OS X First Aid

More Stories in this Series

Fight Mac frostbite

Treat Safari anemia

If Apple’s Web browser has slowed to a crawl, here are some tips that can perk up its performance:

• Select the Safari icon in the Finder, press Command-I to bring up Safari’s Info window, click on the triangle next to Languages, and disable all languages except those you use. Also choose Safari: Empty Cache—clearing the cache has been known to make Safari sprightlier.

• If you don’t care for bells and whistles, use image- and animation-filtering utilities such as Mike Solomon’s Pith Helmet ($10) or Hao Li’s Saft ($12) to turn off Web-page animation and graphics.

• If you visit the same sites daily, speed up your routine by creating a folder full of Auto-Click bookmarks (these are called Auto-Tab bookmarks in Panther), so that when you click on the folder in the Bookmarks bar, all the sites will load at once.

To do this, choose Bookmarks: Show All Bookmarks. Click on the plus-sign (+) button at the bottom of the Bookmarks window to create a new folder. Drag the bookmarks you access each morning into this folder. Name this folder and drag it into the Bookmarks Bar entry. Enable the Auto-Click option next to the folder and choose Bookmarks: Hide All Bookmarks. Click on this bookmark to open each site within the folder in a separate tab.— Christopher Breen

Treat smart-mailbox dementia

Apple’s Mail lets you use smart mailboxes to sort messages by conditions—a certain subject or sender, for example. But these mailboxes occasionally get confused. For example, when you open one and try to read a message within, you may be told that the message is on the server although you know full well it isn’t.

If your smart mailboxes have grown unreliable, try this: Quit Mail. Make a copy of the Mail folder ( your user folder /Library/ Mail) for safekeeping, in case something goes wrong. Then open the original Mail folder and delete the Envelope Index file. Restart Mail and wait (a long time) while Mail re-indexes its messages.

If this fails to do the trick, try choosing Mailbox: Rebuild; then quit Mail and relaunch it. With luck, your messages will be where you expect them and you’ll be able to open them.— Christopher Breen

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