Thursday, 17 April 2014

Let’s Sync Nokia Lumia Phone with Mac OS X

Some corporate fights make the innocent customer to suffer. Users like you and me just compromise with the technological constraints which 2 platform share with one another. Among known constraint is an OS X Mac refusing to sync with Nokia Lumia Windows phone or vice-versa. Whenever, I plug in the Nokia 520 smartphone to the USB, the OS X Mountain Lion takes forever time to show it as a drive. Ultimately, Lumia 510 or other series refuse to get detected by the OS X. The iPhoto application too takes time for granted to load the image files lying on the Lumia smartphone. Ultimately the iPhoto app fails to display any images from the Lumia device.
So, is it that Lumia being a Windows phone has compatibility issues with the OS X Mac? We all are aware of Windows, Apple & Nokia bitter relationship, but why let user suffer for that? Like iPhone, which get recognized only via iTunes, the Lumia may require some special app to get recognized.
How to make Lumia sync with OS X Mac?
Thankfully, there are certain ways to get our beloved Lumia phone to sync with OS X Mac. Among such method is the use of a wonderful phone data transfer application which is - Windows Phone App for Mac.
Being a free app from Apple Store, it’s perfect time for all of us to rejoice.

Click Free<<Install button to initiate the process on Mac OS X. App store will ask for your Apple ID. Insert one or create an ID then submit to proceed. Once the billing information is verified, the App will install in Application folder, ready for use. Don’t worry, this Windows Phone app is free and billing information is only a formality. The same billing info will be used next time if user wishes to buy an app.
First Look of Windows Phone app: Seems like all my problems are coming to an end J
·       Do connect Nokia Lumia Phone with Mac OS X and launch this app. When connections are recognized, the app begins scanning for the device which may take few seconds to a minute depending on the size of the data on Lumia phone.

Lumia now recognized on Mac :–

This OS X app to sync Nokia Lumia displays phone information in it’s own Apple oriented layout. It represents space occupied by data & Sync button to start transfer of files & folders.
Conclusions:- Since the Windows Phone app is free, it may already be a huge hit among Mac users running a Lumia smart phone.
Alternative Option to Sync Lumia on Mac OS X
If you somehow don’t want to use an application to sync Lumia then there is a 3 way method to get Lumia data synced on OS X Mac.
·       First thing first, get Onedrive (earlier Skydrive) for Mac OS X on your Apple computer.
·       Now login for Onedrive account on OS X Mac (same a/c which you login from-to Lumia phone)
·       Once logged-in, the Onedrive folder will start syncing data from the Lumia smartphone. Just to let you know, Lumia by default transfers all data like recorded videos, captured images to Onedrive cloud folder.
Onedrive cloud account will prove to be of immense help if images, videos gets deleted from the Lumia phone. Later, they can be restored back from a Onedrive folder or cloud account. However, all data (like stored music & downloaded videos) is not be synced to Onedrive account so if you loose them you loose them for ever.
Unlike Android data recovery on Mac, the Lumia still is not detected as a removable drive by the OS X, so it would be extremely difficult to recover deleted images & videos with a recovery software.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Tips to fix indexing on Spotlight, Mac’s own search engine

Mac OS X got its own search engine in the name of ‘Spotlight’ application. Clicking on the Magnifying Glass icon, which is located on the top-right direction of the menu bar, can launch this search engine app. Alternatively, the same can be launched by keyword combination that is Command+Spacebar.

Purpose of Spotlight:

Like any other application, Spotlight too has its significant importance in OS X Mac. It was first bundled with OS X 10.4 in the year 2005. Since then, Spotlight has constantly evolved with the entire later OS X & proved to be immensely useful application.  It serves the purpose to quickly produce the result once Spotlight receives input query from the user.

E.g: I want to launch Disk Utility without navigating through Finder<Application<Utilities, which is its traditional path.

So, I either click on the Magnifying glass icon or more conveniently press CMD+SPACE to bring in the spotlight text box. 

Once the required search term (which is ‘disk utility’ in above case) is entered into the text box, the Spotlight quickly produces the relevant result. Hence, I saved my time navigating through folders and brought my required search in minimum time.

So, Spotlight will ease any of your search related to Mac OS X application, folders, files that are well known to OS X. That means, the Spotlight will produce the most relevant search results, if the search query is well known to its index.

BTW, index is something, which is saved into the Spotlight’s memory and helps produces quick results on demand.

What Google is to Web is what Spotlight is to Mac OS X

Smartness of Spotlight:

When the entire OS X is smart, how can we not expect the Spotlight to be smarter? To let readers know, Spotlight not only let us finds files, folders, apps, pictures on the basis of their file names but it also allows to locate & launch a file based on the type of content as well as the metadata of the file. A metadata is nothing but information about a particular file.

