How to verify a Time Machine backup

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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We recently put out a call for topics you‘d like to learn more about and one of the most popular suggestions was how to verify a Time Machine backup. After all, you‘ve gone to all the trouble to create such a backup, it would be nice to know if it works. It turns out that there‘s not a completely clear-cut answer to this one. Let me explain.

I‘ll open the Time Machine preference and ensure that the Time Machine menu appears in the menubar. I‘ll then hold down the Option key and click on this menu and, look at that, there‘s a Verify Backups command. But wait, it‘s grayed out.

It‘s grayed out because this is a Time Machine backup housed on a drive connected directly to my Mac. This command works only for networked Time Machine backups—either backups on an Apple Time Capsule, or a networked drive on another Mac or an NAS.

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How to navigate iTunes 12 more efficiently

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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As you’re likely aware, iTunes 12 brings a lot of changes to Apple’s venerable music/everything-else-in-the-world app and, because of these changes, some people find it frustrating. And a subset of those people find it frustrating because they find its unfamiliar interface a little tricky to navigate. My goal in the next few minutes is to show you how to more easily move around the interface. Let’s start with ripping CDs.

When you insert a CD into your media drive (presuming you have one), you’ll be prompted to import the tracks on it. If you click Yes, iTunes will rip the tracks and import them into your iTunes library.

But if you choose No, how do you later get back to that CD? Just click on the CD icon in the toolbar. When you do you’ll see the option for importing the CD in the top-right of the tool bar. If you’d like to import just a track or two, select those tracks, right-click on them, and then choose the option to import them. Just those tracks will be imported.

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Top tips for working with the Mac's menu bar

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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To start out your new year I thought I'd remind you of (or, possible reveal, if this is new to you) a handful of menu bar tricks that you'll find helpful. Let’s start with rearranging icons.

If you don’t care for the way icons are arranged in the menu bar—you want the clock to appear all the way to the left, for example—just hold down the Command key and drag the item in question to a new position. Be careful to not drag it outside the menu bar, however, as doing so can cause it to evaporate. This trick doesn’t work with the Spotlight or Notification menus.

Speaking of the Notification menu, when you hold down the Option key and click on the menu, you immediately switch on the Do Not Disturb feature. You can toggle it off again by holding down the Option key and clicking on the menu.

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How to create an iPhoto holiday slideshow

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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It’s that time of year again—a time to let your loved ones know that you care. While this can be done with a tasteful gift or card, why not engage some of your Mac’s power to make something really special. And by that I mean a holiday slideshow. Let’s give it a go.

We’re going to make this in iPhoto so I’ll launch it. I’ve already created an album of images that I’d like to include in my slideshow. I assume you know that to create an album you select images somewhere in your iPhoto library and choose File > New Album to create an album of your own.

The dead simple way to approach this is to to just click on the Slideshow button at the bottom of the window. This will produce the theme chooser. From this chooser you can select a holiday template. The slideshow will play so you can see what you’re in for.

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How to annotate your documents with Mail's Markup feature

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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As you may have heard, Mail in OS X Yosemite offers a couple of new features. One of the most interesting is Markup, a feature you can use to annotate images that you’re sending to another person. Let’s see how it works.

I’ll open Mail and create a new email message. Into it I’ll drag a PDF file that I’d like to mark up. I’ll click on the triangle icon that appears at the top of the file and choose Markup.

A separate pane appears where I can choose my tools.

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How to recover passwords with Keychain Access

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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If you’re the kind of upstanding person I believe you to be, over the coming holidays you’re going to spend some time with family and friends. And because you’re the kind of person who watches videos like this, you’re probably one of the tech savvier people they know. And because you are, sure enough you’re going to get this question:

“I need to get into my old email account but I can’t remember the password. What should I do?”

Sure, you could go through the steps to request a new password if it’s offered, but maybe you can avoid all that with this simple tip.

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How to protect your Mac's most secret stuff with an encrypted disk image

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Given the countless reports of our data being exploited, many of us are increasingly concerned about protecting that data. In this movie I’m going to show you how to protect a collection of data on your Mac.

Launch Disk Utility and choose File > New > New Disk Image.

In the New Blank Image window that appears name your image—something like My Secret Stuff. From the size menu choose a maximum size for the image—the absolute most you think it will hold rather than what it will currently hold.

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