Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Tips to Speed up the slow iMac

Why my iMac is running slow? There are number of reasons of slow iMac. The reason is the asthmatic ant crawling on iMac with the loads of heavy applications. Lets see the various causes and solutions:


                                                     


1) Reset SMC and PRAM

SMC manages various functions like start-up hard drive spin down cycles, power button response, thermal monitoring etc. So if SMC will got corrupt, then definitely your iMac become slow. So fixing it is an important task. For this, first shut down your computer and unplug the power cord. Then press and hold your power iMac button for 15 seconds and release it. At last, reconnect your iMac power cord, wait for 5 seconds and turn on your iMac. Now PRAM is meant for memory module. Functions of this are volume monitoring, display solution control, speaker volume control etc. Resetting the PRAM is the way to increase the speed of the iMac. To fix it, first shut down your computer and power your iMac back on. Then press the CMD + Option + P + R keys together until you see the grey startup screen. These 2 resets SMC and PRAM can fix your slow iMac.

2) Disable antivirus or firewall programs

The programs constantly check your iMac activities, resulting in slowing down the process. So if your iMac becomes slow then just disable these programs temporarily and see the results. This can fix your issue.

3) Corrupt Preferences file

Preferences files can easily become corrupt. It totally depends on the certain applications. If due to some applications your iMac is running slow, just delete that preference file and relaunch the app.

4) Software update loading

Updating the software is the most crucial task to maintain the performance of the iMac. Keeping the software up to date is a good practise. After updating the software, reboot the iMac.

5) Caches, Log files and Temporary files

Cleaning the caches, log files and temporary files will immensely affect the performance of the system. You can clear these files from Library folder.

6) Startup items

At the time of start-up, certain applications cause to start at the time of login. These login items cause the system to take little memory and CPU usage. To optimize the start-up items you need to remove some of the start-up options which is causing the iMac slow at the time of start-up. To remove, select the Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Users and group -> Login items.

7) Permission conflict

Each and every file in iMac OS X have a set of permissions. It determines the users or applications that can access them. Sometimes permissions are incorrect and we need to repair it using Disk utility. To repair permissions select Disk utility app from the Applications -> utilities folder and then click on First Aid tab. Then at last click on Repair Disk Permission button.

8) Clean the hard drive

Always make sure that you should leave at least 10% free space on your hard drive because your iMac automatically utilizes free space on your hard drive as virtual memory. Delete all the unwanted files, apps, downloaded items and finally remove it from the Trash folder also. This will optimize the space and performance of the hard drive. If you are unable to delete all the junk files from your iMac and they are causing your iMac extremely slow, then use SpeedUp iMac software which will automatically cleans all the junk from your iMac.

9) Upgrade your hardware

Old hardware causes the speed of the iMac drastically to a low level. Actually this task is quite costly but you will surely notice an improvement in speed.

Therefore, these are some of the useful steps which can pull you out from the slow iMac problem.





Thursday, 27 November 2014

What Erase free spaces on Mac HD indicates?

The Macintosh hard drive incorporates huge amount of spaces for the files or folders to be stored on. The entire hard drive space is commonly segregated into Used and Free spaces. The OS X assigns data in the form of files and folders to spaces, which becomes occupied or used. The unoccupied spaces on the OS X hard drive is now to be know as free spaces. But, this is not the terminology always. When an application is uninstalled or a file is removed from it’s location then that location becomes a free space. This free space will be free till OS X writes another set of data onto it. And when it does, new files overwrite the free space.

What overwriting does to free spaces?

Whenever, a file is deleted from the hard drive, it remains on its location, though invisible to the user. The user believes the file is gone since OS X has removed it but it remains in dormant form on its drive location. Such deleted files can be restored later with the help of powerful Mac deleted files recovery software. But if the OS X manages to overwrite deleted file information with the help of overwriting new files, then chances of file recovery are null.

Since hard drive has millions of sectors, user on its own term cannot ask OS X to overwrite a specific location that is holding deleted file information. On the other hand OS X too randomly assigns drive location to a new file. So, it may or may not overwrite a file which user doesn’t want to be recovered.

How to erase free spaces on OS X Mac?

Finder << Application << Utilities << Disk Utility

Follow the above path to launch Disk Utility. When windows show up, switch to ‘ERASE’ tab.


Select Macintosh HD. You may also select a partition if the hard drive is segregated. In below case, I selected one of my partitions to erase all free spaces from it.


  • Once Macintosh HD or a partition is chosen, the buttons in the tab will activate. Among them, can be seen ‘ERASE FREE SPACE…’. This is the one button to do today’s job of erasing free spaces.

