Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Powerbook G4 display screen problems

I apologise for any typos - i cannot really see the screen very weel - I have had my powerbook g4 since about 2002, and a few hours ago as I was plugging in some external speakers to listen to music on my stereo, the display scrren went wonky - there a re svertical stripes accross the screen, and it is pixelated to such an extent that I cannot see much.

Is this just a sympton of old age, is the computer a goner, or is there some way I can fix it?


I'm afraid it could be something major due to age. However try the following:

1. Check the Brightness control
2. Press around the frame of the display to see if normal brightness returns
3. Change the angle of the display by tilting it backwards and forwards
4. Reset PRAM: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1379?viewlocale=en_US
5. Reset the PMU: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1431?viewlocale=en_US

If none of the above works, than I'm afraid the inverter is malfunctioning. This controls the power to the display.

This can be repaired/replaced by your nearest Apple Dealer or a company called Bookyard

Alternatively you can buy the recently discontinued MacBook Pro:

Regards, MacDoc

Monday, 20 October 2008

System Preferences

My iBook (running 10.4.11) is not picking up the wi-fi after it is starting up or waking from sleep. I have to select the network manually in the Airport menu. When I try to go to Network in System Preferences to try to resolve this I automatically get the box which says "Your network settings have been changed by another application." Every time I click OK on this box to close it, it reopens preventing me from doing anything else. I have to Force Quit System Preferences in order to move on.

Any ideas?

Hi Ray

This too happen to me on my old G4 Desktop running Tiger. This has affected many running this "old" system. Sadly it looks like Apple is not in a rush to fix it as they're concentrating on Leopard.

The problem started with a recent series of Security Fixes. The installer corrupted the Network prefs. One can of course change everything using Terminal, but the simplest work around is as follows:
  1. System Pref > Security
  2. "Check" Require password to unlock each secure system preference
  3. Goto Network (this should prevent the "network setting have changed..." loop)
  4. Change your Airport settings (you may have to unlock the padlock before making the change)
  5. Lock the changes
I'm puzzled why you have to change the Airport settings after sleep. Presumably your Airport is set to Automatic and DHCP?

Thanks Galen,

That has fixed the Network problem, but despite being on Automatic and DCHP I still have to choose the wireless network manually.


Hi Ray

Re: Losing connection after sleep, have you tried the following?
  • System preferences > Network > Show > "Name of airport connection, Automatic?"
  • Click on Airport Tab > Options > un-check "disconnect from wireless networks when I log out"
  • Close Sys Prefs
Alternatively you could try deleting you current network settings and setting it from scratch again.
  • System Prefs > Network > Location (Go through the all the locations and write down all the settings)
  • Location > Edit location > delete the lot
  • Location > New location > re-establish all the locations you've deleted
It is normal for the computer to disconnect from Airport when asleep to preserve energy, maybe something in the settings is making it forget.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Boot Camp


I have recently bought the 20" i-mac 2.4 machine upgraded with 3gb memory.
I am keen to install Windows and have down loaded the Boot Camp
installation and Users Guide - I have all I need to install Windows -
except - my Mac shipped with a wireless keyboard and mouse - do I
absolutely need the USB versions referred to?




Sadly you do need a USB connection initially to set up the wireless keyboard and mouse. Once you've inserted the Leopard Disk to load the wireless drivers, you can then dispense with the USB peripherals.

Any way you can borrow these USB items, you can even use a PC USB keyboard and mouse!

If you've bought your iMac from the Apple Store their Guru/Expert bar can help, if you ask nicely...

Thursday, 12 June 2008



I am trying to set up repeat appointments in iCal running on leopard.

The online help facility says
"Choose how often you want the event to occur from the “repeat” pop-up menu"

But I can't find this pop up menu. How do you access it?



Hi Tom

Try one of the following:
  • Right-click on the event and select 'Get Info" then 'Edit'
  • Select event in iCal then from the menu bar Edit > 'Edit event'
  • Double-click on the event and 'edit'

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Keychain password problem


The prompt to type in the keychain password comes up all the time. It wont recognize my password.

Please advise,

Ian Henderson


You don't say which version of Mac OS you're using, so I'll assume you're using the the latest Leopard (Mac OS 10.5.x)

Go to your home folders library look for Keychains. Open Keychains and inside there should be a file login.keychain for now put this file on your desktop (this is your old keychain).

