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Archive for the ‘Software Updates’ Category

by Tom Nelson

MacOS High Sierra is finally ready for release. It endured the summer beta program, and is now available through the Mac App Store for anyone to download and install.

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

We’re always grateful that new versions of the operating system go through an extensive beta process, but it always seems a few issues will still be lurking, ready to pop up and surprise us.

With that in mind, here are some of the more common problems you may encounter when upgrading to macOS High Sierra.

Note: Before upgrading to any new or updated operating system, it’s a good idea to have a current backup in place.

Upgrading From the Beta
If you’re a beta tester, you may have a slightly more difficult time upgrading than the rest of us; it all depends on whether you installed the new APFS (Apple File System) during the beta testing. Apple backed away from its original goal of having APFS ready to go for all Mac configurations. Instead, it’s releasing macOS High Sierra with APFS only for Macs using SSDs (Solid State Drives). If you converted a Fusion drive during the beta, it needs to be reverted to HFS+ before you can install macOS High Sierra.

Unfortunately, Apple isn’t providing any tools to revert the file system. Instead, you’re required to back up your current data with Time Machine, erase and reformat the affected drive(s), install macOS High Sierra, and then migrate your backed up data to the fresh install.

Apple includes instructions for the process, specifically using Time Machine as the backup app. It seems you should also be able to perform this task by creating a clone using Carbon Copy Cloner or one of the other popular cloning tools. Nevertheless, even if you decide to create a clone, we highly recommend you also create a Time Machine backup, especially if the clone is the only copy of your data you will have.

You’ll need a drive partitioned as HFS+ for the Time Machine backup. This can be an existing Time Machine drive as long as it’s formatted as HFS+. You’ll also need to create a bootable macOS High Sierra installer; a 16 GB or larger USB flash drive or an external drive can serve this purpose.

Warning: The process of creating the bootable installer will erase the contents of the selected drive volume.

Apple has posted instructions in its support area for Preparing Your Fusion Drive Mac for the macOS High Sierra Install. It covers two methods for converting a Fusion Drive back to HFS+ and installing macOS High Sierra. The instructions are a bit sparse, but should be sufficient for getting the job done. If you have any questions regarding the process, be sure to post them in the Comments section below.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

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by Tom Nelson

Boot Camp and Boot Camp Assistant allow you to install Windows on your Mac. It’s a nice capability that lets you select – at boot time – which operating system you wish to use: Mac OS or Windows.

One of the downsides to Boot Camp and the Windows installer is that it restricts you to installing Windows on your Mac’s internal drive. While Boot Camp Assistant can partition your startup drive for you to make room for Windows, there are bound to be many of you who just don’t have room to spare on your startup drive to install Windows.

Installing Windows on an external drive would be a great solution to the problem of available space, but as we said, Boot Camp and Windows impose a restriction on installing to an external drive – or do they?

There are actually a few ways you can successfully install Windows on an external drive. They range from creating clones of an existing PC installation, or using Microsoft IT tools for installing Windows. But the method we’re going to outline here is a bit different. It allows you to install Windows on an external drive without first having Windows installed on a PC or in a virtual environment.

This is an advanced process with quite a few pitfalls that can trip you up. Be sure to read through the process before undertaking it. Also, make sure you have a current backup before beginning.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

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by Tom Nelson

With each new release of the Mac OS, there always seems to be new features that change how you work, the removal of a feature or two that forces you to rethink how you work, or just plain bugs that make working on your Mac not quite the pleasant experience it used to be.

To put it simply, “macOS Sierra broke my favorite feature; now what do I do?” We’re going to take a look at some of the features that Sierra broke, and show you easy ways to fix them. (Related: How to Fix Scary Issues That Can ‘Possess’ a Mac, Affect Performance)

Safari Doesn’t Display Some Web Sites

As part of Apple’s concerns about web page security, and the wish to promote HTML5-based content, Safari disables some Safari plug-ins, including Flash, Silverlight, QuickTime, and Java.

The result is that when you visit a web page that relies on these older technologies, you may be greeted with just a black page, or a black page with a dropdown sheet asking if you wish to use Flash or one of the other disabled plug-ins on the specific website.

safariflash1280

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Although the wording can change slightly depending on the plug-in involved, you have the choice of activating the plug-in just this time for this website, always for this website, or to leave the plug-in turned off.

Your choice isn’t permanent; you can change the selection at anytime within Safari Preferences.

  • Select Preferences from the Safari menu.
  • Choose the Security tab.
  • Click the Plug-in Settings button.
  • Select a plug-in from the displayed list, and a list of websites you’ve visited that use the plug-in will be displayed. You can use the dropdown menu to change whether a plug-in may be used on the site.
  • You can select Off, On, or Ask. You can also specify the default for the plug-in’s use when visiting new websites.

You may be tempted to just turn the plug-in on for all websites, which would make browsing the web easier. But that choice comes with issues, including security concerns involving plug-ins, such as Flash, that seem to have a never-ending supply of vulnerabilities. Instead, we recommend using the Ask setting, which will cause Safari to ask what you wish to do each time you visit a website. This way, you’ll always know which sites are using antiquated technologies.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

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by Tom Nelson

Upgrading from a previous version of OS X is the most common method of installing OS X Mavericks. An upgrade install also offers at least two benefits over a standard install; it’s a simple process, and it retains almost all of your settings, files, and apps from the version of OS X that you’re currently using.