  • Do carefully read the text, which is displayed on the minor window that pops-up. It says, OS X will erase all unused spaces on the selected disk to halt recovery of deleted files.  Once sure, click the button to start the process.

Disk utility will take some time to complete the task of erasing free spaces. In between you can terminate the process abruptly by clicking on ‘SKIP’ button.

Android Lollipop 5.0 and its features

The latest version of Android mobile operating system is Android 5.0 Lollipop developed by Google. Android L is the biggest update to mobile OS which consist of 5000 new API's. The superb features of the Android Lollipop are:



Material design

The design structure is completely new and flat which is based on making every animation, shadow looks real, which most of the brands are not supporting. Google told us that there will be shadow gradients, 3D tiles that slide over one another and most crucial thing is that there is an access for the developers so that they can use this for themselves for their apps. The logic behind this idea is to remove the fragmented way Android looks and bring consistency to the app world. Moreover the inbuilt function also includes multitasking window buttons, the cleaner etc.



Android L battery

The battery life will be more efficient with the project Volta which is set out by Google to boost the battery life. Usually battery saver mode in integrated in the devices which help to increase the battery life by 90 minutes but this Android L could do wonders without the Battery saver mode also. When this Arts Technica test the OS, they saw a drastic change of 36% more battery than the users running android 4.4.



ART, new runtime for smoother experience

Google uses a new runtime called ART on Android. This helps to improve the performance of the apps, battery life etc. This new OS has extremely improves the performance by 4 times and support for 64-bit chip.



Camera

Android L consist of advanced APIs. It support the features like burst mode, fine setting tuning, capture full resolution frames around 30 fps, can shoot in raw formats, support for UHD 4K video playback, tunneled video for high quality video and many more features are there. It also support for professional features which are essential to handle the settings for the sensor, lens and flash.



Notification and lock screen

Here in this feature the notification panel is combined with the lock screen so you can notify the tasks easily when you pick your phone. Also you can easily read the messages directly from your lock screen or hide the notification as per need for the sensitive content. Another thing is priority mode which you can set through device volume button to allow the notifications to get through and you can also choose to avoid calls when you play game or doing some important activity according to your convenience.



Tap and Go

Tap and Go for NFC devices use to set up the new Android phone or tablet immediately by simply tapping it to your old one. So for this action, simply place your old and new phone one on another and let NFC pairing and bluetooth data transfer do all the work for you.



Faster and efficient

Google has made lot of efforts to ensure the fastest and efficient Android L. The apps are so useful and faster than the apps available on other Android phones.



Personal Unlocking

Now Google has added more ways, from where the users can login into their devices. First is face unlock which uses the front face camera of the phone to unlock the device. If the device can't recognizes the face then it will prompt for a password. Also the bluetooth devices such as headphones, speakers, smart watches and NFC tags can be surely used to unlock the device automatically. These login methods makes the device secure.



Therefore, above are the extraordinary features of the Android L which makes it completely different from other Android phones or tablet.


Monday, 24 November 2014

Some OS X Yosemite problems and solutions

Since OS X Yosemite has been released, Mac users are rapidly excited to install the new OS X. But after installing they are noticing various issues with this new version. So let us see the common problems and solution of Yosemite. Also, please start the Time Machine back up before trying the solutions.



Wi-Fi issues

After switching to Yosemite, there might be some problem in reconnecting to Wi-Fi after sleep. It is hard to find a single solution to the problem. Lets try the below solution to rectify this issue:

First Remove bluetooth

1.Select File menu from Finder and choose new Finder window. Then click on new Mac'c icon.

2.Now open Mac HD -> Library -> Preferences and find this file “com.apple.Bluetooth.plist” and put it on the desktop.

3.Then drag that file into the trash and remove it from the preferences. Type your password to allow the changes to Finder.

Remove network configuration files

1.From Finder option, press command+Shift+G and type llin:/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

2.Find these files in a folder:

com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
com.apple.network.identification.plist
com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist
networkinterfaces.plist
preferences.plist

3.Backup the folder “SystemConfiguration” by copying it to your desktop.

4.Delete the folder from /Library/Preferences.

Reset router settings

1.Try factory resetting or turn your router on and off.

2.Access your router administration panel and try these things.

3.Change the Wi-Fi frequency to one another.

4.Changing Wi-Fi name, key, security and Wi-Fi mode.

Buetooth issue

Bluetooth issue is very common among Yosemite users. Try the below solution:

1.Disconnect all USB preferences -> shut the computer off for several minutes -> try restart the Mac and bluetooth.

2.Reset PRAM and SMC.

a) How to reset SMC with a user removable battery?

