Repairing Permissions with Disk Utility

Repairing Permissions with Disk Utility

Sometimes it’s the simple things that we forget – maintenance. On the surface Mac OS X appears to be an operating system where you can just set it up and forget it. That is what most Mac OS X users do so don’t think you are the only one. I have worked with a lot of different people who call me an ask why their Mac isn’t running as fast as it used to. This is a simple maintenance routine is one that I generally start out with to get things going again.

Repairing Permissions with Disk Utility

Repairing Permissions using Disk Utility checks for any inconsistencies or differences your operating system might have. This typically examines permission differences on files and folders against what Mac OS X expects them to be. If something is found it is changed to match the expected settings. Permissions tend to become fragmented after third-party installations since the installer needs to access and create certain files on your Mac.
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The Repair Disk Permissions function as part of Apple’s Disk Utility located on your hard drive in your /Applications/Utilities folder. Start by navigating to Disk Utility:

  1. Launch Disk Utility
  2. Select the desired disk, generally your startup disk found in the left column.
  3. Click the First Aid tab.
  4. At the bottom click the Repair Disk Permissions button.

Next to the Repair Disk Permissions button you will see the Verify Disk Permissions button. Selecting this option allows you to preview potential repairs before performing them. Personally there is little added benefit in doing this. Once the repair is complete I run the it a second time just to make sure that it has corrected all the errors. Once complete close Disk Utility.

Other Options

Check my article on Repairing Your Primary Startup Disk with Disk Utility. Other ways of optimizing your system is using a third-party application such as MacJanitor (Free), OnyX (Free), or TinkerTool System 1 & 2 (Paid). These applications offer a collection of system utility features assisting you in performing advanced administration tasks on Apple Macintosh computers by running system optimizing scripts to maximize your performance.

Mac OS X Safari Tips

Get The Most Out of Safari

Every week I bring you a series of Mac OS X Tips via my feed on With the launch of Safari 5.1 update on Wednesday I was reminded why I love Safari so much. The new version enables third-party extension support in the web browser. Compared to Chrome it will give it a run for the money, but Firefox – well that’s another story. At any rate I wanted to leave you with a selection of tips I have come up with to help you get the most out of surfing Safari!

Drag & Drop File Uploads
This is one of Safari’s hidden features. Tired of having a file to upload, a YouTube video or a Flickr image, for example, normally you would click the “Browse” button to open a dialog box and navigate to the location of your file. Wouldn’t it be great if you could drag and drop the file from your already – open Finder window directly to the upload form’s ‘Browse’ button in Safari? Well you can! Next time just drag and drop your files to the ‘Browse’ Button and your done!

Tab through Safari Tabs
Cycle through your Tabs like a pro by holding down CNTRL-Tab. Hit Tab to move forward.

Putting Safari Address Bar to work!
Ever run into the problem of starting to type a URL in the Address Bar and then realizing that I intended to view it in a new tab. Instead of cutting and pasting the URL into a manually-created tab, Safari lets you stay in the current tab and press Command+Enter to open it in another.

Re-sizable text fields in Safari
When filling out an online form that includes multi-line text fields, you might feel a little cramped by the pre-determined number of lines coded into the page. In Safari you can resize multi-line text fields on forms and make them larger by merely dragging the bottom-right edge.

Snap Back feature in Safari
Typically when you are surfing in Safari and move through a website you might find yourself wanting to go back to where you started. Sure, you could hit the Back button – a few hundred times – to get back to the original page, or you can use SnapBack. SnapBack works by silently marking a web page everytime you type in a new URL, click a bookmark, or open a new window. Simply go History > Search Results SnapBack or Type Comand+Option+S and SnapBack will bring you back to the beginning immediately. A huge time saver!

Speed up Safari
Surfing the web is great in Safari but after a while your Mac might start slowing down. Have you emptied your Cache lately? What is Cache you ask? As you surf the web your browser makes copies of the pages you visit, in case you need them again. This can cause things to slow down though. Here’s how to do a clean up. Select Safari > Emtpy trash from the main menu. A dialog will appear. Click Emtpy.

