Thursday, 21 August 2014

Essential non-Apple utility for Mac OS X

All Macs are bundled with essential utilities to perform basic & advanced operations. For Instance, Utilities>>Application folder holds bunch of sophisticated apps to run smoother tasks on OS X.
  • Disk Utility: - Report & Maintain disk drive integrity.
  • Activity Monitor: -Get to know CPU & RAM consumption on OS X
  • Boot Camp: - No emulator required running Windows on Mac.
  • Keychain Access: - Password management utility for OS X.
  • Terminal: - Execution of high end tasks through low line languages
  • Migration Assistance: Transfer of data between Mac-Mac & Mac-PC
Likewise, Mac possesses other useful apps that make it a self-dependent Operating System.

However, adding exceptions or considering some specific environment, user may move towards a non-Apple utility to get the job done. Let us list some of those apps that come into the line of accomplishing tasks better (or may be some time better) than OS X built-in utilities.

Parallels for Mac: OK so you can run Windows through Boot Camp assistance, then why need Parallels for Mac? While the Boot Camp is free bundled with OS X, parallel on other side costs around $80. Reason is simple, you don’t need to partition your drive so to run Windows. Like, myself who have 4-5 partitions of a single drive on OS X would have to merge all into 1 so as to create boot camp partition. While Parallels is an virtualization software which runs on the current partition i.e. (OS X in background). Data between OS X and Windows could be easily shared using drag & drop. You can run PC games, MSOffice and all great windows apps using Parallel for desktop. Also, the headache for appropriate drivers needed to install Windows is much comfortably resolved in Parallels.

Clone Software
: Much before Time Machine came into existence, users were depended on clone & imaging software to take timely backups. Though TM reduced the burden of backup to a greater extent, still clone software hasn’t lost their relevancy. Cloning Mac hard drive is still one of the most recommended activities to safe your data from a sudden hard drive crash or failure. To backup a troubled hard drive it is the cloning & imaging that will work out and not Time Machine. No matter how good & essential Time Machine is, still it can’t create bootable backups for OS X Mac. As a Mac user, I would recommend both to clone OS X drive & to take Time Machine backups. Some of the best clone utility for OS X are:
Data Savage tools: Like others, OS X is vulnerable to data loss through file deletion, formatting and loss of data through corruption. Any time a file is deleted from trash or formatted, it will be beyond the reach of the user. Adding more worse to the situation, a user might not have Time Machine backup or clone backup of the file, forcing user to hunt for data savaging software. Since, OS X doesn’t incorporate any data recovery tool, web is the best place to look out for trusted Mac data recovery software. Among the genuine software for Macs, fall in:-
Most of the data recovery software including the above ones will work in a similar fashion. They let you select the drive, scan the drive, preview the lost, formatted files and lastly to recover those files. There are few software that are available for free, most of them requires around $100 registration to get back files.

Drive Recovery: Alongside data loss & recovery, drive repair is another most important thing to be jotted down by the user. A hard drive (old or new) can quickly become a victim of logical corruption. Such drives are to be repaired with the help of disk utility immediately. Though, disk utility sometimes will fail due to occurrence of directory structure corruption. At this moment, user having the backup of the troubled drive will be at ease to those who hadn’t backed up the data on the drive. One can always make use of Mac disk repair software to scan & repair drive from logical corruption. You may opt below utilities:-
The above-mentioned tools possess algorithms to analyze a bad directory structure and replace it with new one, thus removing those cryptic errors.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Tips to speedup slow Mac startup

Is your slow Mac start up is irritating? What happens if it become unresponsive? So, maintaining the Mac computers or notebooks is a very efficient task which needs to be performed in an effective manner. Lets see some of the main reasons behind this hurdle and try to rectify it:

Managing StartUp items

At the time of installing apps, these apps automatically get loaded when you boot up your Mac. So, to manage your startup items, click on the Apple logo and then System preferences. Then click on the icon named Users and Groups. After that choose Login items and remove the items from the list. There is another way of removing the Startup items manually. Just open a new Finder window, press Command + Shift + G and type directory path i.e. /library/startupitems. After doing this, reboot your Mac and analyze the changes.

