Mac Routine Maintenance (Not!) don’t do this

With Windows, I have this whole ritual for keeping things clean that include these free utilities

* Spybot. Keep immunizations up for adware, spyware and use its Tools to fix the registry of bad entries, cleanup startup groups of shovelware
* Antivir. Freeware antivirus package. Just need to keep it scanning and take the regular updates
* Zonealarm. take the updates to this firewall and make sure to disable the native XP firewall
* Firefox. Make sure to install adblock plus, flashblock and and turn cookies on to ask
* PerfectDisk. This isn’t freeware, but it is a great disk defragger that you have to run regularly
* Norton Ghost. Again not freeware, but does an incremental backup of your hard drive.

On the Mac, I don’t have a similar routine, but “Macmerc.com”:http://www.macmerc.com/articles/Power_User_Monday_Tip_of_the_Week/255 does have a good list but of course after I ran Yasu, it corrupted my entire MacBook Air boot drive, so that upon boot, it failed with a spinning wheel and the Apple logo. Not good! Am going through a full rebuild now. Thank goodness that the low level “DVD Sharing for OS X Install”:http://www.maciverse.com/reinstalling-os-x-on-macbook-air.html works. I guess I get what I want, a clean MacBook Air!

MacMerc.com: Routine Maintenance

Required Materials
1. Disk Utility (Included with Mac OS X)
2. Keychain Access (Included with Mac OS X 10.3 and higher) or Keychain First Aid (For Mac OS X 10.2, Free)
3. Yasu ($3.50) at “Jim Mitchell”:http://jimmitchell.org/projects/yasu/
4. Preferential Treatment (Free) at “Jonn8”:http://www.jonn8.com/html/pt.html
5. BootCD (Free)
6. DiskWarrior ($79.95)
7. ClamXAv

Here is his procedure:

# Create a Bootable CD so that you can run things like Disk Utility offline and tackle the hard drive. Unfortunately, this utility only works up to 10.2 (Jaguar) and is borken for 10.3 (Panther), 10.4 (Tiger) and 10.5 (Leopard)
# Restart your Mac so everything works well
# Verify or repair your keychain. This happens to me quite a bit, you can get a corrupt keychain. With 10.3 or higher, goto Spotlight and find _Keychain Access_ and choose Keychain Access/Keychain First Aid and run Verify and if it bad, then click Repair.
# Goto Spotlight and search for _Disk Utility_ and use it to verify. This fixed permissions that prevent access to thing.
# Preferential Treatment looks corrupt plists, these are preference lists used by applications. If they are corrupt, the application might crash
# Run Yasu with everything selected, this deletes lots of cached data which can get corrupted. The system builds it all back again automatically as you use your computer, but corruptions can happen. Be really careful on this one, appears to Corrupt OS X 10.5.5!
# Update ClamXAv virus definition files
# Make sure Firefox has adblock and flashblock on.

Finding Big files on the Mac

If you are using leopard and don’t mind the CPU times, then go to Finder and choose View/View Options and click on “All Sizes” This calculates the size of all files within a folder. Very useful to see why you suddenly have 14MB of /Library files. If you have Tiger then…

MostOfMyMac.com » How To Find The Largest Files On Your Hard Drive

If you are like me, occasionally (actually most of the time in my case) you run out of disk space on your hard drive and you wonder what is eating up so much space. Well in order to make some space in your hard drive you need to delete some files.

I am going to show you a quick way to find the files that take the most space on your machine. Here is how we begin:

# First of all, we need to find the biggest files in your computer and start by deleting the ones that are no longer important.
In order to do this let’s use one of the great and powerful features of Tiger called “Smart Folders“. So from Finder, choose File/New Smart Folder and then choose “+” on the right and then “+” again and choose Other… and look for Size and pick greater than 1GB and choose Save. Name this “1GB+ Files”
# This appears on the left bar of Finder and when you click, it search for a 1GB files
#

Four ways to make Mac simpler

Mac 101: Four simple ways to make your Mac more efficient – The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

1. Easy access from the dock

I always drag my hard drive and Applications folder into the dock. No need to minimize windows, invoke Expose or, worst of all, shuffle windows around manually to reach the folder or file you want. Just click to reveal a speedy, hierarchical menu.

2. Learn some keyboard shortcuts

Mouse jockeys will balk, but memorizing even a few keyboard shortcuts will save you much time in the long run. For instance, most web browsers will select the address field with Command – L.

Things get even more fun with the Finder. Shift-Option-D brings up the Desktop Folder. Shift-Option-A presents the Applications folder. Command-M minimizes the frontmost window.

Is the dock in your way? Command-Option-D hides it away, and then calls it back. There are many shortcuts to choose from, but find the four or five that address the tasks you perform most often. Sure, it only takes a second to move from the keyboard to your mouse and back again, but seconds add up.