OS-X-Mavericks-WWDC

Image courtesy of Apple

You may be wondering what the phrase “almost all” in the above sentence means. Mavericks will check to make sure that all of your apps are compatible with the OS; apps that won’t work with Mavericks will be moved to an Incompatible Software folder.

In addition, it’s possible that some preference settings, particularly for the Finder, will need to be reconfigured. That’s because the Finder, along with other parts of the OS, includes some changes that will require you to modify preference settings to meet your needs.

Aside from these minor inconveniences, performing an upgrade install of OS X Mavericks is pretty straightforward.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

In all the operating systems running on all of the computers in the world, there is likely nothing easier than performing an upgrade install of macOS Sierra on a Mac. While not quite push-a-button-and-go, it comes close.

DefaultDesktopSierra

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

So, you may be wondering why there’s a need for a step-by-step guide to performing an upgrade install of macOS Sierra. The answer is a simple one. Readers like to know in advance what to expect from the macOS Sierra install process, and, since the name for the Mac operating system has changed, whether that also means there are any new requirements for the install.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

macOS Sierra, the first of the new macOS systems, includes the ability to create a bootable installer on a USB flash drive, or on a drive you have connected to your Mac.

The advantage of the ability to create a bootable installer of macOS Sierra can’t be overstated. It allows you to perform a clean install, which completely replaces the contents of your Mac’s startup drive with a brand-new, fresh install of Sierra.

macOSSierrabootable

Image courtesy of Apple

The bootable installer can also be used to install macOS Sierra on multiple Macs, without having to resort to downloading the installer app from the Mac App Store each time. This can be a pretty nice feature if you have a problematic or slow connection to the Internet.

OS X and macOS have had the capability to create install media for quite a while, but this isn’t widely known, for two reasons. First, the command to create the bootable installer is well hidden within the installer that’s downloaded from the Mac App Store; and secondly, the installer you download has a really annoying habit of automatically starting up once the download is complete. If you then click the install button, you’ll find that the installer you downloaded is automatically deleted as part of the normal installation process, preventing you from using it to create a bootable macOS Sierra installer of your own.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

macOS Sierra will see its first public beta release in July of 2016, followed by a full release in the fall of 2016. Along with giving the operating system a new name, Apple is adding a lot of new features to macOS Sierra. This isn’t just a simple update, or a bunch of security and bug fixes.

macOSSierraSiriRedSox

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Instead, macOS Sierra will add brand new features to the operating system, including the incorporation of Siri, expansion of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi based connectivity features, and a whole new file system that will replace the venerable but quite outdated HFS+ system that Macs have been using for the last 30 years.

When an operating system encompasses such a wide range of new features and capabilities there’s bound to be a few gotcha’s; in this case, the list of Macs that will support macOS Sierra will be trimmed back by quite a bit. This is the first time in five years that Apple has removed Mac models from the list of supported devices for a Mac OS.

The last time Apple dropped Mac models from the supported list was when OS X Lion was introduced. It required Macs to have a 64-bit processor, which left the original Intel Macs off the list.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

The WWDC 2016 keynote kept to the script, providing previews of the four major Apple software platforms: watchOS, tvOS, macOS, and iOS. You may notice OS X is missing from the list, but only in spirit. As we mentioned in our WWDC 2016 rumor roundup, OS X underwent a name change to bring it into alignment with the naming conventions used for Apple’s other operating systems, transforming it from OS X to macOS.

macOSSierraMacBook

Image courtesy of Apple

The name change appears to be strictly a branding change, and not an indication of any merging (current or future) of OS X and iOS into a single monolithic operating system.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple routinely releases updates to OS X that are available through the Software Update process or the Mac App store, depending on the version of OS X you are using. These software updates, available from the Apple menu, usually provide the simplest method for ensuring your Mac’s operating system is kept up to date. They can also cause problems, particularly if your Mac should freeze, lose power, or otherwise prevent the update from completing.

OSXElCapitanDock

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

When this occurs, you end up with a corrupt system update, which may manifest itself as simple instability: occasional freezes or the system or applications locking up. In the worst-case scenario, you may have problems booting, forcing you to consider reinstalling the OS.

Another problem is related to OS X’s incremental approach to updates.

Since Software Update only downloads and installs system files that need to be updated, you can end up with some files being out of date with respect to other system files. This can result in infrequent system or application freezes, or the inability of an application to launch.

Although the Software Update problem is infrequent, and most Mac users will never see it, if you’re having some unexplained issues with your Mac, the Software Update problem could be the culprit. Eliminating it as a possibility is very easy to do.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Your Mac contains tons of personal data, from your saved emails to your calendar events. Backing up this data, whether just to have a backup on hand or to move the data to a new Mac, is actually pretty easy. The problem is it’s not always an intuitive process.

TimeMachineIcon128x128

Image courtesy of Apple

We’ve gathered detailed instructions on moving this important info to your new Mac, as well as how to create backups of individual application data. If you’re making a wholesale move to a new Mac with your data, you will probably find using the Migration Assistant, included with OS X as one of the easier methods.

If you’re trying to troubleshoot a Mac problem and have reinstalled OS X on a new drive or partition, then you may wish to just move a few important files over, such as your mail, bookmarks, calendar settings, and your contact list.

Read more on About: Macs.

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