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 Audioboo.fm. 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.


Macintosh Troubleshooting

Make a bootable Mac OS X USB flash drive for repairs



I am always on the go working on a variety of Macs. As reliable Macs can have their bad days and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. We have all been there, and it only takes that one time faced with a repair not having the right utilities or maintenance tools. I always have a USB flash drive with me that is ready for all situations that require me to diagnose, repair or maintain Mac OS X.

The best device I have in my arsenal of repair equipment is my Iron Key USB flash drive loaded with a bootable copy of MAC OS X. With this clean installed system you can pin point most problems that the main drive might have troubles isolating. I tend to have 3 or 4 of these USB keys, one for each Mac OS (10.4, 10.5 and 10.6). I used to lug around a big bulky portable drive but with more reliable USB flash drives available portability has become a great added tool.




Getting Started
To start you will need to have a USB based Mac, either Intel or PowerPC based on what you plan on repairing and at least a 16GB USB flash drive, I use the a S200 16BG Ironkey from Amazon. SanDisk also carries a reliable drive. Lastly you will need a version of Mac OS X.

  1. Plug in your USB flash drive to your Mac.
  2. Open Disk Utility (Applications > Utilities)
  3. Select your flash drive in the list on the left.
  4. Click on the Partition tab and select “1 Partition” from the Volume Scheme drop-down menu.
  5. Enter a name for your USB flash drive (I called mine “Lifesavor OS X”)
  6. Under Format select “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”. Make sure the size is somewhere around +/- 16GB.
  7. Below the partition display click the ‘Options’ button.
  8. Choose “GUID Partition Table” from the popup window and click OK.
  9. With you setting chosen click the ‘Apply’ button. Disk Utility will take a minute or two to complete this task.
  10. Insert your Mac OS X installation disc.
  11. Double-click the ‘Install Mac OS X’ icon and progress through the installer until you get to the screen that says “Mac OS X will be install on…”
  12. Click the ‘Show All Disks’ button and select your USB flash drive.
  13. Click on the ‘Customize’ button and a new window will appear.
  14. Un-check all of the items except ‘Essential System Software’. Save space and don’t check ‘Rosetta’ and ‘QuickTime 7’.
  15. Click OK to Install. The rest of the process should be automated and might takes about 30-60 minutes.
  16. Once Installation is complete test the flash drive by booting it up. Restart your Mac and hold down the Option key to choose your flash drive manually. HINT: You will need to do this in the future also to boot to the drive.
  17. After restarting using the USB flash drive follow the set up prompts just like you would a new computer.
  18. Once the OS is running launch Software Update and make sure that your flash drive OS is up-to-date.
  19. Finally install any third party diagnostic utilities you may have. For example, Alsoft’s DiskWarrior is an invaluable tool going beyond what Disk Utility has to offer.


DONE! Although booting to a flash drive is a bit slow it does the job and is convenient; a lot lighter than dragging a book of CD/DVD’s around. Hopefully you will never have to use it but having it available is a great portable emergency too for troubleshooting your Mac.

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