3. Embrace the menu bar

Several applications offer functionality that can be accessed from the menu bar. For instance, you can set your iChat status and even monitor which of your buddies are online without launching the application.

First, launch iChat and select “Preferences” from the iChat menu. Select “Show status in the menu bar” from the General tab. If someone initiates a chat with you, the application will launch in full and ask if you’d like to receive the invitation.

There are others, of course. Initiate a sync (for MobileMe customers) or Time Machine backup, alter display settings, select a wireless network or check the date and time without exiting the program or project you’re woring on. Many third party applications will let you interact with them via the menu bar as well.

MacBook Air update

Apple to Update MacBook Air to Penryn Soon? – Mac Rumors

The external design is to remain the same, but the new MacBook Air is said to incorporate a new Penryn-class processor “from 2.0GHz and potentially beyond”. To compensate, Apple will be including a higher capacity battery.

In fact, the new revision of the MacBook Air will draw it much more in-line with the current MacBook internals. Expect to see SSD prices in-line with the current revision, however the hard drive version of the MacBook Air will likely be upgraded to 120 GB, and optionally 160 GB, due to falling prices for 1.8-inch hard drives.
PhoneNews is not a typical source of Apple rumors, but appears to have a reasonably good reputation.

The timeframe for such an update is also reasonable with earlier reports indicating that Intel was planning on a Penryn update to the custom MacBook Air processor. Several readers, however, had hoped that Apple would simply choose to utilize the more power-efficient chips at the same processor speeds in order to extend battery life.

MDworker bogging Mac

Like Windows, the Mac has lots of processes running. My current nemesis is something called mdworker which stands for metadata worker. That means nothing to me. But, apparently, this is the process that indexes files for Spotlight. So you can get it to go crazy after bad shutdowns where the Spotlight data indexes are screwed up. It should spike a little, but mine is constantly running at 50-80% of CPU (for a dual core that is alot!) and disk activity is crazy.

100% CPU use on One Core Process mdworker – Mac Forums

I’ve been getting serious CPU spikes with a process called mdworker. Seemingly randomly, it will start using 100% of one core on my Macbook Pro 2.4ghz. This is on OS 10.5.1.

As a fix,http://www.macintouch.com/tiger12.html suggests stopping mdworker, deleting all the indexes and reindexing everything to get it to normal. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (Part 12)

1) Using the mdutil command-line utility in Terminal, turn off indexing for each of your drives. example:

$ sudo mdutil -i off /Volumes/your_hard_drive_name_1
$ sudo mdutil -i off /Volumes/your_hard_drive_name_2

2) Then use mdutil to remove the indexes from each drive

$ sudo mdutil -E /Volumes/your_hard_drive_name_1
$ sudo mdutil -E /Volumes/your_hard_drive_name_2

3) Physically remove the .Spotlight directories from the root of each drive.

$ cd /
$ sudo rm -fr .Spotlight-V100

(do the same for your second or third drive) BE CAREFUL WITH THAT RM COMMAND! One typo could ruin your day.

4) Use mdutil again to turn indexing back on for each drive

$ sudo mdutil -i on /Volumes/your_hard_drive_name_1
$ sudo mdutil -i on /Volumes/your_hard_drive_name_2

5) Spotlight will now re-index all drives and should behave in a normal fashion. (No longer uses 60%-80% of your CPU)

Boot Camp

John, Sam and Louie were wondering exactly how to install Base Camp on their computer. Chris Pirillo explains it well:

How to Install Boot Camp on OS X ~ Chris Pirillo

# Use Spotlight to search for _Boot Camp Assistant_. Ah, there it is. The first thing it will do is ask if you want to print the instructions. I don’t want to, so I’m just going to click through.
# Next, it asks how much space you want to partition for use of Boot Camp. Ponzi will be doing a lot in Windows, so I’m going to allocate 25GB of space. Click the button to partition, and wait a couple of minutes for it to do so. This is a hard limit as the hard drive is divided forever more into a Mac section and a Windows section. I’d say 25GB is good if you are going to put games on it.
# Once it has finished partitioning, you’ll need to grab your Windows XP install disc. Simply put that in and let it run through setup. Amazingly, Windows just detects the Mac as a regular PC
# After that is done… you’re going to need to pop in the OS X disc and update drivers and things for Windows to run. When you install Windows using Boot Camp, you won’t need to search the Internet for drivers or burn a disc. After you run Boot Camp, simply insert the Leopard DVD to install the necessary drivers. The Leopard Install DVD is a frankenstein device. It is a Mac disk for installing OS X and on Windows, it looks like all the drivers you need to use the Mac hardware

Mac OS X 10.5.4 problems

Well there is a bug fix release for OS X. Here are the things to watch out for:

Mac OS X 10.5.4 (#4): Spotlight problems; random shutdowns; poor performance; more – MacFixIt

Spotlight problems Some users have reported Spotlight problems after updating to Mac OS X 10.5.4, a relatively common occurrence with major system updates.

