Mac 911

3 workflows for healthy Macs

If you’re like a lot of Tiger users, Automator—Apple’s automation application, which puts a friendlier face on AppleScript—intrigues you, yet when you attempt to create an Automator workflow, you’re lost. Relax—you don’t have to do it yourself. If you’re interested in maintaining a healthier and more efficient Mac, try these prefabricated workflows:

• Jesse Hogue’s Maintenance 3.0 (free): By tapping into Terminal, this workflow can repair permissions on your startup drive, verify system preferences, run OS X’s periodic cron maintenance tasks, and update application prebindings (a system for optimizing app libraries so the applications themselves run more efficiently). You can select which tasks you’d like to run or simply choose to run them all.

• Jesse Hogue’s Back Me Up (free): This workflow uses OS X’s rsync command to copy the contents of one folder to another folder. On subsequent backups, it will compare the contents of both folders and copy only the changed files and folders—for example, you might use it to back up a folder that contains files for a particular work project.

•  Batch Apply Spotlight Keywords (free): If Spotlight spits out too many results whenever you use it, this workflow will help you stop wasting time. It lets you select files or folders full of files and append Spotlight comments to them so you can more easily focus your searches. For example, I’ve added the comment 911column to my archive of columns so Spotlight can quickly find them without also listing other Mac 911 -related items.

Recovering lost users

When I upgraded my home computer to Tiger, I discovered to my horror that my entire family was missing—well, their login user names were, anyway.

After searching for them everywhere, I finally discovered that if I add a new user—with the same name as the missing user—to the login page, my Mac tells me there is a folder attached to that name and asks if I would like to reattach it. When I click on OK, the old user returns.--Gino Del Guercio

You can also use this tip to recover deleted users. Just open the Deleted Users folder (found within the Users folder at the root level of the startup volume), and double-click on the DMG file of a deleted user—Mary.dmg, for example. Then create a new folder within the Users folder, give it the name of the deleted user you want to recover, and copy the contents of the mounted disk-image file into this new folder. Now launch the Accounts preference pane and create a user with that name. As Gino indicates, your Mac will ask if you’d like to attach the deleted user’s files to the newly created user.—Ed.

[ Senior Editor Christopher Breen is the author of Secrets of the iPod and iTunes , fifth edition, and The iPod and iTunes Pocket Guide (both Peachpit Press, 2005). ]

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