Presented by
Randy B. Singer

Version Française | Nederlandse versie | Versión en Castellano

Current through OS X version 10.2.6

If you have updated to OS X 10.3 Panther
Click Here

Copyright © 2002, 2003 Randy B. Singer
May not be republished or otherwise disseminated without express written permission.
Permission is hereby given to link to this page.

Table of Contents

1. Slow Operation/Repair Permissions/Not Enough RAM Installed
2. Slow Operation Due To HP Drivers
3. Spinning Pizza-Wheel Of Death
4. Force-Trash
5. Display Dead Or Frequent Freezes/Firmware Update
6. Can't Drag And Drop/Corrupted Preferences
7. Crashes/Stuck Internet Prefs/Cache Problems
8. File Directory Problems/First Aid
9. File Directory Problems/Disk Warrior
10.Kernel Panics/USB Problems/Incompatible Hardware
11.Kernel Panics/Bad RAM
12.Partitions Too Small, Or Too Small Hard Drive, Or Hard Drive Almost Full
13.Built-In Maintenance (Cron) Routines
15.Printer Driver
16.Printing Problems
17.Scanner Driver

18.Quitting Classic Resolves USB Problems

19.Can't Trash File That Is "Being Used"

20.Classic Causes Printing Conflict When Running

21.Loss Of Network Connection, Or Hang, On Wake From Sleep

22.Applications Suddenly Quitting And/Or Powerbook Not Sleeping
23.Numeric Keypad Not Working
24.Slow Startup
25.Classic Takes A Long Time To Launch
26.Bad OS 9 Font Prevents OS X Startup/Application Crashes/Blue Screen
27.Dial-Up Termination
28.Filesharing Between OS X and OS 9
29.Modem Problems Under 10.2.4
30.OS X 10.2.4 Date and Time Problems
31.Manual Indexing Problems
32.The Installed Updates List Found In The Software Update Preference Pane Is Blank, Even After A Successful Installation
33.Unable To Repair Disk Permissions
34.Can't Index Hard Drive
35.FruitMenu Causes Slow Application Loading
36.Can't Startup In OS X From External FireWire Drive
37.Screen Resolution And Geometry Settings Lost At Each Startup
38.Error 95/Can't Mount Disk Images

39.OS 9 or OS X Won't Start Up/Laptop Battery Apparently Dead/Reset NVRAM
40.OS X Won't Start Up/User Trashed OS X Files Visible Under OS 9
41.Icons Have Become Generic/Need to Rebuild Desktop

For More Help, Or Information About OS X

I belong to a number of Macintosh discussion lists, and I have heard users give a number of reasons why they are hesitant to move up to OS X. Some folks say that they are worried that if OS X "breaks" that they won't know how to fix it. That the trouble-shooting skills that they gained from years of using earlier versions of the Mac OS are now obsolete. Others have heard that OS X is based on UNIX, and they are worried that they will have to use a command line, and learn a whole new set of difficult-to-learn, and difficult and dangerous to apply, skills to deal with OS X.

This site is designed to address both of those concerns.

Let me explain that there is, unfortunately, a common, silly myth about OS X. This myth says that you have to know UNIX to use OS X, or that you have to learn cryptic codes to troubleshoot OS X and input them at a command line. In just about every case, this is not true. This may have partially been the case when OS X was first released, but software developers have quickly provided very nice utilities that make use of the command line unnecessary in OS X.

OS X (especially Jaguar) is easier to deal with and troubleshoot than OS 7/8/9 was. You don't have to know anything at all about UNIX to deal with OS X. (At times I think that it was a bad idea for Apple to ever mention the term UNIX in their advertising.) I have found that suggesting UNIX solutions and use of the command line to remedy common problems that occur with OS X, frankly, scares the willies out of most Mac users. So I have deliberately avoided suggesting such solutions here unless there are absolutely no alternatives.

Most of the common problems experienced in OS X 10.2 Jaguar are, by now, well-known, as are the methods for dealing with them. Troubleshooting OS 7/8/9, or for that matter, Windows, can, and has, taken up entire books. Troubleshooting OS X Jaguar only takes up this single Web page. That is part of the beauty of OS X!

This site focuses only on OS X 10.2 Jaguar, as it is the most current version of the Macintosh operating system. However, some of the troubleshooting tips offered here also apply to earlier versions of OS X. Several things that were common problems under earlier versions of OS X were either remedied, or became much easier to deal with under OS X 10.2 Jaguar, especially permissions problems and trash problems.

When you encounter a problem when using Jaguar, if it isn't a problem that can immediately be identified as one of the problems listed on this page, there are three things that you should try right off the bat. The first is to restart your Mac with the Shift key held down, invoking Safe Boot mode. This will cause First Aid (also known as fsck, or file system check) to be run (invisibly, but it is being run). (Restart again immediately, in the normal way, after doing this.)

The second thing to try is to run Repair Permissions in the First Aid Panel in Disk Utility (located in your Utilities folder.)

A third thing to try generically is to run the latest "Combo Updater" from Apple:

The fourth thing that you can try is to reset your user preferences. (See Item #6, below.)
If the first two things didn't help, here is something that you can try that is diagnostic to tell you if you have a problem that is being caused by a corrupted user preferences file. Create a new user on your system, log-in as that new user, and see if the problem is gone. If it is gone, then the problem exists only for your main account in OS X. Most likely there is a corrupted preferences file in your User folder. The easy way to deal with this is to use a utility like Dragster to delete your user preference files, which will be rebuilt after a restart. (Don't worry, I go into more detail about all of these procedures. See item #6, below.)

If you are looking for just one utility to do the routine maintenance chores that Jaguar requires, my current favorite is Cocktail, because it includes almost all of the features that you need in one application, it is easy to use with a decent help file, it doesn't drop you into the terminal, and it is FREE.

Cocktail can update prebinding, enable or disable journaling, run cron jobs, repair permissions, create symbolic links, change duplex and speed settings of a network card, delete locked or inaccessible items, view log files, delete archived log files, delete caches, force empty trash, customize the look and features of the Finder and/or Dock, and easily optimize your system using Auto Pilot

Please don't take the information on this Web site to mean that users of OS X 10.2 Jaguar experience a lot of problems. They don't. Most folks have no problems with OS X at all. By the same token, please don't go around complaining that OS X is a "bad operating system" because you personally are experiencing problems with it. If you are experiencing any of these problems you should know that these are not normal for OS X, and you should do what is necessary to sort out your system and get things working right. Don't be afraid to troubleshoot OS X just because you aren't used to doing so.

In a worst-case scenario, if you have a problem with your installation of OS X that you are finding too time-consuming to track down, a solution that seems to almost always work really well (but which is a time-consuming pain to do) is to back up your documents and use Disk Utility to reinitialize your hard drive (that is, wipe your disk clean) and then install a fresh copy of OS X from the original Install CD-ROM's (you may have to run Software Update to update to the latest version of OS X at this point), and restore all of your applications and documents. Doing this should give you the rock-stable OS X that most others have enjoyed.

Actually, Jaguar introduces a great alternative to wiping your hard drive clean and then restoring all of your software from a backup. It is called an "archive and install"
and it is a lot easier. An archive and install installs a clean copy of OS X, and disables your old copy of OS X and puts it in a folder (which you can later trash, once you have salvaged anything of value from it.) You just have to know what to trash and what to keep after the installer has done its thing. For that, you may find this article to be invaluable:
Migrate to OS X 10.2 with a Clean Install, By Dan Frakes

Apple provides this document on How to Reinstall an Older Mac OS X Version.