One reader writes:

“The update to 10.5.4 results in loss of application indexing in spotlight. Had to rebuild spotlight index”

The first procedure you should try in the case of general Spotlight issues after a major system update is the following:

* Download the utility “Spotless”:http://www.fixamacsoftware.com/software/spot2/.
* Use the tool to erase the Spotlig
* Restart your Mac.

Others have had random shutdowns. You have to reset the SMC as noted for the “MacBook and MacBook Pro”:http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303319

BTW most folks think that installed standalone vs. using the Software Update tool is a better way to prevent run away processes, etc.

As an aside it is a pretty minor update but does fix a problem with Adobe CS3 corrupting files on remote servers. But it does have a bunch of iCal fixes as well.

There is a safe installation procedure that takes a while but is more reliable:

Mac OS X 10.5.4 released; fixes Adobe CS3 save issue; update recommendations – MacFixIt

# When an update is available in Software Update, do not press the Install button in the Software Update window. Instead, download any desired update packages individually and without actually performing the installation. Software Update allows you to do so, but this feature is not at all obvious, so here are instructions:

1. Make sure there is a checkmark at the left of all and only the packages you want to download.
2. Choose Update > Download Only. After performing the download(s), note the location, on your hard drive, of the downloaded material.

# [Note: Alternatively, go to http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/ and click the download link for the desired package. In the case of major system updates, this is the way to obtain the full “combo update”, which is often better than the incremental update offered by Software Update.] Restart into Safe mode, by holding down the Shift key from the moment you hear the startup “bong” to the moment the “spinning gear” appears. Expect this startup to take longer than usual. Don’t be alarmed if the fans whir loudly during the “spinning gear” display. Eventually you will be presented with the Safe Boot login screen. Log in as the administrator.
# Without launching any other applications, double-click one installer package and perform the installation. Do nothing else; just sit there and wait until the installation is complete.
# Repeat step 3 after every installation. Finally, restart normally. This, too, may take longer than usual, and you may experience a “double-restart.” Be patient!

Windows Boot Drive Crash

Even when on vacation, you find computers everywhere. Someone asked me, “what do I do? when I try to start my computer, I get a boot drive not found”.

“Microsoft”:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/321626 has a good discussion about what happens if you get Operating System Not Found or Missing operating system. The long and short of it is that you use Windows XP Recovery Console and then the fixmbr to update the master boot record if that is the problem.

There is also a good (finally!) discussion about all the “startup”:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308041/ problems you can have.

This has got to be the scariest message ever created. What it means normally is that (best case), the boot all the way to your hard drive has failed. The later happens quite a bit with notebooks, but let’s hope for the best. “Windowsnetworking.com”:http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/Building-Using-Windows-XP-Boot-Disk.html has the best explanation of what is going on. In short, it is normally that the startup files have been corrupted.

If you have a floppy drive (an ancient machine!), then you can create a boot disk

DVD Backup

Well the world is moving on to Blu-ray and I’ll have to get one of these bad boys at some point (and replace my whole television too, the lovely 250kg monster that it is). In the meantime, backing up DVDs and so forth goes on. Here’s the workflow I use. Its a little old these days, but has proven reliable:

# “DVD Decrypter”:http://www.dvddecrypter.org.uk/ has since been discontinued, but there is still a mirro available. You set it to File mode to have it work with DVD Shrink
# “DVD Shrink”:http://dvdshrink.org. I’ve tried a bunch, but this freeware still seem to work the best. Basically, it reduces the files and leaves everything else the same. Run this in File mode to get the raw files
# “VOB2MPG”:http://www.videohelp.com/tools/VOB2MPG to take these files on your hard drive and convert them to a single gigantic MPG file. Or use “DVD Shrink”:http://www.videora.com/en-us/Converter/iPod/guide/dvd-to-ipod/ Leave the DVD in there and now rerun DVD Decrypter on the these files in IFO mode for it to work with iPhone or your computer. In IFO mode, make sure to check on Tools/Settings/File Splitting and set this to None and select the first stream. It does most decryption and then puts the VIDEO_TS files on your hard disk.
# “Videora”:http://videora.com works on the PC and it takes an unencrypted DVD files on your hard disk and converts them to iPod, iTouch or iPhone formats. You can also use this for PC viewing if you keep in mind the raw format of a DVD is 720x480i or in 4:3 mode what is called VGA X.264, so if you just compress to that, you’ll get about 700MB per hour for a high-def DVD. Or 350MB per hour for a lower def. So in Videola, for an iPhone, select the setting set H.264 480×320 768Kbps Stereo/128Kbps two pass. And for your computer, select H.264 VGA 1MBps/128Kbps.