Reset your keychain following on the apple support page instructions below:


  1. After you have reset your Keychain, open the Keychain Access application.
  2. Open the old login.keychain you placed on your desktop.
  3. Drag and drop the keychain items from the old keychain to the new keychain entering your password when prompted
  4. When you are done and every thing is working you can trash the old login.keychain

If you're not using Leopard, then by following Apple's instructions you may lose some if not all your existing keychain items. There is no way around this, I'm afraid.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

I cannot log on


I was using my macbook the other day and everything was going fine.

I switched it off and around an hour or so later i went to log back on but when i attempted to log on i was given the message - you are unable to log in to the user account "useraccount" at this time.

After three attempts in then gave me a password hint, i didnt need one, but still no success.

It then asked me for the adminstrator password with a hint, this was also not accepted.

Any ideas/suggestions??

Yours hopefully, Alan


You need to reset the password for your Mac, follow this solution from Apple:


Thursday, 10 April 2008

Slow Mac


My Mac PowerMacG4 running OSX, has started to post a funny note [1] always
on start up and sometimes during open up [2] for instance of Acrobat.

It is also running painfully slowly to the extent that I have started to
file/dump things etc. 74 GB of which 46 free.

The notes vary slightly

1 Start up note: in box panel

System/Library/Extensions/SymOSXKernalUtilities.kext was installed
improperly and cannot be used. Please re-install it or contact your service

Or 2

System/Library/Extensions/symfs.kext was installed etc....ditto

Any ideas?



[In the last 2 days for no reason I can fathom my Entourage appearance looks
different - sort of basic]

Hi Philippa

Are you running Norton Antivirus?

The error message you see used to be the result of a conflict between Norton and versions of Adobe Acrobat/Distiller.

You can either disable Norton's filesaver and Norton Auto-protect features.

Or un-install Norton altogether:


Then download a perfectly adequate donation-ware antivirus software ClamXav.


If your mac is running slowly, I think it's time to add more RAM memory from say:


Also buy an external hard drive to store your work. It's good to leave adequate space like 5GB on your main hard drive (Macintosh HD) for virtual memory.

Can't fathom why Entourage is misbehaving, usually the following routine may cure some of its ills:

Rebuild Disk Permissions:

* Utilities folder
* Disk Utility
* Select Philippa's computer or Macintosh HD
* Right-hand window: press the button labelled "Repair Disk Permissions"

Hope that helps...

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Help OSX install!


I have an Imac G3 which had OS X 10.3.9 with Classic installed by a local MAC Supplier in Edinburgh. On my start up menu I was able to open OS 9.2 as a choice. This I did but I now find that I can't get the apparently available OS X to start up successfully. It keeps displaying a black screen with the following text;

/etc/master.password: Not a directory
/etc/master.password: Not a directory
-sh:/etc/profile: Not a directory
-sh-2.05b ( and a hash sign)

I have tried all the help instructions to reboot etc. but I keep getting this display. Any thoughts?


Hi Ken

It looks like you may have inadvertently deleted one of the MacOSX folders that is on the same directory level as the MacOS9 System folder.

Normally when in MacOSX, these folders are invisible, but in OS9, all is revealed. They have cryptic names and can easily be mistaken for a folder to trash.

As you haven't been using Mac OSX, you won't have that much to lose as far as setting are concerned. So the best solution is to dig out the system disks that came with your computer and do a re-install choosing the option 'Archive and install'.

There should be instructions on this in the manual that came with the computer. Briefly it'll follow the following procedure:
  1. Insert the Mac OS X Install Disc and double-click the Install Mac OS X icon.
  2. Follow the onscreen instructions. In the panel where you select the destination disk, select your current Mac OS X disk (in most cases, it will be the only one available).
  3. Click Options. If you want to save your existing files, users, and network settings, select "Archive and Install," then select "Preserve Users and Network Settings." If you want to erase everything on your computer and reinstall Mac OS X, select "Erase and Install." You can't recover erased data.
  4. Click Continue.
  5. Click Customize to select which parts of Mac OS X you'd like to install, or click Install to perform a basic installation (recommended).

Many thanks Galen,

Unfortunately, the computer had the OS X system installed by our local suppliers as a result of a disk drive failure and they did not provide me with a disk for some reason. I do have a newer version of OS X which I bought for another computer. If I tried to Archive and install this newer version will it do the job? Otherwise, I have to take the computer all the way into Edinburgh and they sometimes take weeks to return it.



Hi Ken

Yes, you can use the newer version, as long as it is the standalone boxed version. Else it may be too machine specific, if it's one that came with the computer.

Also be prepared for a performance slowdown as a newer operating system will require more RAM and hard disk space to operate. In other words to up grade an operating system may mean upgrading the hardware too.

