Mac 911

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Recalling Uninstall

I downloaded a demonstration version of Network SpyAlert and decided not to buy it. I trashed every file associated with this application I could find, except for a file named NetworkSpyAlert.kext. This file will not allow me to move it to the Trash. When I drag it there, this message appears: “The operation could not be completed because this item is owned by root.” How can I get rid of this alert box permanently?Dan Yett

We Mac users are accustomed to simply dragging unwanted applications to the Trash. However, certain programs, such as Allume Systems’ Internet Cleanup ($30) and its demo, perform their magic with the help of special files stored away from the main application. For this reason, it’s not a bad idea to run the installer of an application you no longer want, to see whether it has an uninstall option. Internet Cleanup’s installer does have that option, accessible from the pop-up menu in its installation screen (see screenshot).

If you’ve taken matters into your own hands by trashing an application, and you discover that its remnants pester you, try reinstalling the application and then running the uninstaller. Barring that, you can seek out files that may be causing the problem. In your case, you can find .kext files by following this path: /System/Library/Extensions. If the .kext file you’re trying to remove won’t budge, open Terminal (/Applications/Utilities), type

sudo rm -R
followed by a space, and then drag the stubborn file into the Terminal window. Press return and enter your administrator password if necessary. The file will vaporize.

[ Contributing Editor Christopher Breen is the editor in chief of and the author of Secrets of the iPod and iTunes , fifth edition (Peachpit Press, 2005). ]

Tip of the Month: Flexible iPod Files

You can use an iPod shuffle to hold data files from your Mac by going to iTunes: Preferences, clicking on iPod, and activating the Enable Disk Use option. Unfortunately, because the iPod shuffle is formatted as a FAT32 volume (to make it work on both Macs and Windows PCs), it will not transfer Mac files with certain characters in their names when you try to copy those files to the iPod shuffle. The list of characters includes slashes (/ and \\), question marks (?), angle brackets (< and >), colons (:), asterisks (*), and quotation marks (").

To fix this limitation, use Disk Utility (in your Applications/Utilities folder) to create a new disk image (Images: New: Blank Image). In the New Blank Image dialog box, specify a disk-image size that will fit on your iPod shuffle (leave some room for music), and choose the read-write option from the pop-up menu. Copy the image onto the iPod shuffle and then double-click on the image. It will appear in the Finder as a generic white removable-disk icon. Copy any Mac files with Mac-legal file names onto that disk image. To disconnect the iPod shuffle safely from the Mac, first eject the disk image and then eject the shuffle. Note that the files you copy onto a Mac disk image will not be available to a PC using that device. If you need to use the iPod shuffle or another Flash-based storage device to share files between a Mac and a PC, leave those files on the main partition and not inside the Mac disk image.— Jonathan Woolson

Nagged by warnings and alerts from programs you thought you had deleted long ago? Instead of trashing an application by hand, use the installer’s uninstall option.
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