Software

Mac 911 - July 2007

3 ways to use hidden preferences

As much as I rely on add-on tools like the ones covered in Mac Gems to make the most of my Mac, there are times when you can do the most-powerful work with capabilities built into the programs you already own—as long as you know that they’re there.

1. Unstick Entourage Macworld.com forum reader LarryW posted a tip about a hidden Microsoft Entourage command. Specifically, if you find that Entourage hangs or pauses for minutes at a time and your hard drive sounds as though it’s been thrown into high gear, try this: Launch Entourage while holding down the option key. Microsoft’s Database Manager will launch instead of Entourage. Select the Set Database Preferences option in the Database Utility window, click on Continue, and disable the Perform Database Integrity Check In The Background option. This will cause that seemingly endless background churning to stop.

Note that checking the integrity of your Entourage database from time to time is a good idea— all your messages are contained in that one file. You can do this from within the Database Utility window. And of course, you should have a backup of your Entourage Database file, which you’ll find in your user folder /Documents/Microsoft User Data/ Office 2004 Identities/Main Identity.

2. Update iPhoto Thumbnails If your iPhoto thumbnail images don’t match the full-size versions anymore, press 1-option while launching iPhoto. In the resulting Rebuilding Photo Library window, you’ll find options for rebuilding your photos’ small thumbnails, rebuilding all thumbnails, rebuilding the iPhoto Library database, and recovering orphaned photos in the iPhoto Library folder. In this case, choose the first option—Rebuild The Photos’ Small Thumbnails—and your thumbnails will once again accurately depict your images.

3. Create New Libraries Press option when you launch iPhoto, and it’ll give you the choice of creating a new iPhoto library or choosing an existing iPhoto library. That’s helpful when you don’t have enough storage space to hold a massive iPhoto library in one location. The same key command works for iTunes 7 and its libraries.

[ Senior Editor Christopher Breen is the author of The iPod and iTunes Pocket Guide, second edition (Peachpit Press, 2007). ]

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