Setting Download Location in Safari
Did you know that Safari provides several options for managing downloads? To set the location for saving downloaded files on your hard drive, from Safari’s Menu Click on Safari and select preferences and Click on the General tab. Next Click on the “Save downloaded files to…” drop-down menu and select either “Last download location” or “Other…” to specify a specific location.

Managing Active Safari Downloads
The Downloads option under the Window menu in Safari provides you with more control over your downloads. When you select Downloads from the Window menu, the Downloads Pane will open, listing all active downloads and also perhaps some past downloads, depending on your settings in the General preferences pane. You can start and stop a download by clicking the Stop or Resume button next to the file name. You can also view the progress of your download in the Finder by clicking on the ‘Magnifying Glass’ button. There is also a Clear button in the lower left hand corner to clear your history of downloaded Files.

Using unix terminal to capture a packet trace.

How to capture a packet trace

Recently I have been doing a lot more network troubleshooting rather than working on my Macs! Not a total loss in the sense that it has brought me back to the basics of using UNIX commands in Terminal and how to capture a packet trace. This post might be more advanced for some but I feel that it holds good information when trouble shooting a connection issue on your network, home or company. The case that I ran into needing to use this was on a network primarily using Apple products ranging from Mac Pro, PowerMac, MacBooks, PowerBooks and mobile devices. The issue I was having was a MacBook Pro network issue seeming to originate from a timeout error from the switch resulting in it not picking up IP, Subnet, Router and DNS info. We started running PING tests to capture packet traces to see how fast the lines were working to eliminate a timeout issue from the switch. The steps I am about to outline uses the Terminal and the the tcpdump command; if you are not familiar with using the Terminal, you may want to use for third-party software that can perform a packet trace instead. Check out CPA – Cocoa Packet Analyzer

Running Mac OS X 10.6 do the following:

  1. 1. Open System Profiler either by locating it in the Utilities folder (choose Go > Utilities while in the Finder), or by Option-Clicking the Apple Menu > System Profiler.
  2. 2. Once launched select the Network interface; here you will determine which connection (AirPort/Ethernet) you will need to capture the packet trace.
  3. 3. Make note of the Berkeley Unix Device Name of the interface. For example the BSD Device Name for the AirPort interface could be “en1”, the BSD Device Name for Ethernet is “en0”, and so forth.

Active Services

System Profiler

If you are running Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard follow these steps – they will be different for Mac OS X 10.5.

  1. 1. Make sure your Mac is connected using a network interface. You can check this under the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Network preferences), such as AirPort or Ethernet.
  2. 2. Launch Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/
  3. 3. Copy or type the following Terminal command. Adjust the command based on your network interface; press Return to execute the command.
  4. 4. You will be prompted for your admin password.
  5. 5. Terminal should display “tcpdump: listening on…”. Access the network function you want to capture for, and let it run.
  6. 6. Once the network function is completed, go back to Terminal and press Control-C to complete the packet trace capture.

AirPort Network Example:
sudo tcpdump -i en1 -s 0 -B 524288 -w ~/Desktop/AirportDump1.pcap

Ethernet Network Example:
sudo tcpdump -i en0 -s 0 -B 524288 -w ~/Desktop/EthernetDump1.pcap

VPN Interface Example:
sudo tcpdump -i ppp0 -s 0 -B 524288 -w ~/Desktop/VPNDump1.pcap

Diagram of the tcpdump command options:
[-i] Sets a the interface from which you want to capture packets from. For example -i en0 = first Ethernet interface.
[-s] The number of data bytes to be sent; default is 56 or 64 ICMP data bytes. (This can be increased.)
[-B 524288] Increases the packet capture buffer size to 512 KB.
[-w] write a file
[.pcap] Packet Capture library

A file named “DumpFile01.dmp” containing your captured packet trace will appear on the desktop. If you want to display its contents, use this command in Terminal:

tcpdump -s 0 -n -e -x -vvv -r ~/Desktop/[Type]Dump1.pcap

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