When looking through the list of potential problems, below, keep in mind that the problem that you are experiencing may be caused by more than one thing. So, if the obvious solution among those listed below does not work, it is often worthwhile to try some of the others.

I hope that you find this page helpful!

  1. Slow Operation/Repair Permissions/Not Enough RAM Installed

    There are several things that can cause OS X to run sluggishly, and some users suffer from several of the causes simultaneously. This has led to the perception that OS X is much slower than OS 9. It isn't. If OS X is slow on your Macintosh, even an older G3-based Mac, your setup needs to be sorted out to remedy this situation.

    There is no getting around the fact that OS X needs more RAM than OS 9 did to run well. The 256MB of RAM that comes with (or came with) most Macs is a marginal amount for OS X. RAM is cheap now, compared to a few years ago. Take advantage of the low prices and add more to your Mac. If you can afford it, add a lot more. OS X will make good use of all of the RAM that you make available to it. And make sure that the RAM that you purchase is guaranteed to meet Apple's specifications! (See Item #11, below.) RAM prices vary daily, and everyone has their favorite place to purchase RAM. You can find the best current price on RAM for your Macintosh here:

    tracks the prices for RAM from 42 retailers, with links to each retailer.



    If your Mac is running slowly despite having sufficient RAM (especially if you have just updated your operating system), or if you get error reports that you don't have permission to do things like move or trash files, you need to run Repair Permissions in Disk Utility. In fact, if you have never run Repair Permissions, do it. And if you have run it previously, do it again. (For some reason some permissions tend to revert.)

    A way to fix the permissions of an individual file is to do a Get Info (Command-I) on the file or application in question and change its owner to yourself. But I digress.

    Permissions problems sometimes come about when you download OS X software while booted into OS 9. When you do this the ownership tag isn't set.

    Disk Utility is on your Mac OS X Installer CD-ROM, but the preferred way to run Repair Permissions is from your hard drive. Just go to your Utilities folder, open Disk Utility and on the left side of the resulting window, select the hard drive that you want to repair. Click on the First Aid tab. Then click on the Repair Disk Permissions button.

    You should run Repair Permissions from your hard drive, rather than from your Install CD-ROM, because the file permission profiles are frequently updated by Apple updaters. (e.g. the 10.2.3 update.) When running Repair Permissions from the CD-ROM the permissions will be set according to the CD's profile, so a bunch of permissions which appear to be incorrect from the CD, actually may be just fine and will be improperly set.

    OS X's speed can also frequently be improved by resetting your user preferences using a utility like Dragster. (See item #6, below.) When you use Dragster for this purpose, don't delete GlobalPrefs or Dock prefs.

    Note: Sometimes the buttons in Repair Permissions are greyed out, and Repair Permissions cannot be run. The Repair Permissions utility requires that the expected software receipt .pkg files exist in this folder: /Library/Receipts/. If any or all of these files have been removed, the Repair Privileges utility may not work or only partially repair your system privileges.
    If the receipts are not present in your /Library/Receipts/ folder, you can restore the files: BaseSystem.pkg and Essentials.pkg from your OS X Installer CD-ROM using Pacifist
    and then Repair Permissions should work normally again.

    Update: Repair Shop is an AppleScript utility that can verify or repair file permissions on your startup disk, bypassing Apple's Disk Utility program. It saves a log that lists all incorrect permissions, what was fixed, and how. Repair Shop is free.

  2. Slow Operation Due To HP Drivers

    Are you using a Hewlett-Packard (HP) scanner or printer? If so, is your system unusually slow or sluggish and/or unstable, even after Repairing Permissions? If you are using an HP scanner or printer, the driver for these devices may be the source of the problem.

    Hewlett Packard posted a technote detailing the problems
    as does Apple

    Possible solutions:

    • Restart your Macintosh and zap the parameter RAM by simultaneously holding down the keys
    Command-Option-P-R during startup.
    • Uninstall the HP printer driver and use Gimp Print instead. (See item #15 below.)
    • Uninstall the HP printer drivers and use the free HPIJS driver instead of the HP printer driver.

    Adam Christianson's small script, called DealWithHP, starts and stops the "HP Communications" process, and can be easily added to the dock for quick access. This script is an effective work-around for the HP driver problem.

    More Recent Update: Users with this problem report that the OS X 10.2.3 update cured the problem. Hurray! Unless I hear that users are still experiencing this problem, I will soon be removing this problem from the page.

    More information from HP:;jsessionid=ZVBK4ZVJXRPWZQEXGR3UOSQ?reg=nam&cc=us&docName=bpm35005&lc=en

    I'm told that 10.2.3 didn't solve the HP driver problem for all HP printer users, and that the software associated with HP Scanjets still causes a Spinning Pizza-Wheel problem.

    After installing the Hewlett Packard ScanJet 3.0.1. Update the Classic environment of Mac OS X may refuse to start.

    Problem Resolved: HP claims to have identified the problem and a new scanner driver is reputed to solve the problem!

  3. The Spinning Pizza-Wheel Of Death

    A rare but vexing problem is what has been called by some the "Spinning Pizza-Wheel Of Death." When you have this problem, whenever you go to do something in OS X, the spinning rainbow cursor appears and stays on the screen for a long time before anything happens. Obviously what is happening is that something in the background is using a bunch of CPU time and keeping other actions from being executed normally, or an application is hunting for needed data that it can't find.

    An easy way to escape from a Spinning Pizza-Wheel Of Death situation is to use escapepod

    Unless you have one of the specific problems listed below, usually the Spinning Pizza-Wheel Of Death problem can be fixed the same way that you fix an installation of OS X that is running too slowly. (See Item #1, above.) That is, run Repair Permissions, and reset your user preferences.

    The most common thing that has been implicated in causing the Spinning Pizza-Wheel Of Death problem is having just about any Symantec/Norton product (e.g. Norton Utilities, Norton System Works, Norton Anti-Virus.) installed on your hard drive. (I've also been told, by the way, that Norton Anti-Virus can conflict badly with MicroMat's Drive 10.)
    (Note: For those who have asked, yes, I am referring to the latest versions of Symantec's Norton products which are billed as being OS X-savvy. Using older versions of Norton products on a system that these products were not designed for is very dangerous!)

    Note: Both Symantec Norton products, DiskDoctor and AntiVirus, do something that is frowned upon in OS X, and which many folks consider to be a sign of poor programming. That is, these products add Kernel Extensions to Mac OS X.

    OS X was specifically designed by Apple to get away from the instability that adding extensions causes. Some users won't use any software that adds kernel extensions to OS X. And I can't say that I blame them. Certainly the Norton products have been implicated in causing users a bunch of problems under OS X.

    Fortunately, there are superior alternatives to Norton Disk Doctor and Norton AntiVirus for OS X that do not install Kernel Extensions. I heartily recommend uninstalling any Norton products that you might be using and going for Alsoft's Disk Warrior
    and Intego's VirusBarrior

    Note: To be fair, I am told that an alternative is to run Norton Utilities directly from its CD-ROM without ever installing any portion of it on your hard drive. You just boot -up from the CD-ROM (by holding down the "c" key with the CD-ROM in the drive during startup) and all of the most important Norton programs can be run directly from the CD-ROM, thus avoiding any problems that users have experienced from installing Norton Utilities on their hard drive.

    To fix the problems caused by Norton products, uninstall them, restart, and things should instantly get better.

    Be sure and get the file: "SymOSXKernelUtilities.kext" located in: System/Library/Extensions/. This Symantec file has been known to be the source of several problems.