Cleaning up the hard drive

Hard drive is the main reason for the slow Mac startup. Removing old files and unnecessary items will lead to regain disk space which ultimately results in faster booting of the system. If there is large amount of data on the hard drive, then the amount of memory will be lesser for the smooth functioning of the background applications.

Upgrade RAM and SSD

Upgrading RAM will solve most of the issues related to slow start up. If your background applications need more memory to run, so you need to have more RAM to ensure the faster working of the Mac. It depends completely on the Mac about how much memory your Mac can support. Just discuss this issue with the professional as it completely depends upon the applications that you are using. For graphic editors such as Adobe Photoshop, usually 4 GB of memory is recommended, but using more than 4 GB of memory will enhance the overall system speed. So RAM is a major issue to be discussed. Another extremely important issue is to replace the hard drive to an SSD. SSD are the smarter choice for the faster boot up and load time to boost up the performance.

Corrupt Preferences file

Corrupt preference file is one the major cause of slow Mac startup. In such a case, delete your corrupt preference file and relaunch the application. But before deleting the files, just ensure the Time Machine back up of the data, so that in case you lost some file, you can easily restore it.

Permission conflict and many widgets on Dashboard

Widgets on the dashboard uses memory. So, managing them properly is an efficient task. Repairing permissions is an important task to be carried on, as it makes the system slow and sometimes applications runs weirdly also. Every file in Mac OS X has a set of permissions and permissions can be incorrect or not according to the guidelines of the operating system. So, to repair the permissions, one needs to select the Disk Utility first aid option to repair it.

CPU utilization

If the processor is utilizing lot of space, it will drastically slow down the Mac. Open the Activity Monitor to analyze the usage history. Just check the culprit, which are the topmost items and free up the space in CPU.

Older OS X

OS X upgrade is required time to time to eradicate the chances of slow Mac. If the Mac OS X is updated frequently, it will surely resolve the issues related to start up.

So, the above points of managing the Mac ensure the faster speed and reliability. But if still the Mac is slow then there must be some duplicate files, hidden files etc which can only be removed with the help of some good software available in the market. Today, lot of freeware & shareware software are there to perform this task in minutes. These software helps to clear all the junk automatically, reducing the effort to clean up the files. So, try to manage your Mac effectively for the faster speed.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

How to Fix 'Startup Repair Cannot Repair this Computer Automatically'?

Windows users comes with a problem of unbootable PC and they will end up with fresh installation of Windows. However, startup repair is introduced to repair your inaccessible PC without Windows reinstallation. It can thoroughly scans your computer and diagnose the problem as well as repair it and makes your PC bootable again.

However, at times, startup repair might unable to repair your computer and stuck in never ending loop, also known as ‘Startup Repair loop’. Users will see the error message mentioned below when such situation strikes to their PC (need to click on ‘view details’ to see the complete error message):

Problem signature:
Problem Event name : StartupRepairOffline
Problem Signature 01: 6.1.7600.16385
Problem Signature 02: 6.1.7600.16385
Problem Signature 03: unknown
Problem Signature 04: -1
Problem Signature 05: ExternalMedia
Problem Signature 06: 1
Problem Signature 07: NoOSInstalled
POS Version: 6.1.7600.
Locale ID: 1033

Most importantly, Windows will suggest no alternatives to fix this problem and some people will simply give up reinstall Windows.

There can be various reasons due to which startup repair might failed to repair computers:
  1. Power Outage
    Sudden power outage can cause corrupt file systems that are needed to boot the system as well as repair your computer. As startup repair will look for those files to get the detailed problem info, it’ll eventually fail as those files were gone missing or damaged due to power outage.
  2. Missing boot manager
    Sometime, Windows may give you freezes or complete hangs and asks you to force restart it. As soon as you restart your PC, Windows might give you the error message ‘Boot manager is missing or corrupt’. Running startup repair wouldn’t help either and comes with the same error message stated at the top.
  3. Damaged or failing boot media
    sometimes, the bootable media itself gone corrupt and make your bootable files corrupt or damaged. Moreover, it prevents startup repair to replace those corrupt files and make the PC working again. As soon as you choose to run startup repair, it may eventually fails and gives you the said error message.
  4. There may be various other reasons due to which startup repair might not repair your computer, such as corrupt file system, registry damages or virus infections.

