YourMacWorks tips for basic Macintosh maintenance


Basic things to do when you first get your Macintosh home after a visit to YourMacWorks

This information is for users running Operating system OS9.X

Selecting your Printer - Plug everything in. Make sure your printer is connected and turned on, as well as any other peripheral devices you normally use. Start up your Mac. Go to the Apple Pull Down Menu in the upper left corner of your monitor and go to the Chooser. When the chooser window opens, click once on the icon that represents your printer in the left side of the chooser window. Then click once on the printer description it gives you in the right side of the chooser window. Now close the window. You may get a message telling you that you have changed your printer selection, save those changes or click okay. Now your Mac knows which printer to use.

Netscape and Explorer Users: If you have an Epson printer you need to make one change in the print setup window within netscape and/or Explorer. Launch Netscape or Explorer. When the application opens go to the pull down menus at the top of your screen, go to File, down to page setup. When the page setup window opens you will notice a small box at the bottom of the page setup window next to the words - fit to page. Make sure this box is UNCHECKED. If left checked you will get tiny little printing in the corner of your pages when you try to print a web site from Netscape or Explorer. Repeat this procedure within Explorer if needed.

Cable Modem Users: When you get your Macintosh home and all connected to the cable modem you should turn on your Mac, then power cycle the modem. Power cycling means pulling the plug from the wall on your cable modem and counting to 10 and then plugging it back in. This allows your cable modem to recognize the Mac is back. Also make sure your apple talk control panel is set to Ethernet, otherwise the modem connection for ATT will not be recognized.

To check the appletalk option, go to the Apple Pull Down Menu and scroll down to control panels, then select AppleTalk When the AppleTalk control panel opens make sure you are connecting via - Ethernet. Then close the window and save your changes if asked. External 56K modem users: Make sure your modem is connect to the Mac and that the modem is powered on, if you have a USB modem it gets power directly from the Mac. If you have a serial modem, it requires an external power plug. Plug the phone cable into the correct port on the back of the modem, usually the outside phone port on the back of the external modem. Make sure the phone cable is connected to a wall outlet, or whatever connected device you had it on prior to service. Now go to the Apple Pull Down Menu, to control panels, to Modem. Make sure your modem is connecting using the modem port for external serial modems. Connect using the USB modem for USB external modems. Connect using the internal modem for internal modem users, such as iMacs.

AOL users: How to circumvent issues with accessing web sites that AOL may not allow you to view:

Launch AOL as you normally would do and allow it to connect you to the internet. Check your email and make sure you are receiving email, so that you know that you are actually connected via the phone line.

Hide AOL by clicking anywhere on your desktop - which should make the AOL screen disappear into the background and you should then be able to see more of your desktop area.

Find your main hard drive icon ( usually located in the upper right corner of your screen ). Double click your hard drive icon, this will open a window and you will be able to see the list of items installed on your iMac - files and folders. Scroll down to the folder called Applications (Mac OS 9).

Open that folder and look for another folder called Internet or Internet Apps, or you may have a folder called Internet Explorer 5 installed directly on your main hard drive list. Inside the Internet Explorer folder locate the icon for the application itself. It will be called Internet Explorer and the icon is a big blue E. Highlight it by clicking on it only once. Then use the keys on your keyboard to make an alias of that application by holding down the Command key (apple key) and then hitting the M key. This action will create an alias, it will be italicized and have the word alias at the end of it.

Drag the alias to the desktop and let it go. Close your hard drive window. Double click the Explorer alias icon on your desktop that you just created. This will launch a separate internet application that will allow you to access the web site that AOL could not access. You will have to know the exact address or URL of the site you wish to go to. You can get that information by switching back into AOL, trying to access the site from there and copying the address of that site and typing it back into Explorer. Explorer will most likely allow you access to the site when AOL may not. Any additional AOL problems, please contact AOL directly, or it may be your phone lines, or the physical phone cable that is problematic.

Checking the Date and Time: Go to the Apple Pull Down Menu, go to control panels, then to Date and Time. Check to be sure the correct date and time are displayed or make the needed changes. Close the window.

Rebuilding the Desktop File - Read this next procedure all the way through before starting the process. You may want to print these instructions. This little bit of regular maintenance can keep a lot of small problems from plaguing your Macintosh computer over time. This action is especially helpful if your Mac crashes, or if you have to restart your Mac due to a freeze. First, shut down your Mac. Pull the plug if you have to, which you may have to do if it froze and is not responsive to pushing the reset button. Start up the Macintosh. Hold down the option (alt) and command (apple key) keys together and continue to hold them down through the entire startup process. Do not let go of these keys until your Mac has completely started up and a window appears on your desktop asking you if you want to rebuild your desktop. In some cases prior to the end of the startup process, the disk repair check will run itself and when it is complete is will expect you to click the 'done' button. You can do that without taking your finger off the option and command keys, then allow the process to continue.

Allow the startup process to finish and the window asking you if you want to rebuild the desktop to appear before you lift your fingers off the keys. Once the desktop message appears you can take your fingers off the keys, but do not click okay to rebuild the desktop until you see the control strip appear at the bottom of your monitor, usually in the lower left corner. This may take a few seconds for some Macs. It may be just be the tip of the control strip, but that is the indicator that the startup process is complete and that you are ready to rebuild the desktop. If you do not normally use a control strip at the bottom of your monitor, just go ahead and click okay to rebuild your desktop.

Once you lift your fingers off the option and command keys and the control strip is visible, then you can click okay and allow the Mac to rebuild the desktop. This process may take a few minutes for some Macs. It takes longer for larger hard drives or hard drives with a lot of graphics data. What ever amount of time your Mac takes to rebuild the desktop file is usually normal for your system.

When the process is complete you may notice that your icons look better, some of them may get some color back in them, or generic icons will convert back to the proper icon for the application or file to which it belongs. What you have just done is a light refresh of the system. Your Mac should run a little better and it may be less susceptible to crashes and freezes. If this procedure does not improve the performance of your Mac, call us for a diagnostic assessment. You should rebuild the desktop weekly to help keep your Mac in good working order. Graphics heavy users should consider performing this procedure more often.

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