File Size, Date Created, and Author & Copyright info.

How Spotlight Works?

If you know how Google Search Works then you automatically know how Spotlight works, Vice-Versa. Like Google indexes all the WebPages, content & images on the website and produces results upon user query, similarly Spotlight indexes every single content & information (metadata) from a file, folder & app and save in its database. This database is called Spotlight Index.

When we enter our search query into the Spotlight text box, it quickly scans its database to give in the result. While it scans, you may notice the progress bar in action.

Include & Exclude specific files from Spotlight:

It is extremely simple to exclude files from Spotlight search results. Firstly user has to launch System Preferences<<Spotlight. If you wish not to index pictures by spotlight, then simply uncheck IMAGES option. Similar actions may be performed for Documents, Music etc.

Add more files to Spotlight Exclusion list:

Again, removing files from Spotlight search can be attained by including partitions, files & folders so that they don’t appear in search results. Doing this is as simple as eating pie. But first switch to Privacy tab from Spotlight window & click (+) or (-) to add/remove files. Users can even drag-drop files, folders & partitions to the exclusion list.

Problem with Spotlight:

Despite of its greatness, Spotlight is filled up with some flaws. Among them, user will find that it doesn’t find all files, particularly those whose permission access is restricted. Spotlight doesn’t index files that are lying in trash, archived files and even disk images (.dmg). In addition, time machine backup & system files are also ignored from search results.

Common issue that arises with Spotlight:

·      Unable to index files due to corruption
·      Unable to refresh its index
·      Unable to search a file which is very much exist on the hard drive.

Rebuild Index & fix Spotlight:

Follow the simple game to rebuild index

·      Drag OS partition i.e. Mac startup disk to spotlight. Below box will appear. Click OK.

·      Now remove (-) the partition you just added.
·      Close the Spotlight
·      The re-indexing process is initiated at the background of the OS X.
·      You can check by pressing CMD+Space and following box will show up.

As long as the process runs, the Spotlight remains inactive. Once done, user will restore to Peaceful Searching.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Early signs of Hard Drive failure & immediate course of action

Ever thought that one-day you might have to replace the Mac’s internal hard drive? I know, this sounds nightmarish to anyone but fact is, many users have come across similar conditions, where replacing the HDD was only solution to get going on Mac computer.

A HDD, that comes installed inside the Mac CPU is itself tough and can be used for many years without any hassle. However, many a times, the HDD develop any sort of faults that may force the user to call for another HDD.

Another HDD is not only costly to afford but it also requires an expert technician to complete the replacement. Until, you are an expert yourself, one should always avoid doing the replacement on it’s own. Opening up the CPU without proper knowledge and doing the replacement could be catastrophic.

Gathering points that leads to HDD failure & replacement: As I said earlier, a HDD may work for years without any trouble but sometimes, below issues do bother & interrupt its smooth working.

Early signs of troubles of a faulty HDD:

·      Random crashes of OS X leading to sudden shutdown and data loss.
·      Facing deep trouble while moving a file, encountering cryptic errors.
·      Files, folders, especially system files become to vanish.
·      Facing intolerable time to launch some apps, folder or any activity.
·      Hard drive moves abruptly fast and then goes into slow speeds.
·      Unpleasant noises from the hard drive hardware.

Immediate course of action: Once you have realized to the early signs of drive failure, you could prepare yourself for following activity.

1.     Try to find the make of the HDD and it’s serial number. You will need this once you chat or talk with technical personnel.

2.     Try to avoid any new read/write process on the faulty hard drive. Some drives create lot of mess if user tries to do some task on the computer. In real, the fault of the HDD will make all efforts to block smooth execution of the user’s task.

3.     If the hard drive is caught in early stages of malfunction then make sure you copy all the necessary data, files & folders to another source, which could possible be an external hard drive. The transfer of files from the drive in question should be accomplished asap, as its condition will be worsen and user may not be able to perform uninterrupted transfer of files at later stages.

4.     If Time Machine has set on your Mac OS X, then copy its data too. Since the TM partition is on the same drive, one cannot be assured if it too not becomes damaged. If the Time Machine set up is on external hard drive then it can be restored once it gets connected with the Mac replaced with another (new) hard drive.

5.     In the absence of Time Machine space, you can pick up any good cloning software that will assist you make the clone of the faulty hard drive. Below are lifesavers cloning tools for Mac OS X.

·      Carbon Copy Cloner
·      Stellar Drive Clone
·      Superduper

Alternative of disk cloning: If you disagree with cloning the problematic hard disk drive, then you have another option, which is to IMAGE the hard drive. Rather than copying all the data, Image will compress the required data and will also ignore any faulty sectors that may comes in its way to imaging. Later, the Image file can be extracted to load the data in its original form.