BTW, Mac OSX 10.5 or Leopard will really struggle in a G3. If this is your newer version, I wouldn't recommend it. Better get version 10.4 or Tiger from Ebay.

Good luck

Hi Galen

Thanks for your valued support. I do have a stand alone MAC OS X 10.4.11.

The only final question is should I start up OS 9.2 before I insert the OS X disk. I have tried to install from this black screen but it seems to eject the disk. Is there a prompt I should use on this screen?

I have donated £10.00. Is this OK or is the average higher?


Hi Ken

Thanks for your donation. Anything is gratefully received. It's a donation so it's up to the person to judge how valuable the support is. Some have been incredibly generous, especially a person from Aberfoyle. He said if it wasn't for our site, he felt cut-off from Apple mainstream support.

Anyway to install 10.4.11, assuming your G3 can read DVDs, you'd better boot up in OS9 so that you can get the DVD in. You can then open the DVD and click on the "Install" icon. Thereafter it'll boot-up the computer and give you prompts to follow. There should be a manual that came with the DVD, which you can follow as well.

As in my previous email:

* Click Options. If you want to save your existing files, users, and network settings, select "Archive and Install," then select "Preserve Users and Network Settings."

If your G3 can't read DVDs, as in the days when G3s were in their prime, DVD drives were an expensive option; you may have to turn to eBay to get 10.3 CDs. See this link:



Many thanks Galen,

I totally agree with the person from Aberfoyle. You have just pointed out why I can't use the installation disk. My G3 is one of the early ones.

I will donate a further £10 tomorrow.


Hi Ken

Thanks for the additional £10 donation.

I forgot to add in my last email, if you're going to bid in Ebay for the Panther disks, to guarantee a win use this sniping software. It's won us many Apple spare parts amongst other things!


Saturday, 8 March 2008

Crashing iPhoto

Hello, I wonder if you can help me...

I recently got a lacie plug in hard-drive as my computer's incredibly
slow and I've been moving some stuff onto there. I copied music from
itunes, and some photos over onto it and then decided that it would be
easier to copy the whole application over. So I dragged itunes,
macmail and iphoto from applications onto the desktop and then copied
them onto the harddrive. Anyway, everything's still working with my
email and itunes, but now when I try and open iphoto, it opens but then
quits almost immediately, and I need to use this a lot for work, and
also I'd like to get the photos back. I've run the repair things and
this hasn't helped

Is there anything I can do? Look forward to hearing from you.


Hi Vicki

It's not really a good idea to copy the apps to an external drive as links can be broken with their associated databases, as you've found out with iPhoto.

There no problem with moving your music and photos to the external drive, but Apple advises you still run the apps from the root/main drive.

You mention Mail and iTunes are working well, but I think they'll still linked to the database on the root drive. So there's really no saving in space there.

If you've already copied your music and photos to the external drive, re-link to them as follows:

  1. Quit iPhoto.
  2. Hold down the Option key while opening iPhoto.
  3. Click Find Library.
  4. Assuming you have copied a folder from your User folder called iPhoto Library to the external drive. Choose this library on the external drive
  5. Click Open.
  6. The library appears in the iPhoto viewing area. Any photos you import will be added to this library.
Again assuming you have moved all your music to the external drive.
  1. In iTunes, choose iTunes > Preferences.
  2. Click Advanced and then click General.
  3. Click Change and select the new location for your files, ie on the external drive.
  4. From now on, new songs and other items you import will be stored in the new location. Songs you've already imported stay in their current location.
Once everything is working from the external drive you can safely delete the photos and music from your root drive, and regain some space. The Mac needs as least 10gb of space to use as virtual memory.

To speed up your Mac, do consider increase your RAM memory to as much as you can afford. Usually 2gb is sufficient.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

MBP won't start after Apple updates!

I shut down my Macbook pro OS X , version 10.4.8 having been asked to shut down after downloading upgrades and it simply won’t start again.
Please help
David Wixon

Hi David
  • Can you boot up using your original install DVD?
  • Can you boot up in SAFE mode? Holding down the shift key soon after you hear the chime, and keeping held down until the login screen.
  • Do you see the grey Apple logo?
  • Try booting up holding down Apple +"S" key together before you hear the chime. After you see a screenfull of code against a black background, key in the command fsck -f. Leave the computer to carry out it's self maintenance. On completion, key in reboot.
  • If all else fails, I'm afraid there's a corrupt driver. You'll then have to do an "Archive and Install" using your Install DVD. Better to do a complete erase and install, but this assumes you have a good backup.