Move forward to see the solutions and repair your computer manually.

You may need Windows setup disc provided to you while purchasing your PC. You can ask for it from colleagues or borrow from friends, if you don’t have any. You’ll need to look for suitable solutions that may apply to your particular case and follow the steps accordingly.

#1. Perform CHKDSK operation
  •  As asked previously, insert windows installation or setup disc into the drive and restart your PC. As soon as the system starts, start tapping F10 or ‘Space’ button to boot system using the bootable disc.
  • Press ‘Enter’ when the message ‘Press any key to boot from CD or DVD’ appears on your screen.
  • Select the desired parameters like language, time, currency, keyboard input method etc. and click ‘Next’
  • Choose to ‘Repair Your Computer’ when the message appears and click ‘Next’
  • Select the copy of Windows you want to repair, that is the C:\ drive of your computer. Click ‘Next’ to proceed.
  • ‘System Recovery Options’ screen will appears containing list of recovery and repair options. Click on the ‘Command Prompt’ option listed at the very bottom.
  • Enter the following command as soon as the black box appears:

    chkdsk C: /f /r
Where C:\ is the drive containing bootable copy of Windows and you want it to repair.
Once the task completes, system will automatically reboots and allows you to access your computer as you normally do.

#2. Repair Missing Boot Manager
Boot manager may have missing or damaged files due to virus injections, hard drive or operating system upgrades, bad or failing hard drives, outdated BIOS etc. Good news is, you can easily repair using few simple commands and make your system working again without even running ‘Startup Repair’ tool.
  • Follow steps from ‘a’ to ‘f’ mentioned in the ‘solution #1’.
  • Once you are at the command prompt screen, enter the below given commands to repair boot manager

    bootrec /fixmbr
    bootrec /fixboot

  • Once the above command completed, again enter the following:

    sfc /scannow /offbootdir=d:\/offwindir=D:\windows

Once the command completed its intended task, system will reboot automatically and wipes out the problem you are facing previously.

#3. Rebuild or Repair BCD
Corrupt Boot Configuration Data (BCD) can make your system inaccessible or unbootable as well as prevent startup repair tool to repair your computer. To repair or rebuild BCD, follow the steps mentioned below:
  • Again, follow steps from ‘a’ to ‘f’ under the ‘solution #1’
  • At the command prompt window, type the below command and hit enter

    bootrec /rebuildBCD
  • Type ‘Yes’ and hit enter when asked and bootrec.exe tool will add a new entry to the BCD store. A confirmation dialog will appear confirming that the entry was successful.

    If you don’t see any such confirmation message, most probably bootrec.exe cannot able to locate missing BCD store and you’ll need to manually recreate it. To add this entry manually, type the below given commands in the order they are given

    bcdedit /export C:\BCD_Backup
    run c:\boot\bcd bcd.old
    Bootrec /rebuildbcd

Type ‘Exit’ and hit enter to step out from the command prompt and restart your computer.
Keep in mind that if none of the above solution seems helpful in your case, you might need to reinstall a fresh copy of Windows to access your computer as you previously do.

If you’ve already faced the problem in past and get over from it using different methods, feel free to share it with us.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Tips to speedup slow iPhone

Good reasons as to why iPhone 4S or 4 is running slow?

iPhone is a hand-held device, a little computer that fits in your pocket. Just like a computer can slow down due to some reasons, similarly iPhone too can slow down. A slow iPhone is such a pain that it can make any user fume into frustration. Below are some valid reasons or slow iPhone:

  • Too many apps can easily slow down an iPhone. Some apps are buggy and don’t function as they should function.
  • Some apps may consume more than enough amount of iPhone RAM causing the device to crawl.
  • Messages with large attachments are another reason that eats memory of an iPhone. 
  • iPhone stores captured photos on two locations i.e. Camera Roll & iPhoto. This can take good amount of memory. 
  • A latest upgrade on iPhone particularly iOS 7 on iPhone 4 may slow down the device.
  • Too many apps running in the background causes slow iPhone.
  • An older iPhone is more prone to slowness may be due to over usage. 

