Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Easiest Way to Fix Your Mac

Back in the days of OS 9, if your Mac was ever acting strangely, there was a trick you do that was so simple, that anyone – even the motards – could do it and help to maintain their own Macs. Back then, all you needed to do was to rebuild your desktop files and EVERYONE knew how to do that: you just restarted your computer while holding down the option and apple keys. Doing this caused a couple of files that were invisible to be rebuilt which, more often than not, fixed the problem. The upshot? Even if it didn’t fix the problem, rebuilding the desktop files was something that couldn’t cause damage to your Mac. It would ONLY help.


And man: wouldn’t you love to know that there was something like that now for OSX? Well there is and – shock of all shocks – it’s totally FREE. The application is called Applejack and it’s so simple that even a chimp could use it. Maybe not a whale, but come on: whales don’t type well at all, so it’s not a fair thing to expect.


Let’s break it down in five easy steps:


Step One: Head over to sourceforge and download the app to your Mac. Benefits? It’s free and everyone likes free.


Step Two: Install the software. If you want to also check your RAM, choose to do a customized install and also install “MemTest”. Benefits? You’ll get two programs for the price of one.


Step Three: Restart your Mac, hold down the “Command” and the “S” keys to boot into “Single User Mode”. (NOTE: You must use a wired, usb keyboard for this. Wireless keyboards will NOT work) Single User Mode is a fancy term that tells your Mac to “turn off the graphics and boot strictly into text only mode”. Benefits? Seeing your Mac boot into single user mode is seriously cool. In fact, since you’ve probably never SEEN your Mac boot up into plain ‘ole text before, you’ll feel like you’re a computer whiz seeing something rare and forbidden.


Step Four: Type the following “applejack auto restart” and then hit enter. Now go grab a cup of coffee. Benefits? Harvard thinks coffee is healthy.


Step Five: Watch your screen for about five minutes as Applejack runs through five different tasks – running disk utility to repair your internal hard drive, fixing your permissions, cleaning up a series of cache files, validating core preferences and removing all swap files. When it’s finished, your computer will restart auto-magically. Benefits? You’ve just enjoyed an awesome cup of coffee while looking VERY cool to your co-workers.


While this might not fix deeper problems on your Mac, it’s simple, easy and free. Give it a shot and relive your old “rebuild the desktop files” glory days, why don’t’cha?