    Symantec provides an uninstaller for Norton SystemWorks, on its CD-ROM, that works only in Classic. For other Norton products, they have instructions on their Web site that tell you how to uninstall their products manually. Unfortunately they aren't 100% accurate, but they are close enough. They identify all the folders affected, sometimes the filenames are a little different, sometimes they just aren't there (I don't know if these files are invisible). Here's a link that will lead you to articles on how to uninstall all of their current Macintosh products.:

    Norton Uninstall for Mac OS X
    was developed by the poster named "icaneh" on Apple's discussion board as a result of a discussion about Norton's problems with Mac OS X.

    The Spinning Pizza-Wheel Of Death may also appear if Classic, or an application running in Classic, has crashed in the background. In this case, the fix is to open System Preferences and to quit Classic, or you can press the keys: Command-Option-Escape, and then choose Classic and then Force-Quit Classic.

    Finally, I learned first hand the other day, that you can encounter the Spinning Pizza-Wheel Of Death problem if you have a corrupted user preferences file. You can remedy this problem using a utility that deletes your preferences files, such as Dragster. (See item #6, below.)
    When you use Dragster, don't delete GlobalPrefs or Dock prefs the first time that you try it (to avoid having to reset the settings for these), and see if that helps.

    Update: While the suggestions that I have presented in items #'s 1, 2 and 3 here have been effective for quite a few folks who are either experiencing sluggish performance, or the Pizza-Wheel-Of-Death, unfortunately it hasn't solved the problem for everyone.

    I think that I may have hit upon something that will make a big difference to the rest of the folks suffering from these problems.

    It makes sense that these problems are being caused by processes running in the backgroud that hog CPU cycles. Some folks may have several different background processes running concurrently that add up to create a large problem. Several pieces of software have been identified as possibly contributing to the problem. You may want to uninstall them (usually requiring an uninstaller, just dragging the folder or icon of the offending application to the trash may not be enough if one of these programs has installed a kernel extension or the like.):

    - FAXstf fax software (there is a drop-down menu in the installer that usually says "custom install". It also has the choice of "uninstall.")
    - anti-virus software (I haven't tested all four of the currently available anti-viral programs for OS X to be able to tell you which are the worst offenders, but I can tell you that VirusBarrier from Intego doesn't seem to create a problem on my machine. I have heard reports that Norton Anti-Virus can be a significant problem.)
    - many Norton products
    - HP printer drivers (fixed for some, but not all, under 10.2.3)
    - Lexmark X83 Monitor or Lexmark X73 Monitor (background applications installed by the Lexmark printer/scanner driver)

    Here are some other things that run in the background that you can deal with.

    Turn off network ports that aren't being used:

    - In System Preferences open the Network pane
    - Go into the "Show" drop down menu.
    - Choose "Network Ports Configuraion"
    - De-select all ports that you are not using.
    (e.g.internal modem, IR Port, Ethernet, or Airport card)

    Prevent indexing:

    Like OS 9, OS X automatically indexes files on your hard drive so that you can do very fast searches for information within these files. Your Mac updates this index as needed. Even if you are working on other things.

    If you select a file or a folder while in the Finder, and choose Get Info from the File menu, you can manually index a file in the Content Index drop down in the Get Info window, or you can delete this file's or folder's index, but you can't turn indexing off here. The ability to do this is somewhat hidden.

    To turn off indexing, while in the Finder, in the Finder menu select Preferences. Now de-select *all* of the languages listed, even the one that you use. The effect of turning off all of the languages for indexing is that no idexing will take place at all.

    An alternate way to prevent hard drive indexing is presented here:
    This tip suggests modifying a file called SkipFolders.

    Of course, having your files indexed so that you can do very fast searches is a really nice feature, so you should go back and re-select your language in the evening when you are done using your Mac for the day. Leave your Mac running all night, and it will update the indexes that it creates overnight. You can also manually update the index for a particular file or folder from its Get Info window as you are working, if you need to.

    Set Classic to never sleep:
    I'm told that Setting Classic to never sleep in the Energy Saver control panel can eliminate a spinning pizza-wheel of death problem for some folks.

    Turn off Printer Sharing:
    Printer sharing hogs CPU cycles in the background. If you turn it off, except when you need to use it, you may be able to eliminate a source of the dreaded Pizza Wheel!

  4. Force-Trash

    If #1 above does not work when trying to trash items in the trashcan, you can force the trash to trash using TrashIt!:

    Also note that Jaguar now supports holding down the Option key when emptying the trash to force-trash a locked file (as opposed to a file for which the permissions are improperly set), just like OS 9 did.

    You can also use the shortcut key combination: Shift+Command+Delete and the Finder will empty the trash normally.

    If you add option to that: Shift+Option+Command+Delete, the Finder will delete whatever's in the trash, locked or not.

    You can change a file's permissions, so that you have privileges to trash it, using X-RAY or Modifier. See item #19 , below.

    BatChmod both forces the emptying of the trash and allows you to change file permissions. (Though it may be a little too advanced a utility for some users to feel comfortable using.)

    Another way to deal with files that are hard to get rid of is to compress them with DropStuff. Set DropStuff to delete the original after stuffing. DropStuff may be ignorant of permissions, so it will just delete the recalcitrant files after stuffing them, and the compressed archive that remains should be easy to trash normall. (free demo download)

    If all else fails, you can drag the unwanted files out of the trash and into a folder in the root window of your hard drive (so that it is easy to find while booted in OS 9), re-start in OS 9, and then trash the folder in OS 9.

    Also see Item #19, below.

    Note that in some rare cases you may not be able to trash a file with a forward slash character in its name until you remove the forward slash character.

    More info on how to trash recalitrant files.

    Tutorial on how to fix stubborn trash and why it won't delete. (Explains how to use the Terminal to deal with this problem.)

  5. Display Dead Or Frequent Freezes/Firmware Update

    If your iMac's display is dead after the installation of OS X, you neglected to run the relevant firmware update first. See:

    Apparently the firmware update is also the key to a freeze-up problem with some models of Mac.

    There is a documented waking-from-sleep problem with Quicksilver G4's, which can be fixed by a "Power Mac G4 CD-RW Firmware Update."

  6. /Can't Drag And Drop/Corrupted Preferences

    If you find that you can no longer drag and drop stuff, or if Finder settings don't stick, I recommend using Dragster to re-set your user preferences files.

    I'm told that it will also work to re-start into OS 9, locate the Users/[User Name]/Library/Preferences folder, back the Preferences folder up into a different location (in case you decide that you want to restore it), and then trash the contents of the original. When you restart into OS X, all of the preference files will be rebuilt, and your problem should be gone.

    One way to deal with corrupted preferences files is to back up your preferences files when your Mac is running well, before you have a problem. Back up user prefs is a simple freeware AppleScript application that backs up a user's /Users//Library/Preferences folder for safety in the event of corruption of either individual preferences or the entire folder. It also backs up the preferences folders for Chimera (Navigator) and OmniWeb that lurk in the /Users//Library/Application Support folder and Mozilla in the /Users//Library folder. (Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer preferences are automatically backed up when the /Users//Library/Preferences folder is saved.) Then, when you suspect that you have corrupted preferences, you can simply substitute the backed-up folder for the existing one. This works well because it eliminates the need to have to re-set any of your application's preferences settings if you need to re-set your user preferences files.

    PrefsOverload is a utility that can tell you if you have preference files that are unnecessary (that is, they are orphaned because the application that generated them has been uninstalled), it is also sometimes able to tell you if preference files are corrupted and if so you can delete corrupted preference files right from within the program, so that they are rebuilt.

    Update: I'm told that the presence of left over, and now unnecessary, preferences files can cause some applications to refuse to launch. PrefsOverload can quickly find these outdated preferences files and allows you to delete themm.