Ask Technician Help, since, the hard drive may have severe faults and only hard drive replacement can bring back Mac to life. Utilize Apple Care facility or Apple Warranty to get the faulty hardware replaced in no time.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

How to Prevent Windows 8.1 from Crashing aka Rebooting

Microsoft recently released a Windows 8.1 as a free update to address shortcoming of Windows 8 and also introduces new features to make it looks more attractive and adaptable for end users. Sometimes, user complaining about this latest released OS that it crashes frequently, reboots or just hangs at mid after doing updates, installing applications or doing some minor system settings modifications. 

Windows 8.1 Crashing or Rebooting

Although, Windows 8.1 is designed to perform robustly regardless the hardware or software combination you’re using. Sometimes, the situation just goes wired and your computer might start behaving abnormally. Windows 8.1 may hangs, freezes or reboots abruptly and there are several reasons which could this and investing for the exact cause might saves bunch of time / countless efforts. 

Below are the possible scenarios behind such problems and relevant solution that you could follow to resolve immediately. 

Hardware related problems
It’s always recommended to have all the hardware requirements successfully met for running Windows 8.1 and to avoid future troubles. If such requirements aren't met properly, your computer will start behaving strange and gives problematic situations mentioned earlier. 

It is also important to check the health status of all the hardware equipment such as Motherboard, GPU, overheating etc.  You can also use tools to check your PC for failing hardware and replace them to fix issues with your computer. 

Disable third party or malicious programs
Perform a thorough audit of your system to check for faulty programs or programs from not a trusted source. Open ‘Task Manager’ from the taskbar and carefully look for currently running programs. To close any programs immediately, right click on it and choose ‘Disable’. 
Avoid using multiple programs to run at startup as it can significantly increase the total time taken to start your PC and reduces overall performance. Moreover, programs from unauthorized source may prevents Windows to complete required operations normally. 

Use System Maintenance
System Maintenance is an inbuilt utility provided from Microsoft and located under Control Panel > System and Security > Action Center > Troubleshooting > Run Maintenance Tasks. To access Control Panel from your Windows 8.1 PC, simply navigate cursor to lower left corner of the screen and right click.
Be sure to run the system maintenance tasks using administrative privileges which ultimately increase the chances of getting your computer problem fixed easily. 
P.S. On the system maintenance wizard screen, click on ‘Advanced’ option to make ‘Run as Administrator’ option visible. 

Outdated or faulty drivers
Hardware manufacturers provide updates to their hardware driver frequently or occasionally. These updates will help your PC to perform faster, consume less energy and work in accordance with the latest application requirements. It’s recommended to check for driver updates at least once in a week, if you can’t do it regularly. Manufacturer website and third party tools can be used to check latest driver updates as well as install them immediately. 

The dark side is, if this isn’t done since long ago and there are multiple versions of driver has been released from manufacturer, you might found your computer giving freezes or hangs and prevents you to use it normally as you use it before. In worst cases, system may start rebooting in loop or throws black screen just after passing the Window booting screen. 

This problem looks obvious but once took place, you might face system inaccessibility and needs to address the issue first before using it any further. I’d recommend you to perform the following activities and see if it can fix the issue:

  1. Start Windows update from Control panel and install all the updates. It’ll automatically scans hardware for driver updates and install it immediately. 
  2. If the problem persists even after successfully installing all the available Windows updates, the second place you should see is the manufacturer website and carefully look if they’ve any recent updates for the particular driver. If so, download and install it manually without wasting a second. Device Manager is also used to check for driver updates. 
  3. If the problem is surfaced after updating the driver to new version, you can press rollback from the device manager which brings in an earlier stable version of that particular driver. 
Check for Event log files (For Pros)

Every time your PC crashes or any event occurs, it maintains record that will includes the reasons, time and exact location where error took place. These record is known as Event logs aka minidump files, and can be found under C: /Windows/ Minidump Files. If you find no record in that location, most probably your system isn’t configured to store minidump files. You can configure your computer to store minidump files after every failure occurs on your PC. 

These record will help analyzing the exact problem behind crashes so could you could address it, if possible. As the record contains all the details pros needed to suggest possible solutions, you’ll need to provide them at first. 

 Hopefully, these solutions are capable enough to resolve errors behind Windows 8.1 crashes. If the problem keeps occurring again and again please post your situation in the comment form below and we’ll provide solution ASAP. 

If you’ve already faced this problem and addressed the issue using different solution/tricks that isn’t mentioned here, feel free to share it with our readers.