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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 ( 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.ap­­merce.plist,/Li­brary/Pref­er­ences/com.ap­ple. com­merce.plist, and ~/Li­brary/ Pref­er­ences/com.ap­­store.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 ob­jec­ 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 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 (, 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.

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