First shut down the Mac, disconnect Mac portable from the Magsafe connector and remove the battery. Then press and hold the power button for at least 10 seconds. Just release the power button, reconnect battery and MagSafe connector and turn your Mac on.

b) How to reset SMC on portables with a non user removable battery?

In this case first shut down the computer and connect the Magsafe adapter to your Mac and power outlet. Now press and hold Shift+control option keys and the power button at the same time and then release all the keys. At last press the power button to turn on the computer.

c) How to reset the SMC for Mac pro, Intel based iMac, Intel based Mac mini?

Here shut down the computer first and disconnect the power cord. Then wait for fifteen seconds and again attach the power cords. At last wait five seconds and press the power button to turn off the computer.

VPN doesn't work

This problem is very common among those users who are using Yosemite Beta. Just the below method to fix this issue:

1.First launch Systems preferences app from the Launchpad option and choose network on system preferences window.

2.Then click on “+” button to add VPN interface. Do select its type, name and click on create option.

3.Now fill all the required information in it. First keep the configuration stay at Default state and input the correct address of VPN server. Then write the account number, set the Encryption to automatic and click on authentication settings. You could see the User authentication page where you have to input your VPN password and click on ok button to confirm it.

4.At last click on Apply button and there it connects.



How to repair corrupt videos?

Video file such as MP4, MOV, 3GP etc. is a highly digital multimedia format to store video and audio data. While storing, uploading or downloading,  we usually experience lot of problems during this phase. But the major issue, the user has been noticing is video corruption. Let us see the various causes of corruption.

The major causes of the video corruption are:

1) Corrupt header file

Header files are like road map, which are helpful in giving instruction to the computer. They are the files, which carry full specifications of the particular file. And if any specification is missing, then the media player cannot recognize that file. This corruption is caused by either power failure, mishandling of the file etc.

2) Virus infection or bad sectors

Videos are adversely affected by the bad sector, as it won't let the file to open. Ultimately the file becomes corrupt. And virus infected multimedia files gets easily corrupt and can only be repaired with the help of the utility.

3) Changing file formats frequently

Sometimes, changing the file format to another format may affect the file badly. Either the file will overwrite on one another or it will get severely affected.


4) Camcorder or device error

Videos may become inaccessible due to any type of error related to camcorder. Also mishandling of camcorder or accidentally pressing any button while uploading video may affect certain bad effects to videos.

5) Record videos when memory card is full

Recording videos at the time when memory card is full may cause the adverse effect on the video. Also the video gets corrupt or becomes inaccessible.

6) CRC errors or interruption during video file

Now CRC errors takes place when there are bad sectors in the storage media and also if you hear any kind of noise get prompt in the video during transmission of the file. These errors won't make the user to access the file. So in this kind of situations, the user has to use the utility to repair the damaged video.

Solution of corrupt videos

If your any video files such as MP4, MOV etc. are corrupt, then surely you should use the tool to eradicate all the errors. The effective tool will definitely repair the damaged, corrupt or broken videos efficiently. Also some of the common errors such as stated above can be easily resolved by the utility. So the steps to repair the video using the utility are:

1) Download Stellar Phoenix Video Repair application on your Mac

2) Next step is to unpack the file and double click on .dmg file. This step will mount the software on the screen.

3) Now double click on that file and drag the folder to the Applications folder.

4) Then launch the application and accept the license agreement. After that, select the corrupt video that you want to repair and click on “Repair” button.



5) After processing the above step, this will show you the description of the particular video.

6) Finally the software will automatically scan the repaired video at the desired location.

Important precautions should be taken while repairing

Never save the recovered files to the same hard drive to which you are scanning. This may cause the deleted files overwritten before they can be recovered. So always save your data to different drive. Also make sure that the drive you are using to recover the data should not be corrupt or failing drive.




Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Bad hard drive causes and its solution

Hard drive is the storage house of the computer. It forms the basis of computing. A bad hard drive can cause different variety of issues on your computer. Let us sum up the notorious and most common causes of the bad hard drive.



1) Abnormal or strange noises

These strange noises from the drive are a sign of a failing hard drive. If the sound is thrashing or you had experience a head crash then that hard drive is beyond repair. This type of failure of the hard drive is called catastrophic failure. This condition indicates that the drive heads are slamming against the extremes of the hard drive.

2) Fail to read or write to the drive

This problem exists with respect to the entire hard drive. The common possibilities of this type of the problem are Index corruption of the file system or there is no space on the hard drive or by a faulty cable or connection in the system or sudden power outage etc. All these issues constitute a problem of the read/write failure.

