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.

Changing or Reset OS X Password

Changing or Reset OS X Password

Mac OS X Account Password

Changing or reset OS X password with Mac OS X can be a hassle and typically occurs after you installed or upgraded your Mac OS or when you are installing new software. Most of the time it boils down to not remembering your password since you haven’t used it in a while. Here are some basic solutions to either resetting your password to unlocking you user account.

Best Practices
As you know when you install Mac OS X or when you setup a new Macintosh you are prompted to create a main users account. This is the administrator account and the password associated with it is associated with the root account. Anytime you run into trouble you can boot in the root users with you main default password and perform repairs. Best practice in setting up a new Mac dictates that you should be setting up two accounts right from the start, the first will be your Admin, troubleshooting account, the other your user account, for day-to-day usage. That way if you run into trouble you can log into you main admin account without really jeopardizing your user account.

Resetting a User Account with Administrator Password
If you remember you password associated with you primary Administrator Account, the first (or only) one you set up, its simple to reset any standard or managed user’s password. Logged in as the Administrator open System Preferences (Applications > System Preferences) and click on Accounts located in the System row. Each account name will be labeled either as Admin, Standard or Managed. If the lock at the bottom of the window is locked click it to allow changes to be made to the Preferences. Follow these steps for changing a users password:

      1. Select the Users Name from the list.
      2. Click on Reset Password
      3. Enter the new password and click Reset Password.

Resetting an Administrator Password
If you can remember your Administrator Password or can access you Administrator Account you will have to reset it using the Install disk for your current operating system. Unfortunately you can not use a previous version as it the tools it comes with are not compatible. To reset the password you will need to do the following:

      1. Insert your Install Disk for you current OS version.
      2. Restart your Mac and hold down the “C” key before the Apple logo appears at startup.
      3. A window will appear asking what language you want to work in. Click the right arrow at the bottom.
      4. For earlier versions of OS X reset the password from the installer menu for Tiger and later ignore the Installation screen and click on Utilities from the Menu bar and select Reset Password…
      5. Choose your primary Hard Drive from the menu select Account. Here you have to be clear on what you want to do. If you reset the System Administrator account this is usually the root user, not just a Administrative User Account. Most of the time you are here because this is the one you need to reset. Select the user you want to Reset the Password for.
      6. Enter the new Password, click Save, and quit the Installer and Restart your Mac from the Hard Drive.

Don’t Have the Mac OS X Install Disk!
If you have “lost” your installation disk for your current Mac OS X version you are left with two options. One go out an buy one on ebay or borrow one or reset it using the Command Line. NOTE: You can only do this if you are running Mac OS 10.4 Tiger or later. Do not do this if you have FileVault enabled as it has the potential for loosing all your data.

      1. Note the shortname (ex: cberkeley) of the account you want to target. This is the same as the name of its home folder.
      2. Restart your computer.
      3. On startup before the Apple logo appears, hold Command-S. This will start up your Mac in Single User Mode.
      4. At the root prompt enter:

      :/ root# sh /etc/rc

      [press return]

      :/ root# passwd [yourusername]

      [press return]

      5. Now you will have to enter a new password twice. What you type won’t appear on screen, but it is begin entered.
      6. Once you have typed in the new password twice, enter:

      :/ root# reboot

      [press return]

Using Speakable Items in Mac OS X

Using Speakable Items in Mac OS X

Get Mac OS X Talking

Speakable Items in Mac OS X can make you feel like your a Sci-Fi movie hero able to talk to your super computer. Even Michael Knight got to talk to his car KITT! So why shouldn’t you be able to talk to your Mac. Well you can, introduced in OS 9 in 1993 Apple’s Speech was ahead of its time. It went missing during the early OS X years and reemerged in Jaguar Mac OS X 10.2.

This great tool is located in your System Preferences under System > Speech. Simply activate it by turning “ON” Speakable Items and you can give up typing, get rid of your mouse, yell at you computer as much as you want and still have it talk to you.

Speech is built-in right at the core of Mac OS X, there is no need to install a special application or devices to make it work. The following are some tips to help you get started using Speakable Items.

Speech Commands Window
Once launched the Speakable Items, a small round window with a microphone image, will appear hovering over your desktop. Click the triangle at the bottom of the window and choose “Open Speech Commands window.” You can also press or speak the listening key, ESC by default, and speak the command “Open Speech Commands window” or “Show me what to say.”

Adding Applications and Troubleshooting
If you want to add applications all you have to do is launch the application with Speakable Items enabled and it will create a folder inside the Speakable Items folder in your user directory under Library/Speech/Speakable. You can add commands to an application by opening the Speakable Items folder and drag items or an alias into the folder. The filename of the item is the command you say to open it, but be sure to follow the guidelines for naming speech commands.
If you have reinstalled an application and it is not responding to your commands you may need to recreate a Speakable Items folder for that application. To do this simply:

  1. 1. Close the application and open the Library/Speech/Speakable Items folder in your home folder.
  2. 2. If you have reinstalled the application drag the application’s folder from the Speakable Items folder to your desktop.
  3. 3. Open the application again (this creates a new folder for it inside the Speakable Items folder).
  4. 4. Drag the spoken commands out of the old application folder on your desktop and into into the new folder inside the Speakable Items folder.

After you add a command to an application’s Speakable Items folder, wait about 20 seconds before using the command. Make sure the name you give your command is different from any other command in that application’s Speakable Items folder.

Adding Scripts
To create a Speakable Item AppleScript command for an application open the application that you want to create an AppleScript for. Make sure the application window is at the front of all other windows on your screen. Tip: It is better to close all open applications and just work with the one that you are working in AppleScript with. With AppleScript open follow these steps to create the Speakable Item command:

  1. 1. Click on Record in AppleScript.
  2. 2. Launch the Application, a folder is created for it inside the Library/Speech/Speakable Items folder in your home folder, if not already present.
  3. 3. The ‘tell application’ part of the scrip should have been written. Next perform the actions you’d like to do in the application you opened, and then save it as a compiled script.
  4. 4. The filename you give the script will be the command you’ll speak to use it. (Remember to follow the recommended guidelines for naming spoken commands.)

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