TECH SUPPORT & TECHSPLANATIONS
Our Apple-loving experts answer your questions.
Accessing PC slideshows I used to create slideshows on Windows PCs using Photodex ProShow software, then burn them to DVDs. Now I’ve switched to a Mac, how can I best transfer those?
There are at least two good ways to do this. DVDs are really just a bunch of data files, and you can move those to your Mac either via DVD – if it has an optical drive – or by copying them from your PC to a memory stick or other storage. Once on your Mac, you can view them using DVD Player.
In that app, choose File > Open DVD Media. Select the VIDEO_TS folder on the DVD, or in the folder to which you copied the disc’s contents on your memory stick, and the app should load and play the video as normal.
You can also “rip” homemade DVDs to a more convenient format using one of the many ripping apps on the Mac – HandBrake ( handbrake.fr) is free and a popular choice. As your personal DVDs won’t be encrypted, you won’t need to use another tool to bypass protections.
If you want full access to your old content, you could install ProShow in Windows in a virtualization app such as Parallels Desktop; it can exchange files with macOS, so you’d be able to export the original slides as well as completed shows in DVD format.
FireWire still burning? Can I connect a FireWire camera to a MacBook from 2016? Yep, it’s a pretty old model of camera…
Yes, but it takes two adapters whichever way you do it. One route is from USB-C to USB 3, then connect a USB 2-to-FireWire adapter. Your other option starts with a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, then Thunderbolt 2 to FireWire 800.
The App Store is stuck Why can’t the App Store seem to load any data for updates?
Move its settings at ~/Library/ Preferences/com.apple.commerce.plist,/Library/Preferences/com.apple. commerce.plist, and ~/Library/ Preferences/com.apple.appstore.plist to your Documents folder. Then sign in to the App Store from scratch. If you still can’t get it to check properly for updates, contact Apple Support so it can check your account if necessary.
Put it right there Can I force an iOS app to store its data locally?
It varies, but in many cases you can. The exception is if the app needs iCloud to function, which a lot of the time is offered just as a way to access files from all your devices. In Settings > [Apple ID] > iCloud, turn off an app’s switch under “Apps using iCloud” to block it from using that service.
Aware of ransomware Given the recent spate of ransomware attacks around the world, I’m wondering if macOS protects against ransomware?
System Integrity Protection (SIP) in El Capitan and Sierra should stop
malware tampering with system files, provided your Mac is kept updated. However, malware can still remove or encrypt other files, including apps and your documents. Try RansomWhere?, which is free from objective-see.com/ products/ransomwhere.html.
Numbers on your Touch Bar I use an AZERTY layout keyboard on my 2016 MacBook Pro, which requires the ß key to be used for numbers. Could I put those numbers in my Touch Bar instead?
You can’t yet customize the Touch Bar globally: settings are intended to be app-specific. Two pop-ups in the Keyboard tab of the Keyboard pane control its general behavior. The upper of those can be set to Expanded Control Strip, but can’t include numeric keys in the way that you want. The lower pop-up doesn’t provide helpful options for this scenario either.
In apps that support customization, you could use the Customize Touch Bar command in the View menu to make your own custom layout, but that doesn’t offer numeric keys. Some third-party apps now support
the Touch Bar: BetterTouchTool from
boastr.net might eventually enable what you want, but doesn’t at present.
Burning appendable CDs I use an external Apple SuperDrive with my 21.5-inch iMac (Late 2012) to make CDs and DVDs. Upgrading to El Capitan removed the feature to make them in Disk Utility, and now I cannot make a disk appendable: Finder’s Burn command closes the disc so that no more can be written to it. Is it still possible to make a CD which is appendable?
This facility still exists in both Sierra and El Capitan. However, it’s now only accessible using commands in Terminal, or with third-party software. If you don’t feel like messing around at the command line, one of the most capable suites for working with optical discs is Toast Titanium ( roxio.com), which can make audio CDs, DVDs, and more. There’s a range of cheaper or free tools in the App Store, too.
To do it yourself in Terminal, first use Disk Utility to create an image of the optical disc: assemble its contents in a folder, create a new image from that, and set its Image Format to “DVD/CD master,” without encryption. Place that master, for example named MACDOCUMENTS.cdr, on your desktop, insert your blank CD, then in Terminal type the following command: hdiutil burn ~/Desktop/MACDOCUME NTS.cdr -noforceclose
Trashing old backups I’ve installed a new, larger external hard disk and have started using it as a new Time Machine backup. On a separate volume on that disk, I have an old “Backups.backupdb” folder containing some old backups, which I want to delete. When I drag it to the Trash, I cannot empty it because of error -8072. How can I get rid of those backups?
Old backups like these present a problem when you want to get rid of them because of their permissions, and the fact that they contain tens or hundreds of thousands of hard links, which Time Machine uses to make each backup look like a complete image of your disk.
If you’ve nothing else on that partition (volume), then the simplest way to get rid of them is to open Disk Utility, select only that volume, and erase it. If you have other files there and can’t do that, you’ll need to resort to the command line in Terminal.
First, check that Time Machine isn’t backing up to that location. Type
tmutil listbackups in Terminal – it should list the location of all the backups on Time Machine’s drive, but not those which you want to remove.
Next, work out the path to that old Backups.backupdb folder; for example, if it’s on a volume named Old Backups, the full path will be /Volumes/Old Backups/Backups.backupdb/.
The command which you’ll then need in order to remove all those old backups will be something like sudo tmutil delete "/Volumes/Old Backups/ Backups.backupdb/" Finally, you’ll need to authenticate with an admin user’s password.
Fastest startup for a mini My Mac mini (Late 2014) starts up from an external 256GB SSD, and I manually transfer documents to its 1TB hard disk when I need to. Would my mini start up more quickly from
a Fusion Drive, and would that be better connected via Thunderbolt, rather than USB 3?
Your fastest option should be to boot from an internal SSD. The performance of external drives is largely dependent on the chipset in the enclosure, and less on the theoretical maximum performance of the bus used to connect the drive. This is particularly true for Thunderbolt and USB 3. External Thunderbolt enclosures are expensive and few, if any, significantly out-perform much cheaper USB 3 enclosures.
Fusion Drives are a great way of getting a large combined capacity at a reasonable cost, delivering SSD-class performance for the most-used files, which usually includes macOS and your favorite apps. However they do impose some overhead above that of just using an SSD. Much of the time, a Fusion Drive should deliver near-SSD performance for only slightly greater cost than a hard disk.
If you can lead a disciplined life using separate SSD and hard drives, as you have been doing, and have laid out the contents of the SSD and hard disk optimally, that’s still likely to give you a slight edge in performance and the time taken to start up. A Fusion Drive should make fuller use of the SSD, though.
There’s the added complication that building your own Fusion Drive is currently not officially supported by Apple. Some people who’ve done this experienced problems when upgrading to Sierra. Sticking to a straight SSD should be most compatible with anything that macOS 10.13 changes later in the year – at least until it’s had time to settle in and those intrepid pioneers have figured out whether home-brewed Fusion Drives are a practical possibility with it.
To play a DVD from non-optical storage, such as a memory stick, in DVD Player choose File > Open DVD Media and point at its VIDEO_TS folder.
The Customize Touch Bar command affects only the app you’re currently using, and doesn’t allow you to add regular number keys.
You can delete backed-up items in Time Machine: select a file and click the cog for options.
You should get the very fastest startup times and best performance from an SSD by fitting it inside your Mac mini.