    Diagnostic Test For Corrupted Preferences

    Corrupted user preferences is one of the most common problems experienced in OS X. A quick way to tell if that is what is causing your problems is to create a new user.

    Here's How:

    1. In the Apple Menu select System Preferences.
    2. Click on the Show All icon to ensure all preferences are visible.
    3. Single-click on the Accounts icon.
    4. Click on the New User button.
    5. Enter the new User's name, short name, password and password hint (optional). Check "Allow user to administer this machine".
    6. Click on the Ok button.
    7. Quit the System Preferences application by selecting Quit System Prefs in the System Prefs menu .

    Note that you need administrative privileges to create a new user. If you are logged in with a nonadministrative account, first click the lock icon at the bottom of the window and enter an administrator name and password to make changes.

    After you create a new user, log out (under the Apple menu), and then back in as the new user. If the problem(s) you were experiencing are now gone, it is a safe bet that something in your User folder is causing the problem. Most likely it is the preferences file for the application that is having the problems. Preferences files have the suffix ".plist". Try re-starting with OS 9 set as your startup disk, and drag the preference file for the problematic application to the desktop and then restart again with OS X set as the startup disk. A new, fresh copy of the preference file will be automatically created, and the problem should be gone.

    To delete this new user account after you have created it for test purposes:

    1. Startup into OS 9.
    2. Find the "Users" folder. It should be at the root level of your drive.
    3. Open the Users folder and look for the folder with the name of the user you wish to delete.
    4. Drag the folder with that user's name into the trash.
    5. Empty the trash.

    Most folks prefer to keep this new user account around for future testing purposes. But if you prefer to delete it, here is how to do so without having to boot into OS 9, using the terminal.

  7. Crashes/Stuck Internet Prefs/Cache Problems

    There are times when OS X Jaguar can become plagued with random application crashes (particularly after updating software). There are also times when the Internet Preferences seem to get stuck, especially your choice of the default Web browser. This usually results in an inability to change the default web browser. Often these problems are a result of corrupted or stale cache data. Jaguar Cache Cleaner may help solve these issues by deleting the OS X caches and restarting.

    Cache Out X is a similar utility.

  8. File Directory Problems/First Aid

    As a general remedy, and one of the first things that you should try when your Mac is misbehaving, run either Disk Utility/First Aid while booted from the OS X CD-ROM, or, even easier (and new under OS X 10.2), restart with the Shift key held down, which will cause your Mac to start up in Safe Boot mode. In Safe Boot mode OS X will run First Aid automatically (and invisibly) without the need for the CD-ROM. (In the latter case you then have to restart again after the desktop appears because some startup items will have been kept from loading.)

    For you techies who have written to ask why I haven't suggested running "fsck" from Single-User mode, Apple engineers say that 1) running First Aid is *exactly* the same as running fsck (there may be some anomalous repair reports from running fsck that would indicate otherwise, but it isn't so), and 2) that starting up in Safe Boot mode is as effective as running fsck in single user mode. This was settled by Apple after a quite heated exchange on the X4U e-mail discussion list, which is monitored by an Apple employee.

    So, the process of starting up in Single-User mode and running fsck has more or less become outdated thanks to the new Safe Boot mode startup feature in Jaguar.

    How to access First Aid on your OS X Installer CD-ROM

    • Insert your Macintosh OS X 10.2 Installer CD-ROM.
    • Restart your Macintosh while holding down the "c" key.
    • The Installer will tell you that it is Preparing To Install. Wait for it to finish this.
    • In the Installer menu at the top of the screen, choose Open Disk Utility.
    • On the left side of the resulting window, select the hard drive that you want to repair.
    • Click on the First Aid tab.
    • Click on the Repair Disk button.

  9. File Directory Problems/Disk Warrior

    If First Aid won't fix your problem (and that should be rare, since First Aid under OS X has been substantially beefed up), get Disk Warrior.

    (NOTE: Though Alsoft provides the option to purchase DiskWarrior online via a download from their Web site, instead you should purchase DiskWarrior on CD-ROM, since DiskWarrior has to run from a volume that is not the volume being repaired, and for now it also needs to run from a volume running OS 9. (You can run the download version from a second hard disk running OS 9, or from a single drive with multiple partitions, if you have either of those things.)

  10. Kernel Panics/USB Problems/Incompatible Hardware

    A Kernel Panic is an error message that suddenly appears, telling you that you need to restart your Macintosh (in several languages).

    Having frequent kernel panics and maybe some other accompanying weirdness? First, note that kernel panics are never normal for OS X. (You could expect a system crash every now and then under OS 7/8/9. It should never happen under OS X.) If First Aid says that there is no problem, try disconnecting any USB peripherals (other than the mouse and keyboard) and see if things get better. (e.g. scanners and printers.) If things get better after you try this, you need a good, powered, USB hub. The Pertech Hubmaster is the best.

    It may also be that other third-party hardware that you have installed in your Mac is causing its instability. Do you have an accelerator installed? Or a SCSI card? Suspect these next. Remove these and see if your Macintosh becomes more stable. Contact the manufacturer of these products to see if there is an upgrade or a patch to make them work with OS X.

    If your Macintosh regularly experiences a Kernel Panic when it awakes from sleep, try trashing the file:
    located in

    I'm told that unchecking the "put the hard disk to sleep when possible" option in the Energy Saver system preference pane, has cured kernel panic problems for some users.

  11. Kernel Panics/Bad RAM

    The problem of bad RAM is apparently a common one for OS X users.

    If your kernel panics don't subside after disconnecting your USB peripherals, you can begin to suspect any third party RAM that you have installed. First, check to see that all RAM is properly seated in its slot by re-seating it. If that does not help, remove any third-party RAM (even if it worked okay in OS 8/9) and see if things get better. OS X is a lot more sensitive to RAM that is not within Apple's specifications .

    I've been asked if there is a way to test installed third-party RAM without removing it. There is, but some of these test utilities have been known to tell you that your RAM is fine, even when it is not. So the best course is to remove third-party RAM as outlined above.

    Some Macintosh models come with a Hardware Test CD-ROM that does comprehensive hardware and RAM
    testing. See:

    DIMMFirstAid is an excellent utility that might even be able to repair out-of-spec RAM.

    RAMCheck 2.1
    is a very old utility, but several people report that it still works when booted into OS 9.

    Note that having RAM DIMM's of two different speeds (e.g. PC100 and PC66) installed together might cause problems also. If this is your situation, remove all DIMM's not of the same speed and see if things get better.

    Also note that the problem might even be bad Apple RAM (or third-party RAM which meets Apple's specifications, but which is nevertheless bad). In these days where the traces in RAM chips are so incredibly small, it is possible for RAM to slowly degrade from a small static charge that it has received anytime in its life (even during assembly) and to slowly degrade so that it suddenly fails one day. So, if removing your third party RAM does not help, it is worth reinstalling it and seeing how things are if you remove your Apple RAM instead.

  12. Partitions Too Small, Or Too Small Hard Drive, Or Hard Drive Almost Full

    You listened to folks who told you that partitioning your hard drive before installing OS X was the thing to do, and now your Mac runs terribly. I have heard about this happening frequently, and I don't recommend that people partition their hard drives for OS X unless they really know what they are doing, and why, and if they are prepared to backup, completely erase, and restore their data a few times to tinker with their setup.

    Why is partitioning a bad idea? Because OS X likes to grab a significant amount of free hard drive space for caches, virtual memory, scratch space, etc. OS 9 (Classic) likes to do this to some extent also. And not only do they like free space, but they like contiguous free space. (That is, the free space must be in one unbroken chunk, not strewn about in pieces on your drive.) If you install OS 9 or OS X on too small a partition, or if your hard drive is just too small, there may not be enough contiguous free space available to the Mac OS for it to run well. Or, if your hard drive is simply too small, it may not be possible to create a partition for the OS that is big enough.