3) Drive is not recognized by the system

If the computer does not recognize the drive, then that drive may suffer from the controller card failure, which ultimately makes the drive invisible to the system. And if the drive is mounted, the information in the drive is not interpreted by the system. This indicates that either the index files are corrupt or the drive has been damaged completely.

4) Boot drive will no longer boot

If the visibility of the drive is there but it wont boot then this is a problem of file system corruption of the drive. Also it can be caused by the bad sectors in the hard drive. Improper shutdown may be the vital cause of this serious problem.

5) Computer crashes

If your computer is causing blue screen problems or it suddenly reboot, then definitely the drive is troublesome and about to fail. If your computer is crashing while accessing some file, then surely your drive is corrupt and need to be sorted out.

6) Slow access time

Suppose your system is taking too long to open a file or folder. And you are analyzing this problem for so long, then your hard drive will surely fail in a month or two.

7) Hard drive shuts itself off with no reason

Now this issue is caused because of the operating system. Actually no operating system is perfect. All operating system have bugs. If the drive shuts for no apparent reason then either the problem is controller card or the board supply.

Solution to the problem

All these problems carry a serious threat to the hard drive. Now due to these issues, either the hard drive will fail or become corrupt. So lets see the solution of the above problems:

1) First of all always have the backup of your drive. You can use good drive clone software for back up which will also provide you the bootable clone copy. Also one can image the hard drive that you suspect is having bad sectors.

2) Regularly check the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive. This will help you to keep the drive healthy. Make us of disk management tools that are bundled with operating system.

3) Try safe boot. Also, you need to boot from the recovery HD partition. If you can't be able to boot, then your drive is too damaged to allow booting from the partition itself.

4) And at last if you can't get out of this miserable condition of the bad hard drive, then use some good disk repair software that will definitely keep your hard drive in a healthy condition and will repair all kind of issues.



Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Can my Mac get virus from Internet or FAT USB?

Big question remains unanswered to this date, ‘Whether a virus can really become serious threat for Mac’? Just to give you an idea, I have been running my Mac from 2011 and to this date I haven’t installed any Antivirus program for Mac. So, doesn’t it makes me compromise with the situation in rapidly changing IT environment?

Being in the data recovery industry I have realized the true meaning of the phrase ‘Prevention is better than Cure’. Data gone forever from a Mac may lead to endless regret of not backing the drive timely.  Similarly, ignoring any potential virus threat for OS X Mac would be an absolute carelessness. If a virus really paralyses a Mac then you may remind this term forever, ‘Look, you were warned’.

How Viruses are always around Mac OS X?

Its good that most of the viruses may not be able to penetrate OS X but the truth is they are always around the OS X. Who knows, may be a much better written malware/virus for Mac can cause calculated damaged. Internet is the biggest source of Trojans, malware for any computer systems and OS X is no exception. Many malware had been jotted down for the OS X in the past. These malware were easily able to penetrate the OS X defence. Most of them came via malicious websites or applications.

A Website runs on a browser and browsers are one of the most potential source to viral any malicious programs. Many a times, stupid pop-up ads & adware are installed through our browsers, which begin to create havoc on Apple file system. Some of these adware are too notorious and forces user to consider reinstalling the OS X again. An unplanned re-installation of OS X can be serious too since chances of loosing recent data is higher. Taking backup of such infected file systems also becomes a cause of worry since restoring them back to the system may create the infected loops again. If you have involved in such situation then consider scanning the formatted drive for recovery of files through formatted Mac file recovery software.

                             Recent threats to Apple Mac & iOS devices – Wirelurker

USB devices too pose enough threats to OS X. Since OS X can read FAT, EXFAT file system, a PC virus can easily corrupt it. Not only Mac file system but also viruses on USBs can damage the device file structure itself. Biggest threat lies in syncing of Apple devices, where other devices such as iPhones, iPad may intake the infection from OS X.

Possible solutions to eliminate a threat from Mac OS X:

Thankfully some geniuses have brought good antivirus software to this world and that too for Mac OS X. There is more than couple of them to download on Mac.
  1. Sophos for Mac (Free)
  2. AVG for Mac (Free)
  3. Antivirus by Max Secure ($15)
  4. Virus Scanner Plus ($30)
Working of Sophos of Mac OS X
  • Download Sophos for free and install
  • Run Sophos and select Apple HDD for scan. Connect any USB device if you want to scan it for threats.
  • You can scan more than one drive simultaneously. Check below image:
  •  Sophos will finish the scan and present you its report. In my case, it detected a threat. See below:


The above virus or spyware appears to be a minor threat or may be it is not a threat at all. Sometimes, even corrupt preference files may appear as malicious to anti-virus software. Best would be to quarantine such files with quarantine manager.