem or hardware reference that's stored in RAM may be corrupt... so you reset them...

how to do it??

well there's a few ways... including the age old Key combos during start up, but on the later Macs the most reliable method is via the open Firmware route..

Restart your mac , holding the power button continuously , first you'll hear a long tone, then a grey screen will appear with a bit of bumpf then a prompt...

at the prompt type (not including the quotation marks) "reset-nvram" and hit return.
then at the next prompt after this is done, type "reset-all"

(you could just type "mac-boot" to restart the machine into OSX... but it's not required if using the "reset-all" command, it's a bit "belt and braces" but it works.. )

the Mac will then restart and boot up as normal, although there may be a few odd moments as screens reset their resolution and so on...


if this fails to make any difference to your problem, and nothing above does either then....


Hardware Checks

Every new Mac is supplied with a Hardware test Disk, specific to that model...
if you experience a fault that seems un-resolvable by the usual methods or repairing permissions and resetting NV-RAM (AKA P-RAM) , dig this out and run the extended tests... this can take a while, especially for those of us with 8-16Gb of RAM in dual or Quad G5

but it is usually fairly thorough in identifying hardware specific faults that will require a component replacement . provided it's not an intermittent fault....

Firewire Drive Issues
Despite the claims by apple and others, for Firewire being robust and hotswappable... it's best NOT to do so...

1) OSX throws a wobbler if you unplug a mounted drive without ejecting it from the desktop... and in unfortunate cases, this can result in corrupted volume headers and data loss. ALWAYS eject first....

2) it's possible, although fairly rare, for the firewire chipsets in both the machine and the external drive , to get fried....it seems especially if a device is buss powered... so the cautionary approach, only connecting drives with the machine powered down is advisable.... with non buss powered drives, it seems okay to disconnect while the Mac is powered, provided the drive has been properly ejected in the OSX Desktop... as long as you power down the drive before disconnecting the cable... Since a lot of us rely on Firewire to an ever increasing degree , it's worth taking the care...

3) Firewire hubs.
Are not all created equal, and some Firewire devices simply will not play nicely with them... even when they're plugged in to a different port and not via the hub...

I'm fairly sure that someone somewhere will have collated a list of what hub devices play nicely with fussy firewire client devices.. ( note, Firewire DSP and audio interfaces are seemingly MUCH more prone to this than Drives ) but I haven't as yet... so try googling the model you're considering before buying it....

(It's worth noting that FW800 and FW400 on the G5 machines actually share a buss, stupid but true.,.. so yes, having a hub on the FW800 can and sometimes does affect a "non hub friendly" device on the Fw400 port.)

4) Firewire cables.
Are NOT indestructible, but are generally really very fragile... stand on one, and it could well now have impaired operational performance... place a chair or desk leg on one and it's very likely to be in Dodo territory.... DEAD... or worse... certain fault conditions could even damage the chipset in the machine.... OUCH!
Look after them!

That's all for the minute... I have other fish to fry....


Max

--------------------
Don't get the hump when i tell you it's going to be expensive, it's not my fault , you picked the site/building/room â


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