    Installing OS 9 and OS X on an unpartitioned drive gives both OS's the maximum available amount of free contiguous space to work with that you can give them. You may want to consider backing up your documents and applications and reformatting your hard drive with no partitions and reinstalling everything onto the drive. Yes, there are some minor advantages that you give up if your drive isn't partitioned (the biggest one being the ability to do some maintenance and disk recovery on one partition while booted from another) but gaining system reliability is more important that these things, at least it is to this author.

    (NOTE: Some early G3-based Macs, such as the beige G3's and early iMacs, that have hard drives larger than 8GB, require you to partition your hard drive before you can successfully install OS X. In that case you need to create an 8GB or less partiton and install OS X entirely within the first 8GB of the drive.

    Because of the need for contiguous free hard drive space, it isn't uncommon for your Mac to start acting up when you still have about 20% of the space on your hard drive free. (Whether your drive has been partitioned or not. But the limit will be reached sooner on a drive that has been partitioned.) That could amount to several gigabytes if you have a really big drive. (When told that the problem is that their hard drive is almost full, folks often say "But I still have several gigabytes of free space!".) Archiving your data and freeing up some space, and then running a hard drive defragmentation utility, like Alsoft's Plus Optimizer (which comes with Disk Warrior when you purchase Disk Warrior on CD-ROM), might temporarily fix the problem if this is the case.
    I must mention that Plus Optimizer does not seem to be OS X-savvy, and some folks have said that using it has negatively impacted their Mac's performance.

    Norton SpeedDisk, which comes with Norton Utilities may provide the best option for defragmenting your hard drive for OS X. (But see item #3, above.) HERE is a custom defragmentation profile for OS X to use with SpeedDisk. (I assume no reponsibility for what this profile does to your hard drive. Please only try it if you have backed up all of your data.) I haven't tried it myself, but others have told me that it does good things for OS X's performance. To learn how to use this profile with SpeedDisk, click HERE

    Note that it isn't necessary to have and use a defragmentation utility routinely if you are running OS X. Just as OS X is very smart about memory (RAM) usage compared to OS 9, it is also quite smart about hard drive usage. While UNIX-based OS's are subject to a lot of DISK fragmentation (i.e. there are unused spaces between areas filled with data on the drive), they automatically try to make sure that there is no FILE fragmentation (breaking up of a program into pieces strewn about your drive) if at all possible.

    Disk fragmentation does not slow a drive's performance. File fragmentation will slow down your drive's performance, but it only occurs under OS X if your drive is just about full.

    So, unless your drive (or an individual partition) is almost full, running a defragmentation program, or using any other sort of defragmentation scheme (e.g. backing up and restoring your entire drive), probably is not advantageous.

  13. Built-In Maintenance (Cron) Routines

    If you don't let your Mac run 24 hours a day, or if you do but you allow it to go to sleep at night, so that it can't automatically run the built-in maintenance routines that run at about 3:15 AM, to keep your hard drive from filling up with log files, caches, etc., run MacJanitor.

    In some instances, users have experienced a situation that some people refer to as an "Out-Of-Control Cache or Log File." This is where you suddenly find that your hard drive has filled up and you don't know what it has filled up with. This is the result of a cache or log file that has gotten out of hand. DiskSurveyor
    or OmniDiskSweeper
    will show you which files have balooned and are now taking up all of your disk space.Running MacJanitor and then Cache Out X should remedy the problem.

    Cache Out X clears out cache and swap files.

    CronniX is a free utility that allows you to set the precise time that the cron maintenance scripts are run.

    Macaroni will allow you to run OS X's maintenance tasks automatically on a configurable schedule.

    Cronaid is a utility very similar to Macaroni.

    There is also Cronathon

    Maintain, Cocktail and Xupport also allow you to run the cron jobs, plus quite a few other things. This author particularly likes Cocktail.

  14. Pre-Binding

    A problem with OS X prior to version 10.2 was that sometimes applications ran slowly unless you manually pre-bound them. Pre-binding no longer needs to be done manually under Jaguar. If it is not done by the Installer program when installing a new piece of software, it is done automatically the first time an application is launched. So, actually, this is a non-problem under OS X 10.2 Jaguar.

    However, it is good to know that you should expect an application that was not installed via an installer program to open slowly the first time that you launch it after installation. This is normal and should not occur during subsequent launches.

  15. Printer Driver

    This document provides links to information about third-party peripherals and devices that are compatible with Mac OS X 10.2.
    Here is a list of printers that OS X includes drivers for specfically.

    This document explains how to install additional printer drivers from the Restore CD-ROM's after OSX 10.2 has been installed.

    If OS X 10.2 Jaguar does not include a driver for your printer, try Gimp-Print.

    Linux has released an OS X installer package for Jaguar that includes support for PostScript level 1 printers. Jaguar generates level 2 and level 3 PostScript and, until now, has not been able to print to older printers. The new package includes PostScript Printer Descriptions, PPDs, for:

    LaserWriter Plus
    LaserWriter IINT
    LaserWriter IINTX
    Personal LaserWriter NT

    See the new PSLevel1 for Mac OS X for more details.

    If you have an Epson Ink Jet printer for which there ohterwise is no OS X 10.2 Jaguar driver, iProof-X or iProof-X LF may be the solution. These are non-PostScript drivers designed for over 55 different Epson Ink Jet printers.

    Epson has many OS X printer drivers available for download.

    PowerRIP X is a PostScript Level 3 Compatible RIP (Raster Image Processor) for Epson Inkjet Printers. All OS X 10.2 applications can print directly to PowerRIP X.

    Keyspan's USB Parallel Printer Adapter enables the use of parallel printers with Mac OS X 10.2. The adapter is a six-foot cable that connects a parallel printer to the USB port on a Mac or PC, and is compatible with more than 200 parallel inkjet, laser, and dot matrix printers. It includes printer configuration software for adding parallel printers to the Print Center. The USB Parallel Printer Adapter is $39 for Mac OS X 10.2 and Windows.

  16. Printing Problems

    If drivers exist for your printer, but you are having problems with printing, check out Print Center Repair.

    If you are having trouble adding your networked printer to Print Center as an AppleTalk printer, you may want to try adding your printer as an LPR printer (Line Printer Queue). If you hold down the option key when selecting 'Add Printer' in Print Center, you can access some Advanced options, which allow you to set up LPD/LPR printing and a few other options. You add your printer to Print Center by entering its IP address, and selecting the proper PPD (PostScript Printer Description) file.

    This document provides links to Print Center troubleshooting documents.

    Tips on troubleshooting a missing printer.

  17. Scanner Driver

    The Image Capture Architecture (ICA) in Mac OS X 10.2 includes support for a broad range of USB and FireWire flatbed and film scanners. This page gives a list of scanners which are known to be compatible with OS X 10.2.

    If OS X 10.2 Jaguar does not include a driver for your scanner, try Vue-Scan.

    Another choice is Silverfast AI

    MagicScan for UMax scanners
    This is the official MacOSX driver from UMAX Germany (software is in English, though).

    There is a new driver for the HP ScanJet 3570c;jsessionid=3JQG01GEDXS43QEXGRMEOSQ?reg=&cc=us&prodId=hpscanjet374771&lc=en&softitem=Mac%20OS%20X&sw_lang=en

    HP has introduced several other new scanner drivers for OS X. You can search for an HP scanner driver for your model at:

  18. Quitting Classic Resolves USB Problems

    For some users experiencing erratic behavior (slowdowns or failure to be recognized by your computer) with external devices connected via USB (e.g. scanners and printers), quitting Classic may be the solution.

  19. Can't Trash File That Is "Being Used"

    Sometimes a file becomes damaged, for instance when a file isn't completely downloaded from the Internet. When you go to trash such a file you may get a message that it can't be trashed because it is "being used by another application." You can try using a utility like TrashIt! (see #3, above) to force-trash this file.

    You could move the file to the desktop, restart into OS 9, and trash it from there. If you don't have a Macintosh model that will boot into OS 9, reboot from another drive or from a CD-ROM (you can startup from a CD-ROM with OS X on it by inserting it in the drive, and restarting with the "C" key held down.) Find the offending file and trash it.

    Another option is to use X-RAY
    or Modifier
    to check the offending file's file type. If the file type is "bzy0" OS X treats such a file as an active file. Change the file type to "text" in X-RAY or Modifier and then you can delete it.

    Another method for getting rid of a PDF or text file that is "being used" that I have heard of is to drag the file icon to TextEdit. In TextEdit choose Select All and then hit the Delete key and Save. Close the file. Now you should be able to trash it.

  20. Classic Causes Printing Conflict When Running

    This was more a problem with previous versions of OS X, but in some instances when Classic is running it will interfere with printing to certain printers. So, if you are experiencing an unusual problem with printing, quitting Classic (or disabling automatic launch of Classic) may eliminate the problem.

  21. Loss Of Network Connection, Or Hang, On Wake From Sleep

    If you are experiencing a loss of your network or broadband Internet connection after your Macintosh wakes up from sleeping, you probably need to trash a preference file which is no longer needed in Jaguar:


    Others have reported that this problem was solved after they flushed OS X's caches. You can do this with Jaguar Cache Cleaner, mentioned in item #7, above.

    Still others have reported that this problem can be simply resolved by zapping the PRAM (Parameter RAM). You do this by restarting with the Command-Option-P-R keys all held down until you have heard the startup sound twice.

    My guess is that there is more than one causality for this problem, and that's why different solutions work for different users.

  22. Applications Suddenly Quitting And/Or Powerbook Not Sleeping

    I've heard from at least a half dozen folks who have told me that they have one or more applications that suddenly quit almost immediately when they launch them. I believe that we have found the solution for this problem. In every case, if the user creates a new user on the system (see item #17, above) and logs in as that new user, the problem goes away. This points to the problem being a corrupted preferences file. Indications are that the culprit is the user file: " .GlobalPreferences.plist" which is located at:

    Users/[User Name]/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist
    Don't get this file confused with the file of the exact same name located at:

    If you are experiencing this problem, download the latest version of Dragster. (See item #6, above.) The developer of Dragster was kind enough to include the ability to delete the user GlobalPreferences file at my request.

    Here is the complex way to fix this problem that I'm afraid is beyond the abilities of most users. Fortunately, using Dragster should work as well, without the need to use the Terminal.

  23. Numeric Keypad Not Working

    Some users are unable to use their numeric keypad after applying the Mac OS X 10.2.2 update. It now appears that Mac OS X 10.2.2 may inadvertently switch on the "Use the numeric keypad in place of the mouse" in the Mouse section of the Universal Access pane in System Preferences. Switching off this option will once again allows proper keypad function.

  24. Slow Startup

    If you are not on a network, and/or you are not using an Airport, make sure that only your internal modem network port is active, otherwise the OS will test the other ports (Ethernet, Airport, etc.) for activity on startup, particularly if any of the unused ports are set for DHCP.

    Go to the Network pane in System Preferences and click on the 'Show' pop-up menu. Choose the 'Network Port Configurations' option. Make sure that the Internal Modem port is the only one selected. (Of course, if you have your Macintosh on a network, or if you are using an Airport, you will have to turn on the appropriate port for these.)

    Another thing that can slow down startup times is having your Mac set to check a network time server if you don't have a broadband connection (DSL or cable modem) to the Internet. In System Preferences, go to the Date and Time pane, click on the Network Time Tab, and make sure you don't have Use Network Time Server checked. This causes a delay as your computer connects to the Internet and looks for a Network time server to sync with. (This will also keep your Mac from dialing up the Internet unexpectedly at odd times.)

    Another thing to check is in Applications /Utilities/Directory Access. Click on the Services tab, and in the resulting window, if you're not using (or going to be using) the various services listed, be sure to uncheck them. (That is, in the Enable column, deselect the checkboxes for NetInfo, LDAPv2, and/or LDAPv3.) Having them checked could lead to delays in start up.

  25. Classic Takes A Long Time To Launch

    The two most common reasons that Classic might take a long time to launch is that you OS 9 set to do memory testing, and/or that you have OS 9 set to look for servers on a network. These are both easy to deal with. Set OS 9 as the startup disk in System Preferences and re-start into OS 9. You can disable the startup memory test by opening the Memory control panel while you hold down the Option and Command keys. In the Memory control panel window, at the bottom, you will see a section that is normally hidden where you can de-select the Startup Memory Test. Don't worry, normally this memory test is unnecessary, so turning it off is no big deal.

    Now look in the Servers folder inside of the OS 9 System Folder and see if there are any aliases of servers that your Mac has connected to in the past that it no longer needs to connect to on startup. If so, trash them.

    If you rarely boot into OS 9, there are several additional things that you can do that will speed up the launching of Classic, and also make Classic more stable. However these setting will need to be reversed if you intend to ever do much work while booted into OS 9.

    The first thing that you can do is disable virtual memory in the OS 9 Memory control panel .

    Since many of the functions of OS 9 are handled by OS X when Classic is running, you can use the Extensions Manager to turn off OS 9 extensions that aren't needed for Classic. Using the Extensions Manager, rather than uninstalling these extensions, allows you to fairly easily revert back to a full version of OS 9 if you need to.

    This page contains a long list of control panels and extensions you can do without, courtesy of OSXfaq, , and Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus:

  26. Bad OS 9 Font Prevents OS X Startup/Application Crashes/Blue Screen

    Mac OS X checks the fonts installed in your OS 9 Fonts folder at startup, even if Classic is not launched. This could prevent OS X startup from completing if the folder contains an incompatible font (even though the font may not affect booting in Mac OS 9.1). You get stuck with an endlessly spinning beachball cursor. A bad font can also cause an application that uses that font to crash or it may cause a blue screen. Getting a blue screen means that the part of the OS that manages the screen, the WindowManager, has crashed

    You can experiment with reinstalling your fonts, but this could take a lot of time, and you might not even be sure that your problem is being caused by a font issue.

    FontAgent Pro, a commercial utility from Insider Software, can quickly recognize and deal with corrupted fonts.

    In some cases you may have an odd document that will refuse to print. Changing the font in the program may not fix the problem. But copying the text into a brand new document, with a different font selected may get the document to print. This problem has been associated with using a font that has a ".t1" extension. FontAgentPro should also be able to locate and fix such a problem.

    More about fonts under OS X:

    Free Manual: Using and Managing Fonts in Mac OS X

  27. Dial-Up Termination

    If you are having problems with your dialup connections (that is, your modem connection to the Internet) terminating after a minute or two with the dreaded 'The internet connection was terminated because the other side did not respond,' try disabling all but the active port (the modem) for that connection in Network System Preferences. See Item # 3, above, for more on how to do this.

    See also Item # 29, below.

  28. Filesharing Between OS X and OS 9

    A number of folks have reported that they have not been able to get filesharing to work between a Macintsoh running OS X and another Macintosh running OS 9. One solution may be to simply check to see that AppleTalk is turned on. AppleTalk is not turned on by default in OS X. It must be manually turned on in System Preferences (in the Apple Menu). Choose the Network preferences pane, click on the AppleTalk tab, and choose "Make AppleTalk Active" and then click "Apply Now".

    Another user reports that he solved the problem by creating a new location in the Network Preference panel. Even though all of the setting were then set exactly as they had been, a restart of both systems then caused filesharing to work.

  29. Modem Problems

    A large number of folks who have internal Apple modems have reported that it is difficult or impossible to achieve or maintain an Internet connection after they have updated to OS X 10.2.4.

    A partial work-around is to uncheck "enable compression and error correction in modem" in the Network Preference Pane. While not a complete solution (lack of hardware conmpression and error correction will yield less than optimal connection speeds), this seems to help significantly.
    Some folks report that it also helps to select the PPP tab in the Network Preference Pane, then click on the PPP Options... button and uncheck the "Send PPP echo packets" and "Use TCP header compression" boxes under "Advanced Options."

    A complete solution is to replace the System extensions associated with the PPP stack. You need to replace six files with the older versions from your OS X 10.2 installer disk. (Even better would be to use the versions of these files from a backup of your 10.2.3 install.) You can do this using Pacifist:
    Extract the older version of these files from your OS X 10.2 Installer disk using Pacifist. and then replace the newer versions with the older versions while booted in OS 9.

    The six files are located in the directory: /System/Library/Extensions

    They are:


    It has been reported that another complete solution (which does not require you to replace the files associated with the PPP stack) is to simply install the Apple internal modem script that originally appeared in OS 8.6. (You will find this in the System folder --> Extensions folder --> Modem Scripts folder.) Install this script in this OS X folder: Library/ModemScripts.

    Brian Christmas has the OS 8.6 modem scripts available for download from his Web site.
    Brian has renamed each script so that they don't conflict with and replace those you already have. Just drop them into your Library/Modem Scripts folder, pick a new one in System Preferences
    and then log out and then re-log in. There are also extensions included in the download with the scripts. These are not required for Jaguar.

    Instead, you might want to try this modified version of the OS 8.6 script, from George Baltzell. In fact, this script may work even better than the un-modified version. It is claimed that it will improve throughput, and compatibility with your ISP's modems.

    George Batlzell has set up a page with a few general modem tips and links to slightly updated versions of his scripts.

    Note: If you have a PowerBook G3, iMac, blue and white G3, or Power Macintosh G4 (PCI and AGP) there is an important firmware update that you should apply.
    Apple Modem Updater 2.0

    MacFixIt outlines a procedure for dealing with Internet connection problems if none of the above work for you. Unfortunately it requires the use of the Terminal:
    For those still experiencing Internet connection difficulties under Mac OS X 10.2.4, on many systems, using the following Terminal command can resolve the problem:
    lookupd -flushcache (This page can only be accessed by MacFixIt subscribers.)

    It isn't clear whether versions of OS X newer than 10.2.4 have fixed this problem. I still hear from folks with modem connection problems who are running newer versions of OS X, but I don't hear about this problem nearly as much as I did, and the problem may simply be that Apple modems themselves are still garbage, and it may have nothing to do with OS X.

  30. OS X 10.2.4 Date and Time Problems

    Some Mac users, especially those with dual processor Macs, have upgraded to OS X version 10.2.4 and their date now resets to 1969 or 1970 every time they shut down their Mac.

    If you do a "Get Info" on several files in this (invisible) directory (you will need to use a utility to make this directory visible, even if you boot into OS 9):
    you will find that some files have a size of "zero". These files are damaged. To fix the problem you need to replace these damaged files with good copies from another (properly working) installation of OS X.

    You can make files and folders that are invisible visible with InVisibles

    An alternative is to apply the 10.2.4 Combined Updater (which you can download from Apple) on top of your installation of OS 10.2.4. Some folks report that this fixes the problem.

    Apple has this KnowledgeBase article about this problem:
    But all it does is give a work-around (connecting to a network time server to constantly re-set your date and time to the correct values), which is not a solution, and which does not work for some folks.

    Fixed! This problem was fixed by OS X update 10.2.5

  31. Manual Indexing Problems

    OS X indexes files on your hard drive (either automatically in the background, or manually via the Get Info window) so that searching through them is lightning quick. OS X has an invisible index in each folder for just that folder. There isn't a big main index like there was in OS 9. The index file in each folder is called .FBCindex.

    In some cases folks have gone to the Get Info window for a folder to manually index that folder, and after selecting to index Content, the status would read "indexing" but the indexing would never finish.

    To solve this, boot into OS 9 and delete the .FBCIndex file in the problematic folder.

  32. The Installed Updates List Found In The Software Update Preference Pane Is Blank, Even After A Successful Installation

    Update Fixer, a shareware utility by Matt Carrell, fixes a common problem in Mac OS X where Software Update fails to log installed updates. This problem is described in AppleCare Document #107136.
    Upgrading Jaguar versions or repairing permissions doesn't fix this problem, but Update Fixer will.

  33. Unable To Repair Disk Permissions

    A number of users have experienced dimmed "Verify Disk Permissions" and "Repair Disk Permissions" buttons in Disk Utility, particularly after updating to Mac OS X 10.2.4. This is caused by the absence of necessary package files in the /Library/Receipts folder.

    In most case users with this problem have deleted "receipt" (.pkg) files from this folder thinking they were unnecessary files. These files are where the information is stored that Disk Utility needs to repair permissions.

    To fix this problem, insert the Jaguar (OS X 10.2) Install Disc 1 and double-click on the CD icon to open its root directory. Open the /System/Installation/Packages folder and copy the following files to your /Library/Receipts folder. This will allow Disk Utility's "Repair Disk Permissions" to function again.

    AdditionalFonts.pkg (if installed)
    any applicable packages which end in "PrinterDrivers.pkg"
    any applicable language packages.

    Alternatively, you could copy these files from another computer running Mac OS X 10.2.x or from a backup of OS X 10.2.x.

  34. Can't Index Hard Drive

    Some folks have found that they have been unable to manually index their hard drive (which allows you to very swiftly search through files to find content in them using the Find command.) Deleting the folder FindByContent at:


    restores behavior to normal. This procedure is similar to deleting the preferences of a problematic program.
    For more info on indexing:

  35. FruitMenu Causes Slow Application Loading

    There have been reports of slow application launching among users of the very popular Apple Menu customization utility FruitMenu.

    It seems that the preferences file for FruitMenu can easily become corrupted and will slow down the launch of applications in the Finder.

    To fix this problem, delete the file "com.unsanity.fruitmenu.plist" from your user preferences folder.

    In fact, it has been suggested that removing any and all Unsanity products that you have installed might resolve some memory problems.

  36. Can't Startup In OS X From External FireWire Drive

    Certain Macs can't boot (startup) from external FireWire drives no matter which OS is installed on them. The Power Macintosh G3 (Blue & White) and the Power Mac G4 (PCI Graphics) models cannot boot from FireWire drives.

    And booting from a FireWire drive into OS X can be problematic. This Apple KnowledgeBase document from early in the development of OS X:

    says: "Installing Mac OS X on a FireWire or USB disk is not supported." I've been unable to locate any information from Apple that says that more recent versions of OS X support FireWire booting.

    However, some folks have still been able to install OS X onto their FireWire drives and get their Macs to boot into OS X. Some have been able to do so by simply installing OS X normally via the CD-ROM's it comes on. Others have had to resort to Carbon Copy Cloner to get a bootable version of OS X onto their external FireWire hard drive.