How to speedup slow iPhone or an older iPhone?

  1. Deleted unwanted messages: You may have tons of unwanted message, most of them ads, so it is good to select them all and trash them.
  2. Clear Safari Data: Enter Settings<<Safari to Clear History & Clear Cookies and Data.
  3. Close running Apps: Closing running apps in the background help device gather its resources. Double Tap the Home Button to bring forth idle apps. Select them and close one-by-one.
  4. Delete Mail Attachments: Delete unnecessary mail attachments since they kill useful spaces on iPhone.
  5. Delete Photos: As mentioned earlier, your photos are saved in iPhoto & Camera Roll. This can occupy huge drive spaces. It is good to delete them off Camera Roll. 
  6. Hard Restart: Allow your iPhone to have a hard restart. Do it by holding down the top lock key and home screen button until the device shuts down.
  7. iPhone Reset: If all tips fails to speedup an iPhone, then you may choose to reset your device. In many cases, Reset alone solves the slow issues on an iPhone device. 
Caution: The above tips are helpful to speedup a slow or old iPhone. Though, writer would recommend user to double check an app, attachment or photos, which are to be deleted. You may end up loosing some important data (iMessages, notes, bookmarks etc.) while trying to delete junk files.

In case you end up losing some needed files from an iPhone, above apps can help save the day for you.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Magical working of Tags in Mavericks

Magical working of Tags in Mavericks

Tags in Mavericks are a smarter option for managing the files and folders. Organising thousands of folders and files becomes an easy task with the help of such facility. Existing files can be chosen by clicking on the tag accordingly. Moreover, searching and sorting task will become uncomplicated and we would be able to navigate according to our convenience.

Generating Tag preferences

Using Tag preferences, we can select the different names, colors etc. of our choice. Just select Preferences option from Finder and press Tags button. User can change the order of tag by clicking and dragging the dot tag according to their preferences. Also one can rename the tag and give it a unique name by just clicking on it. There are some certain tags that appear in the File menu and Shortcut menus of the Finder. The user can simply drag the Favourite tag and replace it with the new tag of his own choice. Now comes the inactive tag, which are invisible tags. They can't be seen in the sidebar but we can definitely add them according to our convenience. For example, Hyphen indicate a new tag whereas checkmark denotes that the current tag is available in the sidebar. And the tags can still be used after unchecking on it but will not appear in the sidebar of Finder and dialog window.

Operating Tags

Tags in Mavericks present in different colours i.e. red, blue, pink etc. There are many options available for using the tag. So let us see the different scenarios of tagging the document, files or folders:

1) Using Right-click on Finder option:

Tags can be accessed from the file menu available in Finder bar. Seven colours can be seen by default by clicking on Finder menu. Just right click on the file that you want to tag and scroll down the mouse to choose from the colourful tags options. And if you want to delete the tag, just click on the existing tag and press delete key. In case you want to click on certain files together then just hold Command key and select various files. Then follow the same procedure as well.

2) Using tag from the File menu

You may also select the required tag colour from the window on which you are working directly. For doing so, one needs to go to the File menu in the same window in which you are working and then apply the tag from there.

3) Using iCloud shortcut to tag documents

Some applications such as Apple's TextEdit support iCloud. Once the iCloud set up is there, saving and managing the documents becomes easier. Now applying tags to the document while saving consumes time and effort. Now you could able to see the small triangle that appears just after the document's name in the window title bar. Click on that icon and apply the tag in the Tags field.

4) Using tag shortcut

When we have to manage large number of files, it become a tedious task to deal with it. So creating a shortcut in such a situation will make the task quite easier. Here we require the keyboard shortcut to perform this task. First launch System preferences to select the keyboard preference. After choosing, click on the shortcuts tab. A window will appear with the option App Shortcuts, just select it and then click the + sign button available near the bottom of the window. Now choose Finder in the application field, write tags in Menu title and write a keyboard shortcut of your choice. After filling the required field, click on Add and the task is done. Now whenever you select the file or folder in the Finder, just press the keyboard shortcut to perform the operation.

Therefore, above is the interesting usage of tags explained, which literate us the smarter handling of files and folders without any complications and difficulties.