  37. Screen Resolution And Geometry Settings Lost At Each Startup

    Users with older iMacs 233/266 etc., the tray loading models, report that their Macs lose their screen geometry and resolution settings when booting into OS X. The problem disappears when they boot back into OS 9. The problem is outlined in these discussion forums (and others):

    Apple's 10.2.4 Update completely remedies this problem.

  38. Error 95/Can't Mount Disk Images

    Apple's OS X 10.2.3 update introduced an elusive bug. It is sometimes identified by the message "error 95, no mountable disk systems" when trying to open a disk image with Disk Copy. As a result, disk images for new software cannot be mounted and thus the new software cannot be installed.

    Apparently this isn't one problem. Rather, it is several different problems which manifest themselves in a similar manner. As a result, different solutions may or may not work for different users. Even after successfully fixing this problem by applying one of the following possible solutions, the original damaged disk images cannot be repaired. You will have to re-download the software. And even if one or more of the following possible solutions works for you, in some cases (e.g. logging out and then back in) the solution may only be temporary.

    What is most frustrating about this problem is that not everyone is experiencing it; some people suddenly start experiencing it without warning; some people are able to fix the problem entirely; while others can't fix the problem at all.

    Possible solutions:

    Log out and then back in (via Apple menu.)

    Apple has added this Knowledge Base article about this problem, with a possible fix for some:

    Several folks have noted that using the program Mount to mount disk images, instead of Apple's Disk Copy, has resolved the problem for them. (Others say that it hasn't helped them.)

    Others have reported that when the encounter a disk image that won't mount, dropping it on DropDMG
    will fix the file so that Disk Copy can then open it

    Similarly, Sometimes when .dmg files are downloaded they obtain a TEXT file type, causing your Mac to want to try and open the file with the wrong application. When you drop a bad file on DMG Fixer's window, the file type is corrected and it should then open normally with Disk Copy.

    SubRosaSoft ImageMounter may be a helpful work-around for the Error 95 problem. It uses the Hard Disk Image Driver module (built into the OS) to mount a disk image, bypassing the normal error checking (checksumming) in such a way as to allow some older formats to be mounted.

    There are a lot more suggestions for dealing with the Error 95 problem here:

  39. OS 9 or OS X Won't Start Up/Laptop Battery Apparently Dead/Reset NVRAM

    Your computer's NVRAM holds setting that control your Mac's startup and interaction with some peripherals. When these settings become corrupted, your Mac starts acting up.

    If your Mac won't boot back into OS 9 (assuming that you have a Macintosh model that is able to boot into OS 9), or vice versa (you are stuck in OS 9 and OS X won't boot), Try resetting the NVRAM.

    Also, there have been reports that some user's Powerbook/iBook laptops will refuse to run on batteries but will run fine from the A/C adapter. There are reports that resetting the NVRAM will resurrect the batteries in these laptops.

    I've seen reports that resetting NVRAM in Open Firmware can cure some vexing problems that nothing else has been able to. So far, no one can tell me what those problems are, though. Here is how you do it:

    1. At startup, hold down Option + Command + O + F
    2. Type in "reset-nvram" , hit Return, "set-defaults", hit return, and then "reset-all" and hit Return again. (Don't use quotes, as I have done here.)
    3. To exit Open Firmware, type "bye" or "mac-boot" (No quotes).

    Here are some references:

    A user reports: "I have a rev.a iMac 233 (bondi) that I was trying to upgrade from X.1 to X.2. The computer would not boot from the Jaguar Installer disk. It would just show the gray apple and spinning line for hours. I tried the NVRAM reset, and rebooted from the Jaguar CD-ROM. It's now installing!"

    Another user reports: "It [booting into Open Firmware] generally fixes a lot of USB device weirdness. For instance a keyboard or mouse not working properly even though all settings are correct. Or if your Harmon Kardon USB speakers aren't holding there sound settings between reboots the open firmware reset usually fixes that as well.

    "Also if you try to boot to 9 for instance and you get a flashing question mark even though you know 9 is there and nothing else allows you to switch back to 10 (like holding down the "X" key on startup, using Startup Manager, etc) then you can boot to open firmware and type the command "set-defaults," hit Return, and then type "mac-boot" and hit Return again, and it should reset your boot volume back to the default, which is OS X."

    "...[M]y PowerBook (2000/Pismo/400 mhz) has intermittentlly been unable to start up if any USB device or hub, or multiple FireWire devices, are connected. I get a gray screen with a cursor pointer in upper left corner; or sometimes a blue screen with nothing else. Resetting the NVRAM will cure this problem for several days"

    Also seeItem #38, below.

  40. OS X Won't Start Up/User Trashed OS X Files Visible Under OS 9

    I have heard from a rash of folks who suddenly find that their Mac won't start up in OS X. Aliases to the "etc" and "var" folders in OS X are visible in your hard drive's main window when you start up in Mac OS 9. Many folks, intending to keep their Mac's tidy, trash these files. This, unfortunately, causes OS X to break.

    Apple has a solution for this problem here:

  41. Icons Have Become Generic/Need to Rebuild Desktop

    This problem causes long-time Macintosh uses a lot of frustration, because the first thing that they look for is the equivalent of rebuilding the desktop for OS X. There is no equivalent. Even more frustrating is that the way that you handle this under OS X 10.2 is completely different than the way that you handled it in OS X versions prior to 10.2.

    Icons in OS X 10.2 Jaguar are maintained by Launch Services. Unlike OS 9, the database used by OS X is rebuilt automatically whenever you log in as a user (which includes an automatic log-in if you have your machine set up for only one user). Because the Launch Services database is frequently, and automatically, rebuilt, it is much less likely under OS X that your application and document icons will lose track of their creator as they could under OS 8/9. Unfortunately, it can still happen.

    The first thing to try is SubRosaSoft RebuildDesktopX:
    Usually that will fix it. SubRosaSoft RebuildDesktopX is free.

    If SubRosaSoft RebuildDesktopX doesn't work, you will have to delete these files manually:
    and 2 files with the name


    After deleting these files, log out, and then back in again.

    A discussion of this problem can be found at:

For More Help, Or Information About OS X

This site only deals with common problems with OS X.

To find out more about less common problems with OS X, I highly recommend:

If you are interested in hints for using OS X, have a look at this excellent site:
OS X Hints
also the excellet book: Mac OS X Killer Tips by Scott Kelby (Editor-in-chief Mac Design Magazine)
also Dan Frake's book: Mac OS X Powertools

Paul Taylor publishes a PDF newsletter on Mac OS X called Hints and Tips. The newsletter can download from his web site.

If you want to learn more about OS X 10.2 Jaguar, check out this book:
OS X: The Missing Manual, 2nd Edition
There is no better book available for average users to learn Mac OS X. David Pogue is a very entertaining writer, while still remaining succinct and easy to understand.

Jeff Biggus provides a really nice site called HyperJeff OS X, with a huge, well-organized, list of OS X software. links, reference materials, etc. If you use OS X you will find something of interest on this site.

A. Brody has a very nice page with hints on how to speed up OS X:

Here is a really nice tutorial that explains how Classic works under OS X, including:

If you occasionally still startup into OS 7/8/9, and need to troubleshoot those versions of the Mac OS, this page by Tom Calvert is very helpful:
Mac Troubleshooting and Maintenance

is a free e-mail and Web publication with news on interesting products and events in the Macintosh community.

If you have any additions to this Web site to suggest, I would very much appreciate hearing them.
Send them to:
Randy B. Singer,

Many thanks to all of the kind folks who have contributed to this page!!!

About The Author:
Randy B. Singer is:

If you are a Macintosh-using attorney or legal professional (including law students), for a FREE subscription to The MacAttorney Newsletter, send eMail to:, with the word "subscribe